How To Take Charge of Your DUI Hearing

If you are facing a DUI hearing, you may be feeling overwhelmed and scared, you are not alone.  Most people anticipating a DUI hearing are stressed and concerned.  There are easy steps you can take to be more prepared to have a successful outcome:

  • Bring Someone With You.  If you have the means to hire an attorney, call him or her before your first hearing.  Having an experienced, competent attorney by your side will give you confidence and often streamline the process.  You’re attorney will take the lead in discussing your case with the prosecutor, explain your options, and be by your side as you enter a plea or set it for another hearing or trial.  If you don’t bring an attorney, then you may want to bring a family member or friend for moral support.
  • Look Up Information Beforehand. If you are going to be asking to be represented by a public defender, you may be asked verbally by the judge about your income or you may proffer that information in a form.  Look up the numbers so that you will be accurate and confident in presenting the facts.
  • Dress Appropriately.  Appearance is always important, regardless of whether you are talking about a job interview or a court hearing.  Come to court clean, well-groomed, and appropriately dressed.  Judges strive to be impartial, so you appearance may not impact the outcome in obvious ways, but a judge will likely appreciate a professional, neat appearance, which may have a subtle positive effect on your case.
  • Be On Time.  It seems obvious to be on time to your court hearing, but being punctual can be challenging for many people.  A rights video may be shown at the beginning of the calendar or instructions may be given out.  You can’t go wrong with being on time, so make your hearing a priority.
  • Know the Dates of Your Priors.  If you have prior DUI offenses, you will want to check the dates because how old the prior convictions are will impact how you are treated for the DUI in question.
  • Don’t Drive Yourself.  Typically, you’re license will be suspended on your court date due to the DUI arrest, and it’s just not work the risk to illegally drive.  In some courts, the staff is instructed to watch for defendants who drive, or if you are entering a plea or being sentenced, the judge may ask you how you got to court.  Don’t take chances with driving on a suspended license to the courthouse.

5 Signs You Picked The Wrong Attorney

Whether you are facing criminal charges or a party to a civil case, you need a good lawyer by your side to help you navigate the legal proceedings. If things are not going well at court, you may have hired the wrong lawyer. Here are five signs that indicate that you might need to find new legal representation.

1. Your Attorney Does Not Pick Up the Phone

An attorney who doesn’t answer your phone calls or emails is simply not paying attention. Frankly speaking, if getting hold of your attorney is getting increasingly difficult, this indicates that your case may not at the top of your attorney’s priority list, or that he/she may be avoiding you or possibly uncertain how to handle your case. Whether your case is large or small, you deserve to have an attorney who is responsive to you.

2. Your Attorney is Usually Late

“Justice delayed is justice denied.” This is a common slogan competent lawyers live by. If your lawyer is missing court deadlines, this will damage your case, and by the time your case is decided, it might be too late. The legal system takes time to reach a verdict as the judge has to consider each and every aspect of the case to ensure that everyone’s rights are upheld. If your lawyer misses deadlines or hearings, your case will be decided in a much longer time span. This will also increase your over-all litigation costs.

3. Your Attorney is Difficult to Work With

If your lawyer is difficult to work with due to a negative attitude, this is a major red flag, as your case depends on how well you communicate your situation to your attorney. If your attorney uses a condescending tone, you need to find new legal representation.

4. You Hear Negative Feedback from Previous Clients

Ask people if they have ever heard about your attorney, as this will give you an idea about his or her reputation. Also check you can check online resources such as the BBB.org to see whether your attorney has any negative reviews.    

5. You’re Attorney’s Promises Seem Too Good To Be True

Your attorney should advise you of the pros and cons of your case, and the risks and benefits of decisions.  If your attorney is telling you things that don’t seem to line up with what is actually happening in the case, then you should question what you are being told. A professional attorney will welcome the opportunity to explain considerations to you and to obtain your feedback on important strategy decisions for your case.

 

4 Little-Known Facts That Could Affect Your DUI Case

Driving under the influence is a strict liability offence, this means that the District Attorney does not need to prove that you acted with a culpable mental state. A culpable mental state is the intention you had while driving under the influence; it does not matter if you intended to commit the crime in question or not.

