3 Essential Steps to Best Resolve a DUI Conviction

If you entered a guilty plea to a DUI or lost your case at trial, this article is for you.  It discusses what to do next once you have a DUI conviction.  Following these steps will help you succeed in completing your probation successfully and putting this conviction behind you.

Set Yourself Up for Probation Success

  • Know.  Make sure you find out what the terms are of your probation and how long it lasts.  Typically, you will at minimum be ordered to stay drug free and not have any other criminal offenses.    
  • Do.  Confirm that you have your paperwork and call the court for a copy if you have lost it.  This will list what you need to accomplish and when.  Typically you will need a counseling evaluation and a certain amount of counseling sessions. You may have community service obligations.  Following through with the Court’s orders is essential.
  • Report.  Ensure that anything you complete is reported, because you want to “get credit” for the counseling, etc. that you finish.  If you don’t know whether the court has a record of what you’ve done, be proactive to call and find out.

Do Not Drive with a Suspend Driver’s License 

  • Don’t drive while your license is suspended.  Typically, your license will be suspended.  Make sure that you do not drive during the suspension period.
  • Complete the DUI Program.   You will likely need to complete a DUI program prior to reinstatement of your license.    
  • More information about Suspended Driver’s License.  For more information about a suspended driver’s license in California go to http://www.dmv.org/ca-california/suspended-license.php

Compliant Driving after a DUI – Interlock and Insurance

  • Interlock.  An ignition interlock device prevents you from driving with a level of blood alcohol above the setting.  You will typically be ordered to utilize this device for a certain amount of time following your DUI, and you shouldn’t do anything to try to bypass the system.    
  • Insurance.  You need a special type of automobile insurance following a DUI.  It is often called high-risk or SR-22 insurance.  Make sure that you obtain the right kind of insurance and keep your payments current.

If you take the time to know and obey the terms of your probation, you can successfully overcome a DUI conviction.  Make sure that you find out what you need to accomplish, avoid driving while your license is suspended, and take the steps necessary once your driving privileges are restored.

3 Things to Avoid Saying in a Custody Battle

You’ve probably heard that you have a right to remain silent in a criminal case, but sometimes it’s an advantage to you to remain silent in a civil case as well.  This is particularly true in the tense situation of a custody battle.  Some parents can be their own worst enemy in a fight over custody of their children.  This article is going to remind you of what you likely already know when you are in a non-stressful situation, and will help you apply these tried and true principles in a custody case.

Avoid All Physical Threats/Cussing/Bashing the Ex

When you are in a custody battle, you need to be cautious about every word you speak.  Imagine that the judge is sitting on your shoulder overhearing every word and decide whether your tone and language will benefit you.

  • Never make a threat of physical harm, even if it is in jest.  Even words meant with sarcasm can be taken out of context.
  • Avoid cussing or hateful speech as these can reflect poorly on you.  You have an opportunity to create your image with the words that come out of your mouth, so make sure that you come across as even-tempered, wise and caring. These are traits almost anyone values in a parent, and exhibiting them will help win points in the custody battle.
  • Don’t bash the ex to the children.  When you talk about your ex negatively to the children, it puts the kids in the middle of the battle.  It isn’t healthy for them, and it won’t help you with the case. 

Don’t be too eager to show your hand 

  • Keep your strategy between you and your attorney.  If you were a gambler, you wouldn’t show your opponents your hand of cards.  Similarly, you want to avoid giving the other side too much information about your strategy and plans.
  • You may not want to be too specific initially about your priorities.  If having the kids this Christmas is the most important thing to you in this world, you may or may not want to share that information just yet.  Revealing your pain points may cause a vindictive ex-spouse to try to prevent you from having the kids this Christmas just to spite you.
  • Follow your attorney’s advice on information you share. Your attorney can advise you on what information to share or hold back, but in general you want to share information strategically at the right times and in the right ways. 

