Negotiating A DUI In Los Angeles County

I’ve been negotiating DUI’s now for quite some time and it is an interesting art form. It takes a combination of knowing your client and their situation and knowing the location where you are negotiating – who is the judge, who is the prosecutor? How do they typically handle these cases? What will move them and make them give a lesser charge or dismiss a case? This comes through experience and having a good feel for how a particular court system works – and also having a good feel for who you’re dealing with. The prosecutors are people just like anybody else. Some of them are tough; some are middle-of-the-road, and some are very easy to work with.

I’ve gone into court, looked at a prosecutor and said, you know what, there’s no way I’m going to get the resolution that I want out of this prosecutor. I’m just going to continue the case and come back to fight another day. There’s nothing wrong with doing that. The bottom line is, the job is to get the best possible resolution – whether that’s a dismissal, a win in a jury trial or some negotiated plea bargain – but as an attorney who has been practicing DUI for a long time, you have to know how to negotiate with these prosecutors. Sometimes you have to negotiate with the judge if the prosecutor is not being reasonable. It really just depends on the circumstances of the case, what your client has supposedly done and a number of other factors that you gain through working hard, getting the experience, and you have to have a knack for doing DUI cases and negotiating them. That’s the bottom line.

The Tough Negotiation Approach In A DUI Case

One approach that I’ve seen used and I’ve certainly used myself is to go in and say, the client is innocent. We’re going to trial. We need this, this and this. You’ve got video. You’ve got body-cam. You’ve got MVAR’s – we need them. Just make the prosecutors think that no matter what happens, you’re going to trial. Sometimes that tactic is nice. Sometimes you do decide to go to trial, but other times you can decide at the last minute to say, listen, we think we have a very strong case. Here’s what we have, but, also, anybody could win or lose at a trial so, we’ll consider resolving the case but we’re not going to consider resolving it unless you give us this.

That brings me to another point. When you go in there to negotiate as a defense attorney – and this is where clients need to be aware – you need to have a game plan. You need to know what your client will take and what your client will not take and that requires communication between attorney and client about the DUI case – about the negotiation process. The lawyer has to tell the client. Listen, here’s what I need from you. If the person used prescription medication for example and ended up with a DUI, you need to get the bottle. You need to show me what it says on the bottle about driving and taking that prescription medication. We need something from the doctor. Go in there. Be honest with the doctor. Tell him what happened. Maybe the doctor can come through with some sort of a letter explaining what’s going on and it’s really not your fault. You would have had no way to know not to drive with the prescription medication. Maybe it’s new medication. Maybe the warning label on the bottle doesn’t say anything about driving. Maybe the doctor didn’t tell you anything. I mean, I could go on and on and on. That’s just one small example.

Getting character letters to show that you’re a good person and have a good job, etc., there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t know how effective that is though, because a lot of people who get DUI’s have that. Most people who get a DUI are not criminals. They just drank and drove and fell right into a police trap or got into an accident – or whatever happened to them. So, just because you can get character letters, that doesn’t necessarily solve your problem. You’re going to need to come up with a strategy with your attorney that relates to your case. What happened? Was your blood alcohol level not that high? Was it close to the legal limit? Bam! You’re in business.

Now we can attack the breath machine or the way they did the blood or whatever other issues surround having a blood alcohol level that’s low because that’s usually the best-case scenario. That’s when you can get cases dismissed. That’s when you can get lesser charges. So, there are all sorts of different negotiating angles, but I think one of the biggest things is that the lawyer and the client work together. The client listens to the lawyer and gets what the lawyer tells him to get. Also, the client and the lawyer come to a meeting of the minds as to exactly what the client will take and what they won’t take, because having that in my hip pocket – knowing what my client will take – that I can use some effective negotiating techniques to try to get one thing when I know that I’m angling for another thing that is what the client will take.

So, there are all sorts of different ways to handle cases. I can go on, and on, and on, but I think the bottom line is we get you in for a consultation. We look at your case. We see what happened and then we get our strategy together. Based on twenty-five years of experience, doing thousands of DUI cases in-and-out of the LA court system, there isn’t a case that I haven’t seen. There’s not a scenario that I haven’t seen and I know the strategy on how to get the job done when it comes to negotiating cases in Los Angeles.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer

So, if you have a DUI in California, and specifically, Los Angeles, you’re going to want to get an attorney who has been down this road before and had success. Contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers to review your case.

Lesser Charges In DUI Cases In Los Angeles County

When it comes to a DUI, most people are trying to figure out how they can avoid getting that DUI conviction on the record, losing their license and also the ramifications that come along with having a criminal record and having to deal with the DMV, insurance and all the issues that surround that. There are all kinds of different lesser included offense, depending on the circumstances of your LA DUI case – which court you’re in in LA County. There used to be forty courts in LA County now there’s twenty-five. That’s still a lot of courts and a lot of different jurisdictions. As probably most of you know, California as a state is one of the toughest as it comes to DUI laws.

But listen, if you’ve got a good case and a good angle, there are lesser included defenses and I have a whole list of them that I carry around in my head. Again, depending on the circumstances. The most obvious lesser included defense is a wet reckless. It’s not much different than a DUI, but it does sound better. And if it’s a second-time DUI and you get a wet reckless, then you can avoid the second-time DUI, so that comes in handy. Usually a lesser fine and some lesser penalties are associated with that. You’re going to have to be pretty close to the legal limit though in order to get a wet reckless as it relates to a DUI case.

