It’s so important to ensure that each client is fully informed about the options available to them in each phase of their case. To this end, I often walk through every potential option and make sure that my clients have the opportunity to discuss their end goals.
Additionally, it’s good to be proactive and address potential underlying issues that might be going on in one’s life as early as possible to expedite the conclusion of the case.
For instance, if alcohol or substance abuse is an issue for a client, it can be hugely beneficial to have a chemical dependency treatment counselor evaluate that person. Of course, this evaluation doesn’t necessarily imply a problem, but it’s often helpful to have that assessment done behind the scenes and get that first step going.
An assessment might be used to show the prosecutor whether a third-party chemical dependency counselor thinks that there is a significant underlying problem with drugs or alcohol. If a counselor finds evidence of chemical dependency, it can be used to pursue plea negotiations. On the other hand, if no such dependence is found, a counselor will may make a recommendation of no significant problem.
Another good step to be proactive is to complete a DUI Victim Impact Panel.
A Victim Impact Panel is a 2-hour seminar in which you listen to victims of drunk driving and, afterward, receive a certificate of completion. If you take this action of your own volition, it demonstrates that you don’t intend to commit a similar offense again. This can be helpful for those looking to negotiate or mitigate in a case, as it shows the prosecutor or judge that you are serious in addressing the issue at hand.
This strategy is often best used in situations where there is a strong case against you. Therefore, for those looking to mitigate potential damages, a Victim Impact Panel completion certificate can be shared with the prosecutor prior to or at the time of sentencing.
Pro Se Representation (Representing Yourself)
People often go into their DUI case thinking that they might represent themselves, but judges are highly reluctant to let anyone do this. So, this can prove more time-consuming as additional hearings are typically required to determine whether or not you have the ability to represent yourself and fully understand all the consequences that come with pro se representation.
I don’t think it’s good for anyone to defend themselves in any sort of criminal case – even if they are an experienced lawyer and an expert on DUI laws and evidence.
While an expert understanding of DUI laws can only benefit your case, it’s nonetheless vital to have an outside perspective throughout each step of the process. Meanwhile, if you’re not an expert in DUI law, having access to legal counsel is crucial.
Your attorney can provide you with a sounding board for your questions and concerns; interface with law enforcement and prosecutors; walk you through your options; help you explore the evidence to understand what might look good or bad; and explain precisely how strong the case is against you.
One of the misconceptions in DUI cases is the thought, “Maybe I’ll just have to pay a fine, and that’ll be it.” Far too often, people go through the pleading process alone, unaware that Washington state has mandatory minimum jail time and fees for even the least severe first-time DUI charges. And it doesn’t stop there – penalties only get harsher for more severe DUI charges.
You want to know what consequences you’re looking at, what you’re facing, and what collateral consequences you might have with a DUI conviction on your record. These cases can haunt you, potentially affecting employment, security clearance at work, access to scholarships, issues when renting or buying a home, your ability to maintain driving privileges, and more.
So, among other things, having a good lawyer can help ensure that you’re not punished more severely than anyone else – even if you do choose to plead guilty. In addition, choosing to work with an attorney will give you the ability to gain a general understanding of what options are available to you and potentially help you to lower fines and avoid jail time.
Jordan Foster Law – The Difference That Care Can Make
In my work as an attorney, I find that one of the most impactful things I can do at the beginning of any case is to take the time to educate my clients on how the complete process works, assess their goals, and walk through all their potential options.
I’ve been doing this for quite some time. As a result, I have had years of experience reviewing DUI laws, DUI processes, and conducting DUI trials. All of this experience and understanding allows me to know what defenses to look for, what potential options or offers of resolution might be available from the prosecutor’s office, and make highly informed appraisals of what it may look like to take a matter to trial.
Whether it’s jail time, fines, loss of driving privileges, or even collateral consequences with an employer, you want to know what the consequences are and what it is you’re looking at if you should be found guilty of a DUI.