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Got a DUI for Marijuana? Here’s What You Should Know

With many states across the country making the decision to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, there’s been an increase in the number of people using the substance and carrying it on their person. What’s important to note is that every state has different laws for marijuana possession and it’s crucial that you know how to handle the situation should you get pulled over for a DUI for marijuana.

After all, just because you’re facing a marijuana charge, it doesn’t mean you don’t stand a chance at lowering or even dismissing the penalties you face in court. To ensure you deal with this manner in the most efficient way, keep the following tips in mind. This advice will help protect you and give you an understanding of what you should and shouldn’t do in a situation like this.  Read more

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What Happens to Your Car Insurance When You Get a DUI

Getting a DUI is always a scary experience. It’s a serious offense that will leave you facing various hefty penalties, including expensive fines and even time in jail. However, one consequence for being charged with a DUI that many forget about right off the bat is what these charges will do to your car insurance.

Not only is it possible that you might lose your license as a result of a DUI, the charges could cause your car insurance rates to skyrocket. Unfortunately, that only makes things more difficult financially when you consider the fines and court fees you’ll likely wind up paying as well. If you’re dealing with a DUI, here’s what you need to know about the impact it’ll have on your car insurance…  Read more

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5 Questions You Need to Ask Your Criminal Defense Attorney

No matter what kind of criminal charges you’re facing, you are going to be up against some pretty hefty consequences. These types of crimes can leave you with exorbitant fines and even time spent in jail. Not to mention, a criminal charge will show up on your public record, potentially making it difficult for you to secure employment, housing, and even loans later on.

For these reasons, it’s essential that you seek help from a criminal defense attorney. You need someone who is experienced and capable of handling your case if you want to have any chance of receiving a positive outcome in court. This is why it’s crucial that you hire the right attorney for your case.

However, with so many attorneys out there, it can be a little intimidating trying to find the one that’s best suited to defend you against your criminal charges. Fortunately, many attorneys allow you to schedule free consultations that give you the opportunity to meet with them to discuss your options prior to committing to hiring them. When meeting with a criminal defense attorney, there are a few questions you should come prepared to ask to receive a better understanding of how much experience the attorney has and how your case will be handled. Here are the questions you need to get answers to:

1. Are you the attorney who will handle my case?

If you find yourself having a consultation with a larger law firm, you’ll need to be clear on which attorney will be handling your case. In many situations, you might meet with a senior member of the law firm for your initial consultation, but your case could then be passed on to a junior attorney who will wind up handling it.

You need to know exactly who is going to be representing you and whether or not this person has the right kind of experience you’re looking for. You want an attorney who has dealt with similar cases, who has knowledge on the laws within your state regarding such crimes, and you want someone who has experience as a criminal prosecutor. If the attorney who will handle your case isn’t skilled in all of these areas, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

2. Have you worked with clients who faced similar charges?

One of the top questions you need to ask your criminal defense attorney is if he or she has worked with clients who faced similar charges. This gives you a good idea whether or not this particular attorney has plenty of experience in this area. When taking on criminal charges, you want someone who has dealt with these situations before. You want someone who is knowledgeable on the laws and knows the best defensive strategies that will get you a positive outcome in court.

Another great follow-up question to ask is what their success rate is when going to trial. Obviously all cases will be unique, but it’s still helpful to know what kind of results an attorney has received for clients in the past. When you hire an experienced attorney who has successfully helped many clients, you’re going to feel more confident in your decision and in the potential outcome you’ll receive.

3. What is your preliminary evaluation of my case?

Next, use the initial consultation to your advantage by asking the attorney for a preliminary evaluation of your case. This is your opportunity to find out what an attorney thinks of your case right off the bat. You can determine which defenses are available to you and which one might be best suited for you. Plus, you can also ask if it’s best to head to trial or make a plea bargain. The more you know about your case in the beginning, the better. You need to be educated on exactly how everything will be handled and what the best options for you will be.

4. What should I do to improve the outcome of my case?

In many situations, there are things you can do that will give you a better chance at receiving a positive outcome in your case. Ask your attorney if there are any records you can provide to him/her or to the court that would be beneficial to you. Find out if there are any classes you can enroll in. It often looks favorable to take counseling or drug rehabilitation classes if relevant to your criminal charges. These actions could wind up decreasing your sentence, so it’s always worth a shot to consider them.

