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D.C. DUI Courtroom Etiquette and Obama’s Uncle Giggles

by | Oct 3, 2011

The Boston Herald reports that Obama’s half uncle was amused at the media horde present for his initial appearance in Framingham District Court on a DUI charge.

The initial appearance is typically very brief — in the District, you should either plead not guilty and hire a D.C. DUI defense attorney or your attorney should already be present to handle the plea on your behalf. In this case, the judge set a pretrial conference for Nov. 17. That is typically when your lawyer will first be able to speak with the prosecutor at length about your case. From there, it will be pretty clear whether negotiating a plea offer is in your best interest or whether the case should proceed to trial.

In this case, Onyango Obama, 67, is also accused of being in the country illegally. The media reports he ignored a deportation order two decades ago and is currently working at a Framingham liquor store. In general, a criminal conviction can impact a defendant’s immigration status and should be taken into account when determining how to handle charges. The Washington Times reported Onyango has retained the same Cleveland immigration lawyer who successfully fought his sister’s deportation to Kenya.

The media always amplifies things. Whether Obama giggled at the media gaggle, at the spectators or at the process itself is unclear. He appeared dressed in a somber suit and tie.

In general, how you present yourself in court can have an impact on your case. Whether facing drunk driving charges in Washington D.C., or other misdemeanor or felony charges, listening to your attorney and striking a sober tone is always the best course of action when before the judge in your case.Wearing a dress shirt and tie is advisable in most all cases. Flip-flops and tank tops are not appropriate. There have been cases in which judges have sanctioned court participants based on attire.

A first-offense drunk driving charge is punishable by up to 90 days in jail. While most or all of that can be suspended, showing disrespect to the judge or to the court process is not the way to make it happen.

Police accuse him of driving drunk Aug. 24. Authorities say he nearly struck a police car while driving his SUV in Framingham.


If you are facing DUI charges in D.C., contact the Scrofano Law, PC for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights or fill out our online contact form. Visa, Mastercard and Discover cards accepted. Call 202-765-3175.