DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence and this can mean drugs or alcohol. If you are pulled over for this offense and cannot pass a test of exams, which are called sobriety tests and does not pass a breathalyzer then you will most likely be arrested. The breathalyzer test shows just how much alcohol is in your bloodstream and if it is over the legal limit, you are considered DUI. When this happens, you will need to get in touch with a DUI lawyer in Sterling.
When you first meet with your DUI lawyer in Sterling, they will explain all of the possible scenarios with you if you are convicted of DUI, which can include:
• Revoked or suspended driving license up to twelve months or lifetime suspension if they have repeated offenses
• A set number of hours doing community service
• Court ordered alcohol rehabilitation if you have many convictions.
The scenario can be one or more of these possibilities. If they are an experienced DUI lawyer in Sterling, they will challenge the arrest. They will try to convince the Court to reduce the sentence or lower the charges. Many times the lawyer will dispute if the police officer was within their constitutional rights to stop their client’s vehicle. The DUI lawyer in Sterlingcan give their client details on what sentence they can expect if this their first DUI charge or if this is just one of many DUI arrests.
When they go to Court, there are generally several hearings. It will start with a hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles and the last hearing in the State or County court.
It can be overwhelming to choose a good DUI lawyer in Sterling, especially if this is your first offense. You could look for one on the internet or the phone book but the best way is to ask someone that you know who has been in this same situation. When trying to decide which DUI lawyer to hire consider their experience and fees because some will charge by the hour while others charge a flat fee.
DUI lawyer in Sterling
Truck DUI lawyer in Sterling
In every criminal trial, the defendant faces a critical strategic decision: to testify or not to testify. Those outside the criminal justice system tend to view this decision in simple terms, believing that the innocent will take the stand and tell their side of the story while those with something to hide will not. Experienced criminal lawyers know that the decision is far more complex and rarely has anything to do with guilt or innocence.Testifying is fraught with peril for any defendant. Guilty or innocent, if the defendant takes the stand, the case will likely turn on his performance as a witness. With so much at stake, the pressure on the defendant is enormous. One false step and he could lose his case. During cross-examination, a skilled prosecutor will attempt to confuse him and twist his words to make it appear that he is lying. If he's a bad public speaker or gets nervous and says the wrong thing, he may appear guilty even though he's not. If the jury is turned off by his tone or demeanor, or simply doesn't like him for inexplicable reasons, the defense may never recover.Apart from the impression the defendant makes during his testimony, the mere act of testifying may have the unintended effect of lowering the burden of proof. In a criminal case, a conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the highest standard of proof in our legal system. When the only evidence presented comes from the prosecutor, the jury focuses on whether the prosecutor has met that high burden of proof. Once the defendant testifies, however, jurors tend to focus solely on who they believe, the defendant or the alleged victim. Rather than weighing the prosecutor's case against the extraordinarily high standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the jurors tend to weigh the defendant's story against the prosecutor's or the victim's story. This effectively lowers the standard of proof to something approaching a preponderance standard (more likely than not) and dramatically reduces the chances the defendant will win the case.Finally, in some cases, there is truth to the widely held belief that a defendant who chooses not to testify is hiding something. Court rules normally limit the evidence admitted at trial to that which bears directly on the alleged crime. Evidence of uncharged misconduct and prior criminal convictions is usually excluded for fear that jurors who are exposed to such evidence will convict the defendant just because they believe him to be a bad person rather than because they have been presented proof that he actually committed the charged crime. If a defendant testifies, however, he may open the door for the use of such evidence by the prosecution. Knowing that evidence of prior bad acts may prejudice the jury against him, the defendant may elect not to testify so as to avoid any risk of exposing the jury to such damaging evidence.Because of all the risks involved when a defendant testifies, many criminal defense attorneys advise their clients, regardless of perceived guilt or innocence, not to testify unless absolutely necessary. This advice frustrates the countless defendants who desperately want to proclaim their innocence to the jury. Most criminal defense attorneys have learned the hard way, however, that it is usually much safer to attack the prosecutor's case than to put on one of your own.
