Criminal and DUI defense is a very narrow area of legal practice, with specific knowledge and experience required. All lawyers are not created equal.
Just within the legal community there are a wide variety of specialties and ways to practice law. Studying arcane tax code facts bears little resemblance to negotiating a divorce settlement. To actually be an effective legal practitioner in any area takes intensive study in a specific field, and lots of practice.
Which is why you want an attorney who knows his or her way around a criminal courtroom, and is intimately familiar with the Massachusetts criminal code. Being able to look up a legal statute and interpret the law is no substitute for actual experience defending clients in real life situations.
I am fortunate to be able to focus all my efforts on drunk driving / DUI cases in Massachusetts. It’s all I do, so all my experience, research, and study is on these topics. All the attorneys of The Law Offices of Russell J. Matson, PC are focused on drawing on our experience at fighting and winning DUI cases.
Especially with all the new legal wrinkles with Melanie’s law, and the very confusing policies adopted by the Massachusetts RMV (Registry of Motor Vehicles) with regard to license suspensions and ignition interlocks, you simply can’t afford to have someone represent you who isn’t at the top of their game.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to Consider Hiring a Different Lawyer:
Your Lawyer Hasn’t Won A DUI Trial
DUI cases are particularly complicated. To provide a successful DUI defense requires a unique legal skill set, which includes courtroom trial skills, a deep understanding of the legal and procedural implications of drunk driving evidence, and a thorough knowledge of both the criminal legal code and the Registry procedures with regard to driver’s license issues.
Your Lawyer is Consulting With Other Lawyers
I get calls all the time from other attorneys looking for advice because they don’t handle DUI cases on a daily basis. In fact, I have spoken several times at Continuing Legal Education sessions for other lawyers, sharing my expertise with the legal community.
There is no shame in consulting your colleagues to improve your knowledge, particularly about narrow specific, issues. I sometimes consult with attorney in other state about driver’s license issues, if I have a client with an out of state license.
But you need to have the basics down cold to have a chance to raise specific challenges as they come up in court.
You Aren’t Confident In Your Attorneys Decisions
I also get calls from people who’ve hired other lawyers and are second guessing their lawyer’s opinions. A fair amount of the time, the person has a good lawyer, or a capable public defender, and I tell them they are in good hands, particularly for a plea deal.
But sometimes, that is just not the case. And it is often too late to deal with mistakes made by an attorney, particularly after you’ve pleaded guilty.
Your Attorney isn’t Prepared to Take Your Case to Trial
A thorough case review before just pleading guilty is very important.
It is true that most clients do plead guilty, either because of immediate license loss concerns, or if they don’t have a particularly good case. But many cases are absolutely winnable at trial.
And there are also a number of situations where charges can get dismissed before it even gets to a trial date. Making sure every defense option is covered starts with doing the basic case analysis and deciding how to get the best outcome.
I’ve written quite a bit about the reasons to fight the case in court.
Your Attorney Didn’t File A Motion to Suppress
DUI cases can sometimes have issues with the reason the police pulled you over. They have to have a legitimate reason for the stop.
A motion to suppress hearing is an important step in fighting most DUI cases at trial. I often get useful information from the officer about the case from cross examining him at the motion hearing.
Your Attorney Hasn’t Schedule A Site Visit
I like to go with my clients to the exact spot where they were pulled over and arrested. I typically take pictures of any useful details about the grounds.
If field sobriety tests were performed at the side of the road, the officer’s training manual requires a flat road surface, and a straight line to follow to successfully administer the nine step walk and turn test.
In addition, being at the scene can jog crucial details about the incident that can be helpful to our defense.
But if your attorney doesn’t visit the scene with you, he’ll never find out about these points to argue.
Your Attorney Isn’t Familiar With the Officer’s Training Manual For Roadside Field Sobriety Tests
Because the officers actions and training are critical evidence to the prosecution, I’ve personally taken the time to be trained and certified as an instructor of field sobriety tests. I’m one of a very few attorneys in Massachusetts with this certification.
I have a copy of the specific training manual that particular officer was taught to follow. And if I can produce evidence that the training was not followed, a jury can come to understand that the tests were not done fairly.
Your Attorney Doesn’t Know the Collateral Consequences of Pleading Guilty
Particularly with driver’s license issues, there are a host of potential consequences resulting from a DUI plea. Besides license suspension and fines, it can affect your ability to rent a car, and keep your job if such travel is required.
There are also other potential impact to your life, including restricted ability to travel internationally to Canada and abroad, and your ability to carry a firearm.
Free Consultation on Hiring Russell Matson
A DUI is not a minor offense. With the continuation tightening of penalties under Melanie’s Law, and perhaps even tougher punishments to come, your future is on the line.
Call me anytime for a free consultation on the specifics of your case at (781) 380-7730. I’ll give you some free advice, so you have nothing to lose by calling.
Russell Matson, Attorney at Law