FREE CONSUMER GUIDE >>> DWI Checklist: Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid
"DWI Checklist: Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid" is a FREE consumer guide on Louisiana drunk driving law by experienced DWI / DUI defense attorney Parker Layrisson. It reveals the shocking truth behind the most common errors made by DWI defendants and their lawyers.
If you or someone you love is facing a DWI or DUI charge, this consumer report is a must-read. A free download of "DWI Checklist: Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid" is available to our website visitors as a service of the Parker Layrisson Law Firm. Click here to request online, or call us at 504-264-1515 or 985-467-9525.
Parker Layrisson is also the author of the following related legal columns and book chapters:
• “The Art of the DUI Plea Deal"
• "Ask an Attorney: Should I Treat a DWI Citation Like Any Other Traffic Ticket?"
• "Ask an Attorney: How Should I Handle Being Arrested?"
• "Ask an Attorney: Should I Consider a Plea Bargain?"
• "Ask an Attorney: Can Police Take My Blood by Force at a DWI Sobriety Checkpoint?"
• "Ask an Attorney: What Can I Do to Clean Up My Criminal Record?"
• "Ask an Attorney: How Do I Choose the Right Lawyer for My Case?"
FREE BOOK CHAPTER >>> The Art of the DUI Plea Deal"The Art of the DUI Plea Deal" is a FREE book chapter on DUI / DWI plea deal negotiating by experienced defense attorney Parker Layrisson. This chapter is a must-read playbook about preparing drunk driving clients for plea bargaining, investigating DUI / DWI cases, and challenging police and prosecutors to provide the best deal.
The entire book, Negotiating a Plea Deal in DUI Cases, published by Thomson Reuters / West, is available online in the Westlaw Store for $90.00. However, Parker Layrisson offers his chapter, "The Art of the DUI Plea Deal," for FREE. Click here to request an online download, or call us at 504-264-1515 or 985-467-9525 to request a hard copy.
VIDEO >>> How to Handle a DWI or DUI Arrest
iPhone or iPad? Click here to watch the video "How to Handle a DWI or DUI Arrest".
A DWI poses an urgent and considerable threat to your freedom, wealth, and reputation. DWI is a serious crime, punishable by imprisonment, fines, probation, and suspension of driving privileges, among other penalties.
DWI conviction can also tarnish your permanent criminal record, as well as cause your insurance rates to skyrocket.
What do you need to do? And how much time do you have to do it?
In this video, DWI attorney Parker Layrisson helps you understand the process.
If you have been charged with a DWI or DUI, the attorneys of the Parker Layrisson Law Firm can help you fight your charges. Making the mistakes of not hiring a lawyer, hiring the wrong lawyer, or even hiring the right lawyer too late can doom your case forever.
VIDEO >>> How to Choose the Right LawyerClick here to watch the video "How to Choose the Right Attorney."
The most important issues in selecting the right an attorney are experience, qualifications, and professional reputation. There are many sources of information about attorneys: the Internet, advertisements, friends, other lawyers, etc. However, while each of those can be helpful and informative, the single best way to determine whether a lawyer is right for your case is to talk to the attorney directly.
Most attorneys will speak to you on the telephone or in person at no charge to answer basic questions before formal legal representation begins. This process is important because it allows you to determine whether you like and trust the lawyer and it permits the attorney to decide whether he wants to handle your case.
Do not be afraid to formally interview your lawyer. This will show the attorney that you take your case (and his job) very seriously.
Ask thoughtful, direct questions. Demand straight answers. Consider the information you obtain, and go with your instincts. It is important to be both comfortable with and confident in your attorney.
The following questions should assist you in making an informed decision on who will represent you:
How much experience does the lawyer have?
Do not simply ask how many years the attorney has practiced law; question him about what he has been doing all those years. With regards to experience, quality is as important as quantity. For example, if you need an injury lawyer, ask the attorney how many similar injury cases he has handled, how many of those cases went to trial, what results has he achieved in those cases, etc. If your case is criminal in nature, ask whether the lawyer has worked as a prosecutor, with other law enforcement agencies, or for the judiciary.
What are the lawyer’s qualifications?
