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 Francis.
When you first meet with your DUI lawyer in Francis, 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 Francis, 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 Franciscan 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 Francis, 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.
Drunk driving cases have become increasingly serious, carrying harsher license sanctions, longer jail sentences, and dire financial penalties. A person accused of a drunk driving offense understands these penalties as well as the social stigma affiliated with a DUI conviction. With widespread pressure from anti-drunk driving advocacy groups, there is a growing awareness that police, prosecutors and judges hold a bias against meritorious challenges to a drunk driving crime.In many states, a vibrant defense bar has sprung up to challenge the institutional bias against the DUI suspect. California, Georgia, and Washington amongst many others have specialized DUI defense firms populated by aggressive lawyers knowledgeable in the science of breath and blood testing. The lawyers at these firms attend national seminars on trial techniques, technical programs regarding breath machines, and certification courses in standardized field sobriety tests.Advanced DUI / DWI defense programs can be expensive and time-consuming. An advanced course in GC and GC/MS might cost over $2,000.00, requiring the defense lawyer to schedule airfare and hotel accommodations. Every summer, the National College for DUI Defense hosts an intensive program in DUI defense at Harvard, but this 3-day program requires travel, airfare and lodging. It also costs $1,500.00 and requires membership in the NCDD. While these programs are top-notch seminars, few Michigan practitioners appear at these national programs.Michigan lags far behind the majority of other states, and only a couple of firms have dedicated their practice to defending drunk driving cases. The vast majority of Michigan lawyers are unwilling to limit their practice, so they are less willing to spend the necessary funds to attend out-of-state programs. As a result, Michigan courts address poorly developed issues, and they are more willing to issue bad opinions that ignore the undisputed science in drug and alcohol-related driving cases.To raise the bar on the quality of Michigan drunk driving advocacy, it is not necessary that lawyers spend a fortune. An attorney does not need to travel hundreds of miles or spend thousands of dollars to improve the quality of their drunk driving litigation skills. Networking opportunities exist within the state, and inexpensive seminars are locally sponsored.Every summer, the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan (CDAM) sponsors a Trial Practice College. Trial advocacy skills are taught, practiced, and rehearsed, lead by top Michigan criminal defense lawyers. Although the program does not specifically address drunk driving litigation skills, at least a few qualified drunk driving trial lawyers attend the program every year. These networking opportunities are golden, and every Michigan lawyer should try to attend this wonderful program. CDAM also hosts conferences in the spring and fall on valuable topics that permit networking with other criminal defense lawyers.The State Appellate Defenders Office (SADO) sponsors an email listserv for a reasonable fee. Participating on the listserv, every lawyer can get input from hundreds of criminal defense lawyers and enjoy the comradery of these fellow practitioners, even if only via email. The SADO forum has one entire email listserv dedicated to DUI defense.The Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) offers an annual one-day course on Michigan drunk driving defense. This year, the program was simultaneously broadcast over the Internet, so participants did not even need to leave the office.Retired police officer Tony Corroto offers a standardized field sobriety test training course every other year in conjunction with the Maze Legal Group. Mr. Corroto is a DRE (drug recognition expert) and SFST Instructor of Instructors. He has trained thousands of police officers, and he takes time out of his busy schedule to help train Michigan lawyers in these testing protocols for a very reasonable fee.Lastly, local opportunities exist if you simply look around for them. Local bar associations usually host an occasional meeting that might offer opportunities to learn. A few of the CDAM/SADO lawyers have banded together to form informal groups that meet over drinks to discuss cases. By bouncing ideas off friends from the criminal defense bar, insights and fresh notions spring from an otherwise stagnant pool of ideas.
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