Public Defender Versus Private Attorney For DWI Cases
Interviewer: Okay. I know you can’t give me exact figures, but how often would say you can improve someone’s situation, at least a little bit if they hire you versus going at it on their own and pleading guilty?
Paul: I know if there’s no way out of the DWI, I can save them hundreds of dollars in fines, and thousands of dollars with insurance points by getting the companion tickets dismissed.
Paul: I also know that if someone tested with a BAC above a 0.15 that there’s a good likelihood that I can get him or her below the 0.15 where they still may have a seven-month loss of license, but I can save them the Interlock ignition requirement.
Interviewer: Is it pretty safe to say that someone hiring you, you pay for yourself, at least, right, in savings from some kind of fees, or fines?
Paul: I’ve certainly argued that. I’ve absolutely, certainly argued that, and at the end of the day it’s insurance that, if we find enough to hang our hat on, that we can beat it. And given the dramatic impact these first offense DUIs have, it’s money well spent.
Interviewer: There’s such low risk because there’s no penalty for arguing the case and going to trial, right? Will you be penalized by the courts?
Paul: No, there’s no penalty at all, because there’s no plea-bargaining. It’s different than so many other states in that sense. That’s why I love it, because we can try these cases, we can file motions, motions to suppress particular evidence, motions to compel discovery, probable cause motions where we don’t think that the officer had any right to pull the person over. So, an aggressive defense can pay off.
Now, if you just go to a lawyer who’s not an expert and not aggressive in DWI defense, it may not pay off for you because he or she may just plead you out, takes your money, and you will be burdened with the seven-month loss of license.
What to Look For When Retaining An Attorney
Interviewer: Let’s get into that for a moment. I’m sure some people will shop lawyers when they’re facing DUI charges. So, what are the good and the bad signs you look for when you are considering hiring an attorney? What should tell people that’s not someone I should go with, or oh, this is a good sign?
Paul: My client reviews on an Avvo are great. It shows compassion. It shows aggressiveness, and it shows that I’m results oriented. I think the other part is experience. The prosecutors know me, and the prosecutors respect me, and the judges know and respect me. So, if there’s something on the edge, I would suggest that my relationship with the prosecutor, and knowing that we will go to trial, gives my clients a better outcome in the end.
The last thing a prosecutor wants at the end of the day is to have many hours in trial with an experienced criminal trial attorney for something that we could have resolved outside of court, and he moves on with his massive caseload. But he won’t do that to some attorney who doesn’t handle many of these, this person who is posturing and won’t ever pull the trigger on a trial. You prepare for war to make peace.
Interviewer: So, it sounds like some good questions to ask the attorneys you interview are, are you willing to take cases to trial if need be, and have you been to trial? Do you do more than just help people file a plea? Do you focus on DWI defense?
Paul: I leave that decision up to my client. I will tell them what my advice would be. Sometimes it is, I believe that a trial is appropriate in their case. You can lose at trials, and I will tell them what I think would be my confidence level in that. Sometimes clients don’t have the stomach for a testy trial, and that’s fine. Some clients are ready to sharpen the knives and go forward because they know we have a principled argument based on case law, based on a strong defense, and we’re ready to go.
How Long Do DWI Cases Take to Resolve?
Interviewer: How long on an average do DWI cases take?
Paul: I would say, and the one thing I tell a lot of clients is a lawyer will slow the process. It certainly can never be sped up. And generally, it will require about, at a minimum, two to three court appearances, sometimes more if there are motions, and if there is a trial.
Interviewer: Does it normally take three months to a year? What’s the range it could take?
Paul: I’d say, three to seven months.
Interviewer: I imagine, making the process take longer might be better because if you’re facing the loss of your driver’s license, pushing it out as far into the future as possible will help you make accommodations and get you in a position where you’re more prepared?
Paul: Absolutely, and it affords my clients the opportunity to manage their life, and make accommodations for the potential penalties they face.
NO JAIL TIME
Commonwealth v. "H" (DUI case)
Client was charged with three separate DUI cases calling for mandatory minimum imprisonment of 90 days on each case. Client was advised to seek immediate intensive alcohol counseling. Client was sentenced to 1 year of house arrest after serving 3 days in the county prison.
Commonwealth v. "C" (Felony drug/Firearms case)
Client was charged with felony Delivery of drugs and illegal gun possession and was facing a mandatory 3-6 year prison sentence in the State prison system. Client was sentenced to one year of house arrest.
Commonwealth v. "S"
Client was charged with simple assault, domestic. After a hearing where evidence and testimony was presented, the entire case was dismissed by Judge Leonard Brown.
State of New Jersey v. "H"
Charges for young man charged with second degree aggravated assault were downgraded to third degree and he was accepted into the County Pretrial Intervention program with charges to be dismissed and record expunged after one year of misconduct free behavior.
OUR CRIMINAL DEFENSE TEAM INCLUDES TWO FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEYS
We have decades of experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors, and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Anyone facing charges involving a criminal offense can expect to experience a heightened degree of emotional turmoil, for themselves, as well as their family members. Our team of highly qualified criminal law attorneys and expert legal support staff are committed to providing each of our client’s with the compassion and understanding they deserve, as well as an aggressive plan for representation at an affordable price.
As former prosecutors, we have a balanced and in-depth understanding of the criminal justice system and how the prosecution prepares cases. In addition, we have long-standing experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
At Young, Marr and Associates, when we say “experience matters,” we mean it. Our lawyers, which include two former prosecutors and a former senior deputy district attorney bring more than three decades of criminal law experience, handling more than 10,000 criminal cases. It is precisely that experience that allows us to achieve outstanding results for our clients facing DUI, traffic, felony and misdemeanor charges in state, federal and juvenile courts.