The next step down I would say would be a dry reckless. That’s just driving around recklessly. It doesn’t have anything to do with alcohol, and obviously, that would be a great result if you were busted for a DUI and you actually had alcohol in your system and the police are trying to claim that you were driving under the influence in Los Angeles County.

Another crime that I see that is definitely lesser to a DUI is what we call a speed contest – Vehicle Code §23109c. That basically says, you were screeching your tires. You weren’t driving safely, but it’s not a DUI. It doesn’t come with all of the DUI ramifications. It doesn’t come with all the penalties in court. So, a speed contest is definitely a heck of a lot better than a DUI when it comes to lesser charges in a Los Angeles county courtroom related to DUI’s. To get that speed contest you’re going to need to be pretty close to the legal limit, have no prior criminal record, obviously not being involved in any dangerous driving, or the prosecutors will never consider giving a speed contest as it relates to a DUI in Los Angeles County.

Also, I’ve had cases where I’ve been able to get just simple moving violations for people. I had an attorney that I represented in the Van Nuys court. He had a .08/.07. He could not have the misdemeanor conviction on his record for bar purposes and other reasons, so I was able to convince the prosecutor to give him two moving violations. For example, if he ran a stop sign and he made an illegal left turn without signaling – so, those would be two moving violations. He had a couple of points on his record, but he still maintained his driver’s license. He didn’t get a criminal conviction because moving violations are just infractions. He didn’t get a misdemeanor on his record. That’s definitely a great resolution when it comes to DUI’s in LA County.

You don’t have to necessarily have to be a .08 to get a DUI in LA county. If you have alcohol in your system and you can’t safely operate a motor vehicle, you don’t pass the field sobriety test according to the police, your speech is slurred, your eyes are red and bloodshot and watery, you have an unsteady gait, then the police can say, you have alcohol. You’re a DUI. I’ve seen prosecutors try to go after these types of cases. So, there’s all sorts of lesser included offenses. Another tactic I’ve used, if you get busted for a DUI and another charge – it has nothing to do with a DUI – sometimes we can just get the DUI dismissed and you work out a resolution as it relates to the other charge. So, there are all sorts of thing that can be done, but of course it depends on your case. It depends on your attorney. It depends on what happened in your case – how high you blood alcohol level was, how dangerous you were on the road and a host of other factors. There also going to look at your criminal record. If you have a bad driving record and you’re busted for a DUI don’t expect the prosecutors to give you a break. If you have prior DUI’s on your record – even if they’re outside the ten-year period – don’t expect the prosecutors to give you a break.

So, the biggest thing you want to do is get a great DUI attorney that is local to the jurisdiction where your case is pending. Give him all the facts. Be honest and straightforward. I wrote a book on this particular topic. Grab my book and give it a read. It’s very inexpensive. You can get it on amazon.com. It really talks about the ins-and-outs of DUI’s in a nice common-sense approach. So, if you have a DUI and you’re trying to get a lesser charge, sit down with an attorney who knows what they’re doing. I’m always available for a consultation and see if it’s realistic that you can get a lesser charge. If not, you at least need to minimize the penalties which is a topic for another blog.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer

So, if you have a DUI in California, and specifically, Los Angeles, you’re going to want to get an attorney who has been down this road before and had success. Contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers to review your case.

The Nuts And Bolts Of A DMV Hearing In Los Angeles County

Having practiced DMV law and DUI law for twenty-five years now in LA, I think I have a pretty idea of what goes on at a DMV hearing. There are two ways to conduct a DMV hearing. One is to actually do the hearing face-to-face with the DMV Officer. Sometimes that’s a good strategy depending on the particular circumstances of the case. But I find you can also have a very effective strategy by doing the DMV hearing over the phone. Different lawyers have a different approach, depending on the particular case, circumstances and the defendant.

On disadvantage of doing it face-to-face and actually bringing your client to the DMV hearing is that gives the DMV hearing officer an opportunity to ask questions of the client. That can sometimes be dangerous because a lot of times the clients possess information that can be very incriminating to them. For example, they can admit that they were driving at a certain time in a certain location. They can admit to actually drinking alcohol. They can admit to how much alcohol they had during the night of their arrest. They can also admit to whether they had food. A lot of these thing can then later be used at a trial against the particular defendant because the DMV hearing is being recorded. This is something you’re going to have to discuss with your DMV defense attorney and get a good strategy together as to whether or not you want to do an in-person face-to-face hearing, or whether you want to do a hearing over the phone.

What generally happens at a DMV hearing is the DMV has a responsibility in a DUI case in Los Angeles to prove their case. The first thing they’re going to do is start moving evidence in. They’ll list all their evidence and say at the end of their evidence -they’re going to ask whether there is any objection, and of course the defense attorney or a person representing themselves in a DMV hearing can make whatever objections they want and then the DMV hearing officer rules on the objection and usually lets the evidence in. This is where it is a little bit unfair because it’s almost like a kangaroo court where the DMV is putting on the evidence. The DMV – like the judge – is making rulings on any objections to the evidence and in the end, the DMV decides whether or not to take your license away. This is called an administrative hearing and it’s done with all DUI cases.

Basically, what they have to prove in these administrative hearings is (1) that the police officer lawfully stopped you or came upon you – sometimes you’re not even driving; (2) they lawfully arrested you; and (3) your blood alcohol level was a .08 or greater. If they can prove all three of these things, then you are going to lose your license for a period of time depending on how many prior DUI’s you have or if this is your first DUI offense. If they cannot prove one of these three things, then they are not going to be able to take your license away administratively. That, of course, does not get you out of the fire because if you are convicted in court of the DUI, all the court’s computers are synced up to the Los Angeles DMV and they will suspend your license for getting the conviction in court. So, in order to avoid a conviction altogether, you’re going to have to win the administrative hearing and you’re going to have to win in court – not be convicted of a DUI offense.

The defense is also entitled to put on evidence at a DMV hearing, so the client can testify, and witnesses can testify. You can subpoena the officer in to testify and ask questions about his or her police report. The DMV can subpoena the officer in to ask questions about his or her report. Experts can also be called. If you think there’s a problem with the blood alcohol level, then you can call your own expert and that expert can put on evidence. That expert can challenge the DMV’s case. I see all the time where the DMV even sees themselves – by reading the police officer’s report – that they have a problem in a case, so they’ll try to call the officer and ask the officer questions to try to get their case that way. I object all the time. I, as a defense attorney in a DMV hearing in Los Angeles, am able to cross-examine the police officer about some of the things in the police report, my client’s blood alcohol level. There’s a lot of things that can be done. In the end, the DMV hearing officer is going to say, okay counsel, thank you very much for your information. Thank you very much for your participation in the hearing. I will let you and your client via mail what our decision is. Then usually in a day or two you’re going to get their decision in the mail.

If you brought up some real good issues in the DMV hearing, then what I’ve seen happen is it takes them a long time. I think what they end up doing is they’ll run it by the attorneys there at the DMV or they’ll run whatever issues by the Mandatory Action Unit and this takes some time. So, your client is allowed to drive on that temporary driver’s license that they get or you’re allowed to drive on the temporary driver’s license up until there is a ruling by the DMV. If the DMV suspends your license they let you know via mail and then you discuss with your attorney exactly what you have to do in order to get your license back. Typically, you’re looking at getting an SR22 which is proof of insurance, paying a fee to the DMV, installing an ignition interlock device for a period of time and there may be some other things, depending on the special circumstances surrounding your particular case.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer

So, if you have a DUI in California, and specifically, Los Angeles, you’re going to want to get an attorney who has been down this road before and had success. Contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers to review your case.

Learn The Most Accurate Test For A DUI In Los Angeles

When it comes to DUI’s, I’ve been practicing in twenty-five years and I’ve seen the various tests that are being used in order to test somebody’s blood. The tests that we think about are obviously, the breath machine and taking somebody’s blood. Urine used to be a test that was available as well, but now the legislature has pretty much narrowed it down to either blood or breath in order to test somebody’s blood alcohol content.

But other tests that are available that are relevant to a Vehicle Code §23152a charge are the field sobriety test because they are supposed to judge whether somebody can safely operate a motor vehicle, so a lot of people don’t realize that they don’t really need your blood alcohol by breath or blood or even urine. They can just look at your results on the field sobriety tests which, of course, are very subjective tests and they can say that you smelled of alcohol and looked like you were intoxicated and then try to get you for a DUI that way, without trying to go after the .08 and using the 23152b which says your blood alcohol level was a .08 or greater in Los Angeles, California.

So, there are a number of different ways to get you. If they’re trying to get you by way of the 23152a section – which basically says you had alcohol in your system and you couldn’t safely operate a motor vehicle – and does really talk about whether your BAC was a .08 or greater. In addition to the field sobriety test, they’re going to look at the way that you’re walking. They’re going to look at the way that you’re talking. They’re going to look at the way that you were driving when you were either pulled over or some people get into an accident. Obviously, if you crash into somebody, there’s an argument you can’t safely operate a motor vehicle – then the next question is – can they prove that you had alcohol in your system.

There’s a lot of ways to do that. Again, if you smell like alcohol and you’re acting like somebody who is intoxicated, the police could certainly put those pieces of evidence in at a potential jury trial and then let the jury decide. Of course, it’s best for them if they just have some sort of a reading.

What Is The Best Way To Measure Blood?

In my opinion, and I think based on science, getting somebody’s blood is the most accurate test of the tests that are available to law enforcement and prosecutors who deal with DUI cases in Los Angeles County. If they can get your blood, then they can get pretty darn close to what your blood alcohol level is and it kind of rules out a lot of arguments that you can argue when you take somebody’s breath. Of course, you could still argue that the sample that they took was contaminated if you have the evidence available to do that, and there are other things – depending on when they take the blood in relation to the driving – that could be an argument. If they’re waiting three to four hours to take somebody’s blood, who cares that their blood alcohol level was three to four hours after the driving.

We want to know for purposes of a DUI in LA County what was the blood alcohol level at the time of driving. They’re going to have to use an expert to attempt to extrapolate backwards from the point when they take the test – either by way of a breath test or a blood test – what was the result then, and now how do you go and say what the result was one hour, two hours, three hours later.

