Why a Professional DWI Lawyer Can Do Things You May Not Do Right Representing Yourself in Court

The courtroom trial or procedure is comprised on many rituals and the language of the courtroom is not well known by untrained people. This may be especially true in cases of DWI (driving while under the influence of alcohol) that many consider to be minor issues, perhaps one rung above traffic court.

It is easy to catch yourself in language which does the very opposite of what you want. For instance, any admission of guilt can be recorded and used against you. People with no legal training have trouble assessing the seriousness of their DWI cases. DWI trials are criminal trials. The results will have significant consequences for the life of a defendant. DWI law is nuanced, complicated, and constantly changing.

Plea Bargaining Deals

Criminal trials are not cut-and-dry anymore. At one time, trial outcomes were simply guilt or acquittal. But legal practice has changed. Nowadays prosecutors make plea-offers. They want you to plead guilty to shorten the trial process. Coping with plea offers (what would be the best outcome for you) may require subtle judgment. It is a bargaining process and you have to know what your side is worth, compared to theirs.

You may be tempted to accept the first offer you are offered, but that may not be the best strategy and an experienced lawyer can help you decide. Accepting a standard first offer may not be advisable if you actually have you actually have viable defenses. Unrepresented defendants may not be aware that they have some defenses against the charges. Prosecutors may use aggressive intimidation tactics to get you to take a less than ideal plea offer for the benefit of the courts, not the defendant.

There are different kinds of plea bargain deals. Most plea bargain deals involve you pleading guilty to some level of the charge to reduce the level of penalty, perhaps pleading guilty to a lesser crime to obtain a less severe punishment, or if you have a number of charges against you, to plead guilty to one charge to get other charges dismissed. The deals involve your losses and gains but they may seem equally attractive to someone with no legal familiarity with them and someone under the stress of prosecution. Your lawyer can help you sort out them out. A criminal defense attorney can often approach a prosecutor to make a deal that you can really live with. Sometimes, if you have a good defense, your lawyer can convince the prosecutor to get the charges dismissed entirely.

Remember – contact a criminal defense lawyer today – do not delay and do not act on the information of this article alone. 

Prosecutors are not required to make deals with defendants. However, in today’s courts, they are often encouraged to offer diversion programs in order to reduce the court dockets. Sometimes as an alternative to trial on a DWI charge, you may be offered a deferred prosecution program. Your lawyer may investigate these programs which defer prosecution while under pre-trial probation.

Public Defenders

In American criminal trials, the constitution provides that defendants are always entitled to be represented by legal counsel. If you can’t afford an attorney, the court will provide one from an available pool of public defenders or from lawyers who accept cases at the public defender rate or come from a pool of public defenders. This legal assistance is provided free of charge. The quality of the service from public defenders has been shown to be just as competent (have the same rate of acquittal and conviction) as private lawyers.

In fact, a study in Philadelphia suggests a slightly better outcome in murder cases. The problem with public defenders is that their office is often in high demand, understaffed, and may operate under time or fee cap stresses. This is important in today’s courts where prosecutors try to make plea bargains which leverage convenience at the cost of a diligent assertion of all defenses.

Contact Judith Samson Today

Judith Samson, Minnesota Criminal Attorney, has been working closely with clients to educate them on their rights and produce the best possible results for over 20 years. Please contact us to get the representation you deserve.

Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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Case Results

STATE V. O.S.

County: Scott

Type of Charge: 3rd DWI

Priors: 1 prior

Final Deposition: Plead to a 4th degree DWI

Sentence Imposed: No jail

STATE V. M.S.

County: Dakota

Type of Charge: Harassment Order

Priors: None

Final Deposition: Dismissed

Sentence Imposed:

STATE V. L.N.

County: Hennepin

Type of Charge: Solicitation of Prostitute

Priors: 1 prior

Final Deposition: Stay of imposition vacate and dismiss

Sentence Imposed: No jail

View More Case Results

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