Washington DC Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys 1
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- Anderson, Deborah: DUI Defense
- Bennowitz, David:
Armed Robbery: The essential elements of armed robbery are: 1) the taking of property of some value from someone against that person’s will; 2) from that person’s immediate actual possession or from their person; 3) by force or violence, putting that person in fear, or by sudden or stealthy seizure or snatching; 4) taking the property away; 5) without right to the property, and with the specific intent to steal it; 5) while armed.
Assault: Includes attempted batter and intent-to-frighten. The essential elements of assault are: 1) an attempt or effort, with force or violence, to injure another person; 2) that at the time the attempt or effort is made, there is an apparent present ability to injure that person; 3) that the attempt or effort is made voluntarily and on purpose, not by mistake or accident; and 4) that the conduct is not justified by the use of reasonable parental discipline.
Attorney-Client Relationship: A critical relationship that must be based upon trust and consistent communication between a criminal attorney and his or her client.
Conspiracy: An agreement between two or more people to commit a crime. One of the people involved in the agreement must do something for the purpose of carrying out the conspiracy.
Criminal Defense Attorney (Criminal Attorney): A criminal lawyer licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia who specializes in defending people charged with or being investigated for committing crimes.
DC Department of Corrections: http://doc.dc.gov/doc/cwp/view,a,3,q,491438,docNav,|30833|.asp
DC Law Students In Court Program: One of the oldest and most highly regarded clinical programs in Washington, DC. Participants represent clients on adult criminal misdemeanor charges and juvenile criminal cases of all kinds in D.C. Superior Court. http://www.dclawstudents.org
Drug Possession: The knowing and intentional possession of a controlled substance.
Drug Distribution: To knowingly and intentionally transfer or attempt to transfer a measurable amount of a controlled substance to another person.
D.U.I./D.W.I.: “D.U.I.” means “Driving Under the Influence” of alcohol or a drug. To be found guilty of D.U.I., the government must prove that someone operated a motor vehicle while their blood-alcohol level was .08 grams per 100 milliliters of blood or was under the influence of another drug. “D.W.I.” means “Driving While Impaired.” To be found guilty of D.W.I. the government must prove that someone operated a motor vehicle while his/her ability to drive was so impaired by the consumption of alcohol that it impaired his/her ability to drive in a way that a reasonably prudent unimpaired driver would operate a motor vehicle.
- Baldwin, Molina & Escoto:
A DUI or DWI arrest can result in serious penalties including fines jail time, driver's license suspension and a criminal record. Each subsequent drunk-driving conviction increases your penalties until you have your driver's license revoked — and you may end up in prison.
Whether you are facing criminal charges for the first time or you have been arrested for driving under the influence before, you need to take these charges seriously. You can defend yourself against DUI/DWI charges.
- Kathleen Voelker:
In order to successfully counter a criminal charge, you need the able assistance of an aggressive litigator who possesses extensive experience and a deep understanding of all aspects of criminal law as they apply to your case.
- Robinson & Koutesis:
Following a DWI / DUI arrest, many people make the mistake of assuming that because their blood test or breathalyzer result put them over the legal limit, they have no hope of "beating the charges" against them. As a result, they often let too much time pass before hiring an attorney to help them or they simply do not fight and instead accept whatever plea the prosecutor is willing to offer.
- Abraham Blitzer:
Being arrested is a frightening experience. Facing a criminal charge--even a small one--can feel like a waking nightmare.
- >Bruce M. Cooper:
Getting charged with DUI or a related drunk driving offense in Washington, D.C., requires a solid defense from an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to protect your rights.
- Allen Dale:
The crime of drunk driving is generally defined in two ways: (1) having
a blood alcohol content above the limit set by law, or (2) driving
under the influence of alcohol. To find a person guilty under the
first definition, a jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt
that the person's blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeded a certain
amount. In most states the legal limit is .08 percent. Therefore, if
it is proved that the person's BAC at the time of the incident was .08
percent or greater, he or she can be convicted of drunk driving,
regardless of how much alcohol was actually consumed. As a practical
matter, one drink would almost certainly not lead to a BAC of .08
percent or greater; generally, a person needs to have five drinks in an
hour to develop a BAC of .08 percent. However, if there was something
unique about the person or the drink, or other circumstance, one drink
could raise the BAC above the legal limit.
In contrast, the second definition does not refer to any particular
BAC. It focuses on the driving behavior of the person; if it is
impaired by the person's consumption of alcohol, he or she can be found
guilty of drunk driving. Instead of presenting evidence of the BAC to
a jury, the prosecution seeking a conviction under this definition
generally presents testimony about the person's driving and consumption
of alcohol. A police officer will often describe the impaired driving
that lead him to pull the person over and the person's ability (or lack
thereof) to perform field sobriety tests, such as walking a straight
line. Evidence is also usually presented concerning the person's
consumption of alcohol and if the jury then concludes that the
prosecution has met its burden of proof, it will convict the person of
drunk driving. A susceptible person may exhibit impaired driving after
one drink and therefore be convicted of drunk driving.
