DUI clients sometimes ask why some law firms fees are so inexpensive while other experienced and qualified DUI trial lawyers charge appropriately? Sometimes clients may even select the cheaper alternative, until they find out what is under the hood and then they come running back!
Bottom line: You get what you pay for.
This office was recently retained for a 3rd time DUI offender; a very pleasant individual who is wrestling with a significant alcohol issue. We represented the client on the 2 prior DUI charges and kept them out of jail; however, a 3rd alcohol offense is more serious and this person faced many months of incarceration if convicted. In this case the client did everything right as far as protecting herself from serious penalties and was making significant efforts at mitigating her exposure in court.
This client was self-medicating with alcohol because of an underlying anxiety disorder. Up to this point the client did not realize that alcohol was not solving the problem, but rather magnifying other issues. The client learned this as part of the 28 day rehab program at Right Turn/Impact DUI, an excellent and well respected alcohol treatment program in Maryland.
When speaking to the client about the case we explained that despite the serious nature of the case, it remained a potentially winnable case in court. The client was pulled over for speeding and refused all field sobriety tests and also refused the breath test. So the question was whether the State had enough evidence of intoxication to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt- the required standard of proof in any DUI trial. Even though it was a potentially defendable case, we still recommend the client enter into a qualified alcohol education program to address personal alcohol issues.
The client agreed and started the treatment. This is a smart idea for several reasons. No matter how strong a given case is, it is always possible to run into a judge who simply doesn’t understand “beyond a reasonable doubt” or who refuses to apply the standard. There are way to many judges sitting on the bench who refuse to apply the standard to DUI cases and thus, getting a “fair” DUI trial can sometimes be a problem, but that is a subject for a different article.
In this case the State’s Attorney told me when I checked in that she would be asking the judge for incarceration for my client. A little background on my client; married with children and gainfully employed at the same place for over 30 years. If incarcerated it would cost the client any shot of staying employed which would severely impact the client’s pension. Some folks may say that the client gets what they deserve because of 3 DUIs within 5 years; but that is not how we look at cases. At Robinson & Associates our job is to defend our clients irrespective of the situation and that is what we do in every case we accept. It is the State’s job to prosecute every case and it is the judge’s job to determine how to resolve the case.
What folks sometimes fail to realize is that alcoholism is a disease. This client was sick, very sick. They needed help and losing everything would not keep them from re-offending, just the opposite. When committing to recovery and putting full efforts into combating this disease good things happen. The client had been sober for the months leading up to court and is now being properly medicated. Proudly the attorneys at Robinson and Associates do not solely focus on winning cases we endeavor to give our clients the resources and encouragement to walk a different and better path. We have done so many times and saved many clients.
This client was a changed person by the time court rolled around. They were sober and recognized that they were an alcoholic and that alcohol was not the answer. The only issue left was to deal with the Judge and a looming jail sentence.
With a life-altering sentence on the table, we were in a trial posture, as we normally are in our serious DUI cases. We do not just plead out DUI cases as so many attorneys do and thus we charge an appropriate fee which contemplates a trial. If an attorney charges a deceptively low fee to defend a DUI case, they have no inclination to try that case, but rather the plan is to simply plead the case out! Getting back, my client was remorseful and was willing to admit the mistake, however we could not simply accept incarceration; thus we had a trial. It was a very hard fought battle and at the end of the case the Judge found our client not guilty! Trying and winning DUI cases can sometimes be a double edged sword because of the nature of the charges, but in this case like so many others, we saved this person’s life and family.
This case was different, I know what we dealt with before court may have saved this person’s life. Many people are quick to state that all DUI offenders should go to jail. This only deals with the problem in the short term and has little impact in the long run. In this case our client didn’t go to jail but is a different person as a result of this encounter. I think that the client would agree that this arrest, treatment and the court trial was the best thing that could have happened.
If you find yourself in a predicament like this do not hesitate to contact one of the trial attorneys at Robinson and Associates. We are qualified DUI trial attorneys and we can help.