So, the bottom line is the blood is the most accurate. As far as breath tests go, there is some accuracy there, but those tests can be impacted. If the machine that’s being used to test the breath is not working properly – and that happens all the time. It hasn’t been calibrated the right way. There’s some issue with it. It’s taken out of service close in time to when your breath was taken, then we’ve got an argument that the machine wasn’t working right and whatever your BAC was is not accurate.

Also, I think it is commonly agreed among experts in the DUI field, that the machine that are used to test your breath at the police stations across LA County have an error rate of .02. So, basically that means if you blew a .08 you could have been a .08. You could have been a .90. So, you’re not going to have that exact accuracy. Obviously, the closer you are to the legal limit, if they’re trying to get you for Vehicle Code Section 23152b, the stronger argument you have when looking at everything from a totality of the circumstances that you were not driving under the influence, and therefore, should not be prosecuted.

So, I guess it would be fair to say that the second-best test for a DUI in Los Angeles County is the breath. Now, don’t get the breath tests at the station confused with the breath test that’s typically used out in the fields. The Preliminary Alcohol Screening or PAS Device is not as accurate as the blood test or the test at the station. In fact, they’ve had all kinds of problems with that PAS Device test and you didn’t even used to be able to say what the reading was on that in court in order to try to prove that somebody is a DUI. Now the courts have given that some more credence. But the bottom line is that test is not accurate. The defense can always get their own expert to attack that test and really make it look bad and murky. Depending on how high your blood alcohol level was, how many drinks you had, how you were walking, talking, driving – that’s all going to be impacted in any DUI case that you get yourself involved with.

But obviously, if you’re stumbling around, crashing into things and you’re more than double the legal limit, it’s going to be very difficult – despite what some attorneys who are trying to get your money say – it’s going to be very difficult to get a case dismissed under those circumstances unless you have some other angle. You know, I’ve been doing this twenty-five years. I have angles all the time. Sometimes people are not even driving their vehicle come upon them. There are all sorts of things that can go wrong for the Police Department when it comes to these DUI cases in Los Angeles County. Your best move is to get in front of a DUI defense attorney who knows what they’re doing and can check every angle for you and get you’re the right result.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer

So, if you have a DUI in California, and specifically, Los Angeles, you’re going to want to get an attorney who has been down this road before and had success. Contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers to review your case.

Learn the Potential Punishments For a DUI in Los Angeles

Having practiced DUI law in LA for the last twenty-five years, I’ve seen all kinds of different punishments either dolled out to criminal defendants in a DUI case or at least offered to criminal defendants in a DUI case and I tell you, it starts as early as the arraignment now.  The prosecutor and the judge – even on a first-time DUI – they don’t just want to let the person go on their won recognizance if their blood alcohol level is high or they’re involved in any kind of an accident which shows kind of a dangerousness level, then they’re going to try to make them do AA meetings – like three AA meetings a week while the case is pending if they want to be released on their own recognizance.  For me, that’s punishment started right off the top.  Even if the person does not have an alcohol problem, these guys are trying to make them do certain things right from the beginning or they make them post a bail in the case.

Other things I see them doing even at the arraignment level is if a person is dangerous enough because they have multiple DUI’s or because their blood alcohol level was high or because they hurt somebody, they’ll make them actually put a scram device on their , so they can determine whether or not they had any alcohol and then they’ll order them not to consume any alcohol.  Again, they’re really zeroed in and aimed at protecting the public, so that’s why they have all these different things.

Another big thing that I’m seeing now in the Los Angeles courts as it relates to DUI’s is they have this program called the H20 program.  What they’re doing is they’re waiting in the main DUI courts across Los Angeles county and they will wait for the person – they have a whole list of all the people with DUI’s who have to appear that day – especially people who have suspended licenses – and they will wait for them outside the court.  They’ll have identifying information and as soon as they get in their car and drive, they pull them over and charge them with violating their probation, driving on a suspended license – and when you get that and it relates to a DUI case, you’re looking at going to jail, so there are all sorts of punishments related to DUI cases that you might not even think about in Los Angeles, California, unless you are a DUI attorney who did this all the time, and like me, who has done thousands of these DUI cases.

What are Some of the Main Punishments that are Being Doled Out in the Criminal Courts Across LA County Related to DUI’s?

Probably one of the most common punishments is that they put you on three years’ probation.  Sometimes you can get it down to two years of probation if the blood alcohol level is l-ow enough and you’re not as much of a threat to anybody.  Another thing is they will try to make the person pay a fine.  Usually, the basic fine in Los Angeles county is $390 plus penalty assessment.  That ends up being – especially when they tack on all their fees – anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000.  Sometimes I’ve been able to get clients community service in order to wipe out most of the fines, but still you’re going to have to pay $400 or $500 in fees that the courts use to keep themselves going.