Here, start with questions about education and training; then move onto prior work history; then cover any other related accomplishments. Where did the lawyer go to school? What were his grades? Has he continued his education in the specialized fields applicable to your case? Has he clerked for a judge? Did the lawyer’s past work in the public sector or other law firms result in specialized expertise? Is he active with any law journals, bar associations, or professional groups? Has he published any relevant books, articles, columns, etc.?
What is the lawyer’s reputation?
This topic is awkward to address and difficult to assess, but extremely important. If you have access to judges or other lawyers, bluntly ask them what they think of the attorney in question. If not, begin by asking the lawyer if he has ever been disciplined by the bar. Also ask the attorney to provide you with his Martindale-Hubbell client and peer ratings and Avvo.com rating. Ideally, you would like to hire a highly rated lawyer, someone recognized by clients, judges and lawyers alike as having achieved the height of professional excellence in legal ability and ethical standards.
If you dedicate yourself to a thorough attorney-client interview focusing on the lawyer’s experience, qualifications, and professional reputation, your chances of choosing the right lawyer for your case will increase tremendously.
LEGAL COLUMNS >>> Ask an Attorney
Parker Layrisson Law Firm News
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How should I handle being arrested?If you expect to be arrested, don't make a bad situation worse by mishandling the process. By considering your rights and responsibilities, you can avoid most common mistakes.
Begin by preparing your family. Memorize your lawyer's telephone number and make other emergency plans. Also, organize your finances for making bail.
Don't resist arrest. Fighting or fleeing the police can result in extra, possibly more serious, charges. Even if you believe your arrest is unfair or unwarranted, stay calm and submit to the arresting officer. Talking trash to the police is a bad idea, practically and legally, so be polite.
Immediately request an attorney. You have a right to a lawyer: use it! If you cannot afford counsel, the state must provide legal representation. Your right to a phone call can assist with contacting your attorney from jail.
Don't talk. Take advantage of your right to remain silent. Do not offer any explanations or excuses or information to police. Refrain from answering police questions except to identify yourself. In short, do not say anything, sign anything, or make any decisions without first consulting your lawyer.
Distrust the police. This advice may seem counterintuitive -- especially coming from the son of a sheriff and brother of a police chief! However, police officers sometimes lie to criminal suspects for the purpose of gaining incriminating admissions. In fact, many officers are trained to lie to you to get your confession. For example, they may lie about having witnesses or video tape or fingerprints or DNA evidence. Or, they may separate you from your friend and tell you that your pal “ratted you out," hoping you will return the favor. Finally, officers often promise you will be better off if you admit your guilt and cooperate. Just remember, the police are interested in proving their case, not defending your case.
Don't consent to a search. If the police do not have a warrant, do not allow them to search your home or automobile. Searches often lead to incriminating evidence, and that's no good for you.
Make the most of a bad situation by handling your arrest right. You won't regret it.
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© 9/15/11 J. Parker Layrisson
Can police take my blood by force at a DWI sobriety checkpoint?Yes, if they obtain a warrant first. In fact, this occurred in Tangipahoa Parish last week when local police officers, prosecutors, and judges teamed up for a "No Refusal Weekend" targeting suspected drunk drivers.
The 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution protects citizens from being compelled to testify against themselves in criminal cases. Also, the 4th Amendment protects Americans from unreasonable search and seizures. However, courts have ruled that these constitutional protections do not extend to DWI defendants' blood samples when courts issue search warrants based on probable cause. Therefore, when police, prosecutors, and judges collaborate to detain drivers who refuse breathalyzer testing, draft search warrants for blood samples, and review and sign the warrants, involuntary blood testing is allowed.
Under Louisiana’s DWI law, Revised Statute 14:98, a driver commits a crime when his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or higher. Blood sample testing is more accurate and reliable than breath testing at determining BAC. Thus, a driver whose blood sample reveals a 0.08 BAC is easier to convict than a defendant whose breathalyzer test shows an equally high BAC.
Therefore, blood sample test results are the single most compelling piece of evidence available in DWI cases. Of course, even where blood was obtained by police, a good DWI defense lawyer can challenge a DWI prosecution on any number of other issues (validity of the traffic stop; improper arrest procedures; lack of probable cause; etc.). However, the bottom line is that a drunk driver who submits blood -- whether voluntarily or against his will -- is more likely to face DWI conviction than one who submits breath only or no chemical sample at all.
