A life spent defending those accused of crimes and keeping them out of jail has led one attorney to land in jail himself. A famous, outspoken attorney who practices in the area of DWI and other criminal defenses recently became the suspect of money laundering, and is now in jail himself. The FBI made the arrest in March, and the charges could not get more serious.
The attorney is accused of taking money from South American clients in a scheme that the police allege amounts to money laundering. According to the news reports and charges, the man had convinced several clients to pay him more than $1 million in extra fees that would ostensibly be used to bribe judges and other officials, only the money never went for that purpose, and lined the pockets of this lawyer, allegedly.
This case hit the headlines hard because of the high public profile of this particular attorney. A few years ago he ran for attorney general in Texas, and is a public campaigner for legalizing marijuana and other drugs. He is also known for his public campaigns of informing people accused of DWI of their rights.
Attorneys, like everyone else, are subject to the criminal laws and codes that regulate all of our everyday conduct. It is just as illegal for an attorney to launder money as for any other person. When it comes to the actual legal work an attorney does, he or she is subject to an additional burden and set of rules known as the rules of professional conduct.
The rules of professional conduct, or ethics rules, attorneys are subject to cover every aspect of attorney work. The establish norms and regulations on how an attorney should act with clients, what it means to have attorney-client confidentiality, what an attorney can charge for a case, and so much more. Once an attorney signs up to be a lawyer, he or she commits him or herself to keeping these rules, or risk losing the ability to practice law.
When an attorney breaks these rules, a special organization investigates the allegations and comes up with a punishment or resolution for the infraction. In Texas, the state bar is in charge of enforcing the rules of professional conduct. Once they investigate and determine what happened in a case, they can reprimand, suspend, or even disbar an attorney from future practice of the law. The threat of this usually keeps lawyers on the right side of the rules, but sadly there are exceptions.
If you are accused of DWI in Texas, you need to know you are choosing the right attorney for your case. When a person is accused of a crime, he or she entrusts property, life, and outcome with an attorney, so it needs to be the right choice for the right case. At The Wilder DWI Defense Firm we are not only committed to providing you with the best DWI defense available, but you can trust we will do so in a way that does not put your interests at risk. If you are accused of DWI, contact us for a free case evaluation.