So, in addition to that, another thing is they’re going to make the person do an alcohol program.  In Los Angeles, for a first offense, they’re usually talking about a 36-month alcohol program, however, there’s also a 6-month alcohol program, a 9-month alcohol program, an 18-month alcohol program and a 30-month alcohol program.  So, you can start to see all DUI’s are not created equal.  These guys are not messing around.  Basically, it’s a sliding scale depending on how high your blood alcohol level was and how dangerous you were, how your criminal record looks.  They can make you do 9-month alcohol program.  Then you have to pay for it.  You have to go once a week to the program. Having a good attorney who knows the ins-and-outs of the court system is crucial when it comes to these DUI cases and trying to get the best possible result.

Jail Time and Community Service

Of course, the biggest weapon these guys have is jail time.  On a first offense, they can give you up to six months in the county jail.  If you’re on probation, it usually can be a year to a year and a half in the county jail.  On a second offense, they can give you up to a year just for that offense and if you’re on probation they can give you an additional year.  So, they do have some teeth when it comes to these DUI’s.  If they’re angry enough – based on the person, what they did and how dangerous they were out in public.  Other things that I’ve seen them do when it comes to DUI’s, they can make you do AA meetings because they feel you need an education in addition to the alcohol program.  They can also make you do community service, community labor, Caltrans, graffiti removal, and then they can put other restrictions on you where you’re not allowed to drink alcohol and you’re not allowed to drive your vehicle.  There’s a whole host of things that they do and sometimes they will tailor punishments based on what the person did.  Based on the person’s prior criminal record, and again, they’re trying to do things to really protect the public and make sure this person doesn’t get out on the road and kill somebody.

Felony DUI’s and Punishment

A lot of times for a first-time felony DUI, you can be looking up to three years in prison.  If you actually hurt somebody and cause them great bodily injury, you’re looking at a strike on your record, an additional 3-year enhancement, so you’d be looking at up to six years in prison and you can get your license revoked for three years.  There’s all sorts of things that can be done.  Again, these things are being done in the name of protecting the public.

So, if you’re going to drive a car and you’re going to take other people’s lives into your hands, then you’re going to take other people’s lives into your hands, then you’re going to be looking at a severe punishment.  Of course, the ultimate punishment they have – if you kill somebody related to a DUI they can through you in prison for 15 to life and charge you with murder.  So, a long story short, when it comes to DUI cases, you’ve got to have the best attorney possible who knows how to deal with the issues surrounding DUI cases, who knows how to protect your rights, your freedom, your interest, your reputation and your record.

Contact a DUI Lawyer in Los Angeles

If you have a DUI case and you’re concerned about the punishment, give me a call and we’ll sit down in the privacy of my office and go over everything.  I will give you a feel and an idea for what you’re facing, what you’re looking at and we’ll figure out exactly what can be done to help you related to your DUI matter in Los Angeles county.

Do Miranda Rights Have to be Read to Somebody Who is Arrested for a DUI?

When it comes to DUI’s in Los Angeles and across California, this is one of the biggest fallacies or confusions that people have, is that they must be read their Miranda Right or somehow the DUI is no good.  That’s one of the first things people tell me when they come into my office.  They didn’t read me my Miranda Rights – do you believe that?  Somehow, they think that can now be used to win their DUI case.  The bottom line is they do not have to  read you your Miranda Rights ever and if they don’t, it usually doesn’t make much difference in a DUI case.

The evidence they’re going to use in a DUI case is your breath or blood result to be able to prove whether or not that is a .08 or greater.  They don’t’ need you to say anything to them in order for them to typically prosecute you for a DUI.   You’re either a .08 or greater or you’re not.  Of course, if there’s more to it than that – how you’re driving, how you do on a field sobriety test and a host of other factors are going to control what happens in your DUI case, but the only reason they have to read somebody their Miranda Rights is if they want to use a statement against them.  So, if they don’t want to use someone’s statement against them, then they don’t have to read them the Miranda Rights.

In different criminal cases other than DUI’s, the police do read the Miranda Rights because a lot of times if the person is in custody and they want to take a statement.  So, if you don’t read somebody their Miranda Rights and they’re in custody and you’re asking them direct questions, or you’re saying things that would trigger another person to incriminate themselves or give incriminating information, then you have to read them their Miranda Rights.  If you don’t read the Miranda Rights and you’re in law enforcement, then any statement that the person makes, is not going to be able to be used against them.  You can still prosecute the person, you just can’t use their statements.

That does become applicable sometimes depending on what the circumstances are.  For example, let’s say someone gets into a DUI crash and they leave their car there and they walk away, and they get miles away from the scene of the accident and the police find them.  The police are going to start asking you questions.  When did you crash?  Were you the one who crashed?  Were you driving?  If they can pinpoint the answers to those questions, then they’re going to be able to get him for the DUI, but I’ve won a lot of cases when the person is not there.  They’re not driving.  You have to be driving for it to be a DUI, but of course, if the police can prove that you were driving at some point that wasn’t too far away and you crashed, they can still get you for the DUI.  But if they arrest you in that example that I gave, and they start asking you questions and the don’t give you your Miranda Rights, then your attorney has an argument that they’re not going to be able to use the answers to those questions because they didn’t read the Miranda Rights.  That just doesn’t happen very often in the standard DUI.  The police arrest the person and they’ve got him right there and they’re able to prosecute him for the DUI.

Are There Circumstances Where a Case can be Dismissed if Miranda Rights Were Not Given to a Person?

