An ignition interlock device is a type of instrument, installed in vehicles, which you must blow into prior to starting your vehicle. If your breath alcohol content or BAC is over .025, then you will be unable to start your vehicle, until the level reaches this amount. These devices are installed in peoples cars who have been convicted of certain crimes adherent to ignition interlock laws in Washington State.
In order to reinstate your drivers license after conviction of certain driving offenses, you must have this device installed in your automobile. Also, you must adhere to all ignition interlock laws or the sentence could be extended, or revoked and you may end up having to serve time in prison. The types of convictions that require ignition interlock devices include any type of conviction, which involves an alcohol or substance abuse related DUI or in cases of physical control of a motor vehicle. These instruments will also be required in some convictions of reckless and negligent driving, which is determined by the ignition interlock laws in Washington State.
An attorney who specializes in ignition interlock laws may help you in understanding the different punishments for the conviction you receive. For example, if you are convicted of reckless or negligent driving the ignition interlock laws in Washington State require you have the device in your vehicle for at least six months. However, if you are convicted or a DUI or Physical Control of a vehicle the sentence can be as follows in Washington State: for a first offense, at least one year of using an IID, second offense is at least five years and for three or more offenses, the sentence can be 10 years or more.
Having the IID Removed
In order to be eligible to have the IID removed from your vehicle, you must meet certain requirements for a period of at least four months. If you break any of these requirements then you will not be eligible to have it removed. The following acts can not be committed:
• Have a breath alcohol content of .04 and tried to start your vehicle
• Did not adhere to the maintenance or repair schedule for the device
• Did not take or did not pass a required test
An Attorneys Role in IID Cases
Prior to having an ignition interlock device installed in your car, you should consult with your attorney. They can help you understand the pros and cons of having this instrument in your vehicle. By having an IID installed the convicted party gives up certain rights. For example, once you install this instrument, you can not challenge any administrative action taken against you by the Department of Licensing. This includes any current and future actions they may take against you. Also, by giving up this right, you may be required to carry high-risk insurance for up to three years, which is substantially more expensive than regular insurance.
In any case where an IID is involved, you may think that being able to drive is more important than having the instrument in your car. However, always consult with your attorney to ensure you are making the best decision for your particular situation. Washington State has certain laws, which have been established to regulate the use, installation and sentence period of people who must use an IID. Adhering to these laws is essential to getting your license and life back to normal.
Being charged with a crime does not mean one is guilty. However, even if one is guilty, the desire is to seek the least amount of penalty possible. Regardless of guilt or innocence, it is the right of every person in the United States to have legal representation. There is an old saying that says, “The man who defends himself in court has a fool for a lawyer.” Though that saying has an element of humor, it is quite accurate. It is impossible for a layman to adequately navigate the mire that is our current legal system alone. One mistake could bring down a judgement of guilty or could cause the punishment for a crime one is guilty of to be much more severe.
The stress of being charged and possibly imprisoned is extreme enough. Having to pick the proper counsel to stand and speak for us in court can bring a feeling that it is hopeless to even try and fight. That could not be further from the truth. Certainly there is a system and the rules of that system must be followed. Even those who have experience with the court system are not expert in the subtleties of its ways. It takes an educated, trained and competent attorney to take on a case if there is to be a real hope of a successful defense.
A big fear that causes a lot of stress to those charged with a crime is the initial consultation with an attorney. For the defendant, it feels as if this is the end of the world. For the good criminal attorney, it is part of the job. The attorney knows that emotion accomplishes nothing. Facts are what will win the case. The defendant often feels that the attorney does not identify with the seriousness of the situation. The attorney asks questions and writes things down. At the end of the meeting there is a simple handshake and there may not be any contact for days.
Do not misinterpret the initial meeting. The attorney has been preparing before he or she even meets the potential client. What goes on behind the scenes is not readily apparent to the defendant. What the attorney needs from the client is facts and details, not emotion. That is why a good attorney will keep a client on task. The goal is to avoid any surprises and to head off any direction that a prosecutor would like to take the case. Facts and small details reveal volumes that may possibly be used when it is time to stand before the judge.
