Articles Posted in San Fernando DUI Defense Attorney

A: You crash into a gas station window.

There are many good reasons why to avoid driving under the influence in Burbank (or elsewhere in Southern California). Among them include:

• Your license could be suspended for a year;
• You might have to go to jail;
• Your insurance rates might balloon and stay high for years afterwards;
• You might have to pay incredibly steep fines and fees;
• You might have to endure uncomfortable prohibition terms;
• You might have to pay to install an interlock ignition device in your vehicle;
• Perhaps most vividly, you might do crazy things, like drive your car into the glass window of a gas station.

Such was the fate of 33-year-old Evelina Igor Bennett of Boise, Idaho, who allegedly drove through a gas station on the 100 block of South Broadway. According to reports, police arrived at the gas station to find the woman sitting in the lot, smelling intensely of alcohol.

They put Ms. Bennett through the paces of Field Sobriety Tests. (Probably, they were very similar to the Burbank Field Sobriety Tests that you had to do — such as the finger to the nose test, the stand on one leg test, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, and the count backwards by threes test.)

But more astonishing than her failure at the FSTs was the intensity of her alleged intoxication.

Her two breath tests show that – which were taken later at jail (after she had time to metabolize some of the alcohol) showed that she had a 0.382% and 0.395% BAC, respectively. That’s astonishingly high. You’re considered legally over the limit at just 0.08%.

In fact, at that level of intoxication, Ms. Bennett is lucky to have survived the night. It’s not uncommon for people with BACs of 0.40% and above to become comatose or to suffer severe and permanent health effects due to the alcohol.

Bennett had been convicted twice before for DUI – once in 2006 and once in 2007. If you’re arrested three times in the span of ten years for DUI in Burbank (or elsewhere in Southern California), prosecutors can charge your third DUI as a felony, even if it ordinarily would be just a misdemeanor. That means you could go to jail for over a year (among other things), instead of just a few days.

Sobering thoughts.

Fortunately, if you’ve been arrested for a similar crime, you don’t have to passively accept your fate. Connect today with a Burbank DUI defense attorney at the Kraut Law Group. Attorney Kraut is a very experienced former prosecutor who has a tremendous record for delivering results, even in tough, complex cases. Mr. Kraut served for 14 plus years as a prosecutor in the capacity of Senior Deputy District Attorney.

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If you think that your DUI in Burbank has been a depressing turn of events, try being a Cleveland Browns fan.burbank-dui-bernie-kosar.jpg

All kidding aside, Cleveland sports fans received some pretty harsh news last Sunday, tempered only slightly by a victory against AFC rivals, Cincinnati Bengals. Police in Solon, Ohio arrested 49-year-old Bernie Kosar, an ex-Browns quarterback, for driving under the influence. Police stopped him for speeding around 2:45 am, and officers noted a smell of alcohol on him. As regular readers know, that’s a key symptom of Burbank DUI. (Other common symptoms include: bloodshot eyes, inability to balance, strange/awkward behavior towards officers; slurred words; emotional outbursts. When combined with other evidence – such as failures on field sobriety tests and DUI Burbank positive breath or blood tests, it can be enough to put you behind bars!)

Kosar has been an outspoken advocate of retired NFL players who’ve struggled with brain injuries incurred while playing. But his public troubles are well known. He’s struggled financially, gone through a divorce and gotten addicted to painkillers. Kosur claims that his NFL-induced brain injuries have caused him to slur his words.

While QB’ing for the Browns, Kosar took his team to the AFC Championship game three different times. But he got in trouble with the Browns’ organization earlier this year, when he lashed into the St. Louis Rams during a pre-season broadcast. He called Tavon Austin, a wide receiver for the Rams, “horrible,” and he also said “Bless me Father for I have sinned. I have to watch [backup quarterback Kellen Clemens] the whole fourth quarter.”

What You Can Learn from Kosar’s Saga about Your Burbank DUI

Kosar’s story indicates how vulnerable we all are to periods of despondency, dependence, and just bad luck. It takes a single act of careless judgment on one particular day to create terrible circumstances that can alter your life and damage other people.

