How Does Probation Work in a DUI Case in Los Angeles County?

Typically, when somebody is put on probation for a DUI case, it can range from anywhere from three years to five years.  Most of the time when I handle DUI cases in LA County, my clients are put on a minimum of three years of probation.  The probation and how it works, also depends on whether they are put on formal or informal probation.  Informal probation usually has to do with misdemeanor cases and that does not require the person to report to a probation officer, but instead will just have to do whatever they’re supposed to and a lot of times the judges will have them come back and forth to court to make sure they do things like their alcohol program, pay their fine and various other terms and conditions that the judge places upon them.  Formal probation is obviously more stringent, and you typically have to report to a probation officer and they’re going to keep much tighter guidelines on you.  A lot of times in DUI cases you can be put on formal probation and be ordered not to drink any alcohol, do an alcohol program.  You can be ordered to be tested by the probation department to make sure you’re not using any illegal substances.  There’s a whole host of things that the judge can make you do if you’re placed on formal probation.  In the end, when it comes right down to it – whether you’re placed on formal or informal probation – has to do with a lot of different factors.  One of the biggest ones is how your attorney is able to negotiate for you and get you the best possible resolution for your case.

A lot of things that people are concerned about is if they violate their probation what can happen to them.  Probation violations are pretty much controlled by the judge that you’re on probation to.  When you end up taking your plea in your case, the judge is going to tell you, okay you’re now on probation.  Part of the terms and conditions of your probation are obey all laws.  So, that means if you break a law then you can violate your probation and then you’d be looking at up to the maximum of whatever charges you pled to carry.  The judge will also give you certain terms and conditions and will tell you if you don’t do what the judge tells you to do or you omit to do something you were told to do, then you will violate your probation and will be looking at potential jail time and other punishments that the judge is able to give you.  Usually, the judges are pretty reasonable and will give you some flexibility if you need more time to complete your alcohol program or if you need some more time to pay money that’s owed to the court, they will give you that time and they will be reasonable.  It’s when they see that you’re not doing anything on the case and you’re basically just ignoring the court’s orders and making a bunch of excuses up that they will punish you for that, violate your probation and then make it more difficult in the end to get your case dismissed if that’s something that you’re interested in.

Can my DUI Probation be Terminated Early?

The answer to that question is that technically yes, your DUI probation in Los Angeles County can be terminated early.  Ultimately, it will be up to the judge who you are on probation to, whether your probation is terminated early.  Obviously, before you have any chance to get it terminated early, you would have to have no violations and have done everything that the court ordered you to do.  The biggest roadblock that I see in trying to get a DUI probation terminated early, is that the prosecutors will argue two things.  One, that the benefit of the bargain was that you were supposed to be on probation for three years, and so why should you be able to somehow get your probation earlier if that’s the deal that was made between the defense attorney and the prosecutor.  The other argument is that the legislature has mandated that if you’re convicted of a DUI, a first offense for example, then you must do three years of probation.  So, the judge is basically violating what the legislative intent was if they terminate your probation early.  So, a lot of judges will listen to these arguments and so, yeah, the prosecutor’s right and I’m not terminating your probation early.

The few times that I actually see probation terminated early in a DUI case is when you have a really good reason to do it.  An example might be you want to go into the military and you can’t be on probation when you’re in the military.  You’ve already served two years and some change of a three-year probation and you can make a powerful argument that I want to joint the military.  Look, the recruiter is saying I’m accepted, I’ve done everything, I want to go serve my country.  Please let me off this probation.  That would be a good example.  There’s other examples related to jobs and family and different things that people want to do in their life, and also this is all centered around reasonableness and whether or not a judge is going to give you a break and go against the prosecutors.,  And even sometimes prosecutors can be convinced to terminate the probation early if you have a strong enough argument.

What Happens at the end of Probation in a DUI Case in Los Angeles

After probation is over, if you’ve completed everything you’re supposed to, then you’re no longer on probation and you don’t have to worry about any type of probation violation.  If, on the other hand, the probation is coming to an end and you haven’t finished what you’re supposed to do or you violate in some way, then the judge can punish you and give you more things to do, put you in jail and even extend your probation, so you obviously want to do everything you can to complete what the judge ordered you to do.  After the probation is over, if you’ve done everything you’re supposed to, your attorney can file a motion for expungement, which basically has the effect if it’s granted of dismissing your case.  There’s no such thing as a true expungement in California as I write this blog, so you can’t completely get your conviction wiped off, but you can make it look to the public as though basically your case was dismissed, again which is the best you can do.  So as long as you’ve fulfilled the terms and conditions of your probation, you have a strong argument that you can get your case dismissed.

