The Biggest Obstacles to Achieving the Best Outcome in Your Georgia DUI Case
As lawyers, our job is to advocate on behalf of our clients, research potential legal and factual defenses, and provide our best advice. Very often, our job is to save our clients from themselves. As a provider of online information to clients, I know the perils of how information can be misinterpreted.
The fact that two people have been charged with the same offense does not guarantee the same (or even similar) outcome because no two people are ever similarly situated.
That is a truth that is lost on almost everyone. The law is a human endeavor, and as such, the potential permutations that affect a case are almost infinite. As a result, the potential outcomes can appear arbitrary and unfair. Even something so seemingly innocuous as the change of a prosecutor, the assignment of a particular judge, or the change of a prosecutor's policies can have a radical impact on the outcome of a DUI case. Even police departments change their policies and those changes affect how cases are prosecuted.
When someone calls my office, very early in the conversation I ask the caller what they would like an attorney to do for them. Over the past 25 years, the answer has evolved. It has gone from expecting me to do my best to limit consequences to a desire for complete exoneration. If the trend continues, I expect that eventually clients will expect an apology from the police officer as well!
My job is to help people charged with DUI achieve the best outcome. It's the same job I signed onto more than 20 years ago. Nothing has changed except for the fact that clients have so much more access to misinformation.
Unreasonable expectations hurt the accused because it causes two serious problems:
The first problem has to do with attorney selection. It would be very easy to simply tell potential clients what they want to hear. Life, temporarily, would be so much easier if I agreed that someone's “Miranda Rights” should have been read or that the officer cannot pull someone over unless they “weave outside their lane at least 3 times.”
However, things would only be easier for a short period. I see clients screaming at their lawyers at the courthouse almost every day. I am sure that the genesis of that screaming started before the attorney's retainer was paid. So, in essence, people with unreasonable expectations hire the wrong lawyers. They hire lawyers that agree with or fuel those expectations.
As a result, the outcome is never pretty, and I often wonder if people remember that I told them that no lawyer can predict the outcome of a case until a case is reviewed. Any attorney who says that he or she can get a DUI case dismissed or reduced is only saying that to get hired. I must tell people this fact at least 75 times a week.
The second problem with unreasonable expectations is the irrationality it creates. Very often clients tell me that a particular sentence is something they cannot accept. As a result, they choose to fight an unwinnable battle. The result of going to trial on an unwinnable case is not only the punishment that was unacceptable but a far greater punishment.
Again, my job very often is to save a person from him or herself. However, I will not force a person to take my advice. Years ago, I would argue with my clients to do what was best for them. I will not do that today. If a person has been charged with DUI, it is their case, and it is their life. No attorney has the right to force his or her judgment on a person.
Epilogue: Here are the people that fuel the most misinformation:
Your friends are not lawyers. Do not take their advice. If you get chest pains in the middle of the night do you call your friend Roy or do you call a doctor? I have no idea why people insist on telling me the advice given to them by their friends. The most commonly repeated “advice” is “my friends told me to refuse the breath test always.” I have had innocent people tell me they had one drink five hours earlier, yet refused because of this "advice." No universal advice is correct 100% of the time. Life is a series of circumstances. Even advice that is right most of the time cannot always be right. There are times when it's a good idea to refuse a breath test. There are also times I would recommend taking it, as long as you request an independent blood test.
The Bonding Company:
The only qualifications to run a bonding company is to have (a) enough money to bond-out potential customers and (b) approval of your company by the Sheriff. So, please do not take advice from the bondsman. He may mean well, but being near the legal system does not actually give a bondsman any basis to give legal advice. I have flown on an airplane at least 100 times, but most certainly do not think anyone should seek my opinion on how to operate one.
Your Friend Who is a Police Officer:
When I tell people that police officers are unqualified to provide legal advice, it surprises people because they assume police officer's have inside knowledge of the court system. Having arrest powers does not mean that someone understands how to defend someone in court. In fact, once a person is arrested the police officer only sees the inside of a courtroom as a witness. Most cases are resolved without trial, so police officers are not party to almost the entire legal process.
Many times people are terrified of disappointing their parents. As a result, bad decisions are made in their cases. Your parents will still love you if you have been arrested for a misdemeanor.
See above and read it slowly. Many bad decisions are made solely because a person cannot accept they made a mistake. We all make them. I certainly have made plenty.
We Can Help You Make the Right Decisions in Your Case:
If you have been charged with DUI, call the "DUI Only" Lawyers at our office. Richard Lawson is a Former DUI Prosecutor with over 25 years experience defending people accused of DUI. He is Georgia's most reviewed lawyer on Avvo. Call now. You only have 30 days to save your license. Your best defense begin here.