Refrain from “never” and “always” and stick to the truth

  • Don’t back your ex into a corner.  When you tell someone you will never do something or you always deserve something, then you automatically trigger an obstinate reflex.  Even though the term is custody “battle,” they often involve a lot of negotiation, so keep tried and true principles of negotiation in mind:  Don’t back your opponent into a corner by using words that show you aren’t interested in compromise.
  • Don’t exaggerate, stick to the truth.  In an emotional situation, it is easy to exaggerate a story or twist the truth a bit to try to get what you want.  When you are working to get custody of your children, you will be best served by only saying things that are absolutely true because this builds credibility with your children, with the counselors and evaluators that may be involved, and ultimately the judge.  Stick to the truth.

While these are a few of the things you shouldn’t say, there are many things that should be expressed.  Children are sensitive to divorce, so share your love and appreciation for them often.  Take an interest in them.  Spend the time that you can and talk to them about their feelings.  Take the opportunity to model cooperation and civility for your children during the custody case, and if hard positions or harsh words need to be said, let those come from your attorney so that you can be a calm and collected rock for should children to lean on.

How to Know When to Strike a Plea Bargain and When to Go to Trial

Deciding what to do when you are facing a criminal charge can be challenging, but taking a step back to analyze your case will help you decide the best course of action for you.  Since each case is different, there are many facts and factors play into a decision this important, but this article will help you think them through.   

  • Do you need to decide yet?

If you were just arrested, you do not need to decide immediately whether to enter a plea or go to trial.  You will have the opportunity to attend hearings prior to trial.  If you qualify, you can request that an attorney be appointed for you.  If you want to hire a private attorney, you will have time to follow through with that.  It is possible obtain a continuance to have additional pre-trial hearings if there is an appropriate reason.  The bottom line is that you shouldn’t feel pressured to decide your case strategy right up front.

  • What are your odds of winning at trial?

You need to look at your odds of winning at trial to decide whether to risk it.  Is there a witness that may recant or may not be available?  Is there a credibility issue that a jury is likely to believe or disbelieve witnesses at trial?  How much technology was involved in creating the evidence against you?  Is a common person likely to find the evidence reliable?  Is the evidence extremely strong, or is there room for doubt?

  • Is the plea bargain really to your advantage?

Remember that the prosecutor is your adversary in this situation.  Look carefully at the deal that is presented.  Is it really valuable to you?  For example, a typical offer the prosecutor may make to every defendant with a DUI charge is that the traffic violation will be dismissed with prejudice.  Is this really a benefit to you?  Can you get more out of a bargain if you wait?

  • What are the policies at play?

A prosecutor is likely under the direction of his or her supervisor, and it is helpful to have the advice of an attorney who knows the prosecutor or the office politics.  Is the prosecutor reluctant or eager to go to trial?  This could determine whether the plea offer gets better or worse as you go along.  Are there restrictions to the prosecutor’s ability to offer you a plea?

  • What sentence is likely under either scenario?

When you are considering a plea vs. trial, you need to know what punishments are likely with each choice.  Make sure you find out all aspects of the prosecutor’s plea.  Don’t just focus on the amount of jail time that will be involved, but also find out what counseling, probation and fines will be included.  Is there a significant difference between the sentence likely under the plea bargain and the sentence likely if you lose for trial?

These are just a few of the many factors that need to be weighed when choosing between a plea bargain and a trial.  Consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney will typically be helpful to you in making the choice because they can assist in determining the strength of the evidence against you, the extent of advantage the plea bargain really is to you, and the various possibilities for sentencing of the charge if a plea is entered vs. a trial.   

3 Ways You Know You Need to Find a New Lawyer

Did you hire an attorney to represent you, and now you are having second thoughts?  Are you wondering how to know if you hired the wrong person?  Here are things to look for when deciding whether you should break ties and find someone new to represent you.  Before you switch attorneys, however, you should always inquire into the retainer and billing and how that change may impact the cost of your case.