Contact a Los Angles DUI Attorney

When you have problems as if you have an internal or external violation of your probation, this can cause you big trouble in a DUI case.  Internal violations typically have to do with not doing something that the judge ordered you to do.  External violations typically have to do with you picking up a new case outside of your case, the judge finding out about it, and getting you for that obey all laws term and condition of your probation, and then trying to add some extra punishment on you.  If you’ve got some DUI issues, you’ve got to get attorney that’s been down this road before, had success and can help you get out of the system as fast as possible.

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

Can you Appeal a DUI Conviction in Los Angeles?

Having done DUI cases in LA for the past twenty-five years, I get asked all the time by people who are not happy with the outcome of their DUI case, whether they can appeal it.  You can certainly appeal your case as long as you’re within the appropriate time-frames of the appeal and you’ve followed all of the rules.  This is obviously something you’re going to want to consult an attorney about to see if you’ve already waived any potential appellate rights or you didn’t act fast enough.  But the key thing when it comes to deciding whether or not you can appeal your case is whether there’s an appealable issue.  In other words, is there something that went wrong during your case that affected your rights in such a way that you actually legally have grounds for an appeal.  Because if you don’t have any grounds for an appeal in a DUI case, you’re simply wasting your time and your money.  So, if you think you’ve got a good issue on appeal, you should seek out the advice of a good DUI appellate lawyer who has handled cases similar to yours.  Give them all of the details, let them talk to your attorney and let them then decide whether or not it’s worth your time, money and aggravation to appeal your case.

Some of the types of grounds for an appeal relate to how you actually ended up with the conviction.  In other words, did you go to a jury trial and you were found guilty by jury?  If that’s the case, then some of the areas you could attack is that you weren’t permitted to present some of your evidence during the DUI trial, or the prosecutor was permitted to show certain evidence that they shouldn’t have been able to show that influenced the jury in the wrong way.  There’s a myriad of grounds for appeal action, but obviously you’re going to want to get somebody that’s gone down this road before and knows exactly how to deal with an appeal related to a DUI in Los Angeles County.  Another way that you can end up with a conviction is if you actually enter into a plea bargain and work out a deal with the prosecutor and then the judge puts his or her blessing on it and you end up pleading guilty or no contest and going through the terms of the deal that you worked out yourself.  In this scenario it’s much more difficult to appeal because the Appellate Judge is going to say, well wait a minute, you’re the one who worked this deal out.  Why did you plead guilty or no contest if you weren’t guilty of the crime?  So, in this circumstance, you’re really going to have to show something.  Usually, this has to do with you claiming that your lawyer was ineffective in some way, didn’t advise you properly or did something wrong during the course of the trial or plea negotiation, didn’t do the proper investigation that is necessary for your case- so there’s a number of ways that you can try to argue that even though you entered a plea, your plea wasn’t voluntary in some way or that your attorney messed the case up.  Of course, this is a tough road to hoe, not an easy standard and not easy to prove.  So, before you go down this road, again you’re going to want to consult with an appellate lawyer who’s done these cases before, been down this path, had success and knows what it takes to be successful in an appeal.

Before you Appeal a Case, You Should Do the Case Right the First Time

This is obviously information that should be apparent to most people that you don’t even want to get yourself in a position to have to appeal your DUI conviction.  Get the best attorney you possibly can.  Make sure that all of the evidence related to your case is given to that attorney.  Make sure obviously that all of the investigation is done on the case and do everything that you can possibly do to help your attorney.  If you’ve chosen the right attorney, you’ve given him all the information and you still end up having to negotiate a plea bargain in a DUI or go to jury and you lose, then that’s probably the end of it.  To go back and try to cry over spilled milk is usually never, in my experience, a good idea.  It just continues to aggravate you, make you angry and bring up bad feelings.  Instead, if you really think there’s a good appellate issue, let a lawyer look into it.  Tell him to be honest with you about it and not waste your money and your time, and if they tell you no, I don’t see anything here then move on with your life.  Then at that point you can attempt to expunge the matter.  In California there’s no such thing as a true expungement, so you won’t be completely wiping the conviction off your record, but you will be able to get a dismissal of the case if you’re successful in the expungement on your DUI case.  Then if anybody is able to find it, then they’re going to see that the case was dismissed, and that’s the best you can do in California when it comes to DUI convictions or any conviction for that matter.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI Attorney

So, if you feel like you have a DUI case that needs to be appealed, you should sit down with a qualified appellate lawyer, let them go over all of the facts of your case – be honest with them, don’t put some giant spin on things – tell them what really happen – and then let them guide you through as to whether or not it’s worth your time to try to appeal your DUI case.