This summer, local police are cracking down on DWI. From the Ponchatoula Police Department to the Louisiana State Police, law enforcement agencies of all sizes are conducting roadside sobriety checkpoints on a regular basis. Now that prosecutors and judges have agreed to join police on the midnight shift, the summer heat is hotter than ever for drunk drivers.
Do yourself (and the rest of us) a huge favor by staying off the road if you are intoxicated.
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© 8/02/10 J. Parker Layrisson
Should I treat a DWI citation like any other traffic ticket?Unlike typical traffic tickets, a citation for driving while intoxicated (DWI) poses an urgent and considerable threat to your freedom, wealth, and reputation. Consequently, you should immediately hire a qualified DWI defense lawyer to guide you through the complicated process. Failure to hire the right attorney in time could forever prejudice your rights.
In Louisiana, DWI is a serious crime. It is punishable by imprisonment, fines, probation, and suspension of driving privileges, among other penalties.
If you have been arrested for DWI, you face two separate legal proceedings: (1) criminal prosecution in city or district court; and (2) administrative driver’s license suspension by state’s office of motor vehicles.
Criminal prosecution is the more important of the two legal proceedings because conviction can result in jail time, fines, probation, community service, and other burdensome penalties. DWI conviction can also tarnish your permanent criminal record, resulting in lost employment, educational, and personal opportunities. Conviction can further haunt you by drastically increasing penalties in future DWI cases. Finally, DWI criminal conviction can cause your insurance rates to skyrocket, costing you thousands in additional premiums.
In most cases, the district or city court will schedule the first mandatory criminal court appearance, the arraignment, within a few months of the DWI arrest. At arraignment, the judge will read you the charges, ask you to enter an initial plea, and assign you subsequent court dates for motions, pre-trial conference, and/or trial. After the arraignment, you have only 15 days to file written motions with the court requesting obtainable evidence and asserting relevant defenses.
The administrative driver’s license suspension process moves even faster than criminal court. Under Louisiana law, refusal to take or failure to pass a chemical breath test results in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety, Office of Motor Vehicles. Typically, the arresting officer will confiscate your license upon arrest.
To challenge the driver’s license suspension, you must request a hearing before an administrative law judge within only 15 days of arrest. You should also subpoena the arresting officer(s) to appear at the hearing. In addition to providing your only opportunity to reclaim your full driving privileges, the administrative law judge hearing usually presents the first (and best) opportunity to question the arresting officer about your DWI arrest and review the police report.
Considering the harsh ramifications of DWI conviction and the short 15-day deadlines applicable in both the criminal court and administrative proceedings, you should retain a qualified DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible to fight your charges. Making the mistakes of not hiring a lawyer, hiring the wrong lawyer, or even hiring the right lawyer too late can doom your case forever.
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© 7/15/09 J. Parker Layrisson
Parker Layrisson Co-Authors DWI BookParker Layrisson has co-authored a legal book entitled Negotiating a Plea Deal in DUI Cases, joining other leading lawyers from across the country in educating other attorneys and the public on proven legal strategies related to DWI defense.
“The opportunity to co-author a book on DWI defense with leading lawyers from around the nation was too good to pass up,” said Layrisson. “I hope my chapter helps people better understand the complicated DWI/DUI plea bargain process.”
The book’s publisher, West, describes it as “an authoritative, insider’s perspective on counseling clients during the plea bargaining process” in which “the different niches represented and the breadth of perspectives presented enable readers to get inside some of the great legal minds of today.”
The publisher invited Layrisson to write a chapter for the book, joining other national authorities on DUI defense who practice law in California, Florida, New Jersey, Nevada, Washington, and elsewhere.
Layrisson’s chapter is entitled “The Art of the DUI Plea Deal.” It focuses on preparing clients for the DWI process, learning about defendants and their cases, and challenging prosecutors’ evidence to obtain the best plea bargain possible. Layrisson dedicated his chapter to longtime friends Wil and Angelique Richardson.
The book retails for $90 and will be available for sale online at www.west.thomson.com/aspatore. The publisher, West, a Thomson Reuters business, operates Westlaw, the premier online legal research platform, and also annually publishes more than 66 million legal books and 500 CD libraries.
