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John Louis Machado

John Machado’s Answers

62 total


  • Advice from criminal defense attorneys

    This is more of a personal POV question than a legal one. In short, I am in my last year of undergraduate studies and have considered law school as a career path. If I were to choose law school, I'd likely become a criminal defense lawyer because ...

    John’s Answer

    Nate, you seem like a very thoughtful and astute individual and I wish you the very best. You ask several questions but I can see that you are taking this decision seriously, so I would be happy to help you. I have a solid moral compass myself (I am very active in my church community) and I assure you that being a criminal defense attorney and having a moral compass are mutually exclusive. So let me try and address your concerns: (1) We all have our personal feelings about things, and of course there are times when your may or may not have a feeling about what your client is alleged to have done. Generally, you will find that clients, like all other people, have their good and bad points. There are times when you may find their actions to be justified, but wrong under the law (i.e., a guy who starts a bar fight over his girlfriend(; the product of a larger problem (i.e., the guy who steals from the car to support his drug habit); or even just plain "knuckleheads" who did something without thinking of the consequences of their actions. Either way, you can have these feelings about your client and/or his actions and still provide him with effective legal representation. When you need to defend them in trial, you are serving the role of being the champion for someone against the justice system. You are looking out for them to be treated fairly and protecting their rights. As long as you understand that is your role, and you do your best to fulfill that, you can go to bed without feeling your moral compass is being challenged. (2) When I started my criminal law practice, it was lots of "on the job training". The law and books can help, but the true experience was being in the courtroom. As time passed I went from being nervous appearing before the judge to feeling very comfortable. Like any skill, it is challenging to begin with, but gets better as time progresses. What I would suggest is to try and get some experience by interning or clerking to give you a sense of what you will experience first. (3) I am not a woman, but I will tell you that the biggest question you will get at family reunions is :How can you defend those people?" I usually explain my role in the system as I did in answer to question 1 and they seem to accept that as an answer. (4) There is always some level of Monday morning quarterbacking that you do in cases, particularly those that don't go your way. Some are harder to forget than others, and some always stick with you. However, at the end of the day, if you can honestly say that you did your best, you will eventually be able to move on (though not entirely forget) those cases.

    Finally, let me just add that criminal defense can be very rewarding and morally fulfilling as well. There is nothing better than winning a case when you believe that the system had abused your client, or working out a plea whereby you are able to minimize or avoid jail time for your client so that he can get the drug or mental health treatment he or she truly needs. It's those types of cases that make you feel like you are doing work for the greater good and make it all worthwhile. Nate, good luck to you, and I hope you decide to follow on your desire to study criminal law. I agree that criminal law is far from boring. In my experience, it is one of those areas of the law that people who practice it actually enjoy. Plus, you get great stories to share with your friends and family - it's one of the perks!

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  • I received a notice of unpaid toll violations from the Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority.

    Violation date is noted as 10/19/2012. We are not residents of GA. What is the statute of limitations with this type of violation? Are we still responsible for paying this almost 3 years later?

    John’s Answer

    You do not mention how you received this notification. If it is via email, you may have been the subject of an attempted "phishing" scam, where computer hackers attempt to get your personal information by having you provide your personal details and/or credit card numbers in response to an alleged violation. I personally receive one or two of these "phishing" emails a week (from EZ-Pass, which is used in the DC area). The website for the GA State Road and Tollway Authority have put out a notification about it: you can find it here http://www.peachpass.com/uploads/Phishing_Scam_Alert_Tolling_Agencies_FINAL.pdf
    It also has a contact number on the press release, so you may want to follow up by calling them on the listed number to see if it is legitimate. Good luck!

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  • Do I need to obtain legal counsel for traffic violation in VA

    Was given a ticket stating I was driving 85 mph in a 60 mph zone in VA but according to my speedometer I was driving between 60-65 mph and there was a black SUV that was ahead of me when passing the police vehicle

    John’s Answer

    Mr. Rist's answer is correct: you should have an attorney when facing a charge like this in Virginia. The other benefit in doing so is that it provides an intermediary between you and the prosecutor who can help negotiate on your behalf and lets you avoid having to deal directly with the prosecutor. In my experience, when a prosecutor deals directly with a citizen (particularly if the police officer is right there to back the prosecutor up), there is more likely to be a "take it or leave it" attitude as far as trying to find a way to resolve the case. Attorneys are more likely (and probably because of experience, more able) to reach some sort of resolution that will be satisfying to both sides. An attorney would also be able to determine what arguments are legitimate and have a chance of helping your case. Good luck!

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  • I have to pay 125$ court fines. From last year. I got arrested and am out on bond. I failed to pay I fotgot.

