Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tough DWI moment

Had a tough moment this morning. Client is from out of the area, got a DWI here. Relatively minor case. BAC was .10. No priors. This is a routine case where a good NY drunk driving lawyer would expect to get the charges reduced to a DWAI. The consequences are still significant, but it's a violation.
Because my client is from out of the area, I had him sign a waiver of appearance letting me take care of everything for him. This is proper under CPL 340.50(2). But judges don't like it.
I've done this in front of about 10 judges so far. Most have accepted it without much concern. A couple have not liked it, but gone along with it.
So this morning I was in front of a judge in Albany City Court. This is a good judge, who I like. But he's got his own ideas about how things should be, and he's firm about it. He was not happy that my client wasn't there.
I understand his side of it, but there's that darn 340.50(2), saying my client doesn't have to be there.
Short result -- looks like the judge is insisting my client come up tomorrow morning, 9 a.m.
I had warned my client about this, and fortunately the judge didn't just issue a bench warrant for my client's arrest.
Just another day as a DUI lawyer in Albany


Anonymous said...

Warren, have you ever had the ADA or officer object (as CPL 340.50 allows) to your client waiving his right to appear? It's happened to me a couple of times...

Unknown said...

Responding to G. Magnell, above, I've never had an ADA object. I only remember an officer objecting once, to me, but he lightened up after we discussed it. That was in Columbia County on a speeding ticket from the Taconic Parkway.