A lot of people who call to ask about representation after a DUI arrest ask me what I can do for them. It’s a good question for you to ask of a lawyer, and the answer depends on what you mean by “What can I do?”
If the question is “What can I accomplish?” the answer is “I don’t and can’t know until I get police reports and other discovery from the prosecution.” That’s frustrating, I know – but it’s honest, too. IF the police and the prosecution have all the evidence they need; and IF it turns out that they managed to collect, document, and preserve all of that evidence perfectly; and IF they can present it all properly at trial, THEN what I can accomplish is primarily to explain what’s going on and why and to negotiate the best possible sentence – things I’m good at, by the way.
Here’s the thing, though – those few ‘ifs’ are BIG ‘IFS.’ Police work can be complex and it requires a lot of attention to minor detail. If you read this blog, you know I’m not a fan of modern policing’s emphasis on militarization and preference for force over reason. Like any two-edged sword, though, that emphasis can cut both ways.
An awful lot of police these days aren’t very good on complexity and attention to detail, perhaps because many departments literally refuse to hire smart people. Maybe that’s why the officer in one recent case of mine forgot to check the hood of my client’s parked car for warmth – without that, ‘DUI’ becomes ‘drunk in a parked car.’ It also might be why another client’s blood sample wasn’t labeled with his name – a mistake that makes the lab tech’s job a lot harder.
Speaking of lab technicians – well, let’s just say that some of them seem better suited to acting on ‘C.S.I.’ than working for the D.O.J.. Lately, it seems like they might be better suited to playing The Game than working for The Man. It was just over a month ago that San Francisco’s own crime lab had a senior technician sentenced to jail for stealing and snorting cocaine. Massachusetts is trying to figure out what to do with the recent discovery that their lab’s best worker had faked thirty-four THOUSAND test results, and New York had 10,000 cases or so re-examined due to lab workers’ fundamental incompetence.
So … What can I do for you? I can make the authorities show their work, not their ‘results.’ I can have independent experts review the government’s work. I can show the court where the prosecution overreached and where the police under-thought. Most importantly of all, I can provide the vigorous, aggressive defense that you deserve and – sometimes – I can help you go free.
Latest posts by Charles Applegate (see all)
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