The answer to this question is yes.  There absolutely are circumstances where if they don’t read the Miranda Rights they’re not going to be able to get the person for a crime.  It just doesn’t happen very often.  If they need the person’s statement in order to convict them for the DUI and the person was in custody and they were being asked direct questions that could incriminate them, or the police were doing certain things to get them to make incriminating statements.  The fact the Miranda Rights were not given, the person made an incriminating statement, then the defense can file a motion and argue that that statement should be allowed in against them and if the prosecutors need that statement to prove the case to tie in the rest of the evidence and that statement is taken away from them, then they’re going to have to dismiss the case.

Unfortunately, though there’s just been an erosion of Miranda since it came into being.  The courts have just cut it to pieces.  I do Miranda hearings all the time.  Basically, what you do is you have to get the police officer in there and the defense attorney is entitled to cross-examine him.  What are the circumstances?  Was the person in custody?  You were asking him questions.  It brings up that scenario where the police caught a person who they suspected had used a shotgun to kill somebody and they needed that somebody in order to prove so they could get the ballistics and obviously, if the person admitted whether the shotgun was because they couldn’t find it after searching their house – and they’d be able to convict them of the crime, and they had the person in the back of the car – and again I’m paraphrases here on the case – but they said to the guy, hey it sure would be said if some little kid got ahold of that gun and killed themselves, and the police say a bunch of other stuff and the guy feels bad, so he gives the location of the gun and then he’s prosecuted for it.  In that circumstance, even though they’re not asking direct questions – hey, where did you put the gun – they’re saying things that are designed to get him to incriminate himself.  So, that’s a circumstance where you could say that they improperly got a statement from him.  They didn’t read him the Miranda Rights – and you can get the case overturned.  Again, those situations just don’t come up that often, so usually the Miranda Rights, as they relate to DUI cases is pretty much irrelevant.  There are circumstances where they do apply.

If you think you’ve got a case based on what I just said, or you can either damage the case or get it completely dismissed because they’re relying heavily on your statements and they didn’t give you your Miranda Rights, then obviously give me a call and we can sit down and talk about it.

Another way the police get out of reading people their Miranda Rights associated with a DUI is they say listen, the person wasn’t in custody.  I just pulled him over.  I wanted to talk to them.  They had committed a traffic violation and so I was just asking them simple questions and I could smell the alcohol on their breath.  They admitted that they had five drinks, so a lot of times they can get around the Miranda warnings by saying the person was not in custody yet.  They were just detained.  I was just talking to him. I was just conducting an investigator.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI Attorney

So, again, Miranda Rights and DUI’s usually don’t apply, but if you think you have a case, you should sit down with a qualified DUI expert who has been defending DUI cases in the local court where your case is pending and knows how to handle these types of situations.

Is California One of The Toughest DUI States in the Nation?

When it comes to DUI’s, obviously every state in the nation is concerned for the public safety and Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers and a number of other interest groups have really played a role in increasing penalties and increasing the easiness of law enforcement to be able to catch and arrest those individuals who are drinking alcohol and driving on our roads. A lot of people don’t realize that in order to get a DUI, you don’t have to be drunk – you just have to not be able to safely operate a motor vehicle. California is definitely among one of the toughest states in the nation when it comes to DUI law and the enforcement of DUI law.

This is definitely borne out when I see people coming from other states who got DUI’s in their home state and then they come to California and attempt to get a driver’s license, and once California sees that that person had a DUI or multiple DUI’s in another state, they will make them meet the requirements of any driver in California that were to get a DUI before they will allow them to drive. For example, I saw one person that had gotten a second time DUI in another state and really hadn’t done any alcohol program. In California, for a second time DUI, you have to do an 18-month alcohol program which is a huge pain in the neck and costs a lot of money and time. The bottom line is the DMV told that person if you don’t do that program, you cannot drive in California and you will never be able to drive in California. So, there’s no question, as compared to other states in the nation, California DUI’s is definitely one of the most difficult to deal with.

Punishments for California DUI’s

Another aspect of California’s harshness is the fact that for a fourth time DUI, a person will be looking at a felony and up to three years in prison. If it’s a felony DUI and someone is seriously injured, there is a three-year enhancement. That three-year enhancement is typically a great bodily injury allegation which causes the DUI to become a strike and the person has that conviction on their record forever. Really, what it’s boiling down to is the legislature, prosecutors and judges are sick and tired of people putting other people’s lives in danger when it comes to driving on the road in Los Angeles and throughout California. So, they will send people to jail or prison. They will put harsh sanctions on them where they’re not allowed to drink alcohol during the probationary period. They’ll put scram bracelets on them while the case is pending so they can’t injure anybody.

It’s typical in Los Angeles courts that when somebody is charged with a DUI and they have a high blood alcohol level or it’s a second time DUI, that that person will be ordered to do AA meetings while the case is pending every day if they want to be released on their own recognizance. Otherwise, the judge will make them post a bail and order it to stay out of custody. So, DUI’s in California are very tough.

