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 Clawson.
When you first meet with your DUI lawyer in Clawson, 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 Clawson, 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 Clawsoncan 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 Clawson, 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.
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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.
Finding a lawyer for your DUI can be the most integral part of accomplishing the goals in your case. There is a lot of information out there, and sifting through it to find the right DUI attorney is a daunting task. Here are some helpful tips to help you find a DUI lawyer that's right for you.Be Sure the Lawyer Specializes in OWI / DWI/ DUI LawThis may seem like a simple step, but it's actually quite important, and not as easy as you might think. A lawyer who says "I handle DUI's" may not have the level of knowledge you really want. Ask what percentage of a lawyer's case load is DUI's. How long have they been practicing DUI law? Do they regularly attend seminars to keep up to date on ever-changing drunk driving laws? Are they up to date on all current DUI state laws? Don't be afraid to ask specific questions about your case and how it will impact you. If the attorney is unwilling to give you specific answers about how the OWI will affect you, they likely do not practice enough drunk driving defense.Be Sure the DUI Attorney Practices in Your AreaAs a practicing Wisconsin DUI attorney well versed in Wisconsin DUI law, I've seen firsthand how knowing the players on the field can be just as important as knowing the rules of the game. Knowing the particular judges, and how they run their courtroom, while it won't change the law, can increase your chances for a positive outcome. Knowing the prosecutors, on the other hand, is an invaluable resource. Check to see if the DUI attorney you are considering knows the prosecutor's names, and if he has worked with them in the past. If not, ask what the attorney plans on doing to learn about them before stepping foot in the Courtroom.From time to time, I get retained on cases outside my general geographic region in Northeast Wisconsin. Knowing that I am a very experienced Wisconsin DUI attorney and very familiar with Wisconsin DUI laws, we've had clients get in trouble out-of-town but want a lawyer from their area to work with, or clients from all areas of Wisconsin that are aware of our reputation as a Wisconsin DUI attorney and are willing to pay to have excellent, aggressive representation. Some clients are concerned of the 'ol boys network' and want a specific DUI attorney from outside their geographic area.Bottom line: if your DUI lawyer is not familiar with your judge and your prosecutor, make sure he or she has a plan to get information about them before they ever step foot in that courtroom.Beware, sometimes a prosecutor knowing your attorney can be a negative. If your attorney does not challenge OWI's or DUI's aggressively, the prosecutor will know that fact and may be less willing to give your attorney the best deal possible. If the attorney has a reputation for taking a plea deal and not going to trial, it is unlikely the prosecutor will give an offer that contemplates the case going to trial.Be Sure the Lawyer is Current on DUI LawDUI law is the most dynamic and complex area of litigation in the criminal law. In Wisconsin, Wisconsin DUI laws change frequently. The legislature makes changes to OWI/DUI laws nearly every year, and in some instances, the law, as interpreted by the Court can change the landscape in a matter of a day. Be sure your DUI lawyer stays up to date on these issues. They involve a significant amount of scientific and physiological evidence. Do they know the terms "retrograde extrapolation", "Hinz chart", "gas chromatograph" or "Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus"? If they don't, they do not have enough experience with defending OWI'sAsk about professional memberships such as the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, or the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Ask if they keep their training current by attending Continuing Legal Education seminars on DUI / OWI. When did they last attend? Ask if they are members of any DUI/OWI listservs to keep them appraised of quick changes in the law. You want a well-informed DUI lawyer.Trial ExperienceDoes the attorney have any experience taking drunk driving cases to trial? How many times? What were the outcomes? Remember, no two cases are the same, so even if they have taken cases to trial and have won, that does not guarantee your case will win at trial too. But, if your OWI/DUI attorney has never taken a case to trial, do you really think the prosecutor is going to give you their best deal? I seriously doubt it. Your OWI/DUI attorney should have trial experience with OWI and DUI cases.Discuss FeesHave an honest discussion about the fees your attorney charges. Do they offer flat fee arrangements or do they bill an hourly fee? Can you choose the fee arrangement? What other costs (postage, copy costs, telephone charges, etc) do they charge.NEVER choose an attorney based solely on their cost. You don't choose the cheapest doctor, do you? While price is likely a consideration, do not make it the determining factor. If you lose your job, spend an extra thirty days in jail or lose your ability to drive for more than a year, have you really saved any money by choosing the cheapest attorney?Has the DUI Lawyer ever been reprimanded, suspended, or dis-barred?Unfortunately, there are those in the legal profession who have had difficulty following the rules of professional conduct. Ask the DUI attorney you are considering retaining if he or she has ever been disciplined by the ethics board governing their state's attorneys. For example, In Wisconsin, you can contact the legal ethics board that governs Wisconsin attorneys. Don't be afraid to Google the attorney's name or law firm to see if there is any negative information about their background or positive or negative comments from previous clients.Get a ReferralIf you know someone who has had an OWI in their past, ask them about any positive or negative experiences they have had with the DUI attorney you are considering. In many cases, attorneys can provide you with names of past clients who are willing to share information about their experiences. I have never had a client tell me they weren't willing to talk to a prospective client about their experiences should I ever need a referral.Be Sure You are Comfortable with the DUI LawyerRegardless of how much or how little you pay your Drunk Driving attorney, unless you are comfortable with them and believe they will fight for what it is you want and need, you will not be happy with the results. Most DUI attorneys offer a free consultation in their office. Go meet them. Meet their office staff. Decide if these are people you like and feel good about. Will you be able to communicate with them? Will they get back to you when you have questions, or will you be lost in a sea of voicemails? Ask lots of questions, and use the opportunity to really interview them. Unless you find an attorney's office that you believe cares and is skilled and capable of doing what you need on your case, you will not be satisfied with the results. Take full advantage of asking questions, and finding the RIGHT DUI lawyer for you.
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