Cost is another stressor. The best attorney could only work for free for a very short time before going out of business. Costs associated with mounting an appropriate defense involve much more than just the wages of the lawyer. It takes time and other professionals to put together the best defense for the client. Every professional from paralegals to private investigators may be employed to get to the facts that can be used in defense of the client. The client who is incarcerated should recruit the assistance of trusted friends and family to help secure funds for attorney’s fees.
Another major stress point when defending a client is a perceived failure. Good attorneys have multiple avenues of approach they may pursue when defending a client. If one avenue is closed, then the effort is concentrated in another area. For example: a low bail amount will be attempted even if it is likely the judge will set bail high. It would be wrong for the attorney to just accept a high bail amount without first trying to get it lowered. However, even if it is not lowered, it is not a failure. It is a good attorney doing every single thing he or she possibly can for the client.
One must pick an attorney that a measure of trust can be placed in to see the case through to the best outcome possible. The court system is a wilderness no one should have to navigate alone. Good counsel is there for those who need it.
How to Choose the Right Criminal Defense Lawyer
After you have been charged with a crime, one of your very first steps is to begin the process of choosing the right criminal defense lawyer. This can feel like a daunting task when you are under the extreme stress of potentially facing jail or prison time. Your career, family, finances, and ultimately your freedom and perhaps your very life are at stake. Thus, it’s crucial to go through the proper steps of finding the right criminal defense lawyer for you. There are a few things that can guide you in your choice and help you find the best attorney to safeguard your freedom.
Referrals can be invaluable for finding a top-notch criminal defense lawyer. For example, if you are accused with committing a drug related crime, there is a chance that an acquaintance or friend of yours has either faced this type of charge, or knows someone that has. Ask friends and family if they have any attorney recommendations. Even if you know attorneys that don’t practice criminal defense, it is still valuable to ask if they have any recommendations.
Emphasis in Specific Types of Law
Choosing an attorney that has the experience to represent your particular crime or pending matter is most of utmost importance. It goes without saying that you should always go with an attorney that emphasizes in criminal defense. Furthermore, it’s ideal to go with an attorney that emphasis in the partial crime that you are charged with, such as white collar crimes.
To find out this information, contact at least two to three lawyers or law firms to investigate whether or not they are the right fit. Ask about some of the cases and trials that they have handled, especially ones that are similar to your case. This is one way to ascertain whether or not they have the expertise to represent you. Ask questions about the percentage of relevant criminal cases that they have worked on, as well as how many of them have resulted in trials.
Another thing to consider is skill of an attorney at winning jury trials and overall trial experience. If your case to goes to trial, it’s important to find out if the lawyer not only has had success at winning jury trials in general, but in particular when people have been charged with crimes similar to the one or ones that you have been charged with. This is just one way to ascertain his skill and expertise.
For most people, the cost of criminal defense is a factor when making a decision about the right attorney to choose. Many skilled criminal defense lawyers will offer a free consultation. Always take advantage of that. It’s crucial that you choose a lawyer or firm that you can afford for the duration of your case. However, keep in mind that you should not make the choice of criminal defense lawyer on price alone. A competent lawyer is most important and cost should be secondary if at all possible.
During the consultation, ask about whether the case is likely to be billed hourly or on a flat fee basis. He can ideally provide some sort of estimate but it really depends on factors that he may not be able to predict. Try and get an idea as to how difficult the case will be, the likelihood of a plea bargain, and the cost of similar trials. Also don’t forget to get an idea as to the initial fee that he or she charges.
Finding the right attorney to represent in this difficult time will bring you incredible peace of mind. It’s crucial that the attorney is not only experienced in criminal defense, and that you are able afford his representation, but you must also be able to trust him with your life. As you will be working closely with the attorney, you must be able to rely on his seasoned legal advice and expertise. Protecting your freedom and livelihood is worth taking the time and right steps to find the best attorney to represent you.