4 FACTS that Can Help Your DUI Case

  • There must be at least reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop.

An officer needs reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop.  If the officer can’t provide testimony about objective facts that arise to the level of reasonable suspicion, then the evidence of the DUI after the stop can be excluded. Typically, a traffic infraction, such as speeding, is fairly easy for the officer to support, and the officer will be well-trained on how to provide such facts.  However, it is important to know that if an officer mentions a factor such as race or a “gut-feeling” as to reasons for a stop, those are not objective facts that can support reasonable suspicion.  

  • You can challenge the officer’s conclusions.  

An officer’s testimony about your performance on the field sobriety tests can rebutted or discredited.  For example, an officer’s testimony about performance on field sobriety tests can be undermined for a variety of reasons specific to your case:  If  ground wasn’t level, if the place that the tests were being administered as poorly lit or unsafe.  You can ask the officer about each aspect of every test to question whether the test administered properly.  You can suggest other reasons for adverse results, such as health conditions of the driver or other innocent reasons that could impair ability to balance, etc.

  • You can challenge the breathalyzer results

Another factor that people overlook in a DUI case is the breathalyzer test results. If a police officer has reasonable suspicion he or she can ask you to take a sobriety test.  First, you have every right to refuse to take the test, but this will result in an immediate suspension of your license.  You can question whether the machine was calibrated and maintained properly by requesting and examining those records. You can scrutinize the tester’s qualifications and whether the proper steps were taken in administering the tests.  Don’t just assume that the breathalyzer results are impeachable without first looking at the records and the steps involved.

  • Involuntary consumption is not illegal

If by any chance your consumption was not voluntary then that could provide the basis for a defense. For example, if you were handed a drink that you thought was soda pop, but was actually vodka then you can use this as a defense! It is a rare case where an involuntary consumption situation will have occurred, but if that is your circumstance then that should certainly be considered.  Keep in mind that your  driving skills could be impaired due to other influences, such as prescription medicine, which can also be used as a defense.

If you find yourself in turmoil with a DUI case, keep the above facts in perspective and equip yourself with a competent DUI attorney.

Sources

http://duiwise.com/how-to-beat-a-dui/#field-sobriety-tests

http://dui.findlaw.com/dui-charges/elements-of-a-dui-offense.html

5 Signs You Picked The Wrong Attorney

Whether you are facing charges or pressing them, you need a good lawyer by your side to help you navigate the legal proceedings. If things are not going well at court, you may have hired the wrong lawyer. Here are five signs that indicate that you might need to find new legal representation.

1. They Do Not Pick Up The Phone

An attorney who doesn’t answer your phone calls or emails is simply not paying attention. Frankly speaking, if getting ahold of your attorney is getting increasingly difficult, this indicates that your case is not at the top of your attorney’s priority list, or that he/she is avoiding you as he/she is uncertain how to handle your case. They might also be avoiding you because they are busy with a more lucrative case. If your attorney is in court or preparing for trial, you may not get a call back right away. But your attorney should get back to you as soon as possible.

2. They Are Usually Late

“Justice delayed is justice denied.” This is a common slogan competent lawyer’s live by. If your lawyer is missing court deadlines, this will damage your case, and by the time your case is decided, it might be too late. The legal system takes time to reach a verdict as the judge has to consider each and every aspect of the case to ensure that everyone’s rights are upheld. If your lawyer misses deadlines or hearings, your case will be decided in a much longer time span. This will also increase your over all litigation costs.

3. They Are Difficult To Work With

If your lawyer is difficult to work with due to his attitude, this is a major red flag, as your case depends on how well you communicate your situation to your attorney. If your attorney uses a condescending tone, you need to find new legal representation.

4. You Can’t Get In Touch With Any of Their Previous Clients

If your attorney refuses or avoids providing you with a valid reference, this indicates that his previous clients are not content with his work. A competent attorney will proactively provide you with multiple references.  Ask people if they have ever heard about your attorney, as this will give you an idea about his or her reputation. Also check your attorney’s website and if you can’t find any client reviews, you should start worrying. You should also Google them and try to see what people are saying about them online.  

