Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Seattle DUI attorney, Nate Webb, discusses the question "If I was arrested aren't I guilty?"

Just reading and watching the news today about Michael Phelps DUI arrest (click here to read about it) I was wondering how many people out there who could be potential jurors might conclude that just because he was arrested he might also be guilty before having his day in court.

I hear it all the time from prospective jurors when they are asked by a prosecutor during voir dire, does anyone think Mr. or Mrs. so and so is automatically guilty and they all say, "oh no of course not" then I follow up with a question like, "let's pretend we just walked in here off the street and sit in the back and see the accused sitting in his chair here, don't you think we might nudge each other and say to ourselves 'I wonder what he did'".  Someone in the jury pool always says "well of course because he is here" and I say "well would you want someone to say that about you if you had entered a plea of not guilty?"  Usually the response is "oh I see what you are saying."

In closing argument (summation) it is essential that your Seattle DUI attorney points out the defendant simply being charged is evidence of nothing, him being arrested is not evidence of guilt and that he doesn't have to show you anything to disprove the government's allegations.
I always remind jurors that beyond a reasonable doubt is the highest burden that exists in our judicial system and thate it is the same for all defendants, whether they are charged with rape, murder, or driving without a licnese or DUI.

So, in a nutshell, an arrest is certainly not evidence of guilt and in fact, many judges will dismiss a case if the arresting office failed to have probable cause in the first place.  So it is absolutely necessary your Seattle DUI Lawyer points this out to jurors!