5. What is your fee structure?

Hiring a criminal defense attorney will not come cheap, but it’s crucial if you want to limit the impact criminal charges could wind up having on your personal life. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential attorney just how much everything is going to cost. Figure out what your attorney fees will be, if there are any extra costs (such as court fees), and determine if payment plans are available. Many attorneys will offer a payment plan to make retaining their services easier for you. Knowing this ahead of time is better than receiving a surprise bill later on.

When you’re facing criminal charges, it’s imperative that you take them seriously and get a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. Remember that you need to be involved in your case, so ask the questions about to choose the right attorney and prepare for the journey ahead. By having these answers, you’ll feel much more confident about the outcome of your case and you’ll know you made the best choice when choosing your attorney.

Ken Barrett No Comments

What to Do Immediately After a DUI

Being charged with a DUI is a scary situation for anyone to be in, whether it’s your first offense or you’ve been in the situation before. There are likely a million thoughts running through your mind after the traffic stop, such as what you should do next and what your options are. That’s understandable considering a DUI charge can wind up requiring you to pay expensive fines and may even have you spending time in jail.

Simply thinking about all the possible consequences you will be facing may have you feeling pretty defeated. But instead of letting yourself get too worried and stressed out, you need to remain calm. To help you out, we’re sharing what to do immediately after a DUI in order to get a better handle of your case.

Write down everything you remember.

After your traffic stop, it would be wise to write down everything you remember from the time of the incident. Make a note of when and where you were stopped, as well as the reason the officer gave you for the traffic stop. If you took a breath test, write that down along with a description of what the device looked like. If you performed any other tests during the traffic stop (such as field sobriety tests), jot that down as well.

While this may seem insignificant, it’s actually going to be very useful. When preparing for your case, you need to make sure you are aware of all the details, even the smallest ones. Plus, you’ll need to pass that information along to your attorney, as it will help when crafting a defense for your case. You don’t want to risk forgetting any important information your attorney could use for your benefit.

Make your social media profiles private.

Another thing that many don’t think to do after being charged with a DUI is to make their social media profiles private. In this day and age, people are often guilty of oversharing on social media, which could lead the police to find some incriminating evidence to use against you in court. While you could simply delete anything that might seem questionable, it’s best to make your accounts private as soon as possible to eliminate any potential risks.

Hire an experienced DUI attorney.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to handle your case on your own. Instead, you need to seek the help of an experienced DUI attorney if you hope to reduce or even dismiss the criminal charges you’re facing. An experienced attorney is one who has dealt with DUI cases time and time again and has received favorable outcomes for clients in the past.

Once you’ve found a few qualified options for DUI attorneys in your area, take the time to meet with them before deciding on one. Typically, attorneys will offer free initial consultations for new clients. This is your opportunity to meet with an attorney, discuss your case, and determine what your potential options are. Choose the attorney that has years of experience, but that you also feel comfortable with so you’ll be confident in your decision.

Figure out what you’re dealing with and your potential options.

When meeting with potential attorneys, use that time to your advantage to get as much information about your case as possible. You’ll want to determine what the attorney’s preliminary evaluation is, such as which defenses might be available to you and which one is best suited for your case. It’s also a good idea to be aware of the possible consequences you could be facing so you know what you’re up against when you head to court.

You’ll also want to ask about the attorney’s fees. Working with an attorney can be expensive, so you’ll need to figure out how much services will cost, how much you might expect to pay in court fees, and if there are payment plans available. It’s always better to be aware of exactly what’s going on in your case.

Don’t panic.

The worst thing you can do when dealing with a DUI charge is to allow yourself to become anxious and stressed over the situation. That simply will not do you any favors. Remember to stay focused. If you’ve taken the necessary measures and hired an attorney to represent you, know that you have done all the right things so far. Allow your attorney to do his/her job in handling your case and know you’re in good hands.

Dealing with a DUI charge is undoubtedly a scary time, but by following these steps, you can navigate the situation with ease. These tips will hopefully make the process much easier and should cut down on some of the stress you’re likely dealing with. Don’t forget to seek help right way if you’ve been charged with a DUI. The sooner you get your attorney involved, the better.

Ken Barrett No Comments

Why Should You Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney for a Misdemeanor?

If you’re facing a misdemeanor charge, you’re likely wondering if it would be worthwhile for you to hire a criminal defense lawyer to represent you or not. Many people make the decision to handle misdemeanor offenses without hiring an experienced attorney to be by their side, instead attempting to represent themselves in the courtroom or using the service of a public defender.

This isn’t something we would recommend, as having an attorney as your legal representation can play a huge role in the outcome of your case. In fact, an attorney could help lower your charges or even get them dropped altogether.

