Criminal Defense

If you have been charged with a crime in North Idaho, it is important to secure the counsel of a lawyer whom you can count on to defend you.

I am committed to aggressively, knowledgeably and carefully representing you throughout the duration of your criminal case. I will do all I can legally to seek to have the charges dismissed or reduced, or to minimize the consequences of any criminal conviction. Here are some examples of the criminal cases I handle:

Assault and Battery

In ordinary speech, the terms "assault" and "battery" are frequently used interchangeably, as though they are synonyms. Technically, a "battery" is the act that involves physical contact, sometimes violent but at least unwanted. An "assault" is conduct that falls short of actual physical contact but which is either a credible threat of a battery or an attempt to commit a battery. Firing your gun at a person (a particularly appropriate example in Idaho) and striking him can be the basis for a battery charge; pointing it at the person, or firing but missing the target, can be the basis for an assault charge.

Both assault and battery can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the circumstances, especially upon the extent or seriousness of the harm that is caused or that reasonably could have been caused.

Defenses usually hinge on facts that bear on whether the defendant's conduct was willful or intentional or unlawful.

During the past several years, the law has focused special attention on assaults and batteries that occur between family members or household members. Charges are usually labeled as "domestic battery" or "domestic assault." Upon a conviction of a form of "domestic violence" the penalties are typically enhanced over what they would have been for the simple, "non-domestic" variety of the offense, even upon a first offense. Worse, the penalties increase exponentially upon a second offense, third offense, etc., along the lines first developed for successive DUI offenses.

Criminal charges of domestic violence can be part of a spiral that includes divorce or child custody litigation on the civil side as well as additional proceedings on the civil side in which one party seeks a domestic violence protection order (or restraining order) against the other. It is common for the same attorney to handle both the criminal and the civil proceedings that arise out of incident at issue. Where two or more lawyers represent the same client who is involved in separate criminal and civil matters, it is important to coordinate the representation so that the strategy for one case (usually the civil case) does not cause a problem for the other (usually the criminal case).


An arrest for DUI/DWI can seriously affect your life, your lifestyle and your career. A first-time conviction can result in a large fine, the loss of your driver's license and even a jail sentence. Penalties for a second, third or fourth-time offense are more severe.

"Time is of the essence" is especially apt regarding any contract or criminal defense. If you are arrested on a DUI charge, whether you refused to take or failed a breathalyzer test, you have only seven days to request a hearing to contest the administrative suspension of your driver's license. Ideally, you should retain an attorney as soon as possible, within a day or two at most, of a DUI arrest.

In Idaho, a drunken driving arrest begins two separate but related legal proceedings: a criminal hearing which considers the alleged violation of the law and an administrative hearing which can lead to the suspension or loss of your driver's license. 

Some DUI arrests can be successfully overcome based on improper police behavior and procedures. When I represent a client in a DUI case, I look at every aspect of the event to uncover any possible basis on which to challenge and overcome the charge. I look at the reason for the stop and investigation, the breath test at the station, and any other circumstances which could exonerate my client.

In other cases, the state's position is strong. When we talk about your arrest, I will give you my frank assessment of the strength of your case. In these situations, I use my experience and understanding of the court to obtain an outcome which minimizes the penalties and disruption in life resulting from a conviction. A primary goal is to enable clients to retain their driver's licenses, so they can put the event behind them and move forward with their lives.

Holiday DUI's

'Tis the season for DUI's too. Holiday parties, televised bowl games, and other events provide more occasions than do other times of the year for drinking too much and then driving. Unfortunately, the Christmas spirit does not provide any leniency when a DUI occurs at this time of the year.

"DUI patrols" tend to increase during this time of year, especially whenever an event occurs that in the popular mind tends to be associated with excessive alcohol consumption. New Year's Eve and the Super Bowl are obvious examples, but a purely local event (in this area, a televised Gonzaga basketball game) can have the same effect. There are some things that it may be helpful to keep in mind.

The clear best course of action, obviously, is not to drink at all when one has to drive. Next is to limit consumption to an amount that will not cause a DUI. However, anyone reading this piece probably has a concern that his or her drinking may stray beyond the line (wherever it may be) at which alcohol consumption plus driving is still insufficient for a DUI. Implicit in the last sentence is the variable effect of alcohol consumption from one individual to the next, not only in terms of conduct but also in terms of blood alcohol content (BAC). The same volume of an alcoholic beverage may lead one person to register a BAC of .08* (the legal limit in Idaho and most other states at which being "under the influence" is presumed), but a second person to register a BAC of .06 and a third person to register a BAC of .10. Never drink on an empty stomach. A full belly, in addition to whatever contentment it provides, tends to absorb some alcohol (which would otherwise be absorbed by the blood and relatively quickly). Any prolonged period (at least an hour) of no further consumption of alcoholic beverages before leaving the dinner, party or other event (and especially if some water or other non-alcoholic beverage is substituted during that period) can be helpful. It takes time for alcohol to be absorbed by blood, and most people will reach their maximum BAC score in about an hour after alcohol consumption is terminated. Thereafter one's BAC declines (slowly). So the worst time to submit to BAC testing is 45 minutes to an hour after one has stopped drinking.

Drive with scrupulous care and attention to the rules of the road. As almost everyone has experienced while driving late at night, the ratio of police cars to other vehicles seems to go up, and one can get stopped at that time for conduct that rarely draws any law enforcement attention during daytime hours (for example, making a wide turn into the "wrong" lane). Anyone driving late at night with a broken headlight or taillight or other glaring mechanical vehicular defect should re-read the first sentence of the previous paragraph, and should assume that he or she will be stopped

Domestic Violence

Unfortunately, some family disputes can turn into domestic violence. A person who alleges spousal abuse, spousal assault or even child abuse can seek a civil protection order. If granted, a temporary protection order is issued for 14 days until a hearing is held. At that hearing, a judge will determine whether to extend the protection order for another 90 days.

A civil protection order (sometimes called a restraining order) is usually done very quickly. Once an initial application is filed, a 14-day protection order can be issued by a judge within one day. Due to this quick scheduling, there is very little time to develop a case. That is why it is crucial a person obtain an attorney as soon as possible in the process, whether he or she is a victim or alleged perpetrator. In some cases, an order can be delayed in order to allow for more preparation time.

In some child custody cases, disputes can get so heated that one party will make false allegations of domestic violence. Regardless of whether an order is granted or not, these are serious allegations that should not be taken lightly. There may be consequences to a divorce or child custody case if civil protection orders are sought.

If a civil protection order is issued, and a person violates this order, he or she can be criminally charged. I also provide criminal defense representation for those facing criminal domestic violence charges.

Drug Crimes , Drug Possession, Narcotics Sales or Trafficking

If you are facing state drug charges in North Idaho, it is important to secure the counsel of a lawyer whom you can count on to defend you. Drug charges carry serious potential consequences including significant jail time, fines and probation.

As your criminal defense attorney, I am committed to aggressively, knowledgeably and carefully representing you throughout your drug crimes case. I will evaluate your case and gather all relevant material from the prosecutor's office, including police reports and records. By immediately taking action, I can look for any constitutional violations that may have occurred at the time of your arrest and make a motion to suppress any illegally obtained evidence. If there are any weak points in the prosecution's case, I will find them and use them to convince the prosecution to dismiss or reduce the charges.

Drug charges can include:

Do not speak to law enforcement if they try to question you or have you in custody. You have rights. By talking to the police you may inadvertently make incriminating statements. Wait until you have obtained a lawyer to consult with.