Kosar’s story also suggest that head injuries may indeed be capable of inducing serious behavioral changes, such as loss of impulse control. If you know someone who has gotten arrested for DUI in Burbank — and that person has been sick or recently injured — you may need medical help as well as legal assistance.

For help with the legal piece, consider turning to experienced former prosecutor, Michael Kraut, of the Kraut Law Group, for a free and thorough DUI defense consultation. Mr. Kraut is an ex-prosecutor with excellent connections with the Los Angeles legal community.

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As someone arrested for DUI in Glendale, you’ve been beating yourself up pretty badly. bishop-McManus-los-angeles-dui.jpg

You’re not the only one showering you with negative emotions. Odds are high that you’ve encountered at least one friend or relative who responded to the news of your arrest in a less than congenial or compassionate manner – either judging you outright for “being a bad person who can’t get it together” or by making subtle but still painful digs.

The Glendale DUI experience is more diverse — and more human — than many people realize, however.

For instance, did you know that a Roman Catholic bishop from Rhode Island recently got arrested for DUI, after he consumed wine at dinner and then hopped in his car? It’s true. Out in South Kingston, Rhode Island, Robert McManus, a bishop for Worcester, got arrested for DUI and for leaving the scene of an accident. The 61-year-old bishop admitted that he “made a terrible error in judgment.” William Murphy, the former Speaker of the Rhode Island House, is representing McManus in court.

When most people think about Glendale DUI arrests, they conjure up caricatures.

They might picture a wastrel — a no-goodnik whose “life is a mess.” An irredeemable “criminal” who’s not at all like normal, law-abiding people. Or they think of “hot messes,” like Lindsay Lohan or presumptuous pols or narcissistic sports stars.

Does a 60-something high priest from Rhode Island fit your mental profile of “DUI driver”? Probably not! The reality is that the diversity of people arrested for this crime is astonishing, but that diversity is just not reflected in news stories or in tabloids.

Changing How You Think about And Reflect on Your Glendale DUI

We live in a society that emphasizes the judging, shaming and punishment of “wrongdoers.” This moralizing is built into the very fiber of our legal system. But this kind of thinking is not particularly resourceful. It can be downright destructive.

As we discussed above, Glendale DUIs are often the surface manifestations of deeper issues.

For instance, a person who loses his job might feel helpless and thus drawn down into a spiral of destructive behavior (including driving DUI). To turn things around, he will need not only to face down the charges but also to address the root issues making him feel helpless.

Of course, in some cases, DUIs really are “random.”

For instance, Bishop McManus may, indeed, have just “had a bad night.” You never know.

In any case, it’s useful to at least probe your DUI to try to understand its root cause, so you can address it and save yourself hassle in the future.

Connect with Attorney Michael Kraut of Glendale’s Kraut Law Group today for assistance with your case. A Harvard Law School educated ex-Deputy District Attorney, Mr. Kraut can offer powerful and comprehensive help with your Glendale DUI defense.

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Getting arrested for driving under the influence in Burbank is a monstrously embarrassing and challenging experience. burbank-dui-arrest-again.jpg

You probably don’t want to think about the assortment of punishments that prosecutors can seek, such as extensive jail time, weeks of compulsory alcohol school, mandatory IID installation in your car, fines and fees, intensely restrictive probation terms, and, of course, the suspension of your California drivers license for a year. And that’s just if you committed a minor crime — one that did not involve injuries, other charges, or a past criminal history!

You can obviously understand why someone would want to celebrate the lifting of such restrictions – the finalizing of a Burbank DUI case. Unfortunately, some people take such celebrations too far.

The results can be quite ironic.

Consider, for instance, what happened to Riverside Illinois resident Erin James, a 58-year-old woman on the verge of getting her driver license back — a court suspended it back for a 2012 DUI. But James got ahead of herself, according to CBS Chicago. Riverside police pulled her over for speeding at around 2 a.m., the night of the end of her suspension. The officer suspected that she was DUI, and he put her through the paces of field sobriety test. She failed and later tested to have a BAC of 0.15%. (For those of you keeping score, that’s nearly twice the Burbank DUI limit of 0.08%.)

The bad news did not end there, for James.

