DUI: The License Killer

One of the biggest concerns that my clients have when facing a criminal DUI charge is the effect that the charge will have on their drivers license. Most people can deal with a little probation and some fines that come along with the criminal portion of their DUI but they can’t handle not having a drivers license, and th stakes just got even higher. As of November 2011 the revocation periods for licenses of DUI drivers just went up. There are now two sets of penalties for first time offenses:

1) if a person submits to a breathalyzer and blows below a .15 then their license will only be suspended for 6 months.

2) If a person blows above a .15 or refuses then their license is suspended for 6 months and they will have an 18 month restriction on their license that requires them to install an interlock device in their car. This is a total of 24 months that a person would have to have an interlock in their vehicle.

For a second offense it is a 1 year suspension with a 3 year restriction for a total of 4 years that a person would have to have an interlock in their vehicle

For a third offense a person is subject to a three year suspension and a 5 year restriction for a total of 8 years with an interlock device in their vehicle.

The cost of an interlock device ranges from 65-80 dollars per month.

If you are charged with a DUI get an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and your right to drive.

Pick the Right Attorney: The Lowest Price Isn’t Always a Bargain

A person facing criminal charges, whether they are felony or misdemeanor, has a very important decision to make and it is one that they may be betting their life on; picking an attorney to represent them. As a criminal defense attorney in Oklahoma I have seen time and time again where people simply go price shopping for a attorney and go with the lowest bidder, this is not a sound strategy when picking a lawyer. Remember the old saying “you get what you pay for”, well the same is true when picking an attorney. I’m not saying that you need the most expensive attorney in town but I am saying beware of an attorney who sets his prices well below other attorneys in his field. Many time these lawyers who set their prices low do so because they know they are going to sign you up for the first plea deal that the DA offers and it will require very little work on their part. This is not what you want when your life and/or livelihood is on the line. Here are a few tips when looking for a competent criminal defense attorney:

1) Look for an attorney who focuses on criminal defense. A common misconception in the public is that attorneys are competent in all areas of the law and that is simply not true. Most attorneys specialize in one or two fields and become masters of those areas of law in order to represent their clients competently in those areas. You will find attorneys that are jack of all trades but as the saying goes they are jacks of all trades and masters of none. I would want a master of his trade if my life or livelihood was on the line.

2) Don’t go cheap! Would you go out to a used car lot and tell the salesman you want the cheapest car on the lot? Of course not because you know you would get some car that wouldn’t make it around the block with out breaking down. So why on earth would you go cheap when your life depends on it? Go with a reasonably priced criminal defense attorney you’ll thank me for it in the long run.

3) Find a criminal trial lawyer. This is another misconception that the public has about criminal attorneys and that is that all of them can try cases. This is not true, in fact there are very few criminal defense attorneys who try cases and are competent in doing so. But hiring a trial attorney can benefit you even if you don’t want to take the case to trial. Prosecutors are much more likely to give favorable plea offers to trial attorneys because there is a real threat to the prosecutor of having to go to trial and possibly losing. Although a trial lawyer may be a little more expensive it will save you money in the long run.

These are just a few tips to hire a competent criminal defense attorney for your felony or misdemeanor matter but also rely on your instincts, if the lawyer your talking to doesn’t feel right for you then he probably isn’t and you should move on until you find one that you are comfortable working with.

The “Bad Guys”

In the criminal justice system, especially when dealing with felonies, there seems to be a disturbing trend regarding the “bad guys”.  Our system is set up so that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty but this is not the way that most judges view defendants.  As a criminal defense attorney in Tulsa, OK I have seen it over and over again where I have a rightous motion that should be sustained but is overruled by the judge because they don’t want to let the “Bad Guy”, my client, go free.  This puts a slant on our system that is overwhelming to a criminal defendant and I am sick and tired of it. Our criminal justice system was designed to protect the accused from an overbearing government and Judges were put in place as the gate keepers of fairness, but in reality many judges are nothing more than yes men for the government. Until we have Judges that are willing to follow the law and hold those charged with enforcing the law accountable for their actions our system will be forever flawed and criminal defendants, whether guilty or innocent, will continue to pay the price with their lives and freedom.

4th Amendment: Illegal searches and seizures

As a criminal defense attorney in Tulsa, OK I have seen many disturbing actions and trends by local law enforcement but none bother me as much as their blatant disregard for the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution. The 4th Amendment was designed to protect the citizens from unlawful intrusions by the government and is seen as a fundamental principal of criminal law. The right to be secure in our personal spaces and belongings is crucial to having a fair and impartial justice system, but that is not the way law enforcement seem to see it. Law enforcement, as proven by their actions in hundreds of cases a year, have no regard for the 4th Amendment rights of citizens and will trample on this right any chance they get if they believe the person whose rights they are violating is a “bad person”. The to compound the problem the only remedy that most individuals receive is the suppression of the evidence they obtained illegally and the cops that violated the law escape scott free without so much as a reprimand from the court or their superiors for their blatant violation of the law. Until such times as there are real consequences for officers who break the law and trample on the rights of citizens I fear that this trend will continue and the status quo of the the ends justify the means will remain and our criminal justice system, and individual citizens, will continue to suffer.