Frequent Mistakes in DUI/DWI Charges
Mistake: Pleading guilty is the best way to
resolve my case.
Choosing not to build a defense against your DUI/DWI charge, and simply plead guilty is not a wise decision. There are many ways to challenge a DUI/DWI offense in New Jersey, and even if a viable defense cannot be used to defeat the charges, such defenses can often be used to negotiate for lesser penalties. However, the consequences of a straight guilty conviction are extensive. Pleading guilty is not a decision to be taken lightly. It is important to note that once a guilty plea is entered it cannot be revoked. I cannot tell you how many people have come into my office after pleading guilty to a DUI/DWI charge, and are sick with regret after finding that their case could have easily been dismissed or penalties reduced, but they are now facing lifelong consequences. Do not make this mistake.
Mistake: I do not need legal representation for a DUI/DWI case.
Handling a DUI/DWI case on your own is extremely difficult. Just as the state must follow very specific rules in prosecuting a case in order to avoid the occurrence of procedural safeguards, a procedural error by the defendant can just as easily destroy a viable defense. A person must be able to understand the defenses he may need to use, and must know the proper time to raise them before the court, or certain defenses will be permanently waived, and may not be used even if a constitutional right is violated. Additionally, laymen often struggle with the ability to obtain discovery materials without an attorney, regardless of whether they properly request the documents from the police. Without proper review of these materials, it is very difficult to proceed successfully with a case because the records usually reflect which defenses can be properly utilized on a defendant’s behalf.
Mistake: If I speak openly with the prosecutor, the outcome will be favorable.
Even if the information you share is insignificant, a good prosecutor will be able to spin most statements in his favor in order to receive a favorable outcome for the state. Do not trust the prosecutor or think that by negotiating with the prosecutor, you will get ahead. An attorney negotiates with a prosecutor by using advantageous facts and loopholes in the prosecution’s case to negotiate for lesser charges, but a seasoned attorney also uses his experience working with the prosecutor on past cases to properly gauge the right approach to win. This is something only an experienced local attorney can do. Do not make the mistake of thinking the state will not take advantage of you.
Mistake: I was honest with the police so the law is on my side.
Never speak to the police without an attorney. Everything you say will be used against you, and besides the initial warning (“You have the right to remain silent, anything you say or do will be used against you…you have the right to an attorney”), the police are under no obligation to explain your legal rights to you. They will encourage you to speak and do everything within their power to make you feel that the best option is to be open with them. That is because this is their job, but speaking with them is in fact the worst thing you can do. You have a right to ask for an attorney and once you do, the police cannot interrogate you until your attorney arrives. Thus, the first and only thing you should be saying to the police is that you want an attorney. This rule applies even if you do not have an attorney so always remember to speak these words even if you have not yet retained a lawyer.
Mistake: It does not matter how much I pay for my attorney because they are all the same.
Every attorney is different. Each attorney has his own style, reputation, and unique relationships with the local officials such as prosecutors and judges. It is important to hire an attorney who is respected by his peers so that when he advocates for a client, he is taken seriously. Additionally, when an attorney is familiar with the characters of local officials, he knows how best to proceed in trial and negotiations with that official. Do not let price be determinative of your attorney because you could easily end up paying more money with a cheaper attorney. Often times, an attorney who charges less is spending less time on your case which inevitably means less time analyzing the facts, scrutinizing the evidence, and building a defense. While you should be receiving a fair price for your attorney, this is not an opportunity for price shopping. When an attorney does not spend enough time on a person’s case to have the resulting fines seriously reduced, clients often end up paying high fines as a result of their charge on top of attorney’s fees. This is a waste of money.
FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION FOR YOUR DUI/DWI CHARGE · 908-643-6801
Call anytime, day or night, 24/7, consultation in person or over the phone.
As a former Union County Prosecutor, Municipal Prosecutor, a current public defender and a criminal defense lawyer, I have developed strong relationships with the local officials, prosecutors, and judges in Union County. I have a trusted reputation throughout the community, and when I advocate on behalf of my clients, my requests for a reduced or dismissed charge are taken seriously. Contact me today at 908-643-6801 for a free initial consultation by phone or in person whichever is most convenient.
The law offices of Anthony N. Palumbo defends individuals accused of DWI/DUI offenses throughout New Jersey including Middlesex County, Somerset County, Monmouth County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Ocean County and the towns throughout Union County, Linden, Cranford, Roselle, Elizabeth, Roselle Park, Roselle, Westfield, Rahway, Clark, Mountainside, Garwood, Union and Scotch Plains.
My Union County offices are located in Cranford and Elizabeth, New Jersey, at 190 North Ave. E., Cranford, New Jersey, 07016 & 740 Newark Ave., Elizabeth, New Jersey, 07208.