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Actions of bad public defending reversible? Last of the day and practically pled guilty to DUI.

Seattle, WA |

Speeding ticket. 45 in a 30 on a new motorcycle (2x bigger than previous). Did not blow. Did not get speeding ticket at scene. And have paid ticket since. 1st court date yesterday. Arrived early and was taken at the very end of the day. Prosecutor asked for 'ankle bracelet' and the PD said ok and that was that! I was not asked a thing and feel this is excessive and way off base. It was as though she pled guilty without asking - just caved. There was a prior over 15 years ago and have been a model citizen since... is there any recourse before 'the bracelet' gets put on on Monday?

Attorney Answers 6

  1. You can't say "model citizen" because of pending and prior. Two strikes makes for a bracelet.

  2. With all due respect, if you are unhappy with the legal representation provided to you at taxpayer expense, I suggest you retain a private attorney. If a new motorcycle (2x bigger than previous) is affordable, representation in court should be also.

    Another option is to speak directly to your PD and express your concerns in a thoughtful and polite manner. Public defenders are often excellent attorneys very familiar with the courts and DA's offices they deal with. They also tend to be underpaid and overworked. The services they provide would cost defendants hundreds, or thousands, of dollars. They deserve credit and respect for the work they do.

    Christopher I. Simser, Sr.
    Anelli Xavier
    Syracuse - Albany - Rochester - Buffalo

  3. While there is no guarantee that it will change the outcome, your best bet at this point is to hire a locally experienced private DUI attorney. They will certainly have more time to devote to you and your case. Most will offer a free consultation, and some will charge fair prices with reasonable payment plans. Good luck.

    Jasen Nielsen

  4. The only thing that concerned me in your info above was that you didn't understand what was happening. If you don't understand just ask the Judge for more time to talk with your attorney before the hearing is completed. Every Judge will give you some moments alone with your attorney to make sure you are understanding the proceedings and there is no reason for you and your attorney to talk about sensitive issues in front of the entire court. The rest of what is above is discretionary decisions with the Judge and maybe this Judge put on the bracelet instead of putting you in jail and setting a bail pending the outcome of the case, who know?? Talk to your attorney. If you don't want to talk to your attorney then hire a new one.

  5. I assume this was Seattle Municipal. There are certain judges that almost always order an alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet on certain facts. Is it right? I would argue that this is excessive in most case, but then I'm not the judge that will end up on the news if I release the wrong person without a bracelet and they go kill someone. This is the political reality of being charged with DUI in a court that is very aggressive in DUI cases.

    You can have your attorney readdress this with the court if you think you have relevant information that the judge did not know at the initial hearing. Typically, the judge will want to see an alcohol evaluation and start of treatment if recommended prior to rescinding this condition. So the answer to your question is: yes, but it's very unlikely.

    One of the biggest differences between a private attorney and a public defender is that your private attorney will have time to listen to your concerns, explain the process and your options to you and help you formulate a plan that will minimize the chances of such restrictive conditions..

  6. PD probably said ok to EHM w/ sobriety monitor or SCRAM (ankle bracelet) because the alternative is often bail + SCRAM, in which case they could book you from the courtroom and take you right to jail, then let you post the bail later. If it was excessive and way off base, the judge would not have ordered it, regardless of what your PD agreed to. Blame the judge (or yourself), not the PD. With a 2nd DUI charge, you pose a danger to the community, and the judge and prosecutor have an obligation to prevent you from drinking and driving while the case is pending. The fact that you paid the speeding ticket is not relevant, nor is the fact that you arrived early and were taken last. You have to understand what has been happening in the area lately- several people have recently been killed by drunk drivers with prior DUIs. This is causing some courts to treat people with multiple DUIs more harshly.

    The only recourse is to go back in front of the judge and ask him/her to reconsider, but the judge will likely not let you off SCRAM unless you are in a alcohol treatment program. Get the alcohol evaluation done and get into treatment by your next court date.

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