The most common question I run into as a Washington State Criminal Defense Attorney is, "How can you defend criminals?" This question is generally based on two assumptions: 1. the Defendant is obviously guilty; and 2. by defending him or her, you are trying to let this obviously guilty person get away with their crime. As you will see, these assumptions turn out to be incorrect.Arrest Does Not Equal GuiltIt's tempting to think that a Defendant must be guilty because the police arrested him or her for something. However, the law has a much different standard for judging when an arrest is valid versus when a conviction is called for.A valid arrest requires Probable Cause. This term gets defined in different ways but generally exists when the facts and circumstances known to the arresting officer are sufficiently trustworthy to cause a reasonable person to believe that an offense has been committed. If you think about that definition for awhile, it becomes apparent that it's actually a very low standard; and it should be.The rule is designed to make sure that there is some evidence before an arrest is made but balance the requirements for how strong that evidence is with the speed of decision required to catch criminals.Here's an example: A woman tells the police that a man stole her purse. The police ask the man and he denies knowing anything about the purse. Finally, the purse cannot be located. Under Probable Cause, there would be enough to justify arresting the man since the woman said he stole her purse. Do we know whether or not he did it? No. Should we let the Court System determine whether or not the man is guilty? Of course!Knowing that an arrest simply starts the Court Process, Officers often err on the side of making an arrest in a close call; as they should. Even the instructions read to Jurors emphasize the point, stating that the fact the Defendant was arrested has no bearing on whether or not he or she is guilty of the crime charged.Beyond A Reasonable DoubtWe've all heard it on TV but the standard in a criminal case is "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt." But what does that mean? The term "reasonable doubt" can be defined differently but is generally:One for which a reason exists and may arise from the evidence or lack of evidence. It is such a doubt as would exist in the mind of a reasonable person after fully, fairly, and carefully considering all of the evidence or lack of evidence.If we required a police officer to be convinced Beyond a Reasonable Doubt before they could even arrest someone, all of the "bad guys" would get away before the officer even concluded his investigation.What do you do if someone is guilty?If someone is guilty then there is nothing an Attorney can do about it. Keep in mind thatA jury is made up of regular people. No matter how skilled the attorney is, if the defendant is obviously guilty the jury will convict. In this case, the attorney's job has two parts: discovering which charges the defendant is actually guilty of and making sure the sentence is rational.Over ChargedPeople are often over charged, i.e. accused of more than the State can prove. An example of this is where someone is accused of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Reckless Driving. Very few cases of DUI also meet the standards required for Reckless Driving. In this case, if the Defendant is guilty of DUI but not reckless, a good Criminal Defense Attorney should be able to get the Reckless Driving charge thrown out even though the Defendant is ultimately convicted of DUI.Rational SentencingOnce a Defendant is found guilty, the Court's next job is to impose sentence. The Attorney's job becomes making sure that the sentence is appropriate for the crime charged and the Defendant's criminal history. As a general rule, the more criminal convictions someone has, the more harshly they will be sentenced on any new charges. Sometimes, however, the prosecution will seek to punish someone with little or no history the same as they would a career felon. By sentencing first time offenders and career criminals the same, we do not reward those people who have lived basically good lives nor punish hard enough those who choose a life of crime.What do you do if the State cannot prove the charge?There are two major categories of cases where the Prosecution fails to prove their case, either at the outset or at trial.At the OutsetThere are often times when the Prosecution simply does not have any evidence that a Defendant is guilty of a crime. In this case, you can file a Motion to Dismiss and ask that a Judge review the evidence to see if a dismissal is required. This motion can require that witnesses appear and give testimony or it can be based on the police reports themselves.At TrialIf the Prosecution has evidence that someone is guilty, that is not the end of the matter. How strong is that evidence? Are the witnesses believable? Do they have a grudge against the Defendant? The heart of our judicial system is the Jury Trial. A trial is literally the first time when anyone hears ALL of the evidence. Trials can be stressful but in a close case they can be a life saver.Technicalities and The LawI often hear people say that a Defendant got off due to some technicality. There are no "technicalities" in Law, there is only The Law. Should it apply to everyone or should we allow the government to be immune from following the law? If the police violate the law, then the remedy can range from suppressing evidence to throwing out the case entirely.The Court System is our best attempt at creating a process that is fair. Like any system, however, it is only as good as the people who work within it. Defending people accused of crimes is not about "helping them get away with it," rather it is about ensuring that everyone is treated fairly. At The Cahoon Law Office, we still focus on one client at a time and ensure that all legal defenses and rights for our clients are used and protected.Copyright (c) 2007 - The Cahoon Law Office - All Rights Reserved.
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