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What to look for in a criminal defense attorney

If you’ve run afoul of the law, then you’re going to need the best possible representation to give you the best possible chance at beating the case and preserving your freedom. While there are many talented criminal defense attorneys to choose from, finding the right one can make all the difference in the world…in this case, the difference between incarceration and fines, or freedom to move forward with your life.

So what exactly should you look for when you need to hire an attorney? Here are some things to consider:

Experience. Not just any experience, but the right kind of experience for your particular situation. So many attorneys are specialists and therefore subject matter experts in their narrowly defined niche. To give yourself the best shot at winning, you need to find someone who matches your type of case. Do not fall for a “one size fits all” approach.

Familiarity with local courts and prosecutors. You will reap considerable benefits if you retain an attorney who knows the local court system, judges and prosecutors. That familiarity can help negotiate a plea bargain for you and help to understand what is likely to happen if a case goes to trial, based on previous tendencies.

Outstanding communication skills. Unless you are already very familiar with the court system, you are going to be somewhat intimidated and have lots of questions about your case and your legal standing. An outstanding lawyer will be available to you and be able to answer a variety of questions you are sure to have regarding your case.

Reputation and references. As part of your due diligence, make sure you find out a potential attorney’s track record. Ask for references. Ask them to give specific examples of how they handled previous cases similar to yours and what the outcomes were.

Bowser Law serves clients in communities throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Defenses against an OUI charge

Operating Under the Influence (OUI) is a charge similar to Driving Under the Influence (DUI) with the main difference being that you do not actually have to drive a car to be charged with OUI. Basically, if you are intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher, and behind the wheel of a car whether it is moving or not, you can be charged with a crime.

While some people charged with OUI will try to claim a variety of defenses that seldom work, such as they were just sitting in their own driveway, or that there is no direct evidence connecting them to the crime. With OUI charges, circumstantial evidence is enough to convict you. Circumstantial evidence may include the smell of alcohol coming from your car, you fail field sobriety tests even though nobody saw you driving, or witnesses saw you behind the wheel of a car. All offer enough proof that can be used to convict you.

While that can work against you, there are several possible defenses that can be used in an OUI case. While each case is different, some defenses may include:

  • A lack of credible witnesses
  • Improper administration of a breathalyzer test
  • Police misconduct or lack of credibility
  • Improper calibration of an intoxilizer
  • Prosecutorial incompetence
  • Exclusion of evidence
  • Interfering chemicals such as prescription drugs or chewing tobacco
  • Diabetes or hyperglycemia
  • Poorly written police report
  • No visible sign of mental impairment

On the surface, OUI cases may appear simple and straightforward, but there are many possible ways to attack the observations and analysis that can be used to convict you.

If you’ve been charged with an OUI, your first step should be to contact an attorney to help you sort out the best possible defenses for your particular situation.

Bowser Law serves clients in communities throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Mounting an effective DWI defense

In Massachusetts, a person who drinks and drives can be charged with Driving Under the Influence, or DUI. However, in New Hampshire, a person who commits the same infraction will be charged with Driving While Intoxicated, or DWI. Both are essentially the same offense, just labeled differently by each state’s jurisdiction. To further complicate matters, New Hampshire does have a DUI statute, but it relates to driving under the influence of drugs.

Regardless of the label, if you’re charged with either a DUI or a DWI, you’re facing some serious penalties. Upon conviction, you’ll pay several hundred dollars in fines; your license will probably be suspended for up to two years, you may spend a little time in jail, and be required to complete a drunk driving education program. If there are any aggravating factors, all of these penalties can rise significantly. Repeat offenders face an even rougher time in the courts.

Many good people make a careless mistake by getting behind the wheel after a drink or two, and if they are pulled over by the police, their lives can go from normal to life-changing in a very short amount of time. And the impacts can be far greater if you are also under 21 years old. With consequences like these, it’s imperative to do everything you can to mount an effective defense to preserve your freedom and your rights.

With the right attorney, many times you can get charges either dismissed or reduced. There are several defense strategies that can be employed depending on the nature of your case. For example, field sobriety tests and procedural issues must be administered properly to preserve your rights. Equipment used to prove your level of intoxication must be determined to be accurate. Witness credibility can also be called into question.

The important thing to remember is that just because you are accused of a DWI offense, you are not automatically guilty. You are allowed due process under the law and with the help of an experienced attorney, you can wage an effective battle to preserve your innocence.

Bowser Law serves clients in communities throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

DUI Defense Specialist certification is the one qualification you should be looking for

If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence, you’re facing a pretty serious charge, one that could have many long-term repercussions in your life. If convicted, you will be subject to fines, possible jail time, and impacts to your work and social life.

You must mount a strong and immediate legal defense if you want to have your case dismissed or your penalties reduced. Finding the right attorney to handle your case is the first order of business. On the surface, there are many competent attorneys in Massachusetts and New Hampshire that can represent you, but before you make a final decision, you need to undertake your own due diligence to make sure you get the best possible representation.

When looking for a DUI defense attorney, you’ll want to retain one that has several years of experience with cases such as yours. You’ll also want to know the attorney’s success rate as well. In addition, you’ll want to know if the attorney representing you has experience with the particular court and/or judge you will be facing when you have your case heard. That familiarity can pay dividends that will benefit you as you work your way through the process. Your attorney should also be a good negotiator so that they can work to perhaps strike some kind of plea bargain to have your penalties reduced, saving you time and money.

Many attorneys meet these criteria, but there is one more standard that sets very few attorneys apart from most others. There are just a very select few who have taken it upon themselves to become a Board Certified DUI Defense Specialist. Undertaking this rigorous certification signals a deep commitment to specializing in DUI defense cases.

To be Board Certified, an applicant must pass written and oral testing to prove they have significant knowledge in this particular area of law. Examinations focus on scientific issues, NHTSA guidelines on field sobriety tests and drug recognition tests and a broad spectrum of other legal and ethical issues related to drunk driving cases. Applicants who seek certification must also satisfy certain minimum legal practice requirements and maintain an active DUI defense practice going forward.

Bowser Law serves clients in communities throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire.