Beware the Overzealous Prosecutor: Being Charged With A Crime Does Not Mean You Committed a Crime.

Posted On June 24, 2011 by Daniel Koewler

Far too often we field calls from people who were recently arrested for DWI and just want to "plea and get it over with.| Now, don't get me wrong â?? pleas and plea negotiation are a huge part of being a successful attorney. But going into a case expecting to immediately plea to the first available offer is a surefire way to end up being punished far more harshly than the law typically allows.

Some of these calls are a direct result of the |overzealous prosecutor.| This is the prosecutor who is willing to push every case as far as they can, without regard to any individual circumstances or facts that could lead to a reduced charge or sentence. A good example of this type of case was recently published by our Court of Appeals. In State v. Brown, someone was charged with DWI while operating a motor scooter. Not just any motor scooter â?? this scooter topped out at around 5 miles per hour and was necessary because the |driver| was disabled. Unable to walk, this scooter was his only way to get around.

Now, why would a prosecutor charge someone with DWI while they were, in effect, just walking around? The simple answer is because they thought they could get away with it. Out of shame or embarrassment, many people are willing and able to plea to whatever crime they've been charged with, regardless of the facts and the law (and sadly, too many attorneys who are ethically bound to zealously represent their clients are more than willing to take their money and let them).

In Brown, the Court of Appeals quickly determined that DWI doesn't apply to someone who relies on their scooter for day-to-day mobility needs. Which makes me wonder â?? how many other individuals pled guilty in the past to this exact same offense rather than question whether the charge was even valid?

Our clients are continually surprised at the sheer volume of meritorious defenses that can be raised to defend against a charge of DWI. Before you give in and plead to a criminal charge, it is always a good idea to speak with an attorney first. In most cases, the only way to counter an overzealous prosecutor is to have an equally zealous defense attorney in your corner.