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Arrest Near Courthouse After Making DUI Court Appearance

  • By: Ron Hedding
  • Published: April 13, 2020

What do you do if you are Arrested Near the Courthouse After Making a Court Appearance Related to a Los Angeles DUI?

We see this a lot.  There’s something called the H20 squad which is basically a group of law enforcement — part of the arm of law enforcement — that tries to stop people from driving who have DUI’s and have ordered not to drive.

So what they will do is go everyday to court.  For example, take Van Nuys court.  They’ll go wait near the court.  They’ll know who’s on calendar that day making their court appearance and then they’ll wait for that person to make the court appearance, come out and then they’ll be looking for him to get into a vehicle and drive and then they’ll pull him over.Metropolitan Courthouse in Los Angeles

So you say to yourself, how do they figure out who these people are?  They’re able through their resources to get the person’s driver’s license — get a Soundex photograph of the person.

They probably have cooperation from the court and the prosecutors in the sense that they’re being given who’s going to appear on calendar that day.  They just tie all that information together.

Now they’ve got a photograph of the person they’re looking for and they’re out there watching people.  They just follow them from court  They’re dressed in plain clothes.  It’s called the H20 squad and they can get you for driving on a suspended license.

Unlawful Police Stop

Sometimes we can attack these arrests.  We can say that’s an illegal stop.  They didn’t have probable cause to stop that person.  Of course, we’re going to have to be able to prove that.  If they can see that you had a court appearance, they’ve got a picture of you.

They know your driver’s license is suspended and they watch you get into a car and drive, that’s pretty much probable cause to be able to stop you and likely be able to arrest you or give you a citation to appear in court.

However, it just causes so many problems for you because if you were in court that means you’re on probation and if you’re driving on a suspended license because of a DUI that means you’re going to get charged with a Vehicle Code Section 14601.2 and that has to do with a DUI.  There’s mandatory jail time for that type of a conviction.  So, obviously, you want to avoid a conviction.

Courts Arguments to Avoid Jail Time

What we try to do when we get hired on these cases in the Van Nuys, San Fernando and the Metro court and all the courts that actually handle DUI cases in Los Angeles county.  So, you have to know what the ins and outs are.

You have to know what arguments are going to make sense and judges might listen to when it comes to trying to keep somebody out of jail who has been arrested by the H20 squad or been cited because of a suspended license after going to court.

Not only are they looking at a new open charge, this is where a little twist is put on things and that is, in addition to that open charge, you’re also going to be looking at a probation violation.

Because part of your probation for a DUI in Los Angeles county is to obey all laws and rules and orders of the court.  So, if the court orders you not to drive on a suspended license — which they usually do when you have a DUI — or not to drive while your license is suspended, then you’ve violated your probation.

So, you’re going to be looking at two potential punishments. One for the open new suspended license case related to the DUI because you’re not allowed to drive and also for violating your probation to the court.  The prosecutors will have a say as to what your punishment is in that scenario.

Also in addition to the prosecutors having a say, the court will have a say because they’re going to decide whether you violated your probation and if you did what your punishment should be.

Negotiation with Prosecutor and Judge

When I go in to negotiate these cases, I’m really negotiating with two people.  I’m negotiating with the prosecutor who’s in charge of your case for that day.  I’m also negotiating with the judge who’s in charge of the probation violation.

So, a lot of times I’ve got to approach the bench, go up there and talk to both the prosecutor and the judge at the same time and say look, this is what my client’s got.  What do you guys want to do?

Sometimes they’re reasonable if you can give them the rational as to why your client is there, why your client was driving when they shouldn’t have been driving.  A lot of times in these cases where the person is being pinched outside the courthouse, they were driving because they needed to get to court.

If  you live far away, they’re going to be looking at whether you could have had transportation.  They’re going to look at all these things because what you’re really trying to do is explain to the judge why you did what you did.

The judge is going to look to see whether or not that’s a reason that might warrant giving you a break and they’re also going to look at your dangerousness level.  If you’re drinking and driving and get busted for driving on a suspended license, those people are going to get the book thrown at them because they’re dangerous.

If you get in an accident, these are the dangerous people that are hurting not only themselves, but hurting members of society and those are the people that prosecutors and judges look to severely punish.

So, if you were caught after your court appearance trying to get into your car by the H20 squad, law enforcement and you need help, you’ve come to the right place.  All you have to do is pick up the phone and call me.  A lot of times we’re able to cinch up everything over the phone.  You can retain us with a credit card.  I’ll send you a contract, you’ll sign it and then I’ll start working on it.

Ron Hedding

About the Author Named Top Los Angeles DUI Defence Attorney by LA Times and named one of the Top 100 DUI Defence attorneys in California by the National Trial Lawyers Association. I'm the attorney other lawyers hire to defend them.