Attorneys Worldwide

LA DWI & Criminal Cases

Month: March 2017

Getting Familiar With Your Lawyer

We’ve all been there before. You’ve had a few drinks and, in a moment of sheer carelessness, you tell yourself that your blood-alcohol level is still within acceptable limits. So you decide to drive home, and just as you leave the parking lot, a police car stops you, a blood sample is taken and before you know it, you’re behind bars and wishing you had hired a cab to take you home. Driving under the influence is a criminal offense wherever you go and no matter how flimsy it may seem, it does perform a vital function in protecting the public interest. Moreover, the consequences flowing from such a violation of the law are best avoided. So if you find yourself facing prosecution for a DUI offense, don’t hesitate to pick up that phone and call a Los Angeles DUI lawyer.

Every Action Has A Consequence: Minimum Penalties

Even though a DUI charge is classified as a misdemeanor, a conviction can come with grave consequences. Depending on whether it’s a first, second or third offense, your license can be suspended or, in the most extreme cases, revoked. Yes, never again will you be able to drive a motor vehicle for the rest of your life.

When you’re eventually sentenced it does happen that you can be ordered to pay a fine, which normally takes the form of an admission of guilt. The fine normally ranges between $390-$1800. Furthermore, a third offense carries the steep penalty of imprisonment for up to 18 months in a state prison and a fine of up to $16 000. Then there is also the possibility of a court handing down a rehabilitation order for alcohol treatment. Getting carried away on the wheel is definitely not worth it, right?

Things Can Be Much Worse

It doesn’t end there, though. A court has a pretty wide discretion when it comes to DUI sentencing. You will find that, whilst wary of the danger of the duplication of charges -which can infringe greatly on the constitutional rights of an accused- a court can still sentence you to ‘cocktail’ of penalties that includes all the aforementioned.
However, if you kill someone in the process everything changes and you can find yourself fighting an additional charge for culpable homicide. Culpable homicide is a felony and carries a minimum sentence of up to 5 years in a state prison.

Administrative Penalties

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is as equally involved in a DUI case as the state prosecutors. After all, it is them who sign-off all the paperwork when your license is either revoked or suspended. In fact, proof of an arrest is all they require to take such drastic action. Now, this is where you ought to have your wits about you. You will only have 10 days to plead your case before a DMV panel eventually does so. With the aid of a lawyer, you should schedule a hearing with the DMV and state reasons why such order shouldn’t be granted against you.

Escaping By A Whisker

A DUI offense is not something you can simply wish away. It takes a smart lawyer who can manipulate all the available loopholes in the law to get you off the hook. A prosecution with hard evidence and strong witness testimony can have you being whisked away to prison in a flash. Nonetheless, it’s not all that bad. For many it’s little more than a slap on the wrist and life goes on. Charges can be dropped, or better still, the prosecution’s case can be dismissed on the basis of weak evidence. An acquittal -a finding of ‘not guilty’- is also another possibility. This is whereby a court finds that -on the available evidence- some doubt exists as to whether you are guilty. In this case, you walk away a free man.

A Look At Statistics

In a 2015 report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a total of 10,265 people were killed in traffic accidents that involved a driver with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. That figure represented almost 30% of the annual vehicle traffic fatalities. As the evidence suggests, drunk driving is a serious concern in modern society. The whole idea behind DUI laws is, therefore, to deter people from committing a crime that is potentially harmful to the people around them, that is, the public.

Business Development Tips For Young Lawyers

Today, knowing the law and becoming a great attorney aren’t the only things beginners need to do. It takes lots of time, money and resources to turn young associates from being revenue drains to becoming income earners as well. But for this transformation to happen, some input will be required on the rookie’s part. If you’re just beginning to practice law, you need to create a robust business development plan to ensure a long, fruitful career.

Hit the Ground Running

In most firms, there are many valuable resources one could use to grow their skills and knowledge. So take some initiative; become familiar with your firm’s intranet and website. Here, you will find crucial information about the firm’s practice areas, senior management structure, and offices. Pay attention to upcoming legal developments, and the news in general.

If there’s an in-house marketing team, introduce yourself to the key players. Knowing who to call (and when to do it) will not only help you in routine tasks but also provides a good opportunity to make an impression. So schedule regular meetings with these individuals, and find creative ways to actively participate in your firm’s seminars and presentations.

Grow Your Platform

Getting comfortable with how you present your brand to people will be very important as your career grows. And your pitch can take many forms; creating different versions for a variety of audiences is the way to go. Start by crafting a simple elevator speech — you should be able to describe yourself, your practice, where you operate from, and what drives you professionally, in less than 30 seconds. This will be one of the best tools to have with you throughout your career.

Biographies are some of the most-read sections of a law firm’s website. So always update yours regularly; prospective clients won’t know what you’ve already achieved in your career unless you inform them. Always ensure your bio includes recent articles you’ve authored, presentations you have written, and a section related to your role in the local community as well.

Your social media profiles can also project your professional image. But success on these platforms entirely hinges on the right approach. Go through your accounts carefully, and remove all items that would negatively affect your professional image. Privacy settings can also help you control what can be seen, and by whom as well.

Build Personal Relationships

While modern technology will allow you stay in touch with a large a number of contacts, the good, old personal touch is still important. With one-on-one meetings, you’ll establish a personal touch you couldn’t otherwise create through the internet. Scheduling meetings, even in informal settings, will not only deepen your professional relationships but also make them more meaningful. Some good ways to catch up with clients and other lawyers include having lunch with them, inviting them to your office and taking part in local events. The latter will also help you stay in touch with members of community organizations you may be involved with.

Don’t Hide Behind Your Desk

Although billable hours will take up most of your schedule, getting out of the office to grow your professional network is still important. Perhaps the easiest way to foster new relationships is to interact with attendees of seminars you present. Since they’re already interested in what you have to offer, following up with them will help you grow the contacts in your network in future.

Other effective ways to network include: joining a local nonprofit organization and becoming part of your bar association’s committee. Whatever you do, don’t forget to stay in touch with people in your network from time to time. After all, you’ll still need clients to bill in future.

Set Yourself Apart

Because modern clients are free to choose from a large pool of lawyers, business development from an attorney’s perspective has become rather difficult. As such, you’ll need to ensure you always present the best version of your brand if you’re going to enhance your visibility to your target market. Start with a good plan, and find effective ways to become an invaluable resource to those prospects. Your brand message should always be up-to-date; always remember to add new areas of expertise, and interesting cases you’ve recently worked on as well.