Day to day I don’t have any particular agenda regarding what to write about but instead when I’m in DUI court, things seem to happen which prompt me to write a post. Today I was in court in Anne Arundel County, Maryland and listened to a case which was called before mine. The gentleman was apparently weaving in his vehicle while he was towing a boat. The suspect was stopped and refused to blow in the State’s breath machine and he refused to engage in the State’s roadside gymnastic exercises. (Hurray for this man)!! That is, upon being pulled over the suspect was smart enough to let the police do their job without giving the police all kinds of evidence to use against him. DUI defense attorneys do not see too many cases like that.
Anyway, in court the suspect’s attorney elected not to try the case based on these facts. Instead the attorney simply plead the defendant out to a guilty charge and it was over. The client was placed on probation and had to complete all the requirements of same and may or may not have even known what type of case he had. (By the way, while in the process of pleading the case out the attorney engaged in a loud and heated argument with the judge’s bailiff on two separate occasions. The judge was very nice, a different judge may have knocked the lawyer back on his heels for this type behavior.) Frequently when I’m in court I’ll see cases that are plead out that really should not be. Cases where client’s plead guilty but instead should plead not guilty and should fight their case. Many cases can actually be won if an effort to fight is made. That is, if you do not fight, you cannever win.
The point of this entry is that you really need to know something about the attorney you are hiring. You need to be prepared to spend a descent amount of money for fair representation. That is, if you do not pay enough to be represented, you won’t be, you will just be plead out. Now sometimes a good result may be reached by pleading, there is nothing wrong with that if 1. there is a decent deal on the table and 2. you don’t have a decent defense. But in cases like the one I saw today, there was a decent defense and it should have been tried. Heck, if the attorney lost the case, he would have ended up right where he started and at least he would have taken a “shot at the ring” on behalf of his client.
I had a DUI case with this very same judge earlier this year. My facts were much worse in that my, under the age of 21 client, had an accident, there were drugs found on him and he blew a .15. I tried my case before this judge and got the drugs suppressed and I kept the .15 out of evidence. Result: Not guilty of possession and not guilty of DUI. My point is- one has to be ready to fight in order to accomplish anything worth while.
While on this point, over the weekend I got a call from a gentleman in Frederick. He calls me on Saturday and says he needs my help for a DUI. I said fine. He says he’s busy with work and doesn’t know when he can get off to come in. I said don’t worry about it, I’ll take my personal time and see you on Sunday afternoon. He says great! Sunday rolls around and he doesn’t show up. I call him and he tells me, sorry, I wanted someone more convenient, in Frederick. I said, well alright then and wished him luck. It is doubtful that any other attorney was going to take their personal time on the weekend to meet with this client but I guess he will figure that out.
Anyway, here are some useful thoughts when looking for a decent Maryland DUI Attorney:
1. Research the lawyer, check the Internet thoroughly. Read about the person, what they have done, what they have written, what testimonials have been written about him, how much DUI do they do. Compare that lawyer’s website to other DUI defense sites. Look at what’s written in the site, the content of the information and what other things are reflected in the site. Is there one page regarding DUI or voluminous pages? Is DUI defense a sideline or is it the attorney’s primary business. One way you can tell if the attorney is seriously invested in DUI defense is if he is a member of local and national organizations for the defense of DUI cases.
2. What is the lawyer’s ability and tendency? Do most of the cases get plead out or does he like to try cases? Does he know how to try cases? Will he let the government push him and you around?
3. Is the lawyer charging a reasonable amount of money for what you want him to do? There are bottom basement fees out there and if that’s all the money you have to pay, that is fine, but if you have the means for a proper defense, then you should find an attorney who charges you an adequate and reasonable amount of money to provide you with a proper defense. You really do get what you pay for, that applies in life and it applies in selecting an attorney.
4. All attorneys are not equal. Do NOT select an attorney simply based on convenience of location. Select an attorney based on quality of representation and skill. This is a DUI charge, it carries jail time and significant points, enough to get you in very hot water! It can have very long term and lasting ramifications on your license, your work and in your life. You should consider retaining counsel that does this work all of the time and knows how to defend, knows when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. You can’t have a feel for that if you do not know the nuances of DUI law and how to apply it.
5. Lastly, if you find a lawyer who is willing to call you back on the weekend, let alone see you on the weekend, for your convenience, that lawyer is probably invested in you and your case. If he meets the criteria enumerated above, that lawyer is probably a pretty decent choice to help protect your rights and your liberty in this important matter.
Bruce Robinson Maryland DUI Defense Attorney Helping clients in Baltimore, Howard, Anne Arundel, Frederick and surrounding counties.