To Testify or Not: Criminal Defense Attorney Adam Woody Weighs in on Greitens’ Fifth Amendment Right

When it comes to a client testifying in his or her own defense or in choosing to assert their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, attorneys must weigh a multitude of factors to provide experienced advice.  One primary factor is whether a client has any criminal history.  In a criminal case, a defendant’s criminal history cannot be mentioned by either party…unless the defendant testifies.  Then, his or her criminal history is fair game for cross-examination purposes.  The jury will hear all of the defendant’s criminal history.  So, putting he or she on the stand carries with it the significant risk that the jury would use the criminal history against the defendant in the case in which they are testifying.

If a defendant has a clean criminal record there is less worry about them testifying, but that doesn’t end the analysis.  For example, if your client is shy, withdrawn, poor at public speaking, easily manipulated, among many other concerns, it may not be a good idea for them to testify and subject them to cross-examination by the prosecutor.  If they don’t testify, the jury will always be instructed by the Judge to not use that fact against them in any way.

In the case of Governor Greitens, none of these concerns are present.  Adam Woody set down with the local CBS affiliate KOLR10 to discuss why Governor Greitens is the defendant every criminal defense attorney wants as a client.  His charisma, charm, and intelligence will serve him well if he chooses to testify in his own defense.  But, he must be careful and not cross the line into conceited, boastful, and arrogant.  He will be prepared and thoroughly coached by his defense team, so we fully expect him to testify whether it is to a jury in a jury trial, or only to the Judge sitting alone whose decision has the force and effect of a jury verdict, which is the case in a bench trial.  Stay tuned…next week will get interesting!

Questions To Ask When Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer

The benefit of having a criminal defense attorney by your side during criminal trial proceedings is clear. For this reason, it is not only advised that people seek representation from a lawyer when facing a crime, it is a legal right. Even defendants who have no money to afford an attorney of their own will be provided a public defender by the Missouri court system.

However, every criminal defense attorney is different. Certain ones may be more suitable to help you than others.

Important questions to ask your potential defense lawyer

You will want to ask various questions when shopping for a lawyer to determine if the one you’ve selected is the right match for you. Here are the questions you may want to ask:

  • Have you ever defended a case like mine? When lawyers handle a lot of DUI/DWI cases, they begin to have a natural instinct for what works and what doesn’t work for this particular kind of case. Make sure your lawyer has the right kind of experience.
  • How many times have you actually litigated a case in front of jury? As you know, many people have “performance anxiety” and they freeze up when it’s time to give a presentation. Others thrive in these situations. An attorney with extensive trial experience is more likely to thrive when in front of a judge and jury. This kind of lawyer will also be more likely to defend your rights in court if the prosecution refuses to be reasonable during your trial proceedings.
  • Can you provide references from past clients? If a lawyer has dealt successfully with clients in the past, he or she will probably be willing to give you references, so you can get a sense of what it is like to work with the attorney from a real client.
  • Have you ever asked a Judge to send someone to jail or prison? Many attorneys who are now criminal defense attorneys tout past experience as a prosecutor as a positive.  Sitting in the position of a potential defendant, be wary of former prosecutors.  Ensure that their loyalty will lie with you, as their client, and not the prosecutor’s office, who are their friends and former colleagues.

Things to keep in mind about trial experience

It’s very convenient for a lawyer to simply work out a plea deal with the prosecution, skip the trial and make a big compromise. These defense lawyers may do this because don’t have good enough trial instincts to evaluate the true risks and potential benefits of going in front of a jury.

If your lawyer has only been to trial several times, then he or she may not have the reputation of being an aggressive criminal defense litigator — and when negotiating a plea deal, the prosecution may not take him or her as seriously as a lawyer who has such a reputation. Taking these points into consideration, for your benefit, make sure that you select a defense lawyer with extensive trial experience.

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Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Names Adam Woody as Vice President

At it’s annual meeting on April 20, 2018 in Springfield, Mo., the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (MACDL) named Springfield criminal defense attorney Adam Woody was named Vice President of the organization.  The organization consists of over 450 attorneys from across the state. MACDL is dedicated to protecting the rights of criminally accused through a strong and cohesive criminal defense bar. The goal to improve the quality of justice in Missouri by seeking to ensure fairness and equality before the law. To achieve this important purpose, MACDL participates in legislative matters, works with the judiciary to make advances in serving the people who come to court, and provides continuing legal education to practitioners to improve their skills.

Said Adam Woody of the Appointment: “I am honored to have been elected by the statewide criminal defense bar to provide leadership to this great organization.  I will continue to make it my goal to fight for what is right and to assist, as best I can, all criminal defense attorneys across the state to effectively advocate for their clients in and out of the courtroom.”

