A prosecutor with the Rockingham County District Attorney’s Office resigned after he was arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI). William Pate, an assistant county attorney who was hired in October 2004 and prosecuted cases on the Seacoast, was on a two week vacation. He was pulled over after 11 PM on August 31st. Pate was stopped when he attempted pass through an area where an officer was directing traffic around an unrelated accident. Pate was released on $1,000 personal recognizance.
Pate called County Attorney Jim Reams on the morning following the DWI arrest. When he arrived at work several days later, he immediately handed Reams his letter of resignation. Pate’s cases were transferred to other county attorneys. The resignation was standard protocol, set up by Reams. The protocol exists to reassure the public that decisions made at the county attorney’s office are made with the highest integrity and there are no agendas other than professional prosecution. It is important that a New Hampshire DWI prosecutor not be tainted by past events in conducting his duties.
Pate worked for the county attorney’s office for the past eight years, prosecuting felony cases originating in Greenland, Hampton, Hampton Falls, New Castle, Newington, North Hampton, Portsmouth, Rye, Seabrook and South Hampton.
This NH DUI prosecutor resignation may be a unique case, but it is a reminder that NH DUI or DWI arrests or convictions can certainly affect careers. In fact, between license suspensions and possible jail time, it’s not hard to imagine some interruption of regular work activities.
A license suspension may make it difficult to get to and from work, or even complete job duties if driving is a primary part of the job. In addition, a lengthy time in jail could test an employer’s patience and lead to a termination. Finally, the simple publicity of a NH DWI or DUI may lead an employer to terminate employment, particularly in law enforcement, religious ministries or other positions where public opinion is important.
A DWI conviction may even affect future jobs as well. Employers can ask about an applicant’s prior criminal record or may conduct background checks. That’s why it is important to use an attorney such as Ryan Russman who is experienced and knowledgeable in New Hampshire DWI law to fight your charges.
Just because they are famous doesn’t mean they are exempt from the law. Celebrity DUIs may make the headlines, but they still can cause the same amount of trouble. Failing to follow the rules of the road could result in long term penalties that could affect a career – whether it’s on television or not.
Celebrity DUIs in 2011-2012
If you’ve had a few beers, a couple cocktails too many, or decided to finish off the bottle of wine, driving shortly thereafter is not an option. When you have imbibed too much alcohol (for women that’s approximately 2 drinks, for men 4) getting behind the wheel is more than a bad idea, it could cost your freedom and driving privileges.
Don’t just take my word for it, read how some celebrities tossed too many back this past year and ended up with criminal charges.
Ben Wallace – Detroit Piston’s player Wallace was arrested in September at 3 a.m. after police noticed his Cadillac Escalade weaving in and out of lanes, Ben Wallace faces a DUI and gun possession charges. He blew almost twice the legal limit at 0.14 and pled guilty to charges. In addition to fines, he faced 93 days in jail.
Kurt Angle – 1996 Olympic wrestling champion, and WWE star Kurt Angle was driving erratically when Virginia State Troopers pulled him over last year for suspicion of drunk driving. He was arrested and given a blood alcohol content test at the police station. Charges were later reduced to a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving as his BAC level was at a .06, two points under the legal limit. Reckless driving conviction can result in up to 12 months in jail.
Jaime Pressly – Shortly after the New Year, Pressly, most popular as the actress in “My Name is Earl,” was arrested in Santa Monica shortly before midnight. Police reported that she blew a 0.22 – nearly three times the legal limit. She was forced to spend the night in jail, and was sentenced to three years of probation.
Samantha Ronson – Mostly known as being Lindsay Lohan’s ex-girlfriend, Ronson was pulled over last summer around 10 a.m. after driving too fast down the highway outside of Baker, CA. Another celebrity DUI for the books – Ronson failed sobriety field tests and was arrested for a DUI. First convictions in California could result in a maximum of 6 months in jail along with hefty fines.
Penalties of DUI Conviction
It’s not just a slap on the hand and a night in jail. These famous DUI stories prove that drinking and driving can cause serious financial damage. Additionally a suspended or revoked license, probation or time spent in jail, and a permanent criminal record can make your future life difficult.
Everyone is impacted when you are convicted of a DUI. Celebrities with DUIs and other criminal charges on their record may struggle to advance in their career. You don’t need to be a celebrity to see how a DUI conviction could ruin your plans for your life and career.
How a DUI Attorney Can Make a Difference
Ryan Russman is a dedicated and skilled DUI attorney. His experience in DUI law and criminal law in New Hampshire make him an ideal choice for legal representation. He has assisted hundreds of clients in getting DUI charges reduced or dropped. If you walk into court without the right help, you could face years of penalties. Attorney Russman will protect you from that. Call him right away for the best DUI help in New Hampshire.
Your attorney will also be busy reading through all of the state’s documents as well as requesting information through discovery that will help him or her build your defense.
Your attorney will file all of your motions in court and will take care of all of the paperwork.
A good DWI attorney has a very good professional network in his community, and is respected by other attorneys, judges and prosecutors.
You will know of everything your attorney is doing through monthly statements and copies of letters and court documents that are sent to you.
Private Investigators to Assist in Your Defense
A good attorney will know when to seek the assistance of a private investigator. Whether your attorney has an investigator on staff or merely has a great working relationship with a private investigator, trust your attorney if he recommends hiring an investigator, even if this means additional expense.
