If You Find Yourself In A Situation Where You Have Criminal Charges Against You Or Are Getting Ready to Be Filed Against You, Give Us A Call.
Video Transcribed: Tahlequah Criminal attorney Ryan Cannonie with the Wirth Law Tahlequah law office. So I’m going to continue some videos I’ve done, pro se chronicles is what I think I called them in the last couple. Basically, it’s stories from when I was a prosecutor that I saw, either cases I interacted with or cases I saw other prosecutors handle, where there was a pro se person on the other side and they really should have got an attorney.
So this situation happened, it was a misdemeanor DUI. The guy came in, said… it was, I want to say, like a two year deferment, which is kind of a standard DUI plea. He said he would take it. He wanted to get it over with. He would take it. So it was set for a date for him to come back for the DA to get all the paperwork done and be ready for him to sign on everything.
Well, between that day and the day he came back, the OSBI drug lab came in. Now, when you do a blood draw on someone and they send it off, a DUI, anything like that, OSBI laboratory analyzes it and compares it to a certain set of controlled substances they have. There’s a whole process, and I could do a video on that at some point. Suffice it to say they have a standard they have to meet to say it’s a certain substance.
If they don’t, then it comes back negative. And that’s what happened with him. He came back negative for all substances. Now the prosecutor handling the case, like myself, had done the OSBI drug lab course down in Edmond. And so he knew that just because a drug lab comes back negative doesn’t mean that there’s not anything in a person’s system. It just means that the lab couldn’t test for it.
Normally this would be about where a case ends because there’s no evidence. Unfortunately for this man in the situation, the person that pulled him over was a DRE. That’s a drug recognition expert. These are officers that have undergone specialized training to recognize the effects of certain substances. They can’t say, for instance, that it is hydrocodone that you’re on or they can’t say that you took three Xanax, but they can say that everything is consistent with their observations of an opiate or this is a cannaboid.
So they can classify different classes of drugs. Oklahoma has case law that upholds using DREs in court. Some states are starting to move to not use them. But as it stands right now, they’re considered an expert. They come in, their testimony is given just like an expert, like a doctor.
So having a DRE, that gave the prosecutor some evidence. So the guy comes in, he still wants to do the deal. Prosecutor doesn’t really feel comfortable doing it without… you know, this guy has a defense. It’s not one the prosecutor’s going to dismiss for because he still has evidence. But the guy does have a defense. Goes up to the judge and says, “Judge, I think you need to talk to this guy. I don’t…
The plea is what the plea is, but if… I think he should go talk to an attorney.” Judge calls him up there, talks to the guy, says, “Hey I don’t know what’s going on, but I think there’s a situation here. You need to go talk to an attorney.” Passes it again. Guy comes back without an attorney, again. Comes in and just says, “I want to take the deal.”
I’m pretty sure in the end, he ended up taking a plea and ended up getting probation for about two years. He’s going to be paying upwards of $1,500 in fines. He’s going to be paying for a hundred… what is it? $160, I think, for his drug and alcohol assessment.
And then he’s going to have DUI school, which that’s… I don’t even know how much that is. I want to say it was $200 at one point. And then he’s going to have VIP, which is an additional $60 to $80.
I don’t know if you’re catching a theme here, but this guy is going to be paying a ton of money. Not only that, he’s on DA rules of supervision for two years. And if he gets another DUI within 10 years of that plea date, it’ll be a felony DUI. If he has a CDL, he’s going to lose his license completely.
So these are all ramifications and bad things that can happen. And I don’t know how many happened to this guy. I just heard that he pled. I wasn’t even in there for the plea, but this is someone who was told he probably should go get an attorney and refused to and didn’t show up with anyone. Just said he didn’t do it. Got busy.
And now he has this probation sentence that’s going to affect his life for two years and possibly for the next 10. Attorneys can help you in court even if you think you know what you’re doing. The prosecutor is not there to advocate on your behalf. They’re there to advocate on their evidence and on the state’s behalf. If they have evidence to proceed, they will proceed even if some of their evidence is pretty poor.
In this situation, if this guy had an attorney one possible outcome is he might’ve got a dismissal. If the attorney had come in and advocated for the fact that that’s great you have a DRE, but we have a drug lab. This is a laboratory person that’s going to say no at trial, argue for a dismissal.
Another option would have been trying to get a reduced charge like a DWI, which doesn’t carry near the same penalty as a DUI. This guy would have been way better served if he had had an attorney, but he chose not to. He decided to represent himself. And, as they say, the person represents himself has a fool for a client.
So he ended up with a situation that most people would not like to be in. So if you find yourself in a situation where you have criminal charges against you or are getting ready to be filed against you, give us a call.
We can do a consultation, talk to you about your options, hopefully help you, and maybe even get your plea offer reduced, get a different charge as a reduced charge, maybe even get it dismissed. But we will be able to help you a lot more than you going in with a book you read last night on what it means to be a lawyer.