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

Getting Your License Reinstated After a DUI in Los Angeles

Having defended DUI’s over the course of the last twenty-five years, I’m familiar with what it takes in order to get your license back if you’ve been charged and convicted with a DUI.  First, if it’s a first offense, then after the police arrest you and let you go, will typically give you a pink piece of paper that serves as your temporary license during a thirty-day period of time after your arrest.  The police will take your regular license away and send it to the DMV and also send other paperwork to the DMV in order to alert them to the fact that you’ve received a DUI, so they can start suspension proceedings.

What I do as an attorney once I get retained on a DUI matter, is I will contact the DMV on your behalf and let them know that I represent you and I’ll also send them a letter to that effect, so things are documented and there’s no uncertainty about whether or not we made the deadline.  There’s ten days from the day of your arrest that you have to get a call in to the DMV and let them know that you want a DMV hearing related to any suspension and you want a stay on any suspension until you get the hearing.  As long as that call is made within the ten days and done in the proper manner and is documented so the DMV can’t claim they didn’t get the notice, you shouldn’t have any problem getting the hearing and being able to defend your rights.  So, the first step in my opinion is to hire an attorney who’s been done this road before and has done DUI cases and been successful in getting people’s licenses back for them and allow that attorney to operate within the DMV system to get your license back for you as fast as possible.

DMV Hearing

Once we set the hearing, we then get the discovery in the case.  The discovery is either provided through the court related to the criminal case, or it’s provided by the DMV in preparation for the upcoming hearing.  If your hearing is set more than thirty days away from your arrest, then the temporary pink license will be extended out and you will be able to drive past that thirty days until your attorney does your DMV hearing for you.  It’s important that you get the new temporary license so that if you’re pulled over during that time frame between the arrest and doing your DMV hearing, they’re able to show the police that you’re lawfully driving, and they don’t issue you a suspended license ticket.

At the hearing, the three basic things that the DMV must prove is that you were lawfully stopped or that the police lawfully came in contact with you.  Number two, that the police lawfully arrested you, and number three, that your blood alcohol level was a .08 or greater or that you refused to take the test.  If they can prove all three of these things and they’re going to take your license away on a first offense for a real thirty days, after that you will be able to get it back on a restricted basis to drive to and from work, to and from school, as long as you install an ignition interlock device and enroll in a first offender alcohol program.  Whenever you’re dealing with this issue with the DMV, it’s crucial that you call the DMV yourself and make sure that you have all of the requirements that they’re going to need in order for you to drive lawfully, get a restricted license and eventually get your regular driver’s license back.

In determining whether or not the police came in contact with you lawfully, the DMV hearing officer is going to see whether you committed some sort of a traffic violation to permit the police to pull you over and talk to you and decide whether or not you’ve been drinking or driving.  There’s other ways the police can come in contact with you.  Sometimes people either become involved in an accident or are on the side of the freeway or the side of the road.  Other times, the police are present when something happens related to your vehicle.  Maybe you have become incapacitated or you fall asleep and the police come upon you.  So, there’s a myriad of different ways that the police can come upon you.  The key for purposes of a DUI in a justified stop, is that they have to be able to show that they lawfully came in contact with you or that they lawfully stopped you.

As far as determining whether or not it is a lawful arrest, the police have to believe that you are so intoxicated that you cannot safely operate a motor vehicle.  That’s why they do the field sobriety test because those tests are supposed to be designed to determine whether you can safely operate a car.  Of course, these are subjective tests and they are not always 100% accurate.  That’s why a lot of times trying to get video evidence of you doing a test and other indications that you were driving safely is crucial to your defense.  Also, they can look at how you were walking, how you were talking, if they saw how you were driving the car – these are all factors that can go into determining whether you can be arrested for a DUI.