After checking her driver’s license, police found that it was suspended in 2012. James also did not have a mandated interlock ignition device (IID) in her car, which was supposed to stop her from driving while under the influence.

Police handcuffed and arrested the woman and hit her with the charge of felony aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol. A very serious charge. As you probably already know, a felony can be punished with a jail sentence in excess of a year. Convicted felons permanently lose many rights that most people take for granted, such as the right to vote in elections. Plus convicted felons often struggle to get loans, secure housing, find employment, et cetera.

Depending on the nature of your Burbank DUI charge, you, too, may face a felony, particularly if you hurt someone else while behind the wheel. The California Vehicle Code has actually a special section just for injury DUIs – 23153(a) and 23153(b). This CVC section is very similar to 23152 (the standard DUI misdemeanor), except that it elevates what would normally be misdemeanors to felonies.

Whether your Burbank DUI arrest was “ironic” or not, or “newsworthy” or not, you have a lot of work to do, legally speaking and otherwise. You want to forge an effective, appropriate, responsible Burbank DUI defense, but you’re not sure exactly how to start the process.

Get in touch with the reputable, results-focused team here at Burbank’s Kraut Law Group. Mr. Kraut is an ex-prosecutor who has a long, successful track record of helping defendants like you meet their charges effectively and smartly.

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What’s a Burbank DUI worst-case scenario?burbank-dui-lose-control.jpg

Your Burbank DUI arrest was probably pretty rough. In fact, it’s hard to imagine how it could have gone any worse. Whether police pulled you over on Olive, after you attended a cast party of a WB show; or you crashed into a cop car on the 101, your situation was pretty embarrassing and possibly painful and scary.

But could it have been worse?

Consider your Burbank DUI arrest in light of what happened to a 21-year-old man from Boulder, who was recently arrested on 11th Street near an area called University Hill. Police found the man vomiting all over himself at around 2 in the morning. But that’s not all. Apparently, he also defecated on himself. The officers’ report said: “he told [the officers] it was because he was scared.” The 21-year-old faces a variety of unpleasant charges, including obstructing a police officer, violating a protection order, DUI, and DUI per se.

Hopefully, that puts your Burbank DUI charge in context.

For more context, let’s look to the town of York, Pennsylvania, where a woman from Newberry Township just got arrested for DUI – her second of the week and third DUI since July 5th!

24 year-old Anna Elizabeth Spittler hit a car on Interstate 83 and left the scene. According to reports, two people suffered injuries in the crash. Ms. Spittler faces a variety of citations and charges, including violating the controlled substances law, hit and run and DUI. According to one of the victims, Spittler’s car approached rapidly from behind. It swerved at the last second and smashed into the rear of his driver side, forcing his vehicle into a spin that sent it down an embankment.

A local newspaper report details the rest of the story “the [Pennsylvania] trooper found a Volvo parked in the right shoulder of I-83 about a mile away … police found a card with Spittler’s name on it, an unmarked pill bottle and open bottle of Smirnoff in the car.”

Spittler later confessed to driving under the influence and hitting the vehicle and leaving. She said that she thought she hit a guardrail.

It sounds like a very unfortunate situation, although Spittler was very lucky that no one got seriously hurt or killed in the crash (or in her previous two DUI incidences).

What You Can Learn from These Stories about Your Burbank DUI Defense
No driver is perfect. For every crazy/sad/unbelievable DUI story out there, there’s always one that’s crazier/sadder/weirder.

The key is not to dwell on the past but rather to acknowledge the present and look forward to the future. An experienced Burbank DUI defense attorney, like Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group, can help you make an effective plan of action. Mr. Kraut is an ex-prosecutor who amassed a 99-plus percent success rate at jury trials as a prosecutor. He has the connections and wherewithal to create excellent defenses.

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Hopefully, we can safely assume that you did NOT bite the police officer who arrested you for driving under the influence in Burbank.woman-bites-cop-burbank-dui.jpg

But not every driver has that level of restraint!

Believe it or not, two major recent news stories involved drivers who bit people while getting busted for DUI.