1. You Are Not A Priority to This Attorney.  We all know that attorneys have a roster of clients, but every case should be handled with diligence and care.  Take a look at how serious the problem is.  If your attorney is missing hearings or deadlines, then you probably need someone new.  If he or she is consistently late to court, then that is something also to look at.  If your calls or emails are not being returned, then your attorney is not fulfilling their responsibility to communicate with you.  If your attorney talks down to you or pressures you to make a decision you aren’t comfortable with, then those are also signs that you and your attorney may not be a good team.  

2. Your Attorney Doesn’t Know What He or She Is Doing. Even if you were referred to your attorney by a friend or if they are an acquaintance, the relationship is a business one. You have to look out for yourself and make sure that you are being represented by someone who is competent to represent you in this type of case.  Signs to look for:

  • Does your attorney seem to know the system?

Can he or she give you an overview of each step or hearing in your case and what will take place?

  • Does your attorney appear confident?  

Trust your instincts about the level of confidence your attorney displays.   Confidence doesn’t equal competence, but it is one indicator of whether this is your attorney’s first case of this type or 10000th.

  • Does your attorney answer questions?

If your attorney is knowledgeable, he or she will not shy away from questions, but rather, encourage you to ask about anything you don’t know or understand.

Does your attorney know the people?  

Does your attorney seem familiar with other attorneys, court staff, counselors, etc. Professional affiliations are another clue to experience.

3. You can’t Afford Your Attorney. This is a tricky one because the value you get from an attorney is difficult to quantify.  Any attorney is going to be a strain on your budget because divorce, adoption, criminal defense, and so forth are expenses that are unusual and will seem high.  So, the financial discomfort of any attorney is a given and you want someone who is good, which doesn’t come free.  However, some attorneys are better salesmen than lawyers.  Some bill for things that may not be necessary.  Here are some things to look for when deciding if the cost is prohibitive:

  • Are you comfortable with the billing approach?  Would you prefer a flat fee for your case?  Do you prefer hourly?
  • Do you understand the fees and do you understand how to maximize your value? For example, if your attorney bills you a flat fee for every email they read from you, then you may want to consolidate all questions into a short email.  As another example, is your attorney “chatty” such that a phone call will cost you a lot more than email exchanges or is your attorney a bit of a slow writer, such that a call will resolve issues faster than email.  
  • At the end of the day, do you feel like you are getting the full value out of your representation?

Your decision on legal representation should not be taken lightly, as the outcome of your case will impact your life for years to come.  There is no easy answer to whether you should make a change, but the factors to be considered certainly include whether your counsel is giving you the attention you deserve, whether they are competent to represent you in this type of case, and whether you will be able to pay the bill when it’s all said and done.

What Makes the Law Offices of David Knecht Different From Other Vacaville Lawyers

If you are looking for a firm that understands the legal system in Vacaville and the surrounding areas, who is committed to our clients’ success, who has the experience and knowledge to represent you effectively and vigorously, then look no further than the Law Offices of David Knecht.   We have a focused practice to serve you in family law, criminal defense or estate planning, and we have a track record of successful outcomes for our clients.  Please learn more about the services we can offer you:

  1. Vacaville Is Home.  Our office is located in the heart of Vacaville at 500 Main. We serve clients in Vacaville, Fairfield, Dixon, Suisun City, Winters and the Solano County Superior Courts. We are familiar with the law enforcement agencies, judges, and legal community in this area.  We understand the system and will help you navigate it wisely.
  2. We Are Committed to the Long-Term Satisfaction of Our Clients.  Since this is our home, we are not just looking for a quick buck, but we are committed to the long-term satisfaction of our clients and to building the community with excellent legal representation of each individual one. Mr. Knecht was born and raised in California, and he has been serving and protecting Californian’s for over 30 years.   He worked as a police officer and detective in Fullerton, Santa Rosa and Vacaville for over 13 years.  He has continued the tradition of service in his legal practice, focusing on family, wills and trusts, probate and trust administration for over a decade.
  3. Experience, experience, and more experience.   Mr. Knecht has extensive legal experience to represent you with confidence in all the roles that an attorney plays as an advisor, advocate, negotiator, and litigator.  Having been a police officer, a law clerk for judges, and for many years a partner in his own firm, he has represented thousands of clients in estate planning, family law, trust and will litigation, criminal defense, restraining orders and other matters.  He has been the recipient of many awards, achievements and memberships, including the Distinguished Service Award from the City of Santa Rosa for leadership and sustained excellence and admission into the Member of Barristers for the Solano County Criminal Defense Bar Association.
  4. Focused Practice.  At the Law Offices of David Knecht, we don’t try to be jack of all trades, but master of none.  We have focused our practice and honed our experience to understand and serve clients in the specific areas of family law, wills and trusts, probate and trust administration.  
  5. Our Results Speak for Themselves.  Mr. Knecht has had a long history of obtaining successful outcomes for his clients.  Just a few of the past achievements include a family law trial where Mr. Knecht’s client was awarded retroactive child support and over $50,000 in attorney’s fees, a DUI where the charge was reduced to a Wet Reckless with no license suspension, and a Felony Assault Case where the crimes were reduced to a misdemeanor.  While the facts of each case are unique and no one can guarantee the results, the track record of the Law Offices of David Knecht show a consistent pattern of passion, hard work, expertise and diligence in providing legal representation.

 

 

 

3 Ways to Be the Perfect Criminal Defendant

Help me, help you.”  It’s the famous line from Jerry Maguire, and it applies to anyone facing criminal charges and their attorney.  How can you help your attorney help you?  

1. Communicate.  Good communication is key to helping your attorney help you.  It comes into play throughout your case.

  • Phone/Email/In Person.  Find out how your attorney prefers to consult with you, whether it’s email, phone or in person.  Be available.  Respond to messages promptly.  Don’t underestimate the importance of following up.
  • Be Clear.  Try to organize yourself so that your story is consistent and organized.  This will help your attorney present your case and will help you be believable in the very unlikely event you end up on the witness stand.  When you communicate with your attorney about the facts, try to have the dates handy.  Remember details.  Think through step by step what happened.  
  • Be Assertive.  It’s important to communicate with your counsel about your desired outcome.  For example, if you want to fight the case, then let your attorney know.  If you would prefer to enter a plea, then help him not only understand you preference, but also the details, such as if you want to do your jail time on a specific weekend, or if you need payments for your fines, or if you prefer a certain type of counseling, etc.  Your attorney may be able to ask the judge for special accommodations, but only if he or she knows what to ask for.  

2. Be Levelheaded.  Your behavior on and off the “court” can make or break your case, so be aware of how you are presenting yourself.

  • Be Collected.  Nothing can fire you up more than an unjust cause, so it makes perfect sense that you may get angry or frustrated when speaking about what happened.  Anger or frustration directed to your attorney is misdirected will only get in the way of their vigorous representation to help you.  Be assertive in telling your attorney what you want or need, but do not be aggressive with the person who is on your side.  
  • Assume the Judge or Court Staff Are Watching Anytime You Are in the Vicinity of Court.  Another aspect of being level headed is behaving as if you are always being observed when you are on the premises of the Court.  The worst thing you can do for your case is to blow up with one of the Judge’s staff, as this will often be reported back to the Judge.  Judges are human and may hold your behavior against you.  Additionally, make sure that you are in compliance with all restrictions when going to Court.  For example, if your license has been revoked, do not drive to the courthouse.  If you are prohibited from contacting a certain person, do not go with them in the same vehicle to the Court.  

 

  • Be Honest with Your Attorney.  Your attorney may or may not want to know if you believe you are guilty of the offense, but your counsel needs to know any information that is likely to be in any records, in witness testimony, etc.  