Finally, in order to be able to take someone’s driver’s license away, the police are going to have to be able to show that you blood alcohol level was a .08 or greater or that you refused to take the test.  The two main tests that are used in Los Angeles county to determine whether someone is a DUI, is the breath test that can be done by way of a small PAS device that they have out in the field or the big machine back at the station.  The big machine at the station is the official test, and really the only one that the courts and prosecutors will zero in on when deciding whether or not they’ve got a good case against you.  They could also take your blood which is probably the most accurate of the tests and see if that’s over a .08, and then lastly, if you refuse to take the test then it’s automatically presumed that you are a DUI.  The reason they have this law set up is because if they didn’t, then everybody would just refuse to take the test and they wouldn’t be able to get anybody for a DUI.

The bottom line is, in order to get your license back, you either need to go through all the processes that the DMV indicates, and/or you need to sit down with a qualified DUI defense attorney and allow them to guide you through the system and help you get your license back as fast as possible.

Hedding Law Firm
16000 Ventura Blvd #1208
Encino, CA 91436


Should You Take a Plea Deal in a Los Angeles DUI Case?


One of the most important decisions that can be made in a dui case is whether to fight the case in a jury trial or instruct your attorney to seek a plea deal on your behalf.  This decision can not be taken lightly and must be considered with the benefit of all of the facts related to the case and a full run down from your attorney regarding the strengths and weaknesses of your cases and the tendencies of the judge and prosecutor in the court where your case is pending.

When you meet with you attorney, making the decision as to whether to work out a deal or not should be one of the crucial questions that is discussed and hopefully decided.  This will give your attorney direction as to the moves that will be made next to best represent your interests.  There is no reason to waste time doing certain investigative things if those things are not done towards your ultimate goal.

If you have not decided what the goal will be in a dui case, then the attorney will be left in a position of not knowing what the best path to take will be for you and your situation.  When I meet with clients in dui cases, I make certain that when we leave the meeting, everyone is on the same page as to exactly what our strategy will be moving forward.  This way we can all work in concert to achieve the goal that is right for you.


There are a number of factors that must be considered in deciding whether to take a plea deal versus filing a motion to dismiss or setting the dui case for jury trial.  The first consideration is whether or not you can win the case or not.  If you can not win the case or win the motion to dismiss, then you have the answer you need.  There is no reason to waste time and energy on things that are not going to help you.

Further, if your attorney files worthless motions and tries to fight a case that should not be fought, then this will make the prosecutor and judge angry and they will likely take it out on you.  This is why I am always shocked when clients tell me that they met with an attorney who quoted them a fee to do the trial in their case before seeing any of the evidence.  This makes no sense and is a situation ripe for problems.  Defending a dui cases and deciding whether a plea bargain is the right thing to do is a step by step process that must be approached with common sense and experience in what it take to win a dui case.


If the decision is made to take a deal, then the next consideration is what the target crime will be to try and convince the prosecutor and / or judge to give you.  The target crime will be based on what you did and the seriousness level of your case as related to other dui cases that are dealt with in the courthouse your case is pending.  Having defended thousands of dui cases over the course of the last 25 years, I can tell you that the biggest concern for judges and prosecutors is how dangerous you were out on the road and what they need to do to you to prevent you from hurting anyone in the future.

Whether an attorney tries to get the prosecutors to drop the case to a “wet reckless”, a speed contest or even a moving violation depends on a number of factors and is something that will be largely dictated by the facts of your case and your attorney’s abilities in the courthouse where you cases is pending.  The less dangerous your actions were to society, the better chance your attorney will have to negotiate a plea deal for you that you can live with.

Another consideration is where your dui falls on the sliding scale related to dui cases in the particular courthouse where your case is pending.  On the high end of the spectrum are those cases that the defendant blew a very high blood alcohol level and engaged in seriously dangerous behavior to society.  On the other end of the sliding scale are those defendants that did not blow a very high level and did not engage in particularly dangerous behavior.  Then, of course, there are those that fall in the middle of these two extremes.  This is where the best dui defense attorneys earn their money and are able to achieve the best possible resolution for their clients in the plea bargaining situation.

It is my goal in these dui plea bargaining situations to flush out all of the positive arguments for my client in the beginning and then use the arguments in the most effective way with the prosecutor and the judge to convince them to give you the lowest common denominator on your dui case and get you out of the system as quick as humanly possible.