For starters, let’s take a second look at the DUI arrest of former USF football star, Terrence Mitchell, who bit an EMT, after officers found him passed out in front of his car. The Tampa Bay Times summarizes the blow by blow: “while being evaluated by Tampa Fire Rescue personnel, Mitchell ‘became agitated’… and “twice attempted to bite an EMT [against the will of the EMT]…. Mitchell [later] admitted to police that he had consumed alcoholic beverages, was feeling its effects and ‘that he should not have been on the road.'”

But Mitchell’s spectacular story pales in comparison to the charges against 27-year-old Allison Richards of Connecticut.

Richards was arrested on August 13th for a variety of charges, including DUI, failure to signal, breach of peace, interfering an arrest, and – most vividly – assault on a police officer.

Here’s how it all went down.

Richard’s 2005 Subaru Legacy hit a lawn on Hollow Tree Road. Police found Richards standing by the vehicle, exhibiting signs that could indicate DUI in Burbank (or elsewhere), such as slurring her words. Inside the Subaru, officers found a six pack of beer with a bottle missing. Richards said that she was shopping at Lord & Taylor. She then took her son home and began to consume alcohol. She could not remember how she wound up on Hollow Tree Ridge Road.

Once the police moved to arrest her for DUI, things got heated – fast.

First, allegedly Richards stripped off her shirt and started cursing at the police. When the officers tried to subdue her, she lashed back by punching and kicking. Once they got her into the car, she continued with her tantrum, bashing at the partition with her feet. When they got to the police station, she wouldn’t get out. Eventually, they yanked her free and took her inside to be processed. Richards continued to try to strip off her clothing, and she bit one of the officers on the elbow. Eventually, police had to carry her to her cell, where she was held on $2,500 bond.

Something about Burbank DUI arrests bring out the “inner animal” in some people. Not everyone reacts to being arrested the same way. Some people are calm and cooperative. Others activate the “flight” part of the “fight or flight” response and try to leave the scene of the crime. (a big no-no, particularly if you hurt someone or caused property damage.)

The reality is that being arrested is a foreign, terrifying, and uncertain experience. Very few people leave their homes thinking “today is the day I am going to be arrested!” It certainly doesn’t help matters that many people stopped for crimes like DUI are on controlled substances, like alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications.

The silver lining is that, no matter what charges you face, you may have major legal defenses available to you. Connect with the Kraut Law Group to explore your defense options now. Mr. Kraut is a former Harvard Law School educated ex-prosecutor; he and his team have the wherewithal and knowledge to build you a very effective Burbank defense to DUI.

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Every effective Burbank DUI defense lawyer worth his or her salt knows the standard legal limit for BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is 0.08%. In other words, if you have this amount of alcohol or more in your system, you’re automatically DUI, per California Vehicle Code Section 23152. Of course, you can also be charged with DUI if you have less alcohol in your system (e.g. if you’re a minor and never should have been drinking in the first place). But the point is: everyone knows the 0.08% number.0.00%20BAC.jpg

Consider that, as we discuss the sad story of a 61-year-old man in Arizona, who just got arrested for having a blood alcohol level of…0.00%.

That might look like a typo. But it’s not. The number once again: 0.00%.

The arrest of Jessie Thornton, a retiree living in the appropriately named community of “Surprise” Arizona, sparked a vitriolic conversation in the blogosphere about racial profiling. According to reports, the retired firefighter was on his way home at around 11 pm, when a police officer saw him cross a white line.

The officer allegedly told Thornton: “I can tell you’re driving DUI by looking in your eyes.”

Thornton had just been swimming in an L.A. Fitness gym nearby, and his eyes were bloodshot from the chlorine. But the officer thought that the bloodshot eyes indicated potential DUI (in his defense, bloodshot eyes are a classic symptom of Burbank DUI). So he had Thornton do a sobriety test. Thornton warned the officer that he had bad knees and a bad hip, and that he was about to go in for surgery. Understandably, he didn’t perform perfectly on the balance tests. Afterwards, officers placed him in handcuffs and asked him to sit down on the side of the road.

Thornton told a local ABC News affiliate “I couldn’t even sit on the ground like that, and they knew it and I was laying on the ground. Then they put me in the back of an SUV, and when I asked the officer to move her seat up because my hip hurt, she told me to stop whining.”

The police took the man to local station and gave him a breath test. He blew a 0.00% — not even a trace of alcohol in the system. But it didn’t stop officers from impounding Thornton’s car, suspending his license, and ordering him to take an alcohol education class. Thornton later managed to get the DUI charge dropped, unsurprisingly — a local drug and alcohol recognition expert told him “I would never have arrested you” — but he’s obviously outraged by the situation, and he’s since launched a claim against the City of Surprise for $500,000.

His attorney put it bluntly: “this is a case of D-W-B – driving while black.” Thornton told local reporters about his reasons for the suit: “it’s not totally about the money, although I already have [paid] more than $5,000 and that’s $5,000 that I don’t have.”

Your Burbank DUI charges may be less clear-cut. You may have actually been under the influence of alcohol – maybe significantly above the legal limit. But the case indicates an important point, which many prospective Burbank DUI defendants fail to realize. And that’s this: despite their best intentions, officers can and do make serious mistakes with respect to procedure and reporting and testing.

The good news is that attorney Michael Kraut of Burbank’s Kraut Law Group and his support team are just a phone call or a click away. Connect with a Harvard Law School educated lawyer at the Kraut Law Group to construct your defense.

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As someone who has been recently stopped and arrested for Burbank DUI at a checkpoint (or elsewhere), your mind is obviously focused on your urgent situation and not on national news involvements. But you should try to understand the context of your arrest on a broader level, since that context can inform your defense strategy and what measures you might take going forward to prevent another Burbank DUI arrest.north-dakota-HB-1302.jpg

To that end, let’s mentally traverse a few thousand miles up to North Dakota, where local Governor Jack Dalrymple just signed into law House Bill 1302, which ratchets up penalties for DUI in ND. The new laws, which will go into effect on August 1, are far more draconian than the state’s old laws. Governor Dalrymple signed HB 1302 into law while surrounded by victims and family members of victims of DUI accidents. Here are key highlights:

• Anyone who blows a BAC of 0.16% or higher (even first time offenders!) will be hit with an aggravated DUI charge;
• If you test at 0.16% or more (twice the limit for DUI in Burbank, by the way), and you’re a recidivist, you must enroll in a 24/7 sobriety program and face an increase in mandatory jail time;
• Even first time offenders convicted of aggravated DUI must perform 10 hours of community service and serve two days behind bars;
• If you kill someone while driving under the influence, you could be charged with the new type of felony called a Class A felony. If convicted, you face a mandatory 3 year jail sentence;
• If you’ve been convicted of reckless or DUI driving in the past, and then you kill someone, you face a mandatory decade-long prison sentence;
• The law also creates a Class C felony charge (one to two year mandatory sentence) if you injure someone while driving DUI.

A local North Dakota state representative, Kim Koppelman, applauded the new stringent DUI laws: “We’ve sent a powerful message, supported by so many…this marks the culmination of a long, collaborative effort involving law enforcement officials, prosecutors, defense attorneys, the Governor, the Attorney General, corrections officials and the families of victims of drunk driving.”

Reflecting on what’s happened at North Dakota leads to a few observations:

• First of all, Burbank DUI laws (and DUI laws everywhere) are fluid. They change over time.
• Secondly, all the stakeholders in the DUI process – DUI defendants; lawyers; insurance companies; lawmakers; victims; and the general public – have a mutual interest in making our roads safer and ensuring a proper balance of punishment and rehabilitation.
• Given the ever-changing and complex nature of DUI law, you should strongly consider finding a talented, effective Burbank DUI defense attorney to help you with your case.

There is just too much information – changing too quickly – for you to be able to process and deal with your case on your own, if you want optimal results. Connect with Mr. Kraut of Burbank’s Kraut Law Group for a thorough, strategic free consultation about your situation.

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Your Glendale DUI arrest is not going to go over well with the folks at work, or at least so you’re afraid.fight-with-boss-after-pasadena-dui.jpg

Perhaps you already were struggling at work — on the verge of getting demoted or even fired. Once your employer finds out about the arrest – particularly if you hurt someone while DUI in Glendale – you may lose your main source of income, another horrible blow after what has already been a traumatic experience.

Even if you keep your job, you might face backlash from your coworkers and even from clients. You want to avoid lying about your experience — and even if you wanted to lie, you also may not be able to, particularly if you were arrested in spectacular fashion or if you seriously hurt yourself or someone else while DUI in Glendale.

So what can you do?

First of all, give yourself credit just for reading this article and beginning the thinking process about how to address the issue. Yes, you made mistakes. Yes, you’re in trouble and you’re rightly worried about the “snowball effect” of your DUI – i.e., how many other areas of your life will the DUI arrest impact in a negative fashion?

But you might be surprised by what you can accomplish by being compassionate with yourself and being strategic about how you proceed. For instance, depending on your employer and the nature of your relationship with him or her, you could address the issue upfront and ask for guidance:

“Ms. Hankins, I’ve come to your office to tell you that I got arrested over the weekend for driving under the influence in Glendale on a misdemeanor charge.

I can’t really say much about my case right now, but I deeply regret what happened and I’m working with an experienced Glendale DUI criminal defense lawyer to figure out what to do. I want to tell you this upfront, because I value my role at this company and I didn’t want you hear the news from someone else. I am committed to getting the appropriate help and coming out of this experience stronger. I would obviously love to keep working for this company. Tell me what you think about how to go forward.”

Even if you think that your boss “won’t understand,” you might be surprised by what people are capable of, when you’re honest and forthcoming.

Of course, so you want to avoid putting the cart before the horse. First, get insight into your Glendale DUI case by connecting with the Kraut Law Group. After attending Harvard Law School, attorney Kraut spent nearly 15 years as a prosecutor for Los Angeles (working his way up to Senior Deputy District Attorney), before switching over to represent criminal defendants. He and his team can give you the resources and insights to manage not only work-related challenges (flowing from the DUI) but also other challenges, such as the imminent license suspension, jail time, mandatory alcohol school, mandated interlocking ignition device installation and so forth.

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Perhaps you wrote off your first DUI in Burbank as “bad luck” or “bad karma” or whatever. tim-morrow-8-DUI-brurbank.jpg

But now that you’re facing your second charge, you’re deeply worried that prosecutors will not take kindly to the recidivism. You are right to fear that. The Southern California justice system does not like it when drivers commit repeat crimes.

In that context, it’s astonishing when people like 43-year-old Timothy Morrow wind up with eight DUI convictions over a lifetime. That’s right: EIGHT DUIs.

The self-employed carpenter collected his first DUI at the age of 17. After that, he got arrested twice for boating under the influence and nine other times for driving while intoxicated. A local state attorney, Ben Dillon, noted “it defies the logic that an individual that has been arrested for DUI 10 times continues to drink alcohol…it’s clear this defendant just doesn’t get it and doesn’t care.”

A judge just handed down a 13 year prison sentence to Morrow, despite the fact that he admitted to the court that he had been abused as a child: “I have a 12-year-old son that I want to see grow up. I made a mistake, I apologize.” Circuit Judge, Brian Hughes, appreciated the confession but handed down the 13 year jail sentence anyway: “you said you made a mistake … you made mistake after mistake after mistake, for 25 years. You are still somebody that keeps making the same mistake.”

Do recidivists Burbank DUI offenders deserve a second chance? How about a third? A fourth? A fifth? Where does it end?

As the inimitable Will Rogers once said, “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”

That’s sensible advice, but it’s often hard to follow in practice. It’s easy to look at somebody else who keeps “making the same mistake” and judging that person for being unable to get it together. But if you have a problem — be it a problem managing your relationship with alcohol or a deep seated psychological issue — you may not be able to figure out how to “stop digging” and approach your situation from a new and fresh vantage.

Fortunately, with the right help, Burbank DUI defendants like you can often not just rebound from serious charges but also restructure their lives, their careers and their finances in positive ways.

Let the team here at the Kraut Law Group help you with your Burbank DUI defense. Attorney Kraut is an experienced, trusted criminal defense lawyer. As an ex-prosecutor, he maintains excellent relationships with other prosecutors, judges and police officers, and he feels a great duty both to provide defendants with excellent counsel and to protect the public good.

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