 

  • Don’t Hang Your Attorney Out to Dry.  Surprises are not welcomed by most criminal defense attorneys.  If you know about a witness, or a test result, or a piece of evidence such as a text, let your attorney know.  Some defendants are embarrassed to tell their attorney that they did something that wasn’t the smartest, such as an admission to an officer or a confession to a friend.  Your attorney is a professional and only has your best interest in mind.

 

With great communication, staying level-headed, and being honest with your attorney about adverse facts, you can help your attorney help you as much as possible.

 

Vacaville Legal Problems?  How David Knecht Law Can Help with Criminal Defense

Are you looking for the best criminal defense attorney in Vacaville?  Do you need the best DUI attorney in Vacaville?

The seasoned attorneys and staff at the Law Office of David Knecht have the experience, knowledge and gumption to fight for you no matter how small or serious your criminal charge may be.

 

  • David Knecht was a police officer and detective for over 13 years before becoming a lawyer, so he knows the system inside and out.
  • At David Knecht law we take the time to thoroughly analyze your case:  
  • to understand who you are, including your personal situation , past history, physical condition and every other factor that my help us to prepare your defense
  • to listen to what were the circumstances of the arrest, to analyze what was said and done, and look for weaknesses in the case against you
  • to discuss the police report, the police questions, the tests or procedures that may have been performed.
  • At David Knecht law, we have had successful outcomes in representing clients in a variety of type of cases
  • Looking for an attorney in Vacaville to represent you for a theft or fraud charge?  Mr. Knecht has represented clients accused of identity theft, possession of stolen property, fraudulent use of credit cards, grand theft, petty theft, auto theft, embezzlement and more.  You can trust that he has experience.
  • Looking for an attorney in Vacaville to represent you for assault and battery? Whether you are looking at assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence, robbery, gun crimes, etc., Mr. Knecht will represent you with knowledge and confidence.  
  • Looking for an attorney in Vacaville to represent you for drug offenses?  Whether you are facing illegal possession or sale of cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, prescription drugs, Mr. Knecht understands these charges and how to defend them.
  • Looking for an attorney in Vacaville to represent you for sex offenses? Mr. Knecht’s experience working child and adult sexual assault cases gives him unique insight into these offenses and how to assist clients in seeking reduced or dismissed charges.   

 

Whether you are looking for an attorney to assist you in defending theft, fraud, assault and battery, possession of drugs, sale of drugs, DUI, or some other crime, look no further than David Knecht Law.

 

3 Reasons Smart People Hire a Lawyer After Getting a Criminal Charge

A criminal charge is likely to affect both your freedom and your bank account.  You may be aware that jail time is a possibility, but do you know how much jail time is common for your offense?  Do you know the fines typically involved?  Can you anticipate what counseling or classes might be involved?  

One thing you may not know is that even attorneys typically don’t represent themselves in criminal cases.  There is value in having someone else look at the facts and represent your interests. This article discusses why smart people hire a lawyer to represent them in a criminal case and how to best utilize your lawyer to defend you.

  1. Evidentiary Defenses.  If you are thinking that you are guilty because you did the thing that you are accused of, then you aren’t thinking like a lawyer.  Attorneys know that it is the government’s (city/county/etc.) burden to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  Just because you did something doesn’t mean that the other side can prove it.  Furthermore, you have a right to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure.  How this translates to your criminal charge is that the police have to use legal means to stop you and search you.  If they fail to stop or search you properly, then the evidence that they find can’t be used against you.  At attorney knows these rules and can assist you with evidentiary defenses.  
  2. Plea Bargain.  If you are planning to enter a guilty plea, an attorney can help you get a fair plea bargain.  A lawyer who regularly practices criminal law in your jurisdiction will know what to ask the prosecutor for and what the best approach for that particular prosecutor is.  Often, jurisdictions have standard plea bargains, so you will want to be represented by someone who knows what those are and can ask for at least that bargain or better.
  3. Confidence.  Hiring an attorney will give you confidence and prepare you for what will happen.  The legal system is complicated, and you will benefit from having an experienced guide to help you navigate the system.  Your attorney will know what needs to be done and how to do it.  He or she will stand by you if you enter a plea or face the court to receive a sentence.  Your attorney can speak to the Court on your behalf, so that the right things are said.   

