Representation for St. Louis Criminal Defense, An Interview with Kevin Roach
The following is an interview with Kevin Roach regarding your options for representation of a St. Louis criminal defense case.
Interviewer: What would be the difference between hiring a private attorney versus going with a public defender in a criminal case?
Public Defenders Have Heavy Caseloads and Seldom Have Time to Give Individual Attention to Each Case
Kevin Roach: As a general rule public defenders are very over worked. They have hundreds of cases that they are trying to juggle at any given time. You are not going to have access to the public defender. You are not going to have really the time to meet with them and go through your case. You are not going to have the time that really your case needs in order to properly defend it. Also, at times the public defenders a lot of times, they are attorneys. A lot of them are very good attorneys but they don't always have a lot of experience. A lot of times lawyers will get on with the public defender’s office right after they get out of law school. They are young attorneys. Granted they do get a lot of experience because they have a very heavy docket and they get a lot of experience in that very short amount of time but as a general rule they are attorneys that have only been practicing a couple years. Another thing is you don't have any control who is going to be representing you. They just randomly appoint you a public defender. You may get a public defender that is been on the job for about a year. You may get a seasoned public defender that has been there for ten years. You have no way of knowing. You don't get to choose which attorney is going to represent you. That is the big difference between having a public defender and being able to hire a private attorney.
Being Truthful with Your Attorney is absolutely necessary if a Favorable
Outcome is Desired
Interviewer: What are some of the more difficult aspects of dealing with a criminal case? Are there any instances that you have dealt with where individuals have withheld information from you l because they were trying to protect themselves or were embarrassed?
Kevin Roach: I do see that on a regular basis where clients will come into my office and they may be ashamed or in a little bit of denial about the current charges. They may leave out certain aspects of their criminal history. Unfortunately, I do see this on a regular basis. I try to encourage people to disclose information but unfortunately people don't always tell me everything. One good thing that is available is that we are able to check Casenet; if someone does have a criminal record a lot of times we can pull up that information. Sometimes people, they may be old charges from years past and they may just honestly forgot about it. Or, maybe their attorney told them it was taken care of and it wasn't on their record so that maybe they thought they didn't have to disclose it. I try to encourage that but yeah, I do see that on a regular basis. Where I'll find out additional information after the fact. That someone has prior offenses. Sometimes you do find that out from the prosecuting attorney which is never a good thing.
The Process of Expungement in the State of Missouri
Interviewer: What are the terms for expungement? What does it mean to get something expunged or appealed?
In Missouri If You Have Plead Guilty to a Criminal Offense, You are Ineligible
Kevin Roach: In Missouri, there are two expungement statutes. There is one just a general expungement statute for general arrest. It is a very narrow statute but you basically have to prove that the arrest was based on false information and there wasn't sufficient evidence to go forward with the charges. Essentially if you want to get something expunged it normally has to be scenario where you were arrested for something and you were never charged or you were arrested for something and the charges were dismissed or you were found not guilty. There are a few exceptions to that but it generally those are the scenarios that I see. Most of the time when people call on my office for an expungement, usually, it's because they have plead guilty to something. It was many years ago and it is interfering with their employment and they want to get it removed from their record. Under the Missouri Expungement Statute if you plead guilty you are not eligible for an expungement for a criminal arrest.
The Second Criminal Expungement Statute in Missouri Specifically Applies
to DWI Charges
There is a second criminal expungement statute in Missouri that is specifically applies to driving while intoxicated offensives. DWIs. That is something kind of unique to Missouri. I am not aware of any other states that have specific expungement statute for DWIs but Missouri does. Basically the Missouri DWI Expungement Statute allows you to get a first offensive expunged off your record if you don't have any prior or subsequent offensives during the past ten years. If you have a ten year old DWI and you haven't picked up any subsequent offensives then you are eligible to get the DWI expunged. What is unique about the Missouri DWI Expungement Statute is that it doesn't require that you be found not guilty or that there be any lack of evidence at the time of arrest in order to qualify for the expungement. You just have to have no subsequent DWI arrest and it has to have been ten years and you should normally qualify for the expungement. File the petition. One little caveat is that you can't have any pending cases either. They changed the expungement statute a few years back because people were, for instance, they would pick up a second offensive DWI. They would go to their attorney. Their attorney would file the petition for expungement of the first DWI offensive in order to get the second one treated as if it was a first offensive. They changed the law so that you could no longer get your ten year old DWI expunged if you have a pending case. That is one important distinction to make.
Kevin J. roach is a St. Louis DWI defense attorney who has defended thousands of DWI and DUI cases in the St. Louis Metro area. Call us today if you are in need of St. Louis criminal defense at (636) 519-0085 or (866) 519-0085 for your Free Consultation!