As a trial attorney for over 20 years I receive at least a few calls each year from defendants who have been charged and their attorney is recommending that they plead guilty. Often these defendants even say, “My attorney wants me to plead guilty” or “My attorney is making me plead guilty.” The worst is, “My attorney made me plea.”
First, no attorney can MAKE a defendant plead guilty to anything. The job of the attorney is to take any potential negotiated deal to the client and the client makes the choice of whether to accept or reject the plea offer. When you stand in front of the judge and he asks your plea, in nearly every case the defendant is required to answer. At that one juncture, your attorney can seldom speak on your behalf.
If you are unhappy with the advice of your attorney, you are free to change attorneys. You have the right to an attorney and to hire an attorney of your choosing. If you cannot afford an attorney, the state is required to appoint you an attorney, referred to as a public advocate or public defender. If you request a public defender, you do not get to pick that attorney. However, you can fire that attorney and hire an attorney of your own. If your hired or appointed counsel is pushing a plea or does not want to take the case to trial, ask him/her why.
Different attorneys charge varying rates for criminal defense, and DUI/OVI is no different. Most criminal defense attorneys charge an initial retainer and may have additional fee if the case proceeds to trial. If your case is already set for trial, the new attorney may ask for a continuance. The granting of the continuance is in the discretion of the court. Many attorneys will not jump into a case without a more substantial retainer if the case is already set for trial. An experienced and local attorney will know which judge(s) may allow for a continuance and which will mandate that the case proceeds to trial on the selected date.
If you do not want to plead guilty, DON’T. You have the right to a trial and the right to have a jury hear the evidence. If your case is defensible, pick an attorney that can present that defense and has a history of trying cases to a jury. For a consultation in Northern Kentucky, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at email@example.com. Call Mike at 581-MIKE.
I do. As an attorney practicing DUI and criminal defense in Northern Kentucky for over 21 years, I have experience to handle your DUI defense. This may include taking the case to a trial, whether a trial to the Judge or a trial to a jury. Often times people are fearful of juries. While a jury does have the ability to make recommendations tot he Judge regarding sentence, my finding is that juries tend to sentence about the same as most courts.
A DUI conviction stays on your record for ten (that’s right, 10) years. If you have a defense, you should consider exercising all of your rights before you plead guilty.
If a case is a close call – say you fail 4 of 6 field tests but there is no bad driving. The jury may acquit or may convict. A lot depends on how well the officer testifies and how well the defense attorney cross examines that testimony. Whether there is a video is also a factor. If there is no video, an attorney may point out why the officer fails to videotape the encounter. If there is, that video will provide the best evidence regardless of the testimony of the officer.
Any attorney who regularly tries cases has wins and losses. It is an unfair question to ask, and often very unrealistic, to believe that there are attorneys who do not lose. That is TV. Real attorneys take cases to trial, some of which are difficult if not impossible to win. Even hopeless cases have a chance of acquittal. Many attorneys claim a “win” as anything as good or better than the offer by the prosecution. That would allow for a DUI conviction where the person is charged with DUI, so long as the sentence is not worse with a trial than a plea.
For example, I was recently involved with a DUI jury trial wherein my client blew over .10, which is obviously over the .08 legal limit. According to the testimony of the officer, the client also failed all 6 of the 6 field sobriety tests. It was still a triable case as the video did now show that the field tests were as bad as the officer testified. While unfortunately the jury did convict, they suggested the minimum sentence of $200 fine and no (0) jail time. My client had his day in court and, moreover, was none the worse for taking the case to a jury trial.
If you want to discuss a DUI charge and possibility of taking the case to a bench or jury trial, contact an attorney who regularly handles these types of cases. In Northern Kentucky, call Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Call 581-MIKE today.