- Belsky & Purdum:
The second category of traffic violations are known as "major offenses" and
include, among other charges, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Driving Under
the Influence of Drugs/Alcohol (DUI) and Driving on a Suspended License. If you
are convicted of a major offense, you may be subject to imprisonment and/or a
substantial fine. If you are charged with a major offense, you must appear in
court. Unlike minor offenses, you cannot pay the fine to avoid going to
Anyone charged with a major offense should be represented by an attorney. An
attorney will have the legal know-how to object to evidence and questions, and
is better able to offer to the court reasons why you deserve leniency if you
are found guilty of the offense.
- Jeffery Lewis:
What defenses are available to you will depend on the unique circumstances of your arrest.
Traffic offenses represent the only time most of us will be in court facing even the potential of time in jail. Although the specifics of the laws relating to DWI/DUI vary among the three neighboring jurisdictions of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, there are some generalities that will stand you in good stead in all three.
First and foremost—Do your absolute level best not to drive after you've been drinking, especially if you haven't eaten or if you have been drinking carbonated beverages with your alcohol. Both factors will speed up the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream and get you drunker faster. While it may seem self-evident, it doesn't hurt to remind yourself of this so you can avoid being stopped.
If you ARE stopped—Cooperate! Being stopped by the police is a bad enough experience as it is. Antagonizing the officer or being cute will only get him or her annoyed. Being human, the officer will be tempted to take that frustration out on you in subtle ways that will not find their way into the police report and that will be difficult for you to prove. If you are tempted to be sarcastic, remember that the officer has a gun readily available and you don't (or shouldn't). Cooperation has its limits, though. Do NOT volunteer any information about what you have been drinking, how much, or how long ago. "I only had two beers, officer" will not help you either on the scene or in court.
Q. What is the "legal limit"?
A. The "legal limit" is the percentage of blood alcohol, usually determined by means of a breath test given on the scene, over which the statutes say you are intoxicated. In all three jurisdictions, that level is .08 per cent. This level means that if your BAC (blood alcohol content) is anything over that, you are presumed to have been intoxicated. If your BAC is lower than .08, you still can be convicted of an offense if the government proves that your driving behavior at the time demonstrated that your abilities were impaired.
Note that in Virginia, if your BAC is over .20, there is a mandatory sentence of five days in jail, which the judge cannot suspend.
Q. What if I am a first offender?
A. Maryland and the District of Columbia have mechanisms through which you can attend classes and participate in programs that will result in the charges being dismissed. This may be done by way of a pretrial diversion program or by "probation before judgment." Virginia does not have pretrial diversion programs, and you WILL go to jail there if you are convicted of DWI with a BAC of over .20, even as a first offender.
Q. What if I refuse to take the breath test on the scene?
A. You have a right to refuse to take the test, but you would be foolish to do so. In Maryland and the District of Columbia, your driving privileges will be automatically suspended. In Virginia, you have the right to refuse to take a preliminary (pre-arrest) breath test. Once you are arrested, however, if you "unreasonably" refuse to consent to a breath test or blood test, your driving privileges will be revoked. In all three jurisdictions, if you go to trial, the government is allowed to present as evidence your refusal to take the test. In Virginia, testimony of your "unreasonable refusal" is admitted for the limited purpose of explaining why there is no breath test; it is not to be considered as evidence of guilt.
Q. Will I go to jail if I plead guilty or am convicted after a trial?
A. You might. Of course, the worse your driving record is, the more likely it is that a judge will consider a jail sentence. The one constant is loss of your license or driving privileges for some period of time. Under some circumstances you can get a restricted license, allowing you to drive to and from work or school, and to drive at work if your job requires it. In Virginia, you might be able to get the restricted license at the time the judge accepts your guilty plea. Or, the restricted license may be conditioned upon your completion of the jurisdiction's alcohol traffic safety program. In Maryland and the District of Columbia, this is done administratively, and not by the judge.
Q. What if my BAC is over the limit? Do I have any defenses?
A. Funny you should ask that. That's exactly what I'm here for. What defenses are available to you will depend on the unique circumstances of your arrest. We will sit down and go over how and where and why the police stopped you, who did what, who said what. It is entirely possible that there is something about the situation that will allow, or perhaps require, a finding or verdict of not guilty.
Q. What about minor moving violations? What should I do if I am stopped?
A. Often, if you are pulled over for a minor moving violation such as an illegal turn, the first thing the officer will say to you is "Do you know why I pulled you over?" There are some people who will tell you to play dumb at this point and say, "Why no, officer." After all, why incriminate yourself and make it easier for the officer in court? If you have a clean driving record, this can be the wrong approach. What you SHOULD do is look sheepish and say, "Yes, officer, that was pretty stupid of me." Once the officer runs your license through the computer and sees that you have a clean record, you stand a very good chance of being let go with a warning. If the case does go to court, the officer won't need your admission of guilt anyway. He or she will simply testify as to what happened. The purpose is to avoid ending up in court and having points on your license. If you can keep from going to court by swallowing your pride for 30 seconds, I consider that a pretty good investment.
*NOTE* This is not an advisable approach if you are stopped for speeding. For one thing, your speedometer may be incorrect and need calibrating. For another, Virginia considers many instances of what would be "mere" speeding in other states as reckless driving, with much more serious consequences for your license.
- Christopher Swaby: Constitutional Rights
- Winelander Group:
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is considered a serious crime in every state
- Stephen Jackson: You have the right to make the government
prove each of the elements of the crime that you have been accused of
committing beyond a reasonable doubt.