Interviewer: What if that person is a minor? Does that make a difference?
Arizona Will Try Cases Involving Minors in Juvenile Court
Brian Sloan: It can make a difference. We do have juvenile courts. A lot of times if the injury is bad enough, the prosecutors will attempt to have the minor charged as an adult. Minors are treated differently in the system.
One, they’re treated in the juvenile system; two, they’re treated different in that they’re not supposed to have any alcohol in their system, so they’re not necessarily held to the adult standards of having a blood alcohol level of .08.
A juvenile with a DUI charge is going to have to deal with license suspension issues different than an adult with a DUI charge. A juvenile with a DUI charge will lose their license for, I believe, at least two years if they are convicted.
If the Client Is Only 21 or 22 Years Old and His or Her Parents Are Paying the Attorney, Does the Attorney Represent the Interests of the Parents or the Young Adult?
Interviewer: Let’s say there’s a young college student, 21, 22 gets a DWI or DUI, would you be willing to work with their parents if their parents are insistent on working on the case with you?
Brian Sloan: I work with a lot of ASU students. There are many youths that make mistakes, when they are only college-age. They’re out experimenting, they’re away from their parents and they’re away from their home state. Sometimes they get in trouble, they make a mistake, they drive drunk, or they drive after using prescription medications or illegal substances. Parents want to be involved and they want to help their children out because they are worried about their children.
If I am hired to represent someone, that is the person that I’m representing, regardless of who is paying me. Sometimes there will be a situation where the parents are paying my bills but I’m representing their son.
Young Adults Are Not Required to Divulge Details of the Arrest to Their Parents
My loyalty is to their son. If the son decides that he doesn’t want his parents to be involved or to know what’s in the police report or what’s going on with the case, my obligation is to represent the son and abide by his wishes.
There are some parents that want to get involved. It is really up to my client to decide what their level of involvement is. I have no problem talking to parents if that’s okay with my client.
The Attorney’s Loyalty Is Always to His or Her Client, Not to the Person Paying the Fee
If my client gives me permission to disclose things to the parents, that’s perfectly fine. I make it perfectly clear to the parents or whoever is paying the bills that my loyalty is towards the client, regardless if they are the ones that are paying the bills.
Most of the time they can be very helpful and it is nice to see parents that care about their children and want to see what’s best for them. I have seen some parents that in my opinion overreact and want to basically take their children out of school and bring them back to their home state when it really isn’t necessary.
I’ve seen that happen a few times. People make mistakes. They can overcome that. This doesn’t need to destroy their lives. Very rarely does anything happen that would destroy their lives until you’re talking about multiple felonies.
It Is Important to Remember That with the Right Legal Representation, the Consequences of a DUI Conviction Can Be Overcome and One’s Life Need Not Dramatically Change
People will overcome a DUI charge. People will overcome a DUI conviction. Their lives are not ruined. Their lives do not need to dramatically change. It’s unfortunate that some parents feel that way. It’s really unfortunate that some lawyers try to put that fear in them, that if you don’t hire me, your life is over, because it’s just not true.