Types of Criminal Lawyers

First of all, know that there is a difference between lawyers and attorneys. Anyone who finished law school can be referred to a lawyer, even if they haven’t passed the bar. On the other hand, those who have passed the bar are called attorneys but can be called as lawyers as well.

Lawyers are limited in what they can do. For starters, they cannot represent anyone in court or engage in any legal work.

There are multiple specializations in law. A few of them are business, constitutional, environmental, first amendment, healthcare, patent, and criminal law.

Criminal law deals with prosecuting and defending those people who have committed, or are accused of committing, a crime. Mostly, you can classify criminal lawyers into three broad categories: public attorneys, private attorneys, and prosecutors.

In any case, it’s important to understand which type of criminal lawyer is which in order to determine what kind of lawyer you need for your case.

Public Attorneys

The most common type of lawyer you will encounter are public attorneys. Almost every country in the world has a public defender system. It means that every person facing charges, especially ones who can’t afford to hire a lawyer, has the right to an attorney provided by the government.

Public attorneys have a bad reputation of being incompetent and unmotivated. It’s true that their performance compared to lawyers from private firms are often less stellar. However, it’s not that they are inept. The main reason is that they often have multiple clients to handle. Also, they are not allowed to turn down a client — not to mention that they are largely underpaid by the state.

Panel Attorneys

These are private lawyers that are hired by the government to satisfy the increasing demand for public lawyers. The government pays their fees and provides them to citizens who don’t have an assigned lawyer yet. In some cases, they are provided when the public lawyer assigned needs assistance.

The state or jurisdiction you live in may or may not supplement their public lawyers with panel attorneys.

US Attorneys

Do not confuse public lawyers and US attorneys. Public lawyers in the United States work on local- and state-level cases, while US attorneys generally work on federal cases. Because they work on federal cases, US attorneys primarily deal with criminals who have broken federal laws.

District Attorneys

These attorneys are often referred to as prosecutors and they mostly handle criminal cases. Their role ranges from processing accusations to going to trial. Most district attorneys are provided with assistant attorneys to help with information gathering and other tasks requiring legwork.

Private Attorneys

It’s heartbreaking to admit that getting private attorneys instead of public lawyers is the better choice for criminal cases. The biggest difference between private attorneys and public lawyers is time. Private criminal lawyers on average have two to three active cases per month, though the number of cases a private lawyer accepts may vary wildly depending on their specialization. The American Bar Association has stated that public defenders should not handle more than 150 cases per year; that equates to 12.5 active cases per month. Even so, some public defenders have almost 200 cases a year. So, if you want to hire an attorney who will really focus his time and effort on you, it’s better to get a private one.

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How a Criminal Attorney Can Help You

Being a convicted criminal can turn your life and future upside down. Sure, you’ll need to get through prison life, but your future is also an important consideration. Having a criminal record, even if you have already served your sentence, can bar you from voting, employment, housing, social benefits, traveling, and even the right to bear arms.

To prevent conviction, you need a criminal lawyer. But how exactly can they help you?

Building Your Defense

A criminal attorney can help you find out multiple ways you can defend yourself. You can be the smartest person in the world, but once you’re suspected of a crime, your movement and access to information may be limited.

A criminal attorney can be there to investigate for you. He can look for crucial witnesses that will speak up in your defense or get the sentence that the prosecuting party is handing to you reduced. He can also find documents and even cobble together video evidence to get you acquitted.

He will gather facts and stitch them together to improve your defense.

Providing Information About Laws

Ignorance of the law is not an acceptable defense — especially when you are being apprehended and tried. Is that fair? In a sense, it is. Because if you can plead not guilty whenever you disobeyed a law due to ignorance, and get away with it, then many criminals would be acquitted. After all, there is no reliable method for detecting lies and scanning minds to know if ignorance of the law is truly at fault.

So, if ignorance of the law won’t help your defense, you need someone who has comprehensive knowledge of the law to aid you. That is what a lawyer is for. That’s their job after all.

Knowledge of the laws related to your case is important if you want to get acquitted or push for better bargain pleas. Your lawyer can inform you of all the laws you need to know and use his extensive knowledge on your behalf.

Knowing Your Rights

Aside from the related laws you need to know, you also need to know about your rights as a defendant. The laws, and the due processes that come with them, can be intricate, nuanced, and tricky. One small misstep can cost you your freedom and getting a lawyer can protect you from many prosecutorial misconducts.

