There are a lot of important qualities to look for when hiring a criminal defense lawyer. You want an attorney who truly cares about their clients. Its important for a criminal defense lawyer to have a strong and aggressive personality. Trust me, the government will literally run you over in a criminal case and not think twice about it if you let it. You absolutely want someone who is strong and willing to fight.
However, in my opinion, the most important thing to look for is an attorney who will be completely honest with his clients. For example, in the District of Columbia Superior Court almost all first offenders can get probation in DUI cases so long as nothing in the arrest triggers mandatory minimum jail time (for example, a breath score above .20 triggers mandatory minimum jail). If you walk into a DC DUI lawyer’s office having blown a .14 as a first offender with no other criminal history, no car accident, or other aggravating circumstances and he or she tells you that you could be facing serious jail time, walk out.
Its that simple: walk out. That DC criminal defense attorney uses knowledge of the criminal justice system to manipulate clients. What do I mean by that? If you are a first-offender and get arrested, you have absolutely no idea what to expect. You go to a lawyer expecting to find out what could happen to you. You want to know what the worst case scenario is, what the best case scenario, even what are some of the middle case scenarios. An honest DC DUI lawyer will tell you straight up. In this hypo, the likely worst case is you get convicted, one year supervised probation, alcohol classes, fines, loss of license, and higher insurance premiums—not significant jail time.
Why would a lawyer tell you something different than the truth? Think about it. You go to the lawyer and ask what will happen. You are a first-offender almost guaranteed probation in the worst case scenario. However, the unscrupulous DC defense lawyer tells you: if convicted, you could face serious jail time. On its face, that is a somewhat true statement. First time DUI offenses carry a maximum penalty in DC of 180 days in jail. You always could face jail because the legal maximum is 180 days. Anyone who practices regularly in DC Superior Court, however, knows that the government almost always offers plea offers of probation for first time DUI offenders and judges almost always give probation as a sentence (again, unless the facts of your case trigger mandatory minimum jail time).
So, why would the unscrupulous defense lawyer tell you otherwise? Because when he comes back and says “hey, I got you a plea offer for probation,” you’ll think that lawyer is a hero. Meanwhile, after you plead guilty, the lawyer can move on to the next client and the next fee.
At Scrofano Law PC, we take a much different approach. We fight for every client to achieve better results. We tell clients exactly what to expect. We truthfully advise them of what we think the likely outcomes are and give advice based on what’s best for the client—not what’s best for the firm’s bottom line.
If you are arrested for a DC DUI or other DC criminal offense, contact Scrofano Law PC today for a full, complete, and honest consultation.