Fairfax Dwi Sobriety Checkpoint Results

As previously stated in this blog, DWI checkpoints are a horribly inefficient way to fight drunk driving in Fairfax County, and Virginia in general. According to a Fairfax County Police News Release there was a checkpoint that took place on Saturday April 9th from midnight until 3 am. The checkpoint required the participation of ten auxiliary officers and 8 police officers. The checkpoint was set up in the westbound lanes of Arlington Boulevard near Annandale Road. Nearly 550 vehicles passed through the checkpoint during that 3 hour period. Of those 550 vehicles only 2 arrests were made for DWI.

See How Smart You Are When the K9s Come

By Christopher Rosenthall

According to the Associated Press, Ryan Stephens of Mason, Ohio was charged with teasing a police dog on April 3. Stephens is scheduled to appear April 21 in municipal court. Officer Bradley Walker wrote that he heard the K9 dog barking uncontrollably inside his patrol car while he was investigating a car crash at a pub early Sunday morning. Walker says Stephens was making barking noises and hissing at the animal. Walker reported that Stephens appeared highly intoxicated, and that when asked why he was harassing the animal, Stephens said,“The dog started it.”

As most of us learned somewhere around the 2nd grade, “he started it” is rarely a justifiable excuse in the eyes of authority. When the “he” you are referring to is a dog sitting inside a car, you’re far less likely to garner sympathy to your cause.

Furthermore, it’s important to note an important element of this arrest that may otherwise be ignored. Much like service animals such as Seeing Eye dogs, police animals are protected by their own sets of laws. While on duty, police animals should never be played with, touched, or (if you find it reasonable) spoken to in their own language unless you have received consent from their supervising officer. It’s entirely conceivable that you could be arrested for barking at a police dog, whereas you may not necessarily be arrested for yelling at a bird that’s in your yard, unless of course, that bird is a member of your local police force. For the sake of argument, we’ll assume it is not.

Choose Your Criminal Attorney Wisely

Choosing which criminal lawyer to hire is a difficult process, but can be very important. The difference between a skilled lawyer and an incompetent lawyer can mean all the difference and in some cases, can be an actual life or death decision. Take for instance the recent case of case of Dontrell Deaner.

Mr. Deaner is on trial for a 2008 murder. His family hired New York attorney, Joseph Rakofsky to handle his defense. The attorney did such a poor job that Judge William Jackson, who was overhearing the case, ordered a mistrial and allowed Mr. Deaner to fire his attorney.

A declaration of a mistrial means the judge believes something has gone wrong with the trial and the only option is to terminate it without reaching a ruling. The prosecution is able to reinstate the case in front of a new jury at a later date if it so chooses. Because it means all the expense and effort of a trial is wasted, it is something judge’s typically try to avoid. For a judge to declare a mistrial based on an attorney’s incompetence is almost unheard of.

The judge indicated Mr. Rakofsky seemed to lack knowledge of court procedures. He also thought that Mr. Rakofsky’s opening statement was rambling and at points irrelevant to the case. He was also surprised when the attorney told jurors that this was his first trial. Not only is that an improper statement, but he thought it was unfathomable for someone’s first trial to be as serious as a murder. Obviously a murder trial in an unfamiliar jurisdiction is not the place for on the job training.

What should someone look for in hiring a criminal attorney? Obviously you want someone who knows a lot about the type of charges you are facing. Ask an attorney you are looking to hire about their experience in dealing with your kind of case. You also want to make sure the attorney is familiar with the jurisdiction where you are charged. Knowing the personalities of judges and prosecutors in the jurisdiction is about as important as knowing the law. Finally, make sure the person is held in high regard by his peers.

Getting this information can be difficult. There isn’t a valid rating system to compare attorneys. And simply comparing price can lead to similarly flawed conclusions. Start by reviewing an attorneys website and learning about their credentials. Where did they go to school? Where have they worked? What types of cases do they handle? How many jurisdictions do they cover? Meet with the attorney and discuss how they would handle your case. Anyone who makes promises or guarantees should be regarded with suspicion. No one can say for sure how a judge will rule. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask around about an attorneys reputation.

At the law office of Faraji Rosenthall, we only handle criminal cases in Northern Virginia. By focusing my practice on such a small geographic and narrow subject area I am able to develop an expertise that I otherwise wouldn’t have if my practice was larger. This narrow focus allows me to handle cases effectively and produce great results for my clients. If you are in the market for a criminal attorney, please call my office to discuss your case.