Representing Yourself in the Courtroom

The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution gives citizens the right to seek legal representation in all criminal cases. However, some jurisdictions actually allow a defendant to act as their own representation, instead of obtaining an experienced attorney. In order to do this, you would have to request the permission of the court and you’ll need to have a separate proceeding to present any knowledge that would make you qualified to take on this role.

In most cases, people are not able to prove they have the skills and understanding required to represent themselves in the courtroom. In this case, the court will require you to seek the aid of a public defender or another court-appointed attorney. If you do not qualify for either one of these, you will be forced to hire a private attorney on your own.

If a public defender or another attorney is appointed to you, you have no say in who takes on your case. You may wind up working with an attorney who is not the most experienced in criminal defense cases. For this reason, it’s preferred that you seek out legal representation on your own so you can be sure you have someone qualified to take on your case when you head to the courtroom.

Why a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

A skilled, qualified criminal defense attorney can easily make a difference in the outcome of your case. Although many people don’t take misdemeanor charges seriously, they absolutely should. Any kind of criminal charge can leave you facing jail time, exorbitant fines, and will ultimately blemish your public record.

A criminal defense attorney will be experienced after handling many cases and will have the knowledge of all the laws in your site. This will work in your favor in the courtroom because your attorney can put together a strong defense that could potentially keep you out of a jail cell. Don’t be fooled into thinking only felonies will leave you serving time. Regular misdemeanors in the state of Rhode Island can have you facing six months to one year in of imprisonment.

As mentioned above, a criminal charge will leave an unsightly blemish on your public record for anyone to discover. If you are applying to jobs, attempting to get a loan, or even trying to secure housing, misdemeanor charges will show up in a background search. A simple online search could reveal every arrest you’ve ever had and details of your battle in the courtroom. However, the help of a criminal defense attorney could prevent any misdemeanor from leaving you with a permanent record that could be damaging to you in the future.

Finding the Right Criminal Defense Attorney

The ideal criminal defense attorney to take on your misdemeanor charges is one who is experienced and knowledgeable. You want someone who has a history of taking on a variety of cases for clients and getting favorable results in the courtroom. You want someone who is knowledgeable about all the laws and will be able to put together a strong defense to represent you in the most effective way possible.

Having a confident and capable attorney by your side when your case heads to the courtroom will make all the difference. It might just be the thing that keeps you out of jail and prevents you from having to pay expensive fines and hindering your future opportunities.

Ken Barrett No Comments

What is an Insanity Defense in a Criminal Defense Case?

By now, you’ve probably heard about someone “pleading insanity” in a criminal defense case, but have you ever wondered what that actually means? With most states in the country having at least one version of an insanity defense, it often becomes even more confusing to figure out how it all works. To help you get a better understanding of exactly what an insanity defense is and what it means in a trial, we’re breaking it down for you.  Read more

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What Not to Do If You’re Arrested

There’s no doubt that being arrested for any kind of crime can be a very scary situation. Most likely, you aren’t sure what’s going to happen next or what you should even do at a time like this. The good news is, you don’t have to panic or feel intimidated by being in the police station, surrounded by officers. You can remain calm, cool, and collected and handle the situation in the best way possible. You just need to know what not to do if you’re arrested. Keep this advice in mind…  Read more

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What’s the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI?

You’ve likely heard of both a DUI and a DWI, but do you know the difference between the two? “DUI” is an acronym that stands for driving under the influence. “DWI” stands for driving while intoxicated or impaired. Many states use both of these terms and in some cases, a DWI will strictly refer to someone being intoxicated with alcohol, while a DUI refers to being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Some states will use them the other way around. It really depends on the state you live in and how they choose to use each of the acronyms.

In the state of Rhode Island, both DUI and DWI are used interchangeably for drunk driving offenses. You may even come across the phrase, operating while impaired (OWI) used in Rhode Island as well. The use of the word “operating” is meant to cover more than just driving under the influence. It also means that someone can be charged even if the vehicle is stopped and not running. For the full scoop on the difference between a DUI and a DWI, we have some Rhode Island DWI/DUI facts for you.  Read more

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How Long Does it Take to Expunge a Case?

When you are arrested and charged with a crime, the details of the case are put online for all the world to see. A quick search online by anyone (e.g. family, friends, co-workers) will reveal any crime you have been charged with, as your public record is free for anyone to view. Having that information available to the public isn’t always a good thing. When you’re applying for a job or trying to get housing from a potential landlord, a background check will likely be conducted. All of this information will come up for them to see.  Read more