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Hiring the Best DUI Attorney for You

If you are charged with DUI, finding the right attorney to handle your case will be all important. This professional can assist you in making decisions, provide answers to the questions your are bound to have related to appearing in court, and represent you there as well.

Searching for Your Attorney

You can begin your search for a DUI lawyer in Bakersfield by asking your family and friends if they can recommend an attorney who represents clients charged with driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence. In addition, doing an online search will certainly point you in the right direction for finding someone to take your case.

Working with the Public Defender

If you cannot afford to hire a DUI attorney, a public defender can be assigned to represent you. Note that public defenders do not specialize, and they often handle an assortment of criminal cases at the same time. Also, the time he or she has to devote to your case will be limited because they generally carry extremely large case loads. Consequently, both of you will have to make the best of an unfortunate situation.

As you try to choose a DUI lawyer in Bakersfield, consider the following factors:

  • the amount of experience your attorney should have, and
  • whether you want an attorney with a well-known partnership with impressive credentials.

In order to practice law, every attorney must be a member of the State Bar Association. The DUI lawyer you hire may also belong to the American Bar Association’s (ABA’s) Criminal Justice Section, the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys or your State Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. Any attorney you consider hiring should be able to provide you with a detailed list of criminal cases that they have successfully handled in the past.

What You Should Do

Prior to selecting your DUI lawyer  in Bakersfield, be sure to have all of your questions answered. For example, you can ask for references and information about your attorney’s educational background, rather than being overwhelmed by advertising that is meant to grab your attention as you make your choice. You will also want to know how much time will be devoted to your case and what fee scale applies.

Remember that if you spend the right amount of time and effort in choosing the DUI attorney who is right for you, you should be able to find one who inspires your confidence, someone you feel you can work with. This professional should answer your questions to your satisfaction and be well-equipped to defend you in court.

You Deserve to be Represented by Bakersfield’s Premier Criminal Defense Attorney

When individuals in Bakersfield are charged with any form of crime, they will need competent and professional assistance from an expert criminal attorney. The legal process is daunting to navigate, particularly for the criminal justice system.

Just as doctors specialize in medical areas, lawyers concentrate in various aspects of the law. Professional criminal attorneys know how the justice system works so that they can handle your case most effectively.

Regardless of the charge, only a professional criminal lawyer is prepared to ensure that your best interests are represented. This is why it is so important to select a defense lawyer that has experience with your particular type of case.

One place to begin your search for a competent Bakersfield criminal attorney is from the local Bar Associations. Most of these legal organizations have processes in place where people can call for a list of possible names or look for attorneys by specialty.

Another means of finding a criminal lawyer are online search databases such as those with the state bar. These databases usually have a way to enter information for location and specialty. For example, for a drunk driving charge, it is essential that you find an attorney who has experience in defending DUI cases. While family law experts are certainly competent, they usually have no trial experience, let alone the ability to handle a criminal case.

Before you contact a few attorneys to speak with, first think about the the type of outcome you wish to have. For example, if you would like to be cleared of all charges, you probably should choose a criminal attorney who has a good courtroom record of trial victories. However, if your goal is simply to negotiate the dismissal of certain charges and the best possile sentence on others, many attorneys specialize in attaining very favorable plea bargains for their clients. Any criminal defense lawyer you consider hiring should be able to show you a proven track record of both favorable negotiations and trial outcomes.

When you speak with a few lawyers, be sure to find out how long they have practiced law and how many years of experience he or she has with your particular type of case. In addition, be sure to understand the fee structure and what it includes. Many times, a criminal attorneys in Bakersfield will offer a free consultation, during which many of your questions should be answered.

Also find out who exactly will handle your case. For example, he or she may have a staff of lawyers that your case might be delegated to. The best Bakersfield criminal attorneys will handle your cases personally and provide the level of personal contact that you deserve.

For a free consultation with the premier criminal defense attorney in Bakersfield, Call the Law Office of Joel E. Lueck at (661)776-5879 and speak to a criminal defense attorney immediately!

Even Misdemeanor Offenses Have Serious Consequences

A recent article published by Slate highlights the severe consequences of misdemeanor convictions and the fact that these consequences are often unknown to the defendants even after they have entered a guilty plea. The other troublesome aspect of the misdemeanor arm of the criminal justice system, as pointed out by the article, is the fact that despite actually being innocent of the charges filed against them, many misdemeanor defendants actually plead guilty for a variety of reasons. Among them are:

  • Just to get out of jail
  • Inadequate knowledge of their rights
  • Inadequate knowledge of the evidence in their favor
  • Pressure from over-worked public defenders
  • Pressure from Judges who assume the defendant’s guilt

As the article correctly states, “The repercussions of a petty conviction can be anything but minor. These offenses are increasingly punished with hefty fines that low-income defendants cannot pay. A conviction of any kind can ruin a person’s job prospects. A petty conviction can affect eligibility for professional licenses, child custody, food stamps, student loans, and health care or lead to deportation. In many cities, a misdemeanor makes you ineligible for public housing.”

If you’ve been charged with a seemingly minor offense, take the time to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney with a proven track record of success. Hiring a private attorney doesn’t guarantee a successful outcome, but hiring the right attorney can guarantee that your rights are protected and your questions are answered.