5. Their Promises Are Too Good To Be True

If your attorney keeps promising you that the success of your case is inevitable, beware. Professional lawyers always tell their clients how they are going to get the job done, but at the same time they will inform their clients that due to the complexity of the legal system, promising an outcome will be unethical.

What Makes a Great Vacaville Attorney?

Sure, every attorney goes to law school and passes the bar, but what separates an average attorney from a great attorney, and how can you be sure if you have a great attorney? Here are four ways to know you have picked the right attorney in Vacaville.

Speaking and Listening Skills

A great lawyer needs to be able to communicate effectively with a wide variety of people including: judges, police officers, bankers, accountants, other attorneys, and a host of others. 

However, the most important people person for your attorney to communicate effectively with is you. A sign that you have a great attorney is feeling comfortable enough to share everything necessary to your case with them. In addition to sharing on your side, a great attorney will always have complete openness with you and let you know about best case and worst case scenarios for your situation as well as current and evolving strategies.

Good Negotiation Skills

A great lawyer will be a master of negotiation. In addition to arguing your case before a judge either in or out of court, your lawyer will also be negotiating on your behalf. This negotiation can be just as important to your case as evidence for or against you. While the evidence presented may or may not be in your favor, a great attorney can negotiate a jail sentence to probation, or probation to community service in a criminal case, a favorable resolution in your trust litigation case, or a fair division of assets in a divorce case.

Investigation and Research Skill

An attorney may not be a full-time investigator, but he or she will most definitely do their own research and investigation into your case and similar cases to decide on the best strategy to get the best possible outcome. This could include looking into inconsistencies with drug test results for DUI or drug related cases, or discovering secret accounts that your spouse had been hiding during your divorce. Great investigation skills make for great results throughout your case and could mean the difference between jail time and a dismissal or thousands of dollars in spousal or child support.  

Results

A great way to be sure you have a great attorney is to do your own research into their firm and see if they have had success in cases similar to your own. This will also help you realize you are hiring a great attorney by showing you how they have helped clients get charges dropped, cases dismissed, restraining orders granted, and custody awarded, for example. While each case is different, and your results will depend on the facts of your individual case, your attorney should be prepared to fight for the best possible results. 

While no two cases are identical, knowing your lawyer’s previous success rates, being able to comfortably communicate with them and knowing their background and legal skills will give you great peace of mind throughout the duration of your case.

Legal Problems??? The 3 Most Important Things to Consider Before Your Day in Court

Preparing for your first day in court can be emotionally agonizing and exhausting. However, with all the preparation and planning you’ve done with your legal counsel, you may still feel apprehensive, nervous and completely unprepared in the several days or weeks leading up to your first day in court. To ease the burden and give you peace of mind, here are several things to consider before you step into the courtroom.

Understand how the law falls in your favor

Even if you are facing criminal charges, there are many circumstances where the law can actually help your case and may even lead to an acquittal instead of a conviction. Circumstances following your arrest, such as improper police conduct, evidence tampering, or even things as simple as not having been read your rights can mean that the legal system has failed you. Because of these simple failures, the judicial system will then fall in your favor.  Especially in the days leading up to your trial, go over your case once more with your lawyer, being sure not to leave out even the smallest detail. A detail you didn’t think was important could get your case thrown out.

Know your case from every angle

While your lawyer may have walked you through every step of your argument, you may have found yourself doodling or daydreaming during the part where he mentioned the opposing counsel’s arguments. However, in the days leading up to your court date, be sure to sit down with your lawyer to provide an in depth look at the other side of your case. What information or evidence does the opposition have that can hurt our case? What questions will they ask? What questions will we ask in return? These are just a few of the things to be aware of before your step foot in the court room.