California Implied Consent DUI Law


When evaluating the issues surrounding the implied consent law, the first thing that you must know is that in California, the legislature sees driving as a privilege, not a right.  Therefore in order to enjoy the privilege of driving on the roads in our state, each driver must agree to certain things related to their rights to drive.  One important thing is that if the police pull you over and ask you to consent to an alcohol test, because they believe that you are under the influence of alcohol, then you must comply.  This gives the police a lot of power because many times it is very subjective as to whether or not someone is under the influence of alcohol.

If you do not comply then it will be automatically assumed that you are driving under the influence of alcohol and the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspended your drivers license for one year with no restricted privileges during the suspension period.  The reason for this is because if this rule where not in place, then authorities would not have the ability to catch anyone for a dui because everyone would just refuse to cooperate and the police would have no way to prove their case in court.

This result of losing your drivers license for a year is a very harsh one and devastating to most people who live in the Los Angeles area.  Because it is so hard to get around in Los Angeles, the loss of your drivers license can cost you in many different ways.  If you are pulled over, then you are best served to cooperate with the police, because even if you are over the legal limit, the DMV will only suspend your drivers license for a real 30 days (for your first offense, with a five month restricted license after that) versus the year suspension for refusing to take the blood or breath test when asked to do so by law enforcement.


As you might guess, the implied consent law does have it limits.  It does not make it necessary to take the field sobriety tests that the police usually try and administer related to their dui investigation.  Further, you are not required to take the preliminary alcohol screening device (PAS device) test out at the scene of your arrest.  Of course if you have not been drinking any alcohol when the police pull you over, then you may want to take it, just so they will let you go and not take you back to the station and ruin the rest of your night.

If the police do suspect that you are under the influence of alcohol, then you will be required to take either a blood or breath test at the station.  The blood test is typically done at the hospital, however there are some stations (like Van Nuys) that have the capability to take people’s blood for dui purposes.  Most of the time the breath test is usually done at the police station in Los Angeles County.  However, beware that many counties like Ventura and Orange are actually making people take the official breath test out in the field.  Again, when you do not cooperate with the police during a dui investigation, you run the risk that they will try and cheat you and write their report in an unfavorable manner.

Another thing that you do not have to do as part of the implied consent law is to give the police any type of statement.  For example, if they ask how many drinks you had or any other questions designed to illicit an incriminating response, you can simply refuse to answer.  The police usually try and sneak in incriminating questions during the booking process in order to seal up any loose ends related to their dui investigation.  The bottom line to remember when it comes to implied consent is that you must take the blood or breath test, but not completely give them all of the other information they need to bury related to their dui investigation.


Just because someone made the bad move of refusing to submit to a chemical test when asked to do so by a law enforcement officer related to a dui investigation does not necessarily mean that they lose all ability to challenged their dui case.  There are certain rules that the police must comply with in order to convict you for a dui.  If they illegally stop you, for example, then everything they find after that would be thrown out, based on the illegal stop.  That would include any argument that you refused to take the blood or breath test.

Another way to fight you dui refusal case centers around the requirements that the police must conform to if they want to utilize the refusal / implied consent law to convict you of a dui.  They must explain to you what will happened to you if you refuse to take a chemical test and then record what your response was after they asked you to comply.  Further, they must explain to you that you have a choice of giving a blood or breath sample in order to meet their requirements.  I see a lot that the police just tell a person that they must take a breath test or they will lose their license.  This is not sufficient for purposes of a refusal, because they also have to offer them the blood test and let them know that they have a choice between the two tests.  Just because the police are too lazy to go to the hospital and perform the blood test, will not let them off the hook for failing to comply with the refusal requirements.

DUI and Child Endangerment


If a person is pulled over and arrested for a dui in Los Angeles and they have a child in the car, then many times the police will cite them and the prosecutors will charge child endangerment.  When it comes to dui defense, it is bad enough if the person is driving dangerously with alcohol in their system, if you add a child in the car, the prosecutors and judges are extremely difficult to deal with and the defense definitely has their work cut out for them.

One of the ways around a child endangerment charge is to show the prosecutor that the defendant was not driving recklessly and that they should not suffer the consequences of having a child endangerment on their criminal record.  This charge can prevent a person from coaching their child in sports in the future and can cause a number of other issues for them that must be avoid if possible.  Another angle that is used to avoid this type of conviction is to show that the person’s conduct is an aberration that has not happened before and will not happen again.

