I've been doing DUI for almost 30 years, defending people all over Los Angeles county -- thousands of cases, so I think I have a pretty good idea of what you should look for.
Prosecutors use two main California DUI statutes to charge someone with driving under the influence. Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC makes it a crime to drive under the influence of alcohol. Vehicle Code 23152(b) VC prohibits driving with a BAC of .08% or higher.
Most defendants are charged under both statutes, which are typically misdemeanor crimes. However, drunk driving could be filed as a felony under certain situations, such as a perpetrator having prior DUIs on their record and if someone was injured.
Suppose you are convicted of VC 23152 driving under the influence. In that case, the penalties will vary based on different factors, such as prior records and if any victims suffered injuries from the DUI. Vehicle Code 23153 VC defines the crimes of DUI causing injury and as a “wobbler” that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense.
You must contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within ten days of your DUI arrest to request a hearing. If you fail to do so, you forfeit your right to a hearing, and your driver's license will be suspended after 30 days. An attorney can request this hearing on your behalf and represent you. Our Los Angeles DUI attorneys will review this topic further below.
Defense Lawyer Who Is Local to the Court
First, you have to figure out where your case is; then, you want to get somebody local to the court. When I say local to the court, I don't mean just somebody that has an office near the court; I tell somebody that:
- appears in the court all the time,
- knows the judges,
- knows the prosecutors, and
- knows what the process is.
That's one of the first things we discuss when you come in and sit down regarding your DUI. I'm going to ask you, where is your case? Then I'll be able to tell you who the judge is, and I will be able to give you a step-by-step process of what's going to happen.
First Court Appearance
When you make the first appearance, we'll get the paperwork, which is the discovery in the case. The judge will deal with any bail issues, and then we will set it for a pre-trial case.
I'm going to give you an idea of whether any motions will be filed in your case, whether they apply to what happened, and then I'll give you a feel of what you're up against -- what you should expect in your case.
That's important. You want someone local. You want somebody who understands DUI law and how DUI cases are dealt with in the particular court where your case is pending.
So, that's probably number one. Get a local DUI attorney. And I'm giving you the definition of what local means in the context of DUIs in Los Angeles county.
A Lawyer Who is a Fighter
The second thing you want is someone who is a fighter. In other words, someone who can try a case and win it.
Most of the time, if you get a DUI, you're not going to go to trial, but that doesn't mean that you don't want a fighter because you want somebody who can point out weaknesses in the prosecutor's case. After all, that's what prosecutors consider when they decide what type of resolution to offer. They will look to see if they have any problems in their case.
For example, I just had a case in the Van Nuys court. My client was being charged with a DUI, and there were some weaknesses in the prosecutor's case. They tried to claim that he was intoxicated, but that did not make sense due to his substance. We had an expert ready to testify.
So, that was something they had to consider in resolving the case, and we ended up getting the DUI charge dismissed.
However, since they did have some evidence of a crime, we could work out a resolution. He got something less than a DUI. That's an example.
If you're not a fighter, not a warrior, or don't know how to go to trial, and unfortunately, a lot of the DUIs in LA county, those lawyers don't try cases.
A Defense Lawyer Who Is a Skilled Negotiator
You want someone who tries cases and is not just limited to DUI cases because that person is probably going to be somebody who all they do is resolve issues, which is fine.
Still, you also have somebody who can fight for you if you want the best for your case, including negotiating with the prosecutor.
The next thing is you want somebody you feel comfortable with -- who knows the court system, whom you feel comfortable talking to because that person will be the one talking to the judge.
That person will be the one talking to the prosecutor, who will fight for you. So, it's crucial that you feel comfortable with your DUI defense attorney.
That's why I have you come in. We sit down; we go over things. I'm available to talk on the phone to give you an idea of what you're facing. But, all in all, we need to see what the police report looks like.
We need to see their evidence before we can get down to the nitty-gritty in deciding what you're facing and what type of moves need to be made on your behalf.
So, if you want the best, you've come to the right place. Pick up the phone. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I stand at the ready to help you. The Hedding Law Firm offers a free case consultation via phone, or you can fill out the contact form.