Remember that prosecutors can use all the tricks they know to take advantage of your ignorance in order to win a case. For example, they can coerce you to agree to an unfair bargain, even if you are innocent and your case is easily winnable.

Trial Support

Being tried is a stressful event in one’s life. Even if your case is just a small misdemeanor, it could trigger anxiety or panic attacks. A lawyer can be there to provide you with professional and emotional support while you are in a courtroom.

Lighter Sentences and Better Plea Bargains

A lawyer can help you receive a lighter sentence or get better plea bargains. He can also help you expunge your records to make sure that the charges against you will not ruin your future and will not take away your rights as a citizen.

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Why You Need to Hire a DUI Attorney

Dealing with a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) case should be simple. You get caught, deal with the paperwork, plead not guilty, and get off from the case scot-free. Or you can plead guilty if you were really smashed that day or night, plea for a lighter sentence, and do some community service.

In reality, however, DUI cases are not that simple. And the repercussions of not dealing with your DUI case seriously can instantly ruin your future. Remember that DUI is a criminal offense. The resulting punishment after a guilty verdict on your case will result in long-term problems.

First, your license can be revoked. When you are convicted, it will take you at least one to two years for you to reclaim it.

Reclaiming your license is also a lot of work. Most states do not give you the option of earning a shorter time frame for your revocation. You will not have the option to have your license reinstated until the full period of revocation has passed. Then, you will need to request a driver’s license restoration hearing. The next step is to collect all the necessary documents such as substance abuse evaluations and panel drug screenings results.

The processes may differ from state to state, but the bottom line is that you will need to go through this process and collect, learn about, and fill out all the necessary paperwork and requests yourself, because you tried to scrimp on getting a DUI lawyer and got convicted.

Aside from license revocation, your employment and promotion success rates will significantly decrease. Employers often perform background checks on applicants and employees that are up for promotion. Having a DUI on record often discourages employers from hiring or promoting people.

And it’s not just employers who perform background checks. Credit and banking institutions also do. A DUI conviction in your history can prevent you from receiving financial aid and certain bank transactions. If you are a student, you can expect that your chances of getting or maintaining a scholarship will go down the drain.

In addition to the difficulty of dealing with financial institutions and scholarship committees, you will also have a problem with your auto insurer. A DUI case significantly raises your automobile insurance rate. A car owner who drinks while driving is instantly considered a high-risk client by insurers. So, you can expect your premiums to go up when you have a DUI on your record.

The Importance of a DUI Attorney

The risk of ruining your future because of that one incident when a cop pulled you over and your breath smelled of alcohol will be reduced (or even made completely nonexistent in some cases) if you get an attorney who specializes in DUI cases.

A DUI attorney can:

  • Understand the intricacies of DUI laws in your state
  • Manage all the legal procedures involved in the case
  • Create the best defense for your case
  • Talk to connections that can help you with your trial
  • Work on a better resolution for you, such as a case dismissal or lighter sentence
  • Argue for a fair bail for you
  • Get you the best plea deal from the prosecutor
  • Guide you in the things you need to do before, during, and after the hearing

Most DUI lawyers offer free consultation, so there’s nothing to lose by meeting with them and checking them out. The right DUI attorney will help you understand your rights, defend your case, and ultimately improve your chances of a successful outcome.

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Brnovich Launches Investigation into Cell Phone Tracking

The tech giant Google is known to track cell phone users’ locations even when they think that they have disabled that feature.  Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is doing something about it according to “Brnovich to Investigate Cell Phone Tracking” by Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services, September 17, 2018:  https://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2018/09/17/arizona-mark-brnovich-to-investigate-cell-phone-tracking/

One week after the Associated Press reported that Google was tracking users’ locations even after people turned off the “location history” option on their cell phones and tablets, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich launched an inquiry into whether a major tech firm is violating the rights of Arizona residents by tracking their movements and activities through their cell phones—even after the users think they’ve told the company to stop.

Brnovich’s office awarded a contract to a Washington, D.C. law firm to investigate how this company stores consumer location data through smartphone operating systems “even when consumers turn off location services” and take other steps to stop such tracking” according to the contract.  The part of the contract listing the firm to be investigated was redacted.

