Articles Tagged with Criminal Defense

Owner and founding attorney, Joseph Scrofano discusses how the firm bills clients with flat fees. When you are under investigation or facing a criminal charge, uncertainty is everywhere. Its uncertain whether you may go to jail or lose your license or be put on probation. At Scrofano Law PC, whether it’s a DUI case or a serious felony, we charge flat fee billing. In a case evaluation, each attorney will go over the facts of your case and determine a fee based on a number of variables, including, among other things, the complexity of the case and the likelihood the case will go to trial.

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This post is the final part in a three part series that answers frequently asked questions for folks arrested for DUI and DWI in the District of Columbia.

What are the chances this case will just get dropped?

Unfortunately, the chances that the DC Attorney General’s Office will drop a DC DUI or DWI is basically zero.  As I have previously stated, the DC OAG treats DUI cases like murder cases.  Whether its the fact that the local government gets more federal money the more DUI convictions they get or because they have such limited jurisdiction to prosecute crimes in DC, I don’t know.  But I can tell you they will not just drop it.  Accordingly, its important you hire an experience DC DUI attorney who will fight to protect your rights.

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This blog is the second post in a two part series that sets out to answer some of the frequently asked questions for DC DUI arrests.

What will happen to my driver’s license if I am arrested for DUI or DWI in DC?

The answer to this questions depends on whether you have a DC driver’s license or an out of state license.  First and foremost, if you have a DC driver’s license and you get arrested for DUI or DWI, you can lose your license just for the arrest.  Its important to request a hearing with the DC Department of Motor Vehicles (or “DMV”) within ten business days of your arrest.  Doing that will stop the license suspension from taking effect.  It will then be up to a hearing examiner at DMV to decide whether to suspend the license or not based on the testimony of the arresting officer.  At the very least, requesting the hearing will at least postpone the license suspension.  If convicted for DUI, you can lose your DC license for six months to one year.

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file291260895708In August of 2012, the District of Columbia City Council amended the city’s DUI laws to include increased maximum penalties, increased mandatory minimums, and a whole host of other changes. One important change that’s not talked about a lot is the change to the city’s hit and run laws. Most people think if you are involved in an accident its okay just to leave a note with your information (if you hit a parked car by accident) or to exchange information on the scene. While hit and run charges in DC are misdemeanors, they can lead to negative consequences.

What do DC hit and run laws require?

DC’s laws require that when you are a party to an accident, you must not only stop and exchange information but also call the police and wait for the police to arrive on scene. That means if you stop and exchange information, that is not enough. You could exchange insurance information, leave the scene, and later be charged with leaving after colliding, which is a misdemeanor traffic offense that carries a maximum penalty of 90 days and/or a $500.00 fine (if property damage occurs) or 180 days and/or a $1,000.00 fine (if personal injury occurs).

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green-alcohol-cocktail-1422791-mThis blog is the third and final part in a three part series discussing the  SFST’s that officers administer during DC DUI traffic investigations.  The first part dealt with the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (or “HGN”), which is the follow the pen test.  The second part discussed the Walk and Turn Test, which is the walk the line test.  This part discusses the One Leg Stand Test.

During the One Leg Stand Test, the police officer will instruct the person suspected of driving under the influence to hold one leg six inches above the ground and count aloud.  The officer will instruct the person to count in the thousands (i.e. “one thousand one, one thousand two, etc.”).  The counting will go for thirty seconds but the officer will not inform the person how long to count in advance.  Like with the HGN and Walk and Turn, the officer looks for specific cues of impairment.  For the One Leg Stand Test, the four cues are:

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This blog is the second part of a three part series discussing the standardized field sobriety tests police officers will administer as part of a DC DUI and DWI traffic stop.  The first part discussed the horizontal gaze nystagmus test (or “HGN”).  This part discusses the second test, which is the walk and turn test (“WAT”).

The “WAT” test requires that you walk nine steps heel to toe along a straight line, pivot three steps to turn, and then walk nine steps back heel to toe.  Police officers that NHTSA has certified to administer SFST’s look for eight cues of impairment during this test.  Like with the HGN test, the officers do not tell you what the cues are and they are the sole judge of whether you pass or fail the test.

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My first job out of law school was a clerkship for Judge Natalia Combs Greene in the DC Superior Court.  I think most young lawyers who clerk immediately out of law school have good experiences and learn a lot.  I think that I personally had a special experience clerking for Judge Combs Greene.  Throughout my two years with her, she treated me like an equal.  She valued my opinion even when I strenuously disagreed with her.  In fact, I think she liked it when I disagreed because it helped her work through difficult decisions to argue both sides of a particular issue.  She taught me immeasurable lessons about trial advocacy, the court system, and lawyering.  Without having clerked for her specifically, I would have never had the courage to start Scrofano Law at such a young age.

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