Why It Is Important To Always Fight Drug Charges

If you recently received drug charges, you may think that it is not worth it to fight them. Maybe you believe that the evidence against you is quite strong, or maybe you feel that a simple charge like drug possession is no big deal.

In reality, neither of these are very good reasons to opt out of building a strong legal defense against drug charges. Even if you believe that the evidence against you is particularly strong, a skilled attorney can find ways to fight for your freedom that you may never consider. Similarly, If you think that any drug charge is a small matter, you should seriously reconsider that position.

Drug charges carry extremely heavy penalties compared to other similar, non-violent crimes. Moreover, beyond the legal penalties brought on by a drug conviction, you stand to face many social penalties as well.

The punishment rarely fits the crime

Campaigning on a “tough on crime” platform is a classic way that political candidates can shore up votes in an election, especially in midwestern states like Missouri. However, the reality of the matter is that “tough on crime” usually translates to “stiffer minimum sentences for drug offenders,” among other things.

Drug convictions account for a far larger percentage of incarcerations than any other kind of crime, leading to overpopulated jails that can barely keep up with a system built to churn out more convicts year over year.

If you choose not to fight your drug charges, you may face very unfair jail time as well as surprisingly high fines.

The aftermath is widespread

Even after you serve your time, you’re not done paying for the conviction — not by a long shot. Individuals with drug convictions on their records often face great difficulty securing employment because many employers refuse to even consider hiring someone with a drug conviction.

Even if you manage to find work with a conviction on your record, you may have great difficulty finding a good place to live. Many property management firms do not rent apartments or houses to anyone with a drug conviction. The practical result of this is that those rental properties that do rent to individuals with drug convictions are filled up with other people who also have drug convictions. In many cases, this makes it very difficult to avoid making further foolish choices in the future.

You may also find that insurance rates rise after a drug conviction, making it very difficult to stay legal on the road.

However you choose to build a strong defense, do not waste any time. Every hour that you choose to wait to begin building your defense is an hour that the prosecution has to build against you.

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Springfield Criminal Defense Attorney Adam Woody Discusses the Importance of an Impartial Jury in Gov. Greitens Case

Springfield criminal defense attorney Adam Woody was interviewed by the local CBS affiliate KOLR10 earlier this week regarding the case involving Governor Eric Greitens.

We found out a few weeks ago that a Judge denied the request for a Greitens to waive his right to a jury trial. In this KOLR10 interview, Adam discusses the issue of finding an impartial jury for this case.

“If people have seen coverage of this, it could impact the ability of the parties to find a fair, unbiased jury in this matter,” Woody said. In regards to the actual charges Greitens is now facing, we are left looking at the invasion of privacy charge, which may be difficult for the prosecutor to prove without the infamous photograph we have all heard so much about.

To see the full interview with Adam Woody on KOLR10 and to learn more about what sort of actions the prosecution will need to take with Governor Greteins’ charges, click here.

Springfield Defense Attorney Adam Woody Discusses Consent in the Greitens Case

Springfield criminal defense attorney Adam Woody was interviewed by the local CBS affiliate KOLR10 earlier this week regarding the new details surrounding the case with Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, coming out of the bombshell report from the legislative committee investigating his case.  In this installment, KOLR10 digs a little deeper into the details in the house committee’s report.

Gov. Greitens is facing serious allegations in regards to an affair, and these allegations are hinging on witness credibility. Adam Woody spoke with KOLR10 about what can determine consent versus non-consent.  If the witness is to be believed, Greitens could potentially face additional sex charges, including the possibility of First Degree Sexual Misconduct and Second Degree Sodomy.

“Realistically the report from the legislative committee was sort of a bomb shell. It included many more details than anything the public had seen up until this point. With that really came a lot of dangers for Gov. Greitens,” Adam stated.

To see part one of this series and to learn more about the witness reports in full, click here.

 

 

Parents: 3 Ways You Can Challenge Your Teen’s DWI/DUI

The last thing you ever expected was to get a call from the police station stating that your child had been arrested for driving drunk. Your teen isn’t even old enough to drink. A DUI can impact your child now and in the future, so it’s important to understand how to fight against the charges. There are a few different methods, each of which has the potential to have the case dismissed.

1. Your child is innocent and the breathalyzer was wrong

If your teen is adamant about the fact that he or she did not drink or that he or she only had a drink with dinner with family, it’s important to question the test results.

One complaint about breathalyzers is that they have the potential to be incorrect. For example, if your teen burped while taking the test, the officer should have thrown out the results. Why? Burping releases more alcohol from the lungs, which skews the test. The officer may request two breath samples. If so, they should match or be very close to one another. If they are not, then the Breathalyzer wasn’t calibrated correctly.

2. The officer stopped your child illegally

An officer must have just cause for stopping a vehicle. For example, if your child was speeding, then asking the teen to pull over is legal. However, if your child was doing nothing wrong and was pulled over, the officer did not have the right to that stop. That fact could have the case thrown out in court.

