Driving Under the Influence: What Regulations are Changing?
Criminal defense is an art form, according to Attorney David Jolly. He says: “When we go to trial we tell stories in a manner that will persuade 6 or 12 complete strangers- the Jury. I think the best criminal defence attorneys have a very creative side to them and the ability to think around a…
Criminal defense is an art form, according to Attorney David Jolly. He says: “When we go to trial we tell stories in a manner that will persuade 6 or 12 complete strangers- the Jury. I think the best criminal defence attorneys have a very creative side to them and the ability to think around a problem differentiates the average and superior defense lawyers. This art form – the ability to advocate in a manner that protects and defends a client in a unique and thoughtful way – is our greatest and most rewarding challenge. This is why I am a lawyer.”
He speaks with Lawyer Monthly about his challenging role and how he sees DUI regulations changing.
Can you share with Lawyer Monthly the most challenging types of cases you are faced with?
The most challenging cases I defend are those cases where my client has prior criminal history of significance or, most notably, when my client has prior DUI charges or convictions. In such cases when my client is charged with a new driving under the influence offence but has prior DUI convictions, the prosecutors rarely give offers that would incentivise my client to plead. In such circumstances, I know we are in for a long, hard and often frustrating battle.
How do you overcome these challenges to ensure you receive the best result for your clients?
When faced with a challenging case I find three things help tremendously: 1) experience – there are not too many legal challenges that I have not encountered in my 20 years of criminal law practice; 2) knowledge – because my primary focus is DUI defence, I am aware of novel cases and legal defences that other less experienced attorneys are nor familiar with; 3) creativity – there is still room to be creative in criminal defense and thinking outside of the box has saved many cases and helped many clients.
What mistakes/misconceptions do clients often have when faced with a charge? Where do they often go wrong and how do you advise them accordingly?
The most common mistake a client has is thinking that a lack of criminal history will result in a reduction of the crime and no jail. While lack of criminal history helps in many instances and can mitigate the damage to a degree, the lack of criminal history often has little significance in a case. I am transparent with my clients from the beginning and provide a roadmap of where their case may go in the legal sphere and what they can do to help their own cause. Honesty from the beginning often cures clients of misconceptions. What I also find helpful is providing clients with information – in my case, I provide every client with a book that details the DUI process from beginning to end.
How have the occurrence of DUI offences changed? Is there anything you think could be done to ensure they are reduced?
When I first started practicing law in 1997, the “per se” legal limit for DUI in most States in the US was 0.10. The “per se” limit was reduced to 0.08 in 1999 and I suspect the limit will be reduced in many States, including Washington State, to 0.05 in the very near future. In fact Utah, just lowered their legal limit to 0.05. Such a reduction may initially increase the number of DUI arrests but I think eventually the community will realise that the only “safe” way to drive is with no alcohol (or drugs) in the body.
That being said, the biggest change in my 20 years of practice is with Drug DUIs. Marijuana is now legal in many States, including my home state of Washington. The DUI statute now includes a “per se” limit of 5 nanograms of THC for marijuana. However, I believe the biggest change in DUI practice is the Drug DUI (non-marijuana) case. We are seeing many drug DUIs now and frankly, I don’t think law enforcement is properly trained and equipped to investigate and process these DUI cases.
I wrote the first two books on these subjects, The Drug DUI Handbook in 2011 and The Marijuana DUI Handbook in 2014.
Regarding immigration law – how has this changed throughout your years of practice?
I did write a book on immigration law and criminal convictions because, as a criminal defence attorney I must know some basics. The most important thing about immigration law is that it is changing rapidly in the USA. The new administration has promised significant changes and we are seeing those changes in the court systems and jails. The second important thing is that we must advise clients of the potential immigration consequences of a conviction and, that they are advised to consult with an immigration attorney. Most pleas in criminal courts now include specific language that warns the individual that a plea to a crime may result in deportation, exclusion from admission or denial of naturalisation. As such, we are seeing the importance of immigration issues on a daily basis in the court system.
I am a criminal defense attorney based in Washington State. In my more than 20 years of practice I have appeared in more than 50 different courts. I wrote my first legal book, The DUI Handbook for the Accused in 2007, and since that time have written more than 20 additional legal books. I believe that every person deserves empathetic and superior representation and at the core of every defendant, is a decent human being. My job as an attorney is to communicate this very fact with Prosecutors, Juries and Judges. This is a job I take very seriously.
The Law Firm of David N. Jolly was formed with the belief that a new type of law firm was needed in today’s day and age. Our vision centers on providing outstanding results gained from an experienced team of professionals with personal attention to the client and uncompromising integrity. More than just words, every attorney, paralegal, and staff member at the Law Firm of David N. Jolly is dedicated to meeting the needs of the client.