Month: June 2017

On May 15th of this year, a DC dentist plead guilty to eight counts of sexual assault on five of his patients and two employees. The Georgetown dentist plead guilty to assaulting the five male patients while they were under anesthesia.

Bilal Ahmed was the owner of the dentist practice, Universal Smiles, on M Street in Georgetown. In 2014, a patient contacted authorities and accused Ahmed of sexually assaulting him while under the anesthesia nitrous oxide. This prompted other to step forward with similar accusations. While this first incident occurred in May of 2014, similar occurrences happened as early as 2010. Ahmed was arrested at John F. Kennedy airport in New York in 2016 after a Superior Court indictment of 21 charges, which included 14 felony counts of sexual abuse, four misdemeanor counts of sexual assault, and three counts of misdemeanor assault. Ahmed had originally plead not guilty to the charges in early 2016.

The defendant, represented by his D.C. assault attorney, and prosecutors reached a plea deal in early 2017. The 13-page deal included charges of first and second degree sexual assault, and one count of simple assault. The sexual assault charges were levied for actions Ahmed conducted against five patients and one of his employees. The simple assault charge was the result of inappropriate touching by Ahmed on another former employee. The plea deal included eight charges for which Ahmed would have to plead guilty. In exchange for accepting the plea deal and agreeing to plead guilty to all eight counts, prosecutors dropped the remaining fifteen charges handed down by the indictment of the DC Superior Court. Under the terms of the agreement, Ahmed is confined to home detention, GPS tracking, and intensive supervision. His dental license was suspended in 2014, and his practice has since shut down.

He is scheduled to appear before Superior Court Judge Zoe Bush on August 10th for a sentencing hearing. He faces a maximum 15 years for the first-degree sexual assault charge. However, he is eligible for additional time for the remaining charges. He is facing decades in prison in total for all of his charges.Ahmed has also faced numerous malpractice and civil cases relating to these events. Furthermore,Ahmed’s former office manager of his former Georgetown office, Mahsa Azimiriad, was also indicted for perjury and is accused of lying to a grand jury during the investigation of Ahmed.

The extensiveness of the charges and potential sentences that face Ahmed illustrates the complexities of criminal charges, specifically assault charges, in Washington D.C. The use of D.C. assault attorneys by Ahmed shows the importance of having a skilled lawyer to help navigate these kinds of charges. His assault attorneys played a key part in securing his plea deal; had this case gone to trail he could’ve faced much harsher charges and possibly a much harder sentence. In the District of Columbia, being found guilty of sexual assault can result in sentences lasting decades- having skilled sexual assault attorneys that can advocate for their clients is essential for reaching a fair deal or preparing to fight the charges.

For many unfamiliar with the Justice System, the various arrest procedures in the District of Columbia can be intimidating and confusing. Often times, police are not forthright with information and might provide inaccurate information to the arrestee. This only adds to the confusion and intimidation of this process. However, with the aid of top DC criminal lawyers, this process can be better understood and result in the favor of the arrestee.

Depending on the charge, there are two main procedures that DC police use to process an arrest. For most misdemeanors, there is an eligibility for release. This results in the arrestee being released from the station with a citation and a return date to appear before a judge in court. This includes DUI, DWI, simple assault, unlawful entry,and hit and run charges amongst others. This process only takes a few hours, in which an arrestee will be finger printed, processed and eventually released from the station.

However, there are a number of barriers that limit the eligibility for release. Certain misdemeanors, such as an unregistered firearm, are not eligible for release. Furthermore, felonies, a prior extensive criminal record, judiciary warrants, and domestic violence charges will also prohibit the arrestee from being eligible to be released from custody. If a judge issues a bench warrant for arrest, regardless of the charges, this person must be detained until they are brought before the judge. Even in cases of misdemeanors, if a judicial arrest warrant is issued they are not eligible for release. In domestic violence cases, regardless if the charges includesimple assault, unlawful entry or other misdemeanors, domestic violence negates the eligibility of immediate release. Lastly, if the arrestee is currently on probation or parole, this will also result in an arrestee not being released from police custody.

In the case in which one or more of the above criteria are met, there is a separate police procedure that is followed. During this procedure, the arrestee is first booked at the police station. The officer collects information of the arrestee. They are then transferred to the central cellblock, or the main jail in which arrestees not eligible for release are kept until after their bond hearing. They will wait in central cell block until their appearance before a judge. At central cellblock, family and friends are not allowed to see those held. This only adds to the confusion and fear that being arrested has on those arrested and those closest to them. While family and friends cannot meet with those held in central cellblock, the arrestee’s criminal defense lawyer can.

When it’s time to appear before the judge, the arrestee moved to lock up. Here, they will appear before the judge in courtroom C-10 typically who will make a release determination. The length of this process can vary depending on when they were arrested, however if the arrest took place during the work week it is normal to spend approximately one night in jail. If the arrest took place on the weekend on a Saturday,the arrestee will have to wait until the following Monday in order to appear before a judge resulting in approximately two nights in jail.

Arrest procedures are characterized by a lack of information, which leads to confusion and fear. With the aid of top DC criminal defense lawyers, the process become clearer and the path towards release becomes much easier to navigate.

Tiger Woods was one of the many people who were arrested on suspicion of Driving Under the Influence (also known as Driving While Impaired) this past Memorial Day weekend.

Below you can find out about the facts of the arrest, why the facts are sufficient to convict for DUI, and how to ensure that you do not make the same mistakes that he did.

Facts of the Arrest

At 3 A.M., Tiger Woods’s car was pulled to the right shoulder of the street with the engine running, the turning signal flashing, and the brake lights illuminated.When the officer’s first approached Woods, he was asleep behind the wheel. The officers had to physically wake him into consciousness.

