Understanding the Criminal and Civil Justice Systems

To evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the case, the prosecutor must determine whether he or she can prove all elements of the offense charged—typically that the defendant drove, operated, or was in actual physical control of a vehicle within the state, while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substance, or while the blood alcohol level exceeded the limit set forth in the state’s statute. The Defense Attorney The defense attorney is either assigned by the court or privately hired by the defendant to pursue the defendant’s best interests. The attorney for the defendant or one of the attorney’s investigators may phone you, write to you, or appear in person. Before you communicate with any attorney or investigator, confirm their identity. A defense attorney is not a district attorney even though he may refer to himself as a D.A. The defense attorney is not an advocate of your rights as a crime victim/survivor. You do not have to speak with the defense attorney unless you receive a subpoena for evidentiary discovery. If the defense attorney contacts you or the crash victim/ survivor, he or she should be referred to the prosecutor for requested information. If you receive a subpoena, notify the prosecuting attorney promptly. The prosecutor should be present any time you are required to give testimony. Arraignment of the Defendant After reviewing the evidence of the case, The defense attorney is not an advocate for the rights of victims/ survivors.

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