Brnovich declined to confirm that the target was Google.  He said that the process to turn off location services was opaque to users who think that turning off their location history—an option on a top-level Google menu—will work:

“I should not be a tech expert in order to figure out how not to have a third party know everything about my private life, including my emails, my conversations with my wife, my kids, what they’re up to, how many hours I spend watching sports or checking scores on my phone, how long I spend at the mall on Sundays,” he told Capitol Media Services. “It really is Big Brother-esque.”

Aide Ryan Anderson noted that users who think they’re opting out of having their information shared by clicking off “location sharing” are being lied to.  “It’s a fake button.” He said. “It doesn’t actually do anything.”

Brnovich can go after an international company like Google because of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.  He has previously used it to get refunds for Arizonans who thought that they purchased clean-burning diesel-powered vehicles from Volkswagen.

Brnovich commented:

“If they’re accessing the contacts of your phone without your permission, that means they are doing things that you either ultimately didn’t want done but they did anyway, or alternatively, they’re collecting information on you without telling you that they’re doing it,” Brnovich said.

“They’re essentially creating a profile on you,” he said. “They literally can know what you want to buy before you even know.”

What it ultimately comes down to, Brnovich said, is who has the right to anyone’s personal data.

“Quite frankly, I do think as a human being I have a property right in my information, my data, things about me, who I deal with, where I go,” he said. But he said it goes beyond that.

“The dignity of being a human being is not having everyone know, through some third party, every single thing about what we do,” Brnovich said.

“I’ve heard a lot of people say, ‘Who cares?’ ” he continued. “But if you don’t care, then why do people have passwords?”

If you have been charged with a crime based on cell phone tracking data, you need an experienced defense attorney.  Attorney Gary Rohlwing has over thirty years experience. Please call him today for a free consultation.

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Arizona DUI Rates Are Dropping – Strict Laws Are Working

Arizona has always been tough on drunk driving. In fact, in the past decade alone, it enacted laws that are even tougher on violators of its DUI laws. These efforts seem to be paying off because for the third consecutive year, there has been a marked decrease in DUI arrests.

Planet Defendant

The Office of Highway Safety of Arizona reports that in 2015, there were 24,674 DUI arrests made. This was down from the 29,950 arrests during the previous year, and it is much lower than the 31,891 and 32,174 DUI arrests in 2013 and 2012, respectively.

Extreme DUI cases likewise dropped. In 2015, 6,742 arrests were recorded, which is lower than the 8,414 arrests made in 2014.

Although statistics show a drop in the number of arrests in 2015, average BAC readings went up. It went up from .152 in 2014 to .158 in 2015.

Changes to the Arizona DUI Laws in 2008

Beginning in September 2008, the state has the capability to look at past DUI records from 7 years back when determining sentencing. Before, only the records from the previous 5 years were available. For past offenders, defending a DUI case has become tougher.

Because of the changes to the law, judges can no longer suspend a portion of the jail term for offenders convicted of super extreme DUI or extreme DUI. There is likewise no exception for first-time offenders.

There are also new mandatory minimums in place for offenders. Extreme DUI conviction now carries a minimum jail term of 30 days for the first offense. The second offense has a minimum of 120 days. For extreme DUIs, first offense carries a minimum jail term of 45 days, and 6 months for the second offense.

Alcohol screening is now necessary before a suspended license can be reinstated. The offender must also install an ignition interlock device for at least 1 year after the conviction.

Changes to the Arizona DUI Laws in 2012

The changes in the law implemented in 2012 are seen to be more forgiving than previous amendments, in particular, for first-time offenders.

Under the new laws, first-time convictions require only a 1-day jail term. An offender will also get credit for the time he spent during the booking process or while staying in a holding cell.

The judge can now allow an offender to serve only 20% of his jail time and spend the remaining 80% under a home detention program. Thus, if you have been sentenced to a 30-day jail term, you can now serve only 6 days in prison. You can spend the remaining 24 days under home detention, unless your county or city doesn’t have such a program.

Under the 2012 law changes, DUI charges have become ineligible for trials by jury. While some people say the move denies people their right to get a fair trial, the state believes it saves the state money that would otherwise be spent on prosecution.

Final Word

Because of the changes in Arizona’s DUI laws, it is best to work with a lawyer who is familiar with these changes. This way, he can help you explore all the possible options to get the best outcome possible. Call the Law Offices of Gary L Rohlwing for more information and help.

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