We encourage our clients to get character letters from friends and family that know the good person you are.  And, to have your family indicate in the letters what a huge blow it would be to them if you were limited by having to admit a child endangerment charge.  Over the course of the past 25 years, I have seen that most of these arguments are common sense, but the criminal defense attorney must know who to talk to and how to convey things to them, based on what happened in the case and how the client is situated in their life.


One of the big jobs the judge and prosecutors believe that they have is to protect victims of crime.  If the victim is a child, then they will go out of their way to help and protect them.  Therefore if they see that you are drinking alcohol and risking your child’s life, they will come down particularly hard on you and make sure that you get the help and punishment they feel you need in order to not engage in this type of behavior again.  In other words, when the court system feels you are not responsible enough to protect your own child, you will see that you then lose control over how the problem will be fixed.

In the situation where a parent puts their child in harms way, in addition to the criminal court punishing the parent and putting roadblocks in their way so they can never engage in this behavior again, they will also get child services involved and use everything at their disposal to protect your child.  In order to have the best chance of success and avoid some of the harsh penalties that come along with a child endangerment / dui charge, you must find an attorney who is familiar with these type of cases and has had success in the courthouse where your case is pending.


My goal in child endangerment / dui related cases is to do everything I can to make sure that the client does not suffer a conviction for child endangerment, because I know how costly this can be to a parent’s future.  Of course if you are innocent of a dui then you will usually have a strong argument that child endangerment does not apply, unless you where driving in a reckless manner.

However, if the prosecutors will be able to show that you were driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and could not safely operate a motor vehicle, then having a child in the car at the same time is a huge problem that will take some hard work and strategy to deal with.  The solution to the problem will depend on a number of different factors that should be handled by an attorney who knows and has negotiated with the prosecutors in the court and the judge on the case.  This attorney will know what can and can not be accomplished.  And, most important, they will know the different avenues that work in terms of getting the job done.

Whenever you are assessing how a child endangerment, in conjunction with a dui case, should be handled you should do so from a frame of reference that takes into account the fact that the judge and prosecutor are looking at what they can do to protect your children and society from your behavior.  Taking it a step further, they are looking at making sure that you never come back to haunt them.  In other words they do not want to be in the position of giving you a break and then months or even years later you come back with a serious situation where you have hurt someone on the road.

If you look at things from the above framework, then you will understand why the judges and prosecutors seem to be so harsh on child endangerment cases.  It is a situation where they do not want to be perceived by anyone as being weak in a case that all of society would say you should punish a parent who puts their own child in danger.  Hence, we have to really do some hard work to convince the judge and prosecutor that you are a good parent who made a mistake that will not happen again.

This requires us to go to sources of information that know you and can vouch for you as a good person and good parent.  Then the prosecutor and judge can be more confident that you will not let them down and your children down.  Also, they will have something to point to if anyone where to ever question why they gave you a break and did not throw the book at you.

What to Do If You Get Pulled Over for DUI


It is a scary thing being pulled over by the police and most people are so terrified that they just cooperate and are honest with the authorities about everything.  I think cooperating with the police is a good idea because driving is a privilege and not a right, therefore the police have a lot of power out on the road and if you do not cooperate with them, they can cause you many problems.  You could be arrested and taken into custody, you could lose your drivers license for one year (if you refuse to take a blood or breath test), and you could end up with a criminal record.

Hence the number one thing you should do is cooperate with the police once they have you pulled over.  By the way, people who are intoxicated have a hard time following the instructions of the police and this is one of the factors they are evaluating in deciding whether or not to arrest you and whether or not you are safe on the road.  With all of the above on the line and your reputation, time, money and embarrassment, it makes sense to cooperate with them and hopefully avoid some or all of the worst consequences that can come along with a dui arrest and conviction.

All that being said, lets not go too far in our cooperation!  One thing I do not recommend is admitting that you were drinking alcohol.  Most people tell the police that they had two drinks, regardless of how many they actually had.  So when the police hear this, they do not say, “Oh, if you only had two drinks then head on down the road and apologize.”  When they hear you have been drinking it is a green light for them to fully investigate you and try and obtain probable cause to arrest you and convict you of a dui.  So you should cooperate, but not completely give them everything they need to take you to jail.

