What Are The Collateral Consequences Associated With A DUI Conviction?
There are collateral consequences associated with DUI convictions. For example, like having a license suspended. Sometimes when we plead a case out for a reduced charge and if we can win the DMV hearing, nothing will happen to their license, but if we go to trial and lose, then that is another issue to deal with. It is not going to be the reduced charge, it is going to be the charge that they first were arrested for and that will not result in a license suspension amongst other things.
If Someone Doesn’t Like The Plea Offer, Is That A Valid Reason To Go To Trial?
Everybody is entitled to their day in court, whether they like the plea offer or not. Everybody is entitled to a jury trial. What I say to them is this; these are the possible consequences if you are convicted. You need to understand this, and this is the maximum a judge can and will offer. This is what a judge is likely to do, but we just cannot predict what the judge is going to do. If the client testifies and if the judge thinks they were lying, even if they were not lying, or fabricating their story, they will receive a sentence with possibly more time in jail. I have seen judges do that to people. Typically or luckily, it usually does not happen to my clients, but I have seen it happen to other attorney’s clients, if we think the clients will lie on the stand, then we are not allowed to put that client on the stand.
What we need to do with the client, and there are a few cases that I recently had when my client did not like the offer on the table. No one wants to plead out to a DUI. No one wants a drunk-driving conviction on their record. The client just needs to understand what their chances are when and if they go to a jury trial. In most cases, more often than not, we are not going to advise the client to go to a jury trial. In almost every case, if you go to a jury trial, the odds most likely are against you. An experienced lawyer comes from understanding DUI law, doing trials and hearings, and knowing how to pick up signs and clues in a jury trial, and knowing how to read the room with an attorney who knows what they are doing, and knows how to conduct a jury trial; your chances are much better, statistically speaking.
If you have an attorney who has never completed a jury trial or a DUI trial other than very few, your odds are less at winning the case, which is why having a more experienced DUI lawyer representing you is vitally important. If an allowance of a second attorney is on your team, then that defeats the purpose. But it does take many years and many trials for experience to kick in. A lot of experience is the mainly knowing how to defend these trials right. Sometimes, that can mean taking a defense and completely changing it once the trial has begun, because surprises do happen and you must be able to adapt and be flexible in all different situations. Sometimes people testify differently than what you would expect them to and then this can change your defense strategy completely. Even knowing as an experienced attorney when to not ask certain questions can literally help win a case.
A client, who wants to go to trial, just because they do not like the offer, really needs to understand what it means to go to trial, what is to be expected, what is going to happen and why it may not be in their best interest. After all that, if the client still wants to go to trial, and then by all means, go to trial, it is their decision. Sometimes in those cases, we do everything possible, hoping that the other side makes the mistake, or hoping that witness’s evidence is not as solid as you anticipated. Even if that witness is law enforcement or a professional healthcare worker, anybody who would testify for the other side could have problems or may not do well on cross-examination. Our job as attorneys is to find a reasonable doubt and establish that doubt, and if there is reasonable doubt as to what our clients are charged with.
If we can establish that and make the jury understand this is what the burden of proof is on the prosecutor, which is, guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Hopefully, the jury really understands what that means and the difference between that and their civil duty. Then we have done our job and confidently, we can convince the jury that there are doubts in the case and that they should find our client not guilty, but it is very hard in DUI cases to get an anonymous not guilty. More often than not in many jury trials, we are looking at twelve of your peers that cannot agree on the charges, in which case, it may result in a retrial. The client also has to know that even if we just get one or two and it is a hung jury, the DA is likely to try it again, especially if those one or two are the ones who vote not guilty. Then you must understand that if we go to another trail the costs that are involved, it becomes expensive.
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