The Benefit of Hiring a Respected, Local Attorney

In communities such as Bakersfield, many people who are faced with the need to hire a criminal defense attorney mistakenly believe that retaining a “Big City” attorney from Los Angeles gives them a better chance at successfully defending themselves.  Unfortunately, often times this could not be further from the truth.  As a case in point, consider the circumstances of Mike R., a resident of Los Angeles who was stopped in Kern County on his way to the Bay Area.  After being pulled over for DUI, Mike was also found to be in possession of Ecstasy.  He was arrested and charged with Transportation of a Controlled Substance (Health & Safety Code section 11379) and DUI (Vehicle Code section 23152) among other charges.  Due to the fact that he had a Strike Prior and had been sentenced to prison within the past five years, he was facing a potential sentence of 9 years in state prison.  Initially, Mike was represented by an attorney from Los Angeles.  That attorney represented him through the preliminary hearing stage, but in an effort to settle the case before trial, was only able to obtain an offer from the Kern County District Attorney’s Office of 4 years in prison.  Realizing that a local attorney may benefit him, Mike retained the Law Office of Joel E. Lueck and today was placed on probation and sentenced to 6 MONTHS in county jail.

The point is that although every county is bound by the laws of the State of California, each county interprets and applies those laws differently.  Having an attorney who practices in the community and has a proven track record of success is what those charged with crimes should look for, rather than falling prey to the mistaken belief that an attorney from Los Angeles is their best option simply based upon the location of their office.

Study Shows Wrongful Conviction Rate of Up To Six Percent

As reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, a comprehensive study by the Urban Institute has found that wrongful conviction rates in violent felony cases is as high as six percent. Samuel R. Gross, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School and a former criminal-defense lawyer, attended the presentation made by the Urban Institute in November and said that “this is a very big surprise. I would have guessed an error rate of 1 or 2 percent. Six percent is surprisingly high.”

Given the fact that the study focused on only violent felony cases, and that those are the types of cases that the most prosecutorial resources are devoted to, it is likely that the rate is even higher for cases that don’t rise to the level of “violent felonies.”

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Arson Investigation Burn Pattern Theory Debunked

A November 2011 study by The Arson Project has confirmed the hypothesis that ‘the presence or absence of an ignitable liquid in a post-flashover setting cannot be determined through visual examination of the resulting burn patterns. Any attempt to do so is no more reliable than a flip of a coin.”

Download the Full Report by clicking the button below.

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Novel Conservative Approach to Death Penalty Debate

As more and more Republicans are taking the “Right on Crime” (as opposed to “Tough on Crime”) approach, the Concord Monitor is reporting that Republican State Representative Phil Greazzo has come out in favor of abolishing his state’s death penalty statute. What makes his position noteworthy is not only the fact that he is a conservative, but also that Rep. Greazzo has a history of favoring the expansion of crimes to which the death penalty could apply. Despite generally seeking to broaden the use of the death penalty, Rep. Greazzo said he sees such inconsistency in the current law that he would sooner have lawmakers eliminate the death penalty altogether than maintain the status quo.

While Rep. Greazzo’s position is a far cry from seeking to abolish the death penalty altogether, it is refreshing to see another conservative join the ranks of those who recognize that the current system is broken.

Reckless Response to Service Call vs. Reckless Evasion of Officer

The Bakersfield Californian is reporting that the recent accident involving a Kern County Sheriff’s Deputy and two pedestrians (which resulted in the deaths of those pedestrians) was a result of the officer responding to a report of a stolen vehicle. Whether or not the officer’s siren and emergency lights were activated at the time of the accident is still unknown (to the public). The story is tragic in every respect and one can only hope that Sheriff Donny Youngblood is sincere when he says the department as a whole is deeply saddened by the deaths. Unfortunately, this evokes memories of similar incidents in which innocent pedestrians have been killed during police pursuits of fleeing criminal suspects. Understandably, the public outrage directed to the defendants in those cases was harsh, as was the response of both law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office in their prosecution of the defendants. At this point, given the public comments posted in relation to the story, it appears that at least the public is concerned about the prudence (or lack thereof) of the officer’s actions. One can hope that that level of concern is mirrored within the District Attorney’s Office once the investigation is complete and the case is submitted for a determination of whether or not to file criminal charges.

More Young Adults Arrested Than Ever Before

According to the New York Times, nearly one third of American adults have been arrested for a criminal offense by the age of 23.  In my experience, arrests at this early age generally have one of two effects on the person arrested: they either act as a wake-up call and lead the young adult to come face-to-face with the reality that poor choices can lead to some very serious negative consequences, or they simply become remembered as the first, in a long history of run-ins with the criminal justice system.

As the article implies, how a young adult addresses their first encounter with the criminal justice system system can play a key role in the development of the remainder of their adult life.  Given the fact that schools and employers are now using the internet and the vast array of information available it provides to screen potential job or school applicants, it is imperative that young adults who find themselves charged with a crime, yet who are also mindful of their future prospects, retain an experienced criminal defense attorney with an eye toward limiting any possible lasting damage of an arrest and/or conviction.

More on “Strikes” in California

The law in California on “Strikes” can be very confusing, mainly because there are different types of “Strikes” and, depending on what type of “Strike” you have been charged with, the difference determines what percentage of your sentence you will actually serve.  In California, “Strikes” are categorized as either “Serious Felonies” or “Violent Felonies”.

“Serious Felonies” are defined by California Penal Code section 1192.7.  Depending on your prior criminal history, if you are convicted of a “Serious Felony,” you will have a “Strike” on your record, but you will serve only half of whatever sentence is imposed (commonly referred to as “half time”).

On the other hand, “Violent Felonies” are defined by California Penal Code section 667.5.  Convictions for “Violent Felonies” will also result in a “Strike” on your record, but also carry the added consequence of having to serve 85% of any sentence imposed.

If you have been charged with an offense that you believe may result in a “Strike” on your record, or if you have questions about prior convictions and whether or not you have a “Strike” prior, call us today for your free initial consultation.