Last Thursday, I had a DUI Bench trial scheduled to be tried. This was the first of the several DUI trials for my office set for the remainder of this year. This case was not my client’s first. He had had a couple of DUI’s prior to this one. As a result, the DA was not willing to negotiate without a conviction of the offense. So, we set if for trial.
The officer’s report stated the standard stuff. However, the video did NOT confirm a lot of what was alleged in the report. In fact, the client, in MY opinion, looked pretty normal. No unsteadiness or slurred speech, as alleged in the report. No bad driving. He did NOT, however, do too well on the field tests. But, under the influence beyond a reasonable doubt? We believed no fact finder could come to that conclusion.
Prior to trial, I arrived earlier and met one last time with the DA. (Actually two DA’s – he had brought in a helper) I showed him that, under the law, the OTHER 3 charges in the Information could NOT be charged against him under the circumstances of the stop, arrest, and the expected testimony of his cop. To their credit, they agreed to dismiss those, leaving only the DUI. So, I went over tot he court room to wait for my client and to do the trial on the DUI.
Not more than 10 minutes past, and one of these DA’s showed up and requested that I meet with them again. I did. At this point, they conceded that a DUI might not be sustainable in trial. But, they thought a Driving While Impaired (DWI) might be. They offered to dismiss the DUI and amend the Information to a DWI. If my client would not go to trial and plead to this lesser charge, they would offer a deferred sentence (probation that results in a dismissal of the charge) and a $50 fine.
A slight diversion here: A DWI is a lesser charge. It is charged when the person is impaired or affected by the alcohol he had drunk. Usually, it is a breath test of .06% or .07%. It is often the crime that a jury will find a client guilty of when the evidence doesn’t quite reach being “under the influence” and the person still shows SOME effect from his drinking, like, for instance, my client’s less-than-perfect performance on the field tests. So, it is a much lower amount of evidence to reach a guilty verdict for a DWI. And in truth, while a fact finder in this case likely would have found my client NOT GUILTY of DUI, the judge could HAVE, most certainly, found him guilty of DWI.
I presented the offer to the client. I explained that the result would be that all four charges would end up being dismissed. No jail. No conviction(s) of anything. He accepted the offer.
Result? No conviction of any of the charges. And, without a trial.
Moral of the story is this: Good things happen while you announce ready for trial.
Post Script: The following day, I receipt the email below from the client (edited to protect his identity):
Thank you for the work and everything you have done the past months. You’re knowledge of the law is unreal. I owe you a lot. You are one in a million.
This means a lot to me.
Charles L. Sifers
Attorney at Law
401 N. Hudson, 2nd floor
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
office – 405-232-3388
fax – 405-232-5144
web(s) – www.oklahomaduilaw.com
Oklahoma‘s First Attorney Board Certified
in DUI Defense by National College for DUI Defense
(NCDD) under American Bar Association (ABA) Guidelines
Best Lawyers in America in DUI/DWI Defense Specialty, 2010 thru 2015 ed(s).
Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers in America, 2014-2015
Oklahoma‘s First Regent (retired) for the National College for DUI Defense
“The People should NOT be afraid of the Government. The Government should be afraid of the People“.