Also, be aware that the police will be trying to smell your breath and your person when you roll down your window.  They are smelling for alcohol and if they smell it then you are likely going to be ordered out of your car and have to take all of their dui tests.  If this happens then your best bet is to cooperate and hope that you are sober enough to pass the tests or they take pity on you and do not arrest you.  If they do decide to arrest you and they ask you to take one of the tests, then my advice is to cooperate and pick one of the tests.

If you do not take one of the tests then you are looking at losing your drivers license for a year on your first offense.  If you take the test and you are at or over the .08 then you are will lose your license for thirty days and have a restricted license for 5 months after that, to drive to and from work and to and from your alcohol program.  This is a huge difference in punishment and not worth the risk on a first time dui.  Also by refusing to take a blood or breath test, you make it very easy for the prosecutors to prove a dui case against you.  If everyone refused to take a blood or breath test, they no one would be caught for a dui.  Therefore, the law is clear that if you refuse to take one of the tests, they it will be presumed that you where dui unless you can bring evidence to rebut the presumption.


The biggest problem that people run into regarding a dui stop is that they have not planned ahead.  In other words, if you know you are going out and may have some alcoholic drinks, have an exit strategy in place so you avoid a potential contact with the police when you are not at your best. Those people who do not plan ahead are the same people that swerve around on the road right in front of the police, are belligerent to them when they are pulled over and can not successfully complete all of the field sobriety tests that come along with being suspected of drinking and driving.  The moral of the story is the more that you can prepare before you start drinking, the better off you will be and the better chance you will have to avoid a conviction for a dui in Los Angeles.

As I have read thousands of police reports over past 25 years of defending dui cases, I see all of the things people do when they think they are going to out smart the police once they are being pulled over.  The problem is that the police are trained to spot duis and they are coming into the situation stone cold sober.  On the other hand, most people who are pulled over for a dui are intoxicated, scared, unprepared and do not have all of their wits about them because of the situation.  Therefore my best advice to you is to prepare your exit strategy before you start drinking and if you find yourself being pulled over under bad circumstances, try and be calm, cooperate with the police, do not panic and do not admit you were drinking.


There are a number of frequent patterns that I see related to dui cases. First and foremost, most people are pulled over for duis on the weekends between 12 am and 3 am.  So if you are on the road at this time, expect that the police will pull you over.  Unfortunately, even though it is illegal to pull someone over just because you think they may have been drinking because of the time of night, the police do it anyways.  And, they just make up an excuse to justify their actions which is difficult to refute. Also, many times I see people just doing stupid stuff in front of the cops. Driving too fact, swerving, being involved in road rage or driving too slow are just making it easy for the police to catch you.

Most of the stuff related to dui case is common sense.  If you are unfortunate enough to have been arrested, seek the advice of a professional and let them guide you through the process.



Legalization of Marijuana and What It Means for DUI Cases


The reality is that the legalization of marijuana in California really did not do much to change the dui laws.  In fact, I have seen law enforcement officers ramping up their efforts to help the prosecutors prove that a particular person they arrest for a dui is in fact not safe to operate a motor vehicle.  The powers that be have come up with more and more sophisticated methods for testing the level of marijuana intoxication and even special prosecutors to deal with marijuana dui prosecutions.  Duis are still a political target on the radar of the police, prosecutors and judges.

The bottom line, for purposes of the dui law, is that if someone ingests anything that impacts their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, then they can and will be charged and convicted of a dui.  This includes marijuana, alcohol and even legal prescription drugs.  I can not tell you how many clients I have defended over the years who have ingested the medication their doctor prescribed them and then where pulled over by the police, could not pass the field sobriety tests and where arrested and charged with a dui.  The key policy concerns related to duis, has to do with protecting the public and making sure that people do not jeopardize other people’s lives on the road.


When it comes to alcohol related dui cases, it is fairly straight forward whether a person is over the legal limit at first glance.  If their blood alcohol level is a .08 or greater, then they will be considered over the legal limit for purposes of a dui.  Marijuana is much more difficult to measure and it can stay in your system for a much longer period of time than alcohol.  This makes marijuana dui cases harder to prove and more subject to people being treated unfairly in the name of protecting the public.

