Failure To Call The Appropriate Attorney
People are sometimes distrusting of the legal profession and when the pressure of a criminal action is added to the mix, it often results in a common misconception that a lawyer is going to waste more money for the same, inevitable result. Once cited, many people tend to run through a fairly predictable cycle of self-doubt and hate, and become resigned to what they believe is inevitable (and subsequently deserving) fate. While it is true that DUI’s are a very specialized area of law thoroughly understood by a relatively small number of practitioners, it is also true that most criminal attorney offers a free consultation that people should always take advantage of to learn about the field, and further, that most lawyers will make an appropriate referral if the case falls beyond their field of expertise.
However, due to the inherent complexities of a DUI case, it is generally never a good idea to call any attorney or an already familiar family law practitioner. There are precious few areas of law that the American Bar Association permits attorneys to call “specialty” areas, but DUI law is one of them, and for good reason. Calling a Utah DUI Attorney should be the one of the first steps taken after recieving a DUI in Utah, while it may not be “rocket science,” it is important to have an attorney thats fully understands the history and physiological basis of the “Standardized Field Sobriety Tests” and is preferably certified as a NHTSA instructor in them. Likewise, there is no way to adequately examine the scientific and evidentiary foundations of a breath test absent a complete understanding of how the Intoxilyzer 5000 and 8000 employ infrared spectrometry in analyzing a sample, and further, precisely how the machine does (and perhaps more importantly doesn’t) work on a practical basis. We don’t just own an Intoxilyzer 5000 to play with at parties (although it’s a real conversation starter); we have one because we believe that after one performs a few hundred tests on it, one can better understand its idiosyncracies.
If you believe that a Utah prosecutor will fairly evaluate your case and that they are going to make you a deal on a DUI; if you believe that a Utah prosecutor would not prosecute your case if your Fourth Amendment rights had been violated, (in Utah of all places); stop reading here and go right ahead and trust your fate to the government, because nothing we have to say is going to ring true. If however, you are old enough to have learned that even the best government can give its citizens uneven, and sometimes unfair treatment, read on – because if nothing else, you want to avoid any future contact with the criminal justice system.
Failure To Become Educated and Understand The Dangers Of a Utah DUI
Most people understandably want to get out of the frying pan after being charged with a DUI, but no one wants to jump into the fire. Unfortunately, by failing to take a deep breath and immerse themselves in a quick but thorough education in Utah DUI law and consequences thereof, too many people fall victim to what we call the “let’s just put it behind us,” syndrome. The dangers inherent in a first time DUI however aren’t the penalties that accompany it, but the danger that lurks beneath the surface once a driver becomes an “alcohol restricted” driver and what we term a “marked man (or woman).” In Utah especially, that driver becomes a “marked” man or woman.
Very often, we get calls asking about the possibility of people revisiting and reversing their rash mistake of pleading guilty made months or sometimes even years earlier. The loss of commercial driving license (or inability to obtain one), problems with employment opportunities, upward job mobility, inability to rent a car, graduate school (at least in Utah), health professions, life insurance, and social stigma are just a few reasons to become educated about DUI’s and choose carefully when making such a far reaching and sometimes life altering decision such as pleading guilty to a DUI.
Thus, each and every time this marked person is stopped for any traffic violation, they are going to be put through the ringer and subjected to those unreliable field tests. And this time, when the officer doesn’t smell alcohol, they will start down the medications (legal or illegal) route hoping to score gold. Again, what the uneducated person doesn’t know can hurt them; because in Utah, any measurable amount of any drug, including prescription drugs for which you have a valid prescription will subject the driver to a DUI – metabolite. With the multitude of new prescription medications coming to the market, a frightening number of DUI – metabolites are now appearing on the legal horizon, and an alarming number of them are second DUI’s not involving alcohol use.
How is it we wonder, that the mere charge of a crime is enough to psychically paralyze people such that they will plead guilty to a crime they may not have committed, and moreover, accept a charge with such far-reaching penalties such that they will be paying tens of thousands of dollars more in car insurance for nearly a decade following its commission? I must take a hard line in regard to getting educated about DUI’s because we can see no intellectually honest argument for not taking the time to get up to speed on Utah DUI law, if only because the information is so readily available. (See www.duiblog.com) Ultimately there are few tougher things to swallow than pleading guilty to a DUI, and paying triple insurance premiums for seven years, only to discover for example, that there was a legal issue that would have resulted in outright dismissal of a case.
Failure To Play The Odds
Anyone who is subject to criminal penalties needs to gain a cursory understanding of why chance favors the well prepared. Game theory is often used to describe Economics and less employed for criminal justice, but we think the analogy is appropriate. In short, you have to learn the rules of the game, hire the best player you can, and engage in the game to prevail.
Our first premise is that, as with any complex system, the American criminal justice system functions at some percentage of efficiency less than 100%; and this fact is not subject to serious debate. The question then is how to exploit those inefficiencies to a defendant’s benefit. A corollary of the first premise is that you must engage in the game to reap the rewards of those inefficiencies. For example, in the case of a Fourth Amendment violation, even if the officer swore out an affidavit and walked into court and swore that he had violated your rights (unlikely), you would not benefit unless you had filed the proper paperwork asking the court to suppress the fruits of the illegal stop and subsequently dismiss your case. Curiously, it is often the more educated clients who fail to grasp this very fundamental concept, and conversely, at least in our limited experience, the more uneducated that immediately “get it,” as it were. The former people concentrate on the facts they believe should mitigate the charge, even though the only facts that matter are the facts the police officer will testify to; a defendant’s word is useless at the beginning of a criminal case and no prosecutor will lend their ear to a defendant’s plea.
Instead, you must engage the system, file the appropriate pleadings at the proper times, fulfill all procedural rules, and finally understand how the rules work for and against you in your particular case. When a person asks how they can afford a lawyer we understand exactly where they are coming from, largely because we believe that the criminal justice system needs to be overhauled – and that every defendant needs to speak with aSalt Lake City DUI defense attorney before they ever consider pleading guilty; we argue that without this safeguard, people are suffocated by the system and that too many people plead guilty to serious criminal offenses they often are not guilty of beyond a reasonable doubt. But the fact is that there is no way to negotiate the legal system without a lawyer, just as there is no way to play a board game without knowing the rules, or go hiking to a particular destination without a map and a compass. Disregarding money for the moment, people who represent themselves without legal aid are wasting their time because even if they are fundamentally correct, they do not know the rules of the game.