    I have to pay 125$ court fines. From last year. I got arrested for not paying the court fees and am out on bond. I failed to pay I forgot. So I have to go to court. I was supposedly due to pay last year somewhere in November or September but sin...

    John’s Answer

    It really depends on what the judge decides to do. Your best bet is to show you have difficulties financially. However, what I would suggest is that you make some payment to the balance to show you are making some effort Taking some effort, no matter how small, will put you in a better situation before the judge. Some judges are much less lenient than others when it comes to payments. Whatever you can do to show hardship and that you're not trying to ignore the court is your best bet. Good luck.

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  • Can a witness be discredited in Virginia if they have previous conviction for crimes such as thief and loitering?

    I've read that this applies in certain states is Virginia one of them?

    John’s Answer

    Yes, a person can be discredited, or "impeached" on the witness stand based upon a felony conviction involving dishonesty or false statement (so depending on the charges, theft probably is, but loitering probably isn't). That just means that it MAY be used to say that they are not telling the truth - it doesn't mean that they are not to be believed. In other words, maybe you should believe them, maybe you shouldn't. If the conviction is 10 years or older, then it's a judgment call by the judge.

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  • Can I get a3rd postponed or a jury trail to have more time to come up with money

    I got to court today with out a lawyer for the 3rd time trying to get more time I got a lawyer but to late for court today what should I do

    John’s Answer

    It's entirely up to the judge. The more times that you come back, the less likely it will be that the judge will be OK with it, though. What I have seen is that the more efforts you have made as far as trying to find an attorney (and especially if have documentation to support it), the more likely the judge will be willing to work with you. If you originally did not qualify for a court appointed attorney but your job or financial situation has changed since you first got arrested, you should mention that to the judge. If that is the case, the judge could send you to be "reinterviewed" to see if you now qualify for a court appointed attorney. Regardless, don't press your luck, or you might see the judge not continue the case any further.

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  • Authority of a Washington DC DOT officer to pull me over?

    I received a seat belt regulation violation, (T173), from a DC Department of Transportation officer. Do these DOT Officer's have the authority to detain me or pull me over and ask for license and registration? What consequences would I face if I...

    John’s Answer

    I would agree with Mr. Bruckheim. The District of Columbia has many different law enforcement authorities. Whether they CAN stop you is usually different upon whether they do stop you. Generally, officers are given quite expansive control (jurisdiction) over where they can act upon There are probably internal procedures in place about whether they can effectuate the arrest or not, should it become necessary. However, that does not sound like it was what happened.

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  • Hello, my husband have a walk in bench warrant back in 2003, he never appeared and went back to his home country what can he do?

    Hello, my husband have a walk in bench warrant back in 2003, he never appeared and went back to his home country,he was charged in dc with assault with a knife, he was defending himself while attacked by this individual, what can he do to fix this...

    John’s Answer

    It might be worth your while to check to see if the bench warrant has been quashed and/or the case has been dismissed. Cases in Washington DC are often purged. If this is a 2003 case, it may have happened, particularly if it is a small offense.

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  • Should I pre-disclose my dismissed misdemeanor charge prior to a background check?

    I have 2 counts of misdemeanor assault for which the charges were dismissed through successful completion of diversion. I answered all pre-employment questions truthfully and now have an offer; however, should I still disclose this arrest/charge...

    John’s Answer

    Clearly you want to be honest and truthfully answer all questions. And as the other attorneys have said, you don't want to necessarily disclose it if not asked. However, there are several different diversion programs in Washington, DC. Some of them require some admission on your level, but many of them do not. What I would suggest you do is that you obtain the documents in your case, including the diversion agreement, so you can be prepared to respond to it and justify anything should it come back on a background check, particularly if it has language indicating there was no admission of guilt, but rather it was a "deferred prosecution". This way you can justify any action (or inaction) on your part. It's not too difficult to get, and you can get either an attorney to get them for you or you can get it yourself. Good luck on the new job!

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  • Will I get tested again? is DPA really one and done? What happens if i test positive on my next court date?

    got caught with marijuana possesion in washington DC. I have no criminal history so I am eligible for deferred prosecution agreement. I heard that DPA was one an done drug testing and i tested negative at arraignment court. Yesterday my cousin tri...

    John’s Answer

    Mr. Bruckheim is correct in his response. When a person tests negative in their initial appearance before the court, that is usually sufficient and no further testing is necessary. The only thing that I would add is that you said that your friends "were caught with weed too". If they are your codefendants in your case, that could complicate your entry into a deferred prosecution agreement. While you probably not need to test again, you should make a point of not using in the future, as you might end up being in for a longer period of time, and a judge might require another screening. One last thing: do not get in the mindset of thinking that you can use now, since "I am going to test positive anyway." Let it get out of your system, and stay clean until you know for certain the direction the case is going.

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