Further, there is not set limit for purposes of marijuana as to what the cut off is for the prosecutors to be able to prove that you could not safely operate a motor vehicle.  Someone could be pulled over and arrested for a marijuana dui, even though they did not smoke any marijuana the day of the arrest.  This problem is one that is still being argued an fought all over Los Angeles County in the various courthouse that deal with dui related arrests.  Prosecutors, judges and even juries will ultimately take into the surrounding circumstances of your arrest in determining whether or not you deserve to have a dui conviction on your criminal record.

The best way for the prosecutors to prove that you could not safely operate a motor vehicle is to show that you did not pass the various tests that the police will give you before and after they arrest you for a dui case.  They will observe how you were driving (where you swerving or driving erratic), they will see how you were walking when you exited your car (where you staggering or unable to gain your balance), they will check your breath to see if it smelled like marijuana or alcohol, your speech when you talk to them will be evaluated (where you slurring your words) and a whole host of other factors will be assessed in determining if someone is under the influence of marijuana to the point that they could not safely operate a motor vehicle.

Probably the biggest weapon that the police have in their never ending crusade against duis, is the field sobriety tests that they administer at the scene of just about every arrest for a dui they make.  They have a whole arsenal of tests they use when it comes to marijuana dui cases.  Further, I have seen them using the alcohol related tests in marijuana cases and just being destroyed on cross examination by a seasoned dui defense attorney.

The bottom line, when it comes to duis in Los Angeles, is that California and particularly LA and surrounding counties, have some of the harshest dui law in the country and if you are not safe on the road and they catch you, they will do everything they can to convict you and get you in the system.  This is where it is obviously imperative for you to have a seasoned dui defense attorney with you at all critical stages of a dui case.

Common Legal Defenses in a Los Angeles DUI Case

Those people who have been arrested for a dui matter in Los Angeles County are typically looking for some way to get out of the case.  It is obvious that no one wants to be charged and convicted of a dui because of the various consequences that can manifest from such a conviction.  The loss of your driver’s license, time in jail and the stigma that comes along with a criminal conviction are simply not desirable to anyone.

There are defenses in dui cases that are utilized across Los Angeles County by savvy dui defense attorneys to either get cases dismissed or at least negotiate the best possible deal for the client.  Not every defense applies in every case, so be wary when a dui defense attorney starts spouting off defenses that do not apply to your factual scenario, in order to get you to sign on the dotted line and pay them your hard earned money.


It is not uncommon that by the time the police get to the scene of an accident or some other occurrence on the freeway or road, the person they ultimately arrest for a dui is not driving when they arrive.  It is definitely a defense to a dui if the prosecutors can not prove if and when you where driving.  However, as you might guess, there is more than one way to prove someone was driving.

Many times the police simply ask the person if and when they were driving and then note their answer in the police report.  If the person admits to driving, then this would be good enough to meet this requirement.  Another way I see the police and prosecutors proving who was driving is by way of the witnesses at the scene identifying who the driver was.  This is a good way to prove who was driving if the witnesses are credible and their story makes sense.

The last way I see the prosecutors proving that a dui defendant was the driver of the subject car is through the circumstances surrounding the person’s arrest.  In other words, if they are the only person at the scene of an accident and their car is in the middle of the freeway with not passengers, then they were likely the person who drove the car there. Then the next question will be, when did they drive the car there?  In order for the expert to figure out what the person’s blood alcohol level was at the time of driving, they need all of the times locked in.


If the police took your breath (which is the most common form of identifying what your blood alcohol level was) then the defense attorney should check to make sure that the machine that was used to read your blood alcohol level was properly calibrated and functioning properly. There is an error rate of .02 percent in dui cases, as they related to the breath machines used in police stations across California and if the defense can find a problem with the machine or the way the test was performed, then there is a solid angle at attack the prosecution’s entire case.

If blood was drawn then there is an argument the sample was not taken properly or contaminated.  The defense is entitled to do a blood split to have their own expert verify that the blood alcohol reading is really what is being represented and in order to check for contamination or any other issues that may be present to defend the case.

Urine is no longer one of the common tests that is used in dui cases that occur in LA County.  The only time I typically see the police using a urine test is to test a person they suspect of being under the influence of drugs.


If you really want to fight your dui case, you are going to have to deal with the issue of whether you were actually safe to drive when you where pulled over by the police.  Juries are not likely to find someone not guilty of a dui unless they were safe to drive.  Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) makes it a misdemeanor crime to drive with alcohol in your system and not be able to safely drive a motor vehicle.

The type of things that the jury will evaluate are how you were driving at the time of the pull