Here’s another example. If your child was driving home and pulled out of a bar’s parking lot, that in itself isn’t enough reason for a cop to pull over your teen. The officer might suspect that your teen had been drinking, but if your teen has broken no laws, then the officer has no right to make a stop.

3. The tests were taken illegally

Another thing you can contest is if the officer sought a blood test illegally. Blood tests are not the same as breath tests and require a warrant. They are more invasive, since a needle must be used to collect the sample. Officers have the right to ask for a breath sample, but if they want a blood sample, a warrant must be issued.

These are just a few potential defenses for your child’s case. Your attorney has more information on the defenses that you can use to protect your teen against a DUI charge.

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Springfield Criminal Attorney Adam Woody Weighs in on the Greitens Case

Springfield criminal defense attorney Adam Woody was interviewed by the local CBS affiliate KOLR10 earlier this week regarding the case involving Governor Eric Greitens.  Last week, a Judge surprisingly denied Governor Greitens’ request to waive his right to a jury trial.  Gov. Greitens’ legal team desired a bench trial only, but the Judge denied that request and is now requiring him to have a jury trial if he wants a trial at all.  A bench trial involves only a Judge hearing the case and deciding guilt or innocence, as opposed to a jury.

KOLR10 interviewed Adam Woody to discuss the pros and cons of a jury trial versus a bench trial.  To see that interview in full click here.  In this particular case, it is going to be exceedingly difficult to get 12 people onto a jury who do not have some sort of intimate knowledge of this case.  One concern defendants often have of juries is that they will let their emotions get in the way of the law and reason.  More than likely that was the concern here for Governor Greitens’ defense team.  A Judge is often more suited to hear a case, apply the law to the facts, and leave emotion out of it.  The prosecutors here will likely want to use the emotion of the case to drive the jury’s decision.

This is certainly one we will keep a close eye on.

Bringing Legal Marijuana Across State Lines

Marijuana is still illegal in Missouri. Even small amounts — a maximum of 10 grams — can still bring misdemeanor charges and fines. Larger amounts bring about more serious charges and could result in jail time.

You’ve been a big fan of the movement to legalize marijuana over the years. You’ve watched as states like Colorado have taken this next step. Yes, the pot sales are highly regulated and only small amounts can be legally sold, but it’s a game-changer.

You decide that you’re going to take a vacation this summer. You’ll drive out to Colorado, hike in the mountains for a week while enjoying the legal marijuana the state now has to offer. You might even plan to bring some back with you when you return to Missouri. Since you bought it legally, you figure, you won’t run into any issues with the law. Right?

Crossing state lines

Wrong. There are a few reasons this won’t work, and you could still get arrested. You can protest that you bought it legally all you want, but it makes no difference.

For one thing, the law in Missouri remains the same, no matter what happens with laws in other states. That law prohibits not just purchases and sales, but possession. You may have bought it legally, but you literally cannot possess it legally in Missouri. If you have it on you, you violate that law. Receipts from Colorado don’t get you out of those charges because the police do not care where you bought it.

Secondly, crossing state lines with marijuana is illegal. Remember that criminal activity that crosses state lines falls under federal jurisdiction, not just state jurisdiction. Federal law says that marijuana is illegal. The feds do not care if you bought in a state with different laws. Under their regulations, you broke the law.

This means that even those traveling across border states where it’s legal on both sides — which it’s not in Missouri — could theoretically face legal ramifications. If you drive back to Missouri with marijuana in the trunk of your car, you open up a whole host of possibilities for law enforcement officers.

The ramifications

How steep are the penalties? It depends how much you bring into the state. Trafficking 30 to 100 kilograms could net you Class C felony charges, which may result in a $10,000 fine and 3 to 10 years behind bars.

With the changing marijuana laws across the country, confusion is bound to cause people to break the law without knowing they’re doing so. Unfortunately, the authorities who catch you likely won’t care if you knew you broke the law or not. If you get arrested, it is very important to understand all of your legal rights.

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Springfield Criminal Defense Attorney Adam Woody Discusses the Brady Rule on KOLR 10 News

KOLR 10 News in Springfield, MO has been following the rare and interesting case of Brad Jennings and the 2006 shooting of his wife, Lisa. While Brad was originally found guilty, new evidence supports his innocence. As of February 9th, 2018, Jennings was released after being in jail for almost 10 years.

The Brady Rule, established in 1963, requires the prosecution to provide the defense with any and all evidence that could possibly lead to the innocence of the criminally accused. Local Criminal Defense Attorney Adam Woody, with his experience in similar cases, touches base with KOLR 10 News to discuss the Brady Rule and the significance it holds in this particular situation.

Click here to watch the full segment.