Just how do you address the court? What does your language tell the judge in that Ada County or Federal Court appearance? Whether you are a lawyer or a defendant, an expert witness or a plaintiff, the way you speak and the things you say can make a difference. Check out this video, it’s hilarious, but sadly true. We seldom speak with the authority or conviction we need to convey in court.
The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution provides you with many of your most important tools at trial. It is intended to guarantee a fair trial to every person accused of a crime. Whether you are charged with DUI, a drug crime, a sex offense, fraud, manslaughter or murder, the Sixth Amendment helps us to get you a fair trial.
If you have been charged with a crime, we will be happy to meet with you to explain your Sixth Amendment rights and how they can help us defend you in your particular criminal defense matter.
So what does the Sixth Amendment provide? It provides you with these essential rights at trial:
You have the right to be tried by an impartial jury.
You must be informed of the nature of the charges against you.
You have the right to confront the witnesses against you.
You have the right to a lawyer.
These basic rights are just the start – for example you don’t want just any lawyer – you want an experienced trial lawyer.
You don’t really want just any jury that might be impartial – you want a lawyer who can use his or her experience to choose jurors most likely to listen to your story, and jurors who will want to help you.
So the Sixth Amendment gives us a framework to defend you, but the key to your defense – your trial and your innocence – is the lawyer you choose.
Before you hire a lawyer who says he or she has the experience you need to face a prosecution – STOP. Ask that lawyer the five questions we have here. Then give us a call. For over thirty years we have been providing the best defense in criminal cases in state and federal courts.
A change to Idaho Misdemeanor Rule 5(b) now requires that anyone charged with either an excessive DUI (BAC over .2) or a second DUI offense appear for arraignment in person within 48 hours. This rule now requires a personal appearance, the filing of a notice of appearance by your lawyer will not do.
What is behind this rule change? There is no statute in Idaho that requires a personal appearance for a second DUI offense. More importantly, the rule change is said to have occurred because prosecutors on the Misdemeanor and Infraction Rules Committee complained that persons charged with their second DUIs were getting another DUI before the second had been adjudicated.
Does this ever happen? Probably. Does it happen often? I don’t think so. Then what is the practical effect of the rule change?
Prosecutors now routinely ask the judge to add a condition to pretrial release: alcohol monitoring.
Say that you have a second DUI and post a $1000 bond. At the arraignment, the Judge will consider the request and decide whether to add this condition (or any other condition) to your release. If added, you will have to pay the cost of the SCRAM device – which monitors for alcohol use. If you cannot pay the SCRAM cost, you cannot stay out on bail.
Look – a DUI can ruin your day. A second DUI or an excessive DUI has even more serious consequences – including that one year drivers license suspension the will not allow you to drive anywhere, not even to work. But adding alcohol monitoring as a condition of release simply makes it more likely that defendants will not be able to stay bonded out and employed.
As I said, the prosecutor will ask the judge to add this condition to your release. The judge may deny that request and order that you abstain from using alcohol instead. Magistrate judges in Ada County do a pretty good job of making their own decisions about what it will take to cause a defendant to comply with the conditions of release. But be careful if you are headed to that arraignment. Be prepared to tell the court why the alcohol monitoring is not needed in your case.