The Toughness of the DUI Laws in California Has Caused Many People to be Charged with Murder

What a lot of people don’t realize is that if you’re drinking and driving and you kill somebody out on the road, the prosecutors in Los Angeles, and even throughout California, can and will charge you with murder. Second degree murder you’ll be looking at 15 to life. You’ll have to serve 85% of 15 years before you’ll be eligible for parole and in reality, you could never get out if the Parole Board didn’t let you out. It used to be that drivers who killed people had to be proven that they knew or reasonably should have known that it’s dangerous and people can die if you drink and drive. So, they would have to prove to the prosecutors that those drivers took an alcohol course that taught them about the dangers of alcohol. All of the courts in Los Angeles and throughout California read first-time DUI people and even second-time DUI people an admonishment that says if you drink and drive and somebody dies, you will be charged with murder. This is called the Watson Warning.

It used to be that you had to have knowledge that you could kill somebody and then that would be used to supply the malice that is necessary for a murder case. In other words, you could apply that the person was malice because they just drove anyways with alcohol in their system. Really, what they’re trying to get you to do is think before you even start drinking, and if you’re going to have to drive, set things up before you’re in an intoxicated state so that you’re not going to put yourself in a position to drink and drive and potentially injure or kill somebody.

Now, the shift that I’m seeing is that if somebody is drinking and driving and they kill somebody, the prosecutor’s first move is to charge them with second degree murder. The theory they are using to do it is that everybody in society knows by now because of all the news media and just commonsense, that if you drink alcohol and drive you stand a good chance of getting in an accident, hurting somebody or killing somebody, So, good people with no record who just went out to have a good time are being charged with murder. The sad thing about it is that a lot of times it’s questionable whose fault the accident it is, but in DUI cases there’s a further harshness of the California DUI laws, is that there is a presumption in the law that if you were drinking and driving and an accident occurs, it’s presumed that you’re the one who is at fault or caused the accident. Now that presumption can be rebutted, but obviously your criminal defense attorney is going to have to use their skills to show that the accident was somebody else’s fault. Therefore, the death or the injury was caused by another person or another event or another circumstance. That’s how you get rid of these murder charges or felony DUI charges.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer

So, if you have a DUI in California, and specifically, Los Angeles, you’re going to want to get an attorney who has been down this road before and had success. Contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers to review your case.

Boating Under the Influence in Los Angeles

Understanding Boating Under the Influence – California Navigation Code 655

It is obviously illegal to drive any motorized vehicle on a body of water under the influence of alcohol.  This means people who are driving boats and different other motorized vehicles have to take the same care and caution pursuant to the Navigation Code 655, that people do that drive vehicles on the roadway in California.  If you are caught driving a boat for example in a body of water and your blood alcohol level is a .08 or greater, or you have drugs or alcohol in your system and it is determined through a field sobriety test and other means that you cannot safely operate the boat, you can be charged with a DUI just like if you were driving a vehicle.

Where I see these boat-related driving under the influence cases filed is usually on holidays believe-it-or-not, because people will be in a crowded lake and the sheriffs will put their boat in there because they realize people are drinking.  There’s a lot of people there.  You see that yellow sheriff boat you had better look out because if you are driving any type of a motorized vehicle inside the water and they catch you being a .08 or greater or being under the influence – even if you’re smoking marijuana or using any type of drugs – in Los Angeles County they’re definitely going to prosecute that case as a BUI – boating under the influence.  If you are driving some other boat that is not motorized like a canoe, or some sort of a boat that has oars, they can’t get you for a boating under the influence for that.  But, if you have a motorized vehicle and they catch you, then they can charge you with a misdemeanor DUI.

When Can Boating Under the Influence be Charged as a Felony Offense?

I’ve been doing this for twenty-five years, where I see cases being filed as felonies when it comes to boating-relating incidents.  It’s just like DUI’s.  If there’s an accident on the water – you run over somebody who is skiing and injury them severely – you’re going to be charged with a felony boating under the influence.  You might even be charged with assault with a deadly weapon depending on the circumstances.  Under that circumstance where you are charged with a felony, you could be looking at prison time and a lot of your rights being taken away.  So, if you’ve got a boating under the influence case and they’re using that Navigation Code 655 against you, it’s time to find an attorney who’s been down this road before, had success, knows what they’re doing and can get you a good result.

Legal Penalties

The penalties for boating under the influence are very similar to penalties related to driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.  You will usually have to do an alcohol program.  There will be a fine involved.  There will be a probationary period between three and five years.  There’s a number of other different punishment that can be meted out depending on the circumstances of the boating incident.  If you were just driving around recklessly, typically that’s going to be a misdemeanor if you’re under the influence.  If on the other hand, you get in an accident and you hurt somebody – serious injury occurs – then you can expect to be charged with a felony.  They take these cases very seriously and the prosecutors prosecute them just like regular DUI’s where people are on the roadway.  For example, if you get convicted of a misdemeanor driving under the influence related to a boat or other motorized vehicle, and then within ten years you pick up another DUI case, they’re going to treat that as a second offense – just like if you already have a DUI case and you pick up a new boating under the influence case and get convicted of it – they’re going to treat it as a second offense.  So, these situations where you’re boating on the water – and I think a lot of times people do drink and drive boats, it’s common, and believe it or not, the sheriffs realize that so, they’ll put their boat in the water and be on the lookout for people who are driving around erratically or dangerously, and they will be checking boats to make sure that everybody is safe – obviously in the interest of nobody getting hurt.

