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DUI Answers

Types of Criminal Cases I Handle

Alaska Drunk Driving Attorney
DUI, misdemeanor and felony

Drug cases, misdemeanor and felony

Assault, misdemeanor and felony

Sexual abuse and sexual assault

Domestic violence

Manslaughter

F & G violations

Theft, Burglary, Robbery, Criminal Trespass, Criminal Mischief

White collar crimes

All other criminal cases

 

My Philosophy About Drug Cases

I passionately believe that people should not be put into prison for possession or sales of drugs. There are, I suppose, exceptions, such as drug cases involving violence or sales of hard drugs to children. However, virtually all of my clients have been substance abusers or sellers/growers of marijuana.

 

It is my absolute belief that drugs should be legal and regulated; that substance abuse should be addressed through treatment, not prison.

 

For that reason, I put a great deal of time and energy into defending drug cases. As with all my cases, I cannot ethically make promises about results. Drug cases are prosecuted and punished hard in Alaska. But I have a passionate belief in defending drug cases.

Circumstantial Evidence

I am frequently told by clients arrested for DUI, ‘The police didn’t see me drive! I was inside my house when the came in and arrested me! They can’t convict me.’

 

Untrue.

 

If the police or a witness actually see a person driving under the influence, that is known as direct evidence.

 

However, a person can be convicted with circumstantial evidence. For example: If a police officer is in pursuit of a vehicle and loses sight of it for 10 seconds, then pulls up and sees a man standing beside the driver’s door, keys in hand … there is a logical inference that the man standing beside the vehicle was the driver.

 

Each case turns on its own facts, and there is no firm rule about whether circumstantial evidence will stand up or not. A good lawyer will examine circumstantial cases with a critical eye.

Sitting Behind the Wheel DUI

Alaska, like virtually all other states, criminalizes three ways you may be convicted for driving under the influence:

 

1. If you are actually driving;

2. If you are ‘operating’ a motor vehicle; or

3. If you are in ‘actual physical control’ of a motor vehicle.

 

The general public doesn’t realize that you may be convicted of DUI for sitting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle with the engine running. In fact, in one case, Conley, a woman was convicted for opening the door to her car, keys in hand, without starting the car. The court determined that her conduct was so dangerous as to constitute a DUI. [Just for comparison: If a person intended to rob a bank, stood on the steps to the bank, gun in hand but was apprehended before going inside, he might be convicted of attempted bank robbery but not an actual robbery. DUI is the exception to the rule, where there […]

Out of State Prior Convictions

Out of state convictions can be used to enhance a present Alaska convictions.

 

It is essential that your attorney investigate any out of state prior convictions. I have seen instances in which an attorney did not do so, and it had a huge negative impact on the case.

 

First, it is up to the State to provide proof of the out of state prior conviction. The State cannot simply rely on the NCIC rap sheet printout. By law, you have the right to make the State obtain authenticated copies of court records to prove the prior conviction. If the State does not, the conviction cannot be used.

 

Second, the out of state conviction must have been under a similar law to Alaska. Over the years, I have mounted many successful challenges to out of state prior convictions because of differences between Alaska law and the other states.

 

 

By |September 27th, 2013|DUI Answers|0 Comments

Priority: The DMV Administrative Hearing Request

YOU HAVE 7 DAYS FROM THE DATE OF ARREST TO REQUEST AN ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING.

I prefer to do this for my clients. If a request is not made within 7 days, you not only automatically lose your license with DMV, you forfeit the right to subpoena the police officer and cross examine him. I consider the DMV hearing to be a crucial part of the process.

When you either submitted a breath sample or refused to take the breath test, the police officer seized your drivers license. (Occasionally, for different reasons, they don’t.) He or she gave you a form entitled ‘Notice and Order of Revocation.’ This is your temporary license, and it spells out the necessity of requesting an administrative hearing.

The DMV hearing is completely separate and independent from the criminal court proceedings.

 

By |September 27th, 2013|DUI Answers|0 Comments

DUI Information

A DUI offense can be charged three ways in Alaska:

(1) Driving under the influence, which does not involve a breath test. In this type of case, the evidence consists of the police officer’s observations of you. Typically, the evidence will consist of bloodshot, watery eyes, swayed balance, slurred speech and other signs of physical impairment. The evidence will also consist of bad driving and failure of the NHTSA standardized field sobriety tests: horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN,) walk and turn, one legged stand, and the optional alphabet and counting tests.

(2) A per se violation, which means a Datamaster (mistakenly referred to as a breathalyzer) result of .08 breath alcohol concentration or greater. Note: Blowing a .08 or above results in a presumption that you are under the influence. A BAC of .04 to .079 is neutral ground, which means that you can be charged with a DUI having that result. If you blow […]

By |September 26th, 2013|DUI Answers|0 Comments

DUI Consequences

Alaska has some of the harshest criminal penalties in the nation for committing a DUI offense. The following are minimum sentences for some of the offenses, and the minimums apply onlyif you have a low BAC and no other aggravating factors, such as an accident or harm to people or property:

 

1st offense:

Three days in jail mandatory, plus suspended jail time

$1500 fine, plus suspended fine

$330 cost of imprisonment

alcohol screening and evaluation (usually a couple of hundred dollars)

surcharges of about $125

90-day mandatory loss of license and five years of SR22 insurance upon restoration of driving privileges

CDL loss for one year

ignition interlock device for six months

license restoration costs

informal probation for a year or two

 

2nd offense:

20 days in jail (14 with automatic good time), plus suspended jail time

$3000 fine, plus suspended fine

one year […]

By |September 26th, 2013|DUI Answers|0 Comments

DUI Facts

By |September 26th, 2013|DUI Answers|0 Comments

Disadvantages of Using a Public Defender for Your DUI Case

I have a high regard for Alaska Public Defenders. They have a high caseload and work hard for low pay. However, there is one distinct disadvantage to having a public defender in DUI cases: The Department of Motor Vehicles Administrative hearing. The DMV hearing is a civil matter, and the Public Defender Agency handles only the criminal side of things. It means you either forego the DMV hearing or do it on your own.

 

I consider the DMV administrative to be a huge part of the case. Here is why: First, I review the police reports and the audio/video recordings. The police reports are usually insignificant, because DUI cases rise and fall on technical errors. If the police officer made an error, he or she won’t lie about it, but they won’t know they made a mistake … and thus it won’t be contained in the report. Mistake will show up in […]