No two cases are the same

Even if your best friend, neighbor or brother has been involved in a similar court case, there is certainly no guarantee that you will have the same experience or a similar outcome. Each case is so different because each state has different laws and procedures, to say nothing of the different judges and lawyers that will be in your courtroom. Judges and juries are human, and they have good and bad days like everyone else. While you can’t control their mood during the trial, you can prepare yourself for every kind of scenario. Your lawyer will inform you of the judge assigned to your case and can research past cases the judge has presided over to give you an idea of his previous verdicts in cases similar to yours so you can both plan accordingly.

Whether you’re facing a criminal charge or are fighting for custody of your children, following these steps can help you be confident, educated, and prepared for your first day in court and give you the best chances for success throughout the proceedings.

Looking for the Best Attorney in Vacaville? 3 Reasons to Select David Knecht

Choosing an attorney in Vacaville can be a challenge. While most attorneys promise results with no experience to back up their claims, and other attorneys provide hefty and unexpected fees for their time and work. With so many options to choose from, here are three reasons to select David Knecht for your legal needs.

Proven Track Record

It’s not just the statistics that are speaking to the quality and results from the law offices of David Knecht. Customers are also sharing their experience and praising the firm for their “work and understanding” throughout their legal proceedings. One satisfied client expressed “…Thank you for helping me through that court mess…I was very stressed out for the last eight months but now I feel very happy that it is all done with thanks to you.” These are just a few comments from grateful customers who have been advocated by the attorneys at David Knecht and who most definitely consider him one of the best firms in Vacaville.

A Wide Scope

David Knecht not only has a terrific track record as an attorney, he has a terrific track record in a wide array of legal fields. His firm can help you at several different crucial points in your life from divorce, child custody, juvenile law and estate planning. With so much experience in these fields, you can be sure that you’re getting the best. Having worked as a Police officer and detective for 13 years prior to becoming a lawyer, he has an invaluable knowledge of the legal system as seen and executed by the prosecution during DUI, criminal and juvenile court cases.

The Best Possible Result

No matter your case, the law office of David Knecht have one goal, and that is to get you the very best result possible. Whether a simple matter of estate planning and drawing up a living will, or seeking custody of your children after a divorce, David Knecht fights with you every step of the way. In the cases of Criminal court, the best possible result could be an acquittal of all charges and in the case of guardianships or child custody battles the best possible result would be getting the support and custody you desire, as well and providing arrangements that are in the best interest of the children.

So No matter what stage of life you’re in, for all your legal needs, David Knecht is the way to find the way to get your case resolved in the most efficient and fair way for you, your family, and all those involved.

Legal Problems? 3 Most Important Things to Finding the Right Attorney

No matter the reason for your current legal problems, one of your biggest challenges could be finding the right attorney. With so many out there, you may not be sure what sets them apart from one another, and exactly which type you need. However, whether you’re looking to get compensation for an injury you sustained during a recent car accident, or are trying to defend yourself in a DUI case, here are three important things to look for in the right attorney.

Experience

The first thing to consider when looking for the right attorney is their experience. However, not just any experience, experience with cases just like yours. Many firms take on all sorts of cases from civil cases to tax evasion, but what is important is that your lawyer knows all about the law and your rights in your case. When researching attorney’s online, check their recent track record for successful cases like yours and one or more attorneys that have handled similar cases. It can be helpful for your attorney to have an in house resource if your case gets a little complicated.

Fee Transparency

No one likes to be surprised by the bill they receive at the end of any service. One of the single most important things to look for in an attorney is complete transparency when it comes to legal fees. Many lawyers provide a free initial consultation to discuss your case, but the rates after that may vary greatly. Other lawyers charge fees right off the bat, which may dissuade you as a client, but their fees and rates following the initial consultation may be lower than competitors. Whatever the rate or method of charging fees, what is most important is that you as a client understand the fees from the start and are informed of any additional fees that come up throughout the duration of your case.

An open line

While you may not be the only case your attorney will have, having an open line of communication should help you feel like your case is important to your attorney. Promptly returning calls early on in your vetting process is a great indicator of how open communication will be throughout the duration of your case. Not only is good communication important for your own peace of mind, but also to keep you updated on your case, any upcoming legal proceedings and the outcome of their research and work.

If you have legal problems and are looking for an Vacaville attorney, please be sure to give us a call.

