Our law firm is dedicated to bringing excellence in representation to every client. We will not waiver in our determination to vindicate our clients’ rights, while maintaining the highest level of commitment to legal ethics. Professionalism and excellence go together here, and the “Preeminent AV” rating Chuck Peterson has earned is a reminder that our peers – lawyers and judges – view us as deserving this highest rating. We remain committed to providing the best representation available to every client in every case. Mr. Peterson is also recognized by “Best Lawyers In America” in both criminal defense and white collar criminal defense categories. Our association with the Spence Law Firm allows us to tap into a very talented pool of lawyers in Wyoming, headed by legendary trial lawyer Gerry Spence. Together, we bring countless years of expertise, and a wide array of talented people to any case.
We serve clients in several areas, including:
- Criminal defense
- Civil rights litigation
- Sexual assault and sexual harassment victims
- Serious injury and wrongful death
- Traumatic brain injury
- DUI defense
- Drug charge defense
- Federal criminal defense
Boise, Idaho lawyer Chuck Peterson and his firm, Peterson Law Offices, serve clients throughout Idaho – including Ada, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Bonner, Benewah, Boundary, Kootenai, Valley, Latah, Nez Perce, Lewis, Adams, Payette, Elmore, Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Jerome, Gooding, Twin Falls, Bingham, Madison and Teton Counties and everywhere else in the great state of Idaho. We have also represented clients in Washington, Utah, Nevada and Wyoming.
First, how much experience does the criminal defense attorney actually have. Experience in the courts really matters. An inexperienced attorney may be less costly, but a criminal case is no place to trust your liberty to someone who lacks real experience. Think of it this way – if you needed heart surgery, would you hire a young doctor just out of medical school? Of course not, and while a court room is not a surgical suite, your life and liberty may very well rest on the outcome of your case. While most criminal cases do not go to trial, an experienced criminal trial lawyer may best know how to use the likelihood of trial to your advantage.
Second, has the lawyer ever tried a case like yours to a jury? A lot of lawyers advertise that they have experience in court, but many have never really tried a complex case to a jury verdict. And has that lawyer heard the magic words “not guilty” pronounced by a jury? If the answer to these questions is no, keep on looking!
Third, who will actually be representing you in court? A lot of law firms use associates and young lawyers to cover court appearances. This is not entirely wrong – many times court hearings can be handled by less experienced lawyers when the hearing is of little consequence. But if your case is important enough to hire a lawyer, usually it is important enough to have that same lawyer who you have trusted to fight for you, in court.
Take your time and hire the best lawyer you can in any criminal case. Your liberty may depend on the decision you make.
DUI IN IDAHO – A driver in Idaho can be arrested for driving under the influence without ever having a drop of alcohol. Idaho Code 18-8004 lays out our DUI laws, but in pertinent part states that it is unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle (1) while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any other intoxicating substances, or any combination of such, or (2) with blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.
A DUI charge is an uphill battle that you do not want to fight alone. The fight begins immediately in Idaho because you are facing two separate cases… one in the court system and another with the Idaho Department of Transportation. Your license may be suspended twice, the first suspension starts 30 days after your arrest. Defending a DUI means attacking the process. Did the police have probable cause to stop your vehicle? Did the officer have reason to believe you were impaired? Did the officer perform the field sobriety tests correctly? Was the breathalyzer machine properly calibrated and up to date on service? If there wasn’t alcohol in your system, can they prove you were impaired? Is the drug recognition expert qualified to testify as to levels of impairment?
Driving under the influence is a serious charge in Idaho, and you need an attorney to help you fight to save your driving privileges and perhaps, your job.
DRUG CHARGES – Whether at the misdemeanor or felony level, drug charges require serious and skilled criminal defense attorneys. Controlled substances and narcotics are among the most commonly prosecuted charges in Idaho. Charges can range from simple possession of drugs or paraphernalia to manufacturing and trafficking drugs. These charges can carry sentences of 180 days in jail to life in prison.
Depending on your criminal history and the charges you have against you, an attorney may be able to keep you out of jail or prison and convince the court to enroll you in drug court. Drug court is available to persons charged with felony drug possession, a felony property crime which is drug related, or felony probationers with substance abuse problems. If you are enrolled in drug court, expect to plead guilty to a felony. After pleading guilty, you’ll enter an intensive four part treatment program closely monitored by a judge. Drug court is a minimum one year commitment and involves individual and group counseling, 12-step meetings, case management sessions, random urinalysis, and regularly scheduled appearances in front of a judge. Successful completion of drug court could result in your guilty plea being set aside and a dismissal of the case.
Drug use is on the rise in Idaho and prosecutors, police and judges are taking a hard stance on these charges. If you’re facing drug charges, no matter how big or how small, you do not want to risk your freedom to an inexperienced attorney. You need someone who understands the process and will work hard to get you the help you need.
FEDERAL CRIMINAL CHARGES IN IDAHO – If you’re charged with a federal crime or are the subject of a federal investigation, you need an attorney with federal experience to represent you. The federal court system is a completely different animal than the state court system and you don’t want to take a chance on your freedom by hiring an attorney who has never tried a federal case.
Federal cases are much more involved than state cases. Instead of hundreds of pages of discovery, your case may generate thousands of pages for review or even tens of thousands.
Federal cases are complex and can takes years to defend. Federal fraud cases can potentially take years of investigation before an indictment is actually filed. In a federal case, you’re no longer dealing with local police. You’re dealing with federal agents who have often investigated a case for years before bringing charges, so they have a “head start” on your defense team.
Federal criminal cases involve a sentencing guideline scheme that is much more complex than at the state level. The guidelines work off of a grid system, and every offense is given a numerical score that is reflective of the perceived severity of a crime called a base offense level. That score will increase or decrease based on many different factors. If you accept responsibility and plead guilty instead of going to trial, you will get points for that and the number will decrease. If you’ve committed several offenses, however, the court can add points for a grouping of charges.
Certain factors require automatic increases in the base offense level. If the court determines you had an aggravating role in the offense, such as being a leader or an organizer, you’ll get an increase. If guns were used in the commission of the offense, you’ll get an increase. If you entered or re-entered the country illegally, you can expect an increase. And of course, an increase in your offense level means a likely increase in the severity of your sentence.
Federal rules of civil and criminal procedure are different than the Idaho state rules. The processes by which cases are started and the rights afforded by those rules are different too. If you are charged in federal court, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help navigate the waters.
VIOLENT CRIMES IN IDAHO – If you are charged with a violent crime in Idaho, a conviction may lead you directly to jail or prison. Even simple assaults and batteries are prosecuted aggressively and your freedom may require you to hire an attorney who knows the law and has the experience to help you through the process. Violent crimes include homicide, manslaughter, murder, assault and battery. An additional area that frequently brings prosecution is domestic battery or domestic violence. These charges may include felonies or misdemeanors – but any charge of violence may lead to serious consequences for a person convicted in Idaho. If you are charged with such a crime, call an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately.
WHITE COLLAR CRIMES – There are special prosecution units at the state and federal levels to bring cases involving fraud, embezzlement, theft, forgery and racketeering (“RICO”) in Idaho. Cases are frequently brought in both state and federal courts, and a person facing such charges faces the loss of freedom and reputation if convicted. Such charges can include bank fraud, insurance fraud, securities fraud and bankruptcy fraud. We have experience handling each of these types of cases and we can provide you with the answers you need if you are facing such a case. Do not go it alone, and do not discuss your case with anyone until you have a lawyer by your side, fighting to keep you free.