Call Us 24 hours / 7 days a week

A DUI defense attorney points out a passage in a book.Frequently, people ask if it is worth it to hire a DUI attorney.  The answer depends on which attorney you hire.  If you hire the right lawyer, the money you spend is well worth it.  However, it is very important that you investigate the attorney you are thinking about hiring.  Unfortunately, there are many attorneys that will take your money and stand next to you entering a plea of guilty to DUI as charged without filing any motions to help improve your case or doing anything to better your situation.  As former prosecutors who worked in Orange, Seminole, and Escambia Counties both David Katz (Orange and Seminole Counties) and James Phillips (Seminole and Escambia Counties) have been prosecutors on thousands of DUI cases where they watched the defense attorneys come to court and plea their clients guilty to DUI charges without so much as even asking for a better deal than the required minimum mandatory penalties for DUI.

Seminole County Prosecutorial Experience

David Katz often speaks about one particular day in Seminole County.  That day, David was in front of the Honorable Mark Herr, a County Court Judge who had been on the bench in Seminole County at the time for close to 2 decades.  All the attorneys in the county knew that if you went to trial in front of Judge Herr and lost on a first-time DUI case, that Judge Herr’s record showed that he was almost certain to sentence your client to the first-time mandatory penalties for DUI, which does not include jail time.  That day, David had 18 cases of DUI on his half of the docket.  The offer made to the Defendants in each of those cases was to plead guilty and receive the minimum mandatory penalties (no jail).  At the time, David’s experience had taught him that there were only 2 or 3 of the attorneys practicing in Seminole County regularly (the same attorneys who regularly work in Orange County) that would actually fight for their clients and not have them plead guilty as charged.

13 Out of the 14 Attorneys Representing DUI Defendants Pled Their Clients Guilty!

That day, David sat there and watched as 14 of the 18 DUI Defendants pled guilty as charged.  This was in front of a judge whose decades of history as a judge showed would have sentenced them to the exact same penalties if they went to trial and lost as they received by entering pleas of guilt that day.  In other words, the Defendants had nothing to lose by going to trial.  In fact, one of the attorneys represented a young woman who was charged with DUI on her 21st birthday and charged with her second DUI within two weeks (I believe it was five days).  David had decided that if she pled guilty to one DUI, he would reduce the other charge to reckless driving, but make her do the harder penalties of a 2nd DUI (with no jail time).  The defense attorney never called David to discuss the case.  The defense attorney never filed a single motion to suppress evidence in either case.  What happened?  The attorney walked into the courtroom with the 21-year-old defendant, walked up to the podium, and pleaded the young lady guilty to 2 DUIs.  David sat there and watched as she was handcuffed and taken to jail. (This is mandatory on a 2nd DUI which occurs within five years of a first).  The point is that the private defense attorney hired to help this young lady did nothing but take her money.  (This was actually the day David decided to leave the State Attorney’s Office and become a defense attorney who fought for his clients.)

As we pointed out earlier in this article, there were 18 DUIs on David’s half of the docket that day and 14 pleaded guilty.  The other four were all represented by the same DUI defense attorney.  A DUI defense attorney known not to plead people guilty, but to fight for them.  That day, this attorney’s young associate was in court and watched as 13 other lawyers pleaded their clients guilty.  She could not believe what she was seeing and openly expressed her disdain for the other lawyers to David and his partner.

Later as a DUI Defense attorney, David went to trial 15 times in one year.  A fellow criminal defense lawyer in the community who owns a very busy firm and handles lots of DUIs asked David, “How can you afford to go to trial all the time?”  The attorney went on, “I cannot afford to do that because if I am not in my office, I am not making any money.”

David and James are both fighters.  Both are members of the National College for DUI Defense and both are Board Certified by the National College for DUI Defense as DUI Specialists.  In fact, David and James are 2 of only 4 Board Certified DUI Defense Specialists in the State of Florida.

 Orange, Seminole, and Lake County DUI Defense Experts

None of the attorneys at Katz & Phillips, P.A. simply take a client’s money and enter a plea of guilt.  We are fighters, and we love nothing more than fighting to protect your rights.  In most DUI cases in Orange, Seminole and Lake Counties, we file anywhere from 5 – 20 Motions to Suppress and Motions in Limine in each DUI case.

We Fight DUI Charges, Call Katz & Phillips After Your Arrest

The facts of each case are different and so is the defense we prepare, but we fight to get every piece of the State’s evidence suppressed.  Why do we do this?  As the Judge rules that evidence is not admissible at trial, the State’s case gets weaker and weaker.  As the case gets weaker, the State has more incentive to make an offer that does not include a DUI conviction, maybe reducing the DUI to a reckless driving, or offering a diversion program.  In some cases, the State is forced to drop the charges completely due to lack of admissible evidence.  Our goal is to ensure that our clients do not end up with a DUI conviction.  To do this, sometimes we must go to trial.  It is easier to win a trial in which much of that State’s evidence has been suppressed.  Who cares what the results of the breath test were if the Judge has ruled that the state cannot even mention the fact that the Defendant took a breath test?

In some cases, it is in the client’s best interest to enter a plea as charged, but this is a VERY rare occurrence.  For instance, we recently represented a DUI defendant who was charged with a first-time offense in Florida; however, we knew that he had three prior convictions in other states.  The State Attorney’s Office made an offer of the first-time minimum penalties to our client, which includes no jail time.  We raced into court with him as fast as possible to accept the offer.  Had we filed a bunch of motions and the prosecutor looked further into the case, they would surely have found the other convictions.  In this particular case they did not check the Defendant’s background or record and made an offer they should not have.  If they had seen the priors, the Defendant would have been charged with a felony DUI which is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.  As it is, the Defendant pled to a first-time offense happily.

Call us today to learn how our experienced and expert DUI defense attorneys can help fight your DUI charges and learn why hiring Katz & Phillips, P.A. is worth the money.