Often the investigator has experience working as a police officer or in some other related field and is being hired for his ability to analyze what happened at an accident or crime scene or be able to research the backgrounds of the people being called to testify against you.
Connect With Your Criminal Defense Lawyer
Make sure you hire a DWI attorney who will not leave you feeling as though your outcome might have been different if someone else had handled the case.
At the same time, you cannot expect your attorney to be a miracle worker. However, you should expect your attorney to behave professionally and to communicate with you effectively.
You should be comforted if you go into the courtroom and your attorney appears to be well-known and respected by the judge and prosecutors.
While this does not mean your attorney will do anything unethical on your behalf or be able to convince the judge or prosecutor to drop your charges just based on his relationships, it does mean that the judge and prosecutor will respect your attorney and listen if he has valid concerns about the legality or constitutionality of your case.
You should never expect (and definitely do not ask) your attorney to do anything unethical in order to help your case.
You may feel desperate and willing to do anything, and that is completely understandable, but acting on those feelings would be dangerous and damaging to your case and to your relationship with your attorney and could result in criminal charges.
Pleadings Filed in Your Drunk Driving Case
If you have a thorough attorney, he will spend time getting to know all of the details of your case.
An experienced DWI attorney will file various “pleadings” – tools used to obtain needed information for your defense – with the court. Your attorney will copy the prosecutor on any action he takes with the court; the prosecutor has the right to challenge or respond to the pleadings.
The pleadings must be made within a specified time frame and need to be very specific. Again, it becomes critical that you have a very experienced DWI attorney by your side. Any filing that your attorney makes will be based on the facts of your case in regards to legal and constitutional proceedings.
The arguments he or she makes will be supported by the research your attorney has done on previous case law or how the law could or should be interpreted by the courts given the intentions of the legislature.
Your attorney will not attempt to cover every single possibility, but instead he or she will choose the most likely arguments that will either reduce or dismiss your charges (or reduce your sentence).
Filing frivolous motions and arguing claims that cannot be substantiated with case law and statute will only make your attorney seem unprofessional and may anger the judge and prosecutor, making it difficult to work out any kind of agreement later should the need arise.
While in most cases the prosecutor and the officers involved in your case will comply with your attorney’s requests for information outside of court, you will occasionally find less cooperative people, and your experienced DWI attorney will know how to handle their lack of cooperation by filing the proper motions with the court.
Bringing in the Experts
It is not uncommon for your attorney to decide to hire an expert to testify at your hearing if the attorney thinks that it is necessary.
In some cases, expert testimony can help sway the jury in your favor by making it impossible for them to dismiss the possibility of error, particularly in the case of alcohol concentration test results and field sobriety tests.
No matter how much work you and your attorney put into your case, and no matter how solid your defense may be, you may still be found guilty.
Particularly in our culture right now, there is no other crime that is more disparaged both in the media and in the courtroom.
No matter how much preparation you are doing to present an impeccable defense, you need to also be prepared for the possibility of a guilty verdict.
Your attorney will not make you any promises or lead you to believe that your acquittal is guaranteed.
By the time you come to trial, you should have your affairs in order and be prepared for the possibility that you will be going to jail (if it is an aggravated DWI) and/or facing fines, license suspensions, and a criminal record.
You should work to ensure that your family is minimally impacted financially and emotionally.
You should talk to your boss at work to determine what his or her expectations are and whether or not you will be able to keep your position.
If you are going to appeal the verdict, it is possible to get your sentencing postponed until after the appeal, especially in misdemeanor cases, although there is generally no stay (delay of imposing) the license suspension.
You would be required to post an appeal bond to postpone the sentencing. Prepare, however, for the “worst-case” scenario by preparing your spouse, children and parents.
Most importantly, mentally prepare yourself to accept whatever happens with calmness and dignity.
NH DWI Lawyer with Specialized Training and Expertise
Unless you have the chance to see a not-so-polished attorney at work, you may not realize the benefit you have, but the years of experience, training, and relationship building that your attorney has done pay off.
Perhaps it is the officer who pushes the prosecutor to accept a deal because he knows your attorney can tear him apart on cross-examination.
Perhaps it is the judge who knows from years of experience that your attorney presents solid, well-researched motions.
Either way, the years your New Hampshire attorney has spent developing his law practice directly benefit you and your case.
Be Realistic During Your Drunk Driving Defense Case
DWI attorneys are not magicians.
They cannot magically erase evidence nor can they make the events that precipitated your arrest go away.
What they can do is bring your case out in the best light possible, and exclude and discredit as much evidence as possible.
It is up to you to recognize that your case may have certain problems, and to realize that your flexibility will be one of the keys to a successful outcome.
You must understand that the court system is set up in such a way that the defense attorney does not control everything.
Your attorney cannot control the timing on certain hearings, nor can he or she control what order your case is heard.
In addition, only you know how much you can afford to fight, how realistic it is that you will be able to completely beat the charges.
If your attorney goes over everything with you and determines that you might be further ahead to plea bargain, it is worth listening to his or her reasoning.
Disclaimer: This website is intended to offer readers general information pertaining to personal injury, DWI and criminal defense. The information posted on the Russman Law Blog should not be taken as formal legal advice and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.