Contacts a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer

So, if you’ve got a boating under the influence case in Los Angeles County and you need an attorney, I usually have you come, sit down, we’ll go over everything.  Obviously, I encourage you to be honest and give me all the details related to the incident and then I’ll let you know what you’re up against, what you’re facing – depending on what circumstances you give me – and obviously, I’m going to let you know what you can do to help me best defend you and what I’m going to do moving forward to try to get you out of the legal system as fast as possible and get your boating under the influence case either reduced down to something other than that, or completely dismissed if the prosecutors are unable to prove that you were driving a motorized vehicle with either a .08 or greater or with drugs or alcohol or both in your system and couldn’t safely operate that boat.

If I Get Arrested For A DUI Will I Have To Go To Rehab?

I have a lot of people come and ask me when we sit down for the first meeting related to their DUI case, whether I think it’s a good idea for them to go to rehab and whether it will help them in their DUI matter.  The reality is this – the prosecutors who see people who have to go to rehab related to a DUI see those people as a threat.  Somebody who drinks way too much, and therefore has to go to rehab is not somebody they typically want out on the roads in Los Angeles.

So, if you have a horrible alcohol problem and you think going to rehab will help you as a person, then obviously rehab might be the answer for you and if you have multiple DUI’s or a felony DUI – where you’re looking at county time or prison time – then a lot of times what I’ve been able to do is get the person into a rehab instead.  The theory behind that is to tell the prosecutor listen – you want the person off the street for a period of time, live-in rehab will do that, also it will get to the route of their problem which is obviously alcohol.  Really, when it comes to using a rehab-type strategy in a DUI case in Los Angeles, you’re trying to avoid jail or prison time.

So, those people who are going to rehab or doing AA meetings when they have a first time DUI, it really doesn’t make any sense and it probably could backfire if the prosecutors find out about it, because then they will think that person has an alcohol problem, they need to put more restrictions on them than the average person.  So, really in determining whether or not you should go to rehab there’s a number of different things you should consult.  First and foremost, you talk to your attorney about it and then you both decide whether or not that’s a strategy that you want to use in relation to your DUI case.  A lot of times when people are facing jail time, they consider going to rehab as it relates to their DUI case.  However, before you do something like that, you need to realize that whatever days you get in rehab, you’re actually going to have to do.  So, if you get 180 days in a live-in rehab, you’re going to have to do the full 180 days where you can’t get out of the rehab.  If, on the other hand, you get 180 days in the county jail, you’ll probably be out within a very short period of time because of the over-crowding in the Los Angeles county jail as I submit this blog post.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI Attorney

So, your best strategy is to sit down with your DUI defense attorney, let them have all the details.  Don’t lie about it.  Don’t add things.  Don’t omit things.  Give them all the details that are necessary for them to help you make the right decision, and then once they have that information they will assist you, they will give you what they think is the right way to handle it, they can negotiate for you and resolve your DUI matter.

Hedding Law Firm
16000 Ventura Blvd #1208
Encino, CA 91436
(213) 542-0963

How Does Getting a DUI Affect my Commercial Driver’s License?

I do a lot of DUI cases where truck drivers are involved.  Obviously, when you drive for a living it’s crucial that your driver’s license not be taken away or affected in any way as it relates to a DUI.  However, long story short – if you’re convicted of a DUI you will lose your commercial driver’s license for one year.  Obviously, this is a very serious ramification that could affect your livelihood for a long time to come.

Therefore, if you have a commercial driver’s license and you got a DUI, it’s obviously a good idea to get in front of an attorney that’s handled these types of cases before and can try to come up with some strategies that could be utilized with the DMV and in the criminal court.  Depending on what your blood alcohol level was, whether the stop by the police was lawful and a host of other different factors, a criminal defense attorney can really give you a good assessment as to whether you could actually beat your DUI or if you’re better served in just trying to negotiate the best resolution possible with the prosecutors.

Another thing that needs to be assessed when it comes to DUI’s and your commercial driver’s license is, what can be done with the DMV?  In other words, are there strategies that can be employed by your DUI defense attorney that can attempt to mitigate, minimize or even stop all together a year-long suspension of your commercial driver’s license.  Obviously, the legislature is very serious when it comes to commercial driver’s licenses because people who drive commercially for a living are out on the road and can cause serious accidents.  Some people are carrying significant products that can cause other damage to individuals, and therefore, it’s crucial the public is protected.

So, when it comes to these DUI’s, commercial drivers losing their license for a year and the other potential ramifications that can come along – what it’s really going to hinge on is whether or not the prosecutors can prove that you were actually a DUI – whether you were treated the right way and whether any of your rights were violated.  And the only way you’re really going to assess this is by way of a criminal defense attorney who has done DUI’s and can figure out what all the angles are in order to best represent you and present your defense and your rights.

Call a Los Angeles DUI Attorney

So, you should get your list of questions together, find a DUI defense attorney that’s been down this road before and can properly advise you as it relates to DUI’s and commercial driver’s licenses, that way you’ll be in the best possible position and get the best possible result.

Hedding Law Firm
16000 Ventura Blvd #1208
Encino, CA 91436
(213) 542-0963
https://www.acecriminalattorneys.com