While traffic citations are usually a civil infraction, drunk driving charges are criminal offenses that can have civil consequences in addition to criminal penalties.
Misdemeanor Vs. Felony
All drunk driving charges are criminal offenses under Alaska laws; they are either a misdemeanor offense or a felony offense.
A Felony is any crime for which the penalty may include imprisonment for a period of more than one year. All other crimes are misdemeanor offenses.
Once placed under arrest, police must inform a suspect of his or her Miranda Rights. Those rights include the right to remain silent (you should), the right to have an attorney present during all questioning (you should) and the right to have an attorney appointed for you if you cannot afford one (if you are destitute).
Arrests & Your Constitutional Rights
An arrest is a seizure of a person. If police lack probable cause to make a police stop, it follows that the evidence obtained during the illegal stop is fruit of the poisoned tree, and cannot be used against the person to convict. If police seize, arrest or search a person illegally, evidence obtained thereafter may be excluded or suppressed.
Your Constitutional rights are protected, even during a drunk driving arrest, but you must defend those rights. In a court of law, a prosecutor is not going to give evidence that impeaches his witnesses or proves his evidence was obtained illegally. Your attorney must do that.
Plea settlements (often called "plea bargains" or "plea bargaining") are agreements between the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney to settle the case.
There are several important facts to know about plea bargaining. First, a plea bargain is an offer from the defense attorney to the prosecuting attorney, even if the prosecutor suggests the settlement. As such, the prosecutor can chose whether or not to accept the bargain right up and until the moment that the court orders the bargain as a settlement to the case, and even on the courthouse steps.
Acquittal - Not Guilty
After a case has been adjudicated, if the judge or jury return a verdict of "not guilty" - that is an acquittal. Attorney Slone has obtained many "not guilty" verdicts, or acquittals, as well as dismissals of charges before trial -- in both misdemeanor and felony cases. You can refer to the Case Results page for a glimpse at a few of those cases to see how Mr. Slone prevailed.
Talk To An Attorney Today
Time is of the essence in drunk driving cases. By waiting, you may lose your driver's license, and either lose or severely risk losing opportunities to defend your case. To speak with an attorney today, please call Fred Slone at (907) 272-4471.