3 Secrets Police Don’t Want You to Know About Winning a DUI In California

Many California drivers think that your DUI is an open and shut case and you should just roll over and accept the consequences of your actions. However, regardless of what the police would like you to believe, there are actually several different ways to win your DUI case in California. So whether you have been charged with having a blood alcohol level over the legal limit of .08%, caused an accident, or had a high blood alcohol content test, here are three secrets to beating your DUI:
1.    Breath and Blood tests are not exact sciences.
Although many people charged with a DUI take the word of the breath test without question, many drivers are beating their DUI by challenging the test that got them in trouble in the first place. There are dozens of things that could possibly skew the results of a breath test, including:
•    Being mishandled by the police officer
•    Environmental factors (interference by radio frequencies)
•    You burped or had acid reflux or heartburn that skewed your blood alcohol level.
•    Your low carb diet tricks the breath test into displaying a false high BAC
•    The Breath test itself malfunctioning

2.    Officer Error
In addition to mishandling the procedure of a breath test, there are many circumstances where police errors could lead to a judge throwing out your DUI charge. Police officers are required by law to have probable cause to stop you in the first place, and if they do suspect a DUI and wish to arrest you, they are required to advice you of your Miranda Rights- you know, the “You have the right to remain silent…” rights- in order to use statements against you. While you may know these by heart from your latest Law & Order binge, they are required to advise you of them all the same.

3.    Challenge the field sobriety tests and physical symptoms
Whether the officer arrested you for not being able to balance on one foot, or because the officer believes he smells alcohol in your breath,  these tests and physical symptoms can be explained by non-alcohol related facts. Challenging the charges due to the results of the field sobriety tests or “FSTs” can be as simple as presenting evidence that:
•    you were wearing awkward footwear such as: high heels, boots or uncomfortable shoes.
•    there was poor lighting or bad weather and that is why your eyes appear blood shot.
•    you were eating or distracted by passengers and that is why you were weaving or driving erratically.
•    you were intimidated by the police officer and couldn’t focus.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, remember that each case must be evaluated individually by an experienced attorney to determine how to aggressively defend your case. Whether due to technical malfunctions, police error, or misunderstanding between you and the police officer, you can use all the facts and evidence at your disposal to defend your DUI and keep your record clean.

What is Litigation? Everything you need to know before getting litigation counsel

Whatever the circumstances that have led to your involvement in legal proceedings, unless you have a background in law or justice you will probably find a lot of unfamiliar law terms and procedures. Without knowing what these terms mean, it can be hard to know what is going on with your case and what you should expect at each step of the court process.

At the Law Offices of David W. Knecht, we strongly believe that you should be properly informed about your case and its progress. Furthermore, we are committed to making sure that not only do you have the right information about what kind of case you are involved in, but that you also fully understand the information so that you know the full implications of your situation. With this in mind we would like to offer a clear and simple explanation of one key legal term that people hear a lot, but may not be able to articulate exactly what it is.

Litigation is a kind of law practice that focusses on the resolution of disputes through the legal system. What are known as “tort” case—when one party alleges that another party has in some way infringed upon their rights or caused them damages—very commonly involve litigation. However, litigation crops up in lots of other types of cases, too; such as family law, divorce proceedings, and probate cases. The defining feature of litigation is that there is an issue being disputed.

You could think of the idea of a lawsuit as a litmus test for whether a case will entail litigation. If you were buying a house and required an attorney to look over the sale contract, you would not want him to sue the seller so there would be no litigation involved. If, on the other hand, you had bought a house and then discovered that your new neighbour was planning to rent out their backyard as a twenty-four hour rehearsal space for death-metal bands, you might consider preventing them from doing that with a lawsuit. This would mean litigation.

Sometimes litigation does mean that your dispute will end up being decided in court, but in reality most litigation cases are settled somewhere along the way—perhaps by a demand letter, or during the subsequent negotiations. This saves potentially huge amounts of money in court costs and legal fees, not to mention your time.

David Knecht has vast experience in the field and is dedicated achieving the best result for his clients. Call Mr. Knecht today to discuss your case.