The officers described Woods as sluggish and sleepy. They reported that he had slow and slurred speech. Woods allegedly was unable to walk unassisted.

The officers then asked him a series of questions. The police report states that Woods responded to the questions, but was disoriented and did not know where he was coming from or where he currently was. In response to the officers’ questions, Tiger Woods stated that he takes several prescription medications.

When the officers ordered Woods to participate in Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, he complied. One of the tests, the walk and turn test, requires the participant to stand still with one foot in front of the other in a heel-to-toe position while the officer states the instructions for the test. Following the instructions, the test requires the participant to walk heel-to-toe nine steps in a straight line, take a series of small steps to turn around, and walk heel-to-toe back another nine steps. The officers reported that Woods failed this test because he was unable to stay in a heel-to-toe stance during the instructions, he missed heel-to-toe on every single step, and he stepped off of the line several times.

The officers also reported that they asked Woods to recite the alphabet backwards, and when they asked if he understood the instructions, he stated: “Yes, recite the entire national anthem backwards.”

Woods consented to take a breath test and a urine test. The result of the breath test was 0.00 Blood Alcohol Content (“BAC”) score. The results of the urine test have not yet been released.

The officers described Woods as “fully cooperative.”

Following the arrest, Woods released a statement that said: “I understand the severity of what I did and take full responsibility for my actions. I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medication. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.”

Was This A DUI?

Some may think that what Tiger Woods did doesn’t constitute a DUI for a few reasons.

First, you may think he can’t be convicted of DUI because the car wasn’t in motion. However, Woods was sitting in the driver’s seat with the engine running. Unfortunately, at least in DC, the only requirement is that he be in “control” of the vehicle. The DC courts have found that someone is “in control” of the car even if they the engine is off but the keys are easily accessible, or if they are pushing the vehicle from the exterior, or if they are attempting to turn the wheel even when the keys are not in the ignition.  So, sitting in the car with the engine running certainly fits the bill.

Second, you may think that Woods can’t be convicted of DUI because there was no alcohol in his system and he only admitted to taking prescription medication. However, someone commits the offense of DUI if they were under the influence of any drug. A “drug” is defined as any chemical substance that affects the individual’s body or mind, which includes prescribed or over the counter medication. Therefore, Tiger Woods can be convicted of DUI if the government can prove that the prescription drug affected his ability to drive.

And, for reasons that will be discussed below, the government will probably be able to prove it.

What Woods Did Wrong

Tiger Woods did many things in relation to this arrest that will severely harm his defense for his DUI case. We will take you through each of them to show what he should have done differently.

The first thing that Tiger Woods did wrong is participate in the officer’s interrogation. One thing that people usually don’t understand is that you never have to answer the officer’s questions. When an officer pulls you over or stops you on suspicion of DUI, they will generally ask: where you are coming from; where you are headed; if you have had anything to drink tonight; how many drinks; where did you have those drinks; when was your last drink; and are you sick or on any medications. What they do not tell you is that every one of your answers to these statements will be held against you if your case proceeds to trial.

When Tiger answered these questions, the officers believed that his speech was “slowed and slurred.” When the officers asked him where he was coming from and where he was going, they reported that his answers made him seem disoriented.

Further, Tiger Woods’ response that he had taken a number of prescription medications was an admission that will certainly be used against him in court to show that the intoxication was caused by the medication. It is likely due to this statement that the officers chose to make Woods submit to a urine test, which will indicate the presence of prescription medication.

If Woods had just said quickly that he was not answering any questions instead of participating in this interrogation, the officers would not have any of these observations to use against him. They may have one sentence (“I choose not to answer any questions without an attorney”) that they can claim sounded “slurred,” but one sentence will likely not be sufficient to prove intoxication beyond a reasonable doubt. The answers that he gave and the manner in which he gave them certainly will be used against him in trial and are detrimental to his defense.

Second, Tiger Woods participated in standardized field sobriety tests. Most officers order people to participate in these tests and do not make it clear that they are optional – but they are. You have every right to refuse to participate in these tests. Because he participated in the tests, there is evidence that he was unable to follow instructions, to balance heel-to-toe, or walk as required. This will be particularly harmful to Tiger Woods’ defense because, as an athlete, the defense of a“natural lack of coordination” will likely not be successful in his case.

Had Woods refused to answer questions and/or participate in the field sobriety tests, he would most likely have still been arrested. Of course, he was arrested even though he participated in these tests – so “cooperating” only hurt his case instead of helped it.

Third, Tiger Woods consented to take both a breath test and a urine test. Now, in his case, the breath test was helpful to him. The Blood Alcohol Content level of zero definitely will rule out any intoxication due to alcohol. However, his consent to take a urine test will likely confirm his admissions and show that he was under the influence of prescription medication. Had he just taken the breath test – or no test at all – the prosecution would not have any scientific evidence that there was any substance in his system.

Finally, Woods released a statement following his arrest that both admitted responsibility and provided an admission that the prescription medications had “strongly” affected him. This statement, along with the statement that he made to the officers regarding prescription medications, will be seen as admissions of liability and will be used against him in court.

If Woods had refused to answer any questions or participate in any testing from the beginning and not released a statement subsequent to the arrest, he would likely still have a pending DUI charge against him. However, the prosecution would not have the following evidence to use against him in criminal court: his answers that made him seem disoriented; his slurred speech; his slowed speech; his admission that he was on prescription medications; his inability to balance; his inability to follow the instructions of the field sobriety tests; his urine test results; his subsequent admission of culpability; or his confirmation of intoxication.

Tiger Woods’ defense team has a difficult hill to climb. Learn from his mistakes. While you want to be respectful to the officers, being “cooperative” is almost never in your best interest.

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