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Are Prosecutor’s Office Policies Legal?

Legal

Legislatures, representatives of the people, write the laws NOT prosecutors. Each legal law is a result of a complex process involving everything from public hearings, citizen and lobbyist input to sworn testimony. Penal code statutes have punishment ranges for a reason. Not everyone deserves to be treated the same when it comes to the same offense. Prosecutors are circumventing the laws by substituting their own punishment ranges in the form of “office policies” rather than considering the full range of punishments. District and County Attorney offices nationwide are resorting to cookie cutter approaches when handling cases by making plea bargain offers and trial decisions according to “office policies,” particularly when it comes to prosecuting driving while intoxicated cases. For example, assistant district attorneys are finding themselves hand-tied when handling DWI cases by such policies as:

1. Offering the maximum probation period for misdemeanor DWIsi or
2. No reductions (nonDWIs) on repeat DWIsii, breath or blood test cases allegedly over 0.08.iii
Inherent in an office policy is the disregard for the defendant’s particular circumstances such as lack of criminal history or specific facts mitigating a case (health issues, physical disabilities, etc.). The assistant district attorneys enforcing these office policies established by their superiors do so under direct orders without regard to the facts of a particular case. Yet, they are concerned more about their individual job security. Job security in the form of a paycheck is misguided. DWI Lawyers must first concern themselves with their ability or license to practice law. This is predicated on following ethics and laws.

The rest of this article is here

About Mimi Coffey

Mimi Coffey
Mimi Coffey is a trial attorney with 17 years experience. She is the founder of The Coffey Firm, serving Dallas, Tarrant and Collin counties. She is board-certified in DWI by the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD) and is a Regent of the NCDD. She has also appeared numerous times as a legal commentator for CNN, National Fox News, as well as local Dallas/Fort Worth stations on DWI-related stories. She is also a frequent speaker at both national and statewide seminars. She is a prolific trial attorney with a proven trial record. She has tried over 300 cases, with 80% of them being jury trials in her 18-year career. Her success includes everything from .21 breath tests, blood tests to 3 car accident cases just to name a few. Mimi’s cases have also made good case law for the State of Texas. For example, in Tarvin v. State, it was found that weaving within your own lane was not a traffic violation. In Lajoie v. State, the courts determined that the defendant’s request to have his attorney must be suppressed as opposed to used as evidence of guilt. She is the author of Texas DWI Defense: The Law and Practice. She is also the author of three nationally-published articles and four statewide articles. Mimi has twice attended Indiana University’s Borkenstein Course for state toxicologists both on alcohol and drugs. She has also completed the NHTSA SFST Course, SFST Instructor Course and the 12-Step DRE Mini-Course Program. She is also one of the first attorneys in the United States to attend the Axion Labs Gas Chromatography Training. Her minor in college was Geology lending her a comprehensive and disciplined scientific mind when it comes to scientific and mathematical issues such as blood and breath testing. Mimi has won the President’s Heart of a Champion Award presented by the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA) numerous times. Mimi also led the effort to get the State Bar of Texas’ Board of Legal Specialization to recognize the NCDD’s DWI Certification. Mimi has been active in 4 legislative sessions in fighting against bad DWI laws. Her efforts prevented the breath/blood test refusal as being a separate crime. She has advocated for true deferred adjudication for DWI. Mimi also sued a Dalworthington Gardens police officer for illegally drawing blood. Since her lawsuit, the 2nd Court of Appeals ruled against police officers drawing blood. (The Court of Criminal Appeals overturned this). Mimi also sued the Texas Department of Public Safety for its double jeopardy surcharge program. Since the initiation of her suit, Texas DPS has instituted amnesty programs based on one’s earning potential.

If you would like to contact the author, please visit: http://www.mimicoffey.com


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