A recent case of mine demonstrates the need for a criminal defense lawyer when you are charged with a crime in Southern Colorado. My client was accused of driving under the influence (DUI). As a result of some choices when he was younger, the District Attorney was trying to punish him severely. He sought out my help and I got to work on his case.
The first thing I did was get copies of all of the police reports and evidence against him. In reading the evidence, it became clear that the law enforcement officer and the district attorney’s office involved were both stretching to make the facts of my client’s case fit the charges. Gratefully, there was a video of the contact between my client and the officer. The officer was aggressive, violated my client’s rights, and ultimately overcharged my client. My client passed the roadside tests and willingly agreed to take a chemical test of his blood to prove it wasn’t intoxicated. The blood test result was .054. This well below the level limit for a DUI and even close to be below the limit for a DWAI (driving while ability impaired).
Based on the extremely low test and the roadsides I assumed that the district attorney would make us an offer to plead guilty to a non-alcohol related driving offense. I was sadly mistaken. Instead, the offer was to plead guilty to DWAI, two years of probation, a large number of alcohol classes, and sixty days of jail. My client and I discussed the offer and the risk if he lost at trial. In the end, he decided to reject the offer and go to trial on the merits of the case.
We set the case for a jury trial and immediately got to work. Less than two weeks before trial, I went to Court to announce to the Judge that we were ready to proceed to trial. In one last effort to appeal to the higher sense of justice, I spoke to the DA extolling the weaknesses in his case. Finally, the light broke through and he offered a careless driving with a small fine and twelve alcohol education classes. We gladly accepted and my client went away very pleased with the outcome.
The purpose of relating this story is not to boast in my negotiating skills or to say that if you hire me as your dui defense attorney, all your problems will disappear. Rather the purpose is to demonstrate that a lawyer can be a valuable helper as you navigate the criminal justice system. Without me, my client would have taken the offer and settled for the sixty days in jail and two years of probation. He didn’t know that the case against him was extremely weak and the district attorney would probably not have been able to prove him guilty. Again let me emphasize that each case is different and just having an attorney does not mean you will have the same result. However, I can say that without an attorney you will never know.
He spent the money and hired a dui defense attorney in Colorado Springs who knew a bad case when he saw it – an attorney not afraid to go to trial and challenge the district attorney.