Parker Layrisson is also the author of "DWI Checklist: Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid." The Parker Layrisson Law Firm helps clients with personal injury litigation and criminal defense and has offices in Ponchatoula (985-467-9525) and New Orleans (504-264-1515).
Photo: Parker Layrisson displays his recently-published book, Negotiating a Plea Deal in DUI Cases.
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Layrisson Receives Highest Rating in World's Largest Legal DirectoryAccording to Avvo.com, the world’s largest online legal directory, local attorney Parker Layrisson has received the site’s highest available rating of 10.0 Superb. The ranking is based on many factors, including peer endorsements, client feedback, and legal credentials. At this time, Layrisson is the only lawyer in Tangipahoa Parish with a 10.0 rating.
“I am grateful for the support of my clients and fellow lawyers,” said Layrisson. “I would also like to thank my hardworking staff.”
Avvo is the world’s largest directory of lawyers, providing free information to help consumers make informed decisions. Avvo assigns attorneys numerical ratings from 1.0 (extreme caution) to 10.0 (superb) based on the lawyers’ experience, education, background, professional achievement, disciplinary history, and industry recognition, along with fellow attorneys’ endorsements and former clients’ reviews. Avvo’s attorney rating system has been endorsed by the Wall Street Journal for providing the legal profession with a measure of transparency.
Avvo is also a medical directory for finding physicians, and it provides a free question-and-answer forum where consumers can receive answers to legal and medical questions. Additionally, Avvo has how-to articles covering general issues authored by lawyers and doctors. To learn more, visit www.avvo.com.
Read more about this on ActionNews17.com's website.
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Parker Layrisson Receives Highest Available Professional Excellence Rating
According to the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell legal profession directory, Louisiana lawyers and judges have ranked local attorney J. Parker Layrisson at the highest possible level of professional excellence.
Asked to rate Layrisson’s legal ability and professional ethics, his peers bestowed the prestigious AV rating upon him. The AV rating is the highest peer ranking available to attorneys. It applies to lawyers regarded for “very high” ethical standards and “very high to preeminent” legal abilities. According to Martindale-Hubbell’s website, Parker Layrisson is Ponchatoula’s only AV-rated lawyer.
“I am honored that lawyers and judges I respect think this highly of me,” said Layrisson.
Martindale-Hubbell is the authoritative resource for information on the worldwide legal profession. With a history spanning 140 years, Martindale-Hubbell is powered by a database of over one million lawyers and law firms in over 160 countries. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings attest to a lawyer's legal ability and professional ethics and reflect the confidential opinions of members of the bar and judiciary.
Typically, lawyers must practice for a minimum of ten years before receiving an AV rating. However, in light of his high peer reviews, Martindale-Hubbell made an exception for Layrisson, who began practicing law in 2002.
“My colleagues have humbled me with their vote of confidence,” said Layrisson. “I will continue working tirelessly on behalf of my clients to justify this honor.”
Read the news article in Hammond's Daily Star.
Parker Layrisson Attends the National College for DUI Defense Seminar at Harvard Law SchoolParker Layrisson completed the National College for DUI Defense summer session at Harvard Law School in July 2009. The program taught advanced courtroom strategies for drunk driving litigation to lawyers from around the nation.
“Harvard Law School is amazing,” said Layrisson, “and the training was tremendous. I learned state-of-the-art DWI trial techniques.”
Founded in 1817, Harvard Law is America’s oldest continuously-operating law school. It is also the largest. Scholars universally regard Harvard Law as one of the best legal institutions in the world. President Barack Obama and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts both graduated from Harvard Law School, as did many other American and world leaders. Six of the nine current United States Supreme Court justices attended Harvard Law.
Each summer, Harvard opens its doors to the National College for DUI Defense, a non-profit professional corporation dedicated to the improvement of the criminal defense bar within the specialty area of law practice relating to DWI/DUI. According to its website, NCDD members represent the most experienced DUI defense attorneys in the country.
“Continuing my legal education at Harvard Law School was a once in a lifetime experience,” said Layrisson. “Hopefully, I can better defend my clients with what I learned up there.”
Read the news article in Hammond's Daily Star.
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