I was arrested for DWI, and the police officer confiscated my driver’s license! Can I still drive?
Yes and No. Whenever anyone is arrested for DWI, the police often confiscate that person’s driver’s license. The offender not only loses their physical license, but also the ability to lawfully drive for a period of 30 days from the arrest date. After that 30 day window an offender may seek reinstatement of their license from the DMV and the return of their plastic license from the Clerk of Court. It is possible after 10 days from arrest to get a paper license called a limited driving privilege. This requires some steps to be taken by the offender, but does allow you to drive for the remaining 20 days of the 30 day suspension on a limited basis.
If I'm stopped and under investigation for a DWI, do I have to take the test?
No. You have the right to refuse to take the field sobriety tests (e.g. walk and turn, one leg stand, etc.) and you can refuse to provide a breath or blood sample. However, there are hefty consequences for these actions. A person who refuses to blow in the Breathalyzer at the station loses his or her drivers license for 1 year even if they are found not guilty of the DWI. Refusing to blow can also affect your ability to get a limited driving privilege. It is also important to remember that law enforcement can draw blood, without your consent, pursuant to a search warrant.
Can the fact that I refuse tests be used against me?
Yes. In trial, the state will likely point to your refusal to take sobriety tests as circumstantial evidence of your impairment. The argument is, if you were sober, why wouldn’t you take the tests to prove your sobriety? There are a myriad of reasons one may reuse the tests and a carefully crafted defense will bring those to the court’s attention.
If I'm stopped and the police officer asks to search my car, can I refuse?
Yes. The Fourth Amendment protects your right to privacy unlawful search and seizures. However, there are instances when an officer may still search your vehicle without your consent.
I told the officer not to search my vehicle, but they brought a drug dog out and the next thing I know they are searching my car. Is this right?
It depends. Having a drug dog sniff the car is not a search and requires no suspicion. An alert by the drug dog can give the officer probable cause to search your vehicle. However, there are other factors that must be accounted for, such as the reason for the initial stop, in order to determine whether the officer has violated your rights.
I know I'm guilty of committing the crime, and there's no way I'm going to get off. Why do I need a lawyer?
It is extremely important to have a lawyer advise you through the criminal process. A good criminal defense attorney can see issues in your case that may not be as evident to the untrained eye. These issues can be the difference between guilt and innocence. Absent any issues, an attorney can craft a plea bargain that best suits your needs, therefore avoiding jail time, supervised probation, or unnecessary convictions.
How do I get someone out of jail?
If you or a loved one is accused of a crime and in jail, it’s important to consult an attorney to discuss your options. The most common method of getting someone out of jail is using a bail bondsman. One of the drawbacks of a bail bond is that bond companies often charge 10-20% of the bond amount, and you never get that money back. It may make more sense to hire a good attorney who can try and get the bond reduced by a judge, saving you thousands of dollars.
A detective called to ask me questions about a crime that I committed. Should I call him back?
You have the absolute right to remain silent, and I recommend that all of my clients exercise this right. The detective’s job is to build a case for the prosecution, so his questions are geared toward further incriminating the suspect. Always be respectful to law enforcement, but do not put yourself at risk of saying something that could incriminate you.
Do undercover police officers have to tell you they are undercover if you ask?
The age-old barstool debate. No, an officer does not have to reveal their identity even if you ask directly.
A police officer questioned me, but he didn't read me my rights. Are my statements admissible in court?
The answer depends on whether you were in custody at the time when the officer questioned you. If you were in custody, then the officer is required to read your rights and record the conversation. On the other hand, if you were briefly “detained” or part of a “consensual encounter,” then you weren’t technically in custody, and the officer doesn’t have to read your rights to you. There’s a fine line between custody and temporary detentions, so you’ll need a knowledgeable attorney to determine whether your statements can be thrown out.
How do I expunge a criminal charge from my record?
The process of expunging a criminal charge is both straightforward and complex. Filling out forms and filing them with the Clerk of Court is easy enough; however, what charges can be dismissed and at what time is a subject better left to your attorney. Not all charges can be expunged, but if you are eligible for expunction our office will handle the filing for you as well as advise you on the pros and cons of expunction.
How much do you charge for your legal services?
Every case is different, so my fees are based on an estimate of how much time it will take to effectively represent a client on a particular case. Fees are most often broken into two brackets – pre-trial and trial. I do not charge hourly rates. My fees are all flat-fees, which gives clients a clearer picture of what money they will need to set aside for their legal representation.