How Public Are DUI Arrests And Prosecution?
DUI arrests are very public, I am in a fairly small town, and it is small enough that people hear about issues quickly. We have one justice court in this area, and I want to say a small county, not geographically. It is very large in terms of the distance that you must drive to get through this county, but again, in terms of population. The whole county has five justice courts. I see many people that I recognize. So if are in court, there is probably a good chance you may run into somebody that you know, or that knows you, or somebody that works with you, or used to work with you. Even someone you are related to, you might run into him or her.
It is like, “Oh no, there is somebody that I don't particularly get along with. Oh no, the cat's out of the bag”, everybody is going to know. Therefore, in that sense, I do not think privacy is going to happen. Some newspapers will advertise the arrest. They do it for filler, but as I recall, they do not even list the names. I think they do not put the name on there until there is the sentencing. It seems to me that they will do sentencings more for felony cases. I do not believe I have witnessed any misdemeanors publicly advertised. Arrests are usually reported in the newspaper during holidays like on the fourth of July.
I do think that in this area, there is the possibility of people finding out. I just want to give you an example. I deal with a lot of military in my clientele. I used to do court appointments, but I have not done the court appointments for a couple of years. I have a fair number of my clients who are military and who are civil servants for the government. I only do criminal defense. Criminal defense and especially DUIs. I had a young man come into my office; no one knows why he or she is trying to retain my service. There is no telling what they are coming in for, but it is going to be a criminal matter. I do not even put my name on my office door.
I have had people; not necessarily clients, but people ask, “Why isn't your name on your door? I say, “Well, I do not want to draw attention. I do not want people to stick out like that. There is a big marquee sign on the building though. I like to protect my clients and their privacy. One day, I had a young man come in who works for the government. He had a reckless driving and a criminal speeding history. It was a criminal charge.
My sign does not say it, but I had told this person that “Yes, I do practice criminal law and DUIs”. Therefore, I think it can be very embarrassing for my clients even if it is not broadcasted publicly. Because of the kind law I practice, people tend to know each other, and people talk. Sometimes it is good for me because if somebody gets in trouble for something, and I have had this happen before, then they know somebody else that gets in trouble and it's like, “Oh my God, I got in trouble. What am I going to do?” Well, here is a lawyer I would recommend. It may be embarrassing for the person to say that and to share their experiences, but at least I am appreciative that my clients do that and say, “Look, I have talked to this lawyer before, so here is somebody that can help you in this bad situation”.
Many of my clients are in the medical profession as well. I have had a fair number of nurses getting DUIs lately. Anyone who works in the medical field usually carries some sort of license or certification, so they need to aware of that as well. If they run into trouble on a criminal or DUI element, we like to keep the issues at hand as discreet as possible. They do have to have self-report and will get into more trouble if the abuse is not reported.
In other words, you might be in trouble for having a DUI or a domestic violence incident, but you are going to be in more trouble for not telling your employer that this happened. As a civil servant, it is my duty to report the criminal act too. They will check. I try to help them with making a proper statement. Often these places, especially the military, military contractors, or government contractors, they want a written statement of what happened. Therefore, I try to help my clients in with something that is innocuous enough, and it explains the situation, this is what I am charged with, but not necessarily divulging too much information or implicating themselves on the issues at hand. So, I do help with that.
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