Evidentiary defenses, plea bargaining, and imbuing you with confidence are just a few areas where an attorney can provide value.  Be sure to ask your attorney questions, be proactive in assisting your attorney to develop a strong defense for you, and follow the advice of your counsel.  

Looking for the Right Vacaville Attorney?  3 Reasons to Give Us a Call

At the Law Offices of David W. Knecht, we focus our practice on Family Law (including Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support), Criminal Law (including Juvenile Court, DUI), and Estate Planning (including Wills, Living Trusts, Durable Powers of Attorney, and Advance Health Care Directives).  Why choose us for your most important legal needs?

1. Your family is important to us. Born and raised in California, David. W. Knecht has been serving and protecting Californian’s for over thirty years. He is invested in the community and cares about each individual client. You will not be lost in the hands of a brand new associate or paralegal staff. You can expect a meeting with an experienced attorney personally to discuss the possible outcomes of your case. In developing legal strategy, we are mindful of offering cost-effective legal solutions. We maintain close communication with clients concerning legal expensive and counsel clients on less costly alternative means. Our mission is clear:  fight for you, be available to you, seek the most efficient course of action, and serve you.                                                                                                                              

2. We know the system. Mr. Knecht has a background that gives him unique insight into the legal system.  

  • We know the law enforcement system:  Mr. Knecht worked as a police officer and detective for the cities of Fullerton, Santa Rosa and Vacaville for 13 years.  
  • We know the judicial system: While still in law school, Mr. Knecht worked as a law clerk for attorney Robert C. Fracchia in Vacaville and attorney Daniel J. Healy in Vallejo. Both Judge Fracchia and Judge Healy are now sitting judges in the Solano County Superior Court. After graduating from law school and passing the bar exam, Mr. Knecht worked for attorney E. Bradley Nelson in Vacaville. Judge Nelson is now a sitting judge in the Solano County Superior Court.
  • We know the legal system. Mr. Knecht has been in practice for over 10 years, and has represented thousands of clients in estate planning, family law, trust and will litigation, criminal defense, restraining orders, and other matters since opening his own office in Vacaville, California in 2007.

3. Experience matters.  You’ll want an attorney who has the experience to answer your questions and guide you to a favorable outcome:

  • Family Law. We understand the stress that family law matters can place on your loved ones and finances. We conduct ourselves professionally to minimize conflict, we seek solutions that are in the best interest of the children, and we help our clients set appropriate but firm boundaries. We remain focused on practical matters and advise you based on our experience of helping hundreds of other families.
  • Criminal Law. Mr. Knecht defends juveniles and adults accused in the Solano County, Napa County, and Yolo County Superior Courts of all felony, misdemeanor, DUI and other criminal offenses. He has represented over 400 criminal defendants in the last three years alone. He has an excellent record of success and is focused on getting the results you need. You can depend on him to fight for you every step of the way.
  • Estate Planning. We understand that you’ve worked a lifetime to acquire wealth and protecting and preserving your assets is important for you and your family. Mr. Knecht helps trustees and executors administer trusts and probates, and he will spend time with you explaining the process and tasks involved in successfully administering a trust or probate estate. For wills and revocable trusts, Mr. Knecht will meet with you to discuss your situation and whether or not a revocable or living trust is right for you to achieve goals including probate avoidance, federal estate tax minimization, and greater flexibility in creating distribution plans for specific beneficiaries.   

Give us a call today to find out how we can help you with your divorce, DUI, estate planning, or other legal needs.  We will listen to you, answer your questions, and provide high quality, experienced representation for your case.