The majority of the people charged with a crime are guilty, which means the best thing an attorney can do for them is try to reduce charges and to possibly leave them with no criminal record. There are a number of diversionary programs available within the court system, such as a marijuana program or various types of drug programs, as well as a DUI program for first time offenders and a family violence program for first time offenders. We try to use these diversionary programs so that the defendant won’t have a record, as well as to get them help for their issues, whether it’s family violence or drug or alcohol abuse.
Many of these programs can take a while to complete, but they’re better for the defendant over the long run. For DUI, depending on how much you had to drink and whether or not you’re a first time offender, it can run anywhere from having to attend a MADD (Mothers Against Drunk-Driving) victim-impact panel, where the offender listens to relatives of people killed by drunk drivers and also pay a fine, to having to attend a series of 10-15 classes for which you will have to pay a program fee and a slightly larger fine.
If you successfully complete the program and don’t get into trouble for a year, then you have no record, so if you were to get caught drunk driving again, it will be a first time, not a second time. However, you’ll still lose your license and the consequences are doubled if you don’t take the breathalyzer test.
A Private Attorney, Public Defender and Representing Yourself; Which is best in a Criminal Case?
In order to be represented by a public defender, you must be below a certain income limit, so the odds are against qualifying anyway. Frankly, people who represent themselves in court are being foolish; they don’t know what they are doing and they won’t be able to navigate their way through the court system; they will usually plead guilty to a charge that they otherwise wouldn’t have to if they’d had an attorney. That’s means they will be stuck with a record for life or have points against their license, and once you have enough points, you will lose your license.
People really don’t understand the consequences of what they’re doing, and it is neither the prosecutor’s nor the judge’s job to explain the consequences of their decision to plead guilty. They also won’t explain how it will affect their lives in the future, including higher car insurance rates, or a more difficult time getting a job or a security clearance; there are many things in a person’s life that are affected by having either a criminal record or a moving violation record.
If you’ve never been convicted before and have no record, it’s possible to apply for any diversionary program that’s applicable, so it’s important to keep your record as clear as possible, because it could help later on.
Are People Obligated to Meet with Police?
Not only are they not obligated, no one should ever meet with the police or a prosecutor alone, because everyone has a right not to incriminate themselves, and anything they say can and will be used against them. Because of that, no one should ever talk to them without legal representation present.
What About Bail?
Basically, a bail amount is set to make sure that you’ll show up for your court appearances. The bail amount is based upon the severity of the crime, and whether the court feels you’re a danger to society; if so, they’ll set it very high, or not set bail at all.
For more information on Pleading Guilty & Expecting Court’s Mercy, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (203) 929-7771 today.
Get your questions answered - call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (203) 929-7771