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Different paths to a great result

Sometimes, a great result can be attained for a client that does not result from either a trial or motion victory, but in hard work, alternative measures and vigorous lobbying of the prosecutor. 

I recently had a case fit that scenario. I had a client who was charged with driving while suspended in the first degree.  Given his driving history, my client was facing a MINIMUM (which means the judge could not impose a shorter sentence) of 180 days (six months) of confinement.  Despite his history, my client had turned his life around to become a very productive and valuable asset to the community, having his own business and even having sole custody of his daughter.  Needless to say, a trip to the Clark County Jail for six months would have a devastating impact on his life and family. 

I did have some legal issues to work with, and although a suppression motion was fought and lost, I was ready to go to trial.  But of course, there was no guarantee of a victory at trial.  As an alternative, I instructed my client to do everything he could to get legal to drive again.  This involved clearing debts, applying for and winning a hearing with the Department of Licensing and retaking all the driving tests.  In the end, my client was able to get a restricted license.  I was able to convince the prosecutor that it was not in the interests of justice for my client to spend six months in jail.  That his value to the community with his employment, the value of being there as a father to his child and his determination in getting his license reinstated deserved some measure of leniency.

In the end, my client ultimately pleaded guilty to a crime. However, this charge was driving while suspended in the third degree, a charge with no mandatory sentence. My client was ordered to perform seven days on a work crew -- a far cry from 180 days in jail.   Through hard work and diligence, my client and I achieved a more than satisfactory result.  It goes to show a victory can be attained in many different ways.

Tags: criminal law, driving while suspended

Jeffrey D. Barrar, P.S.: Vancouver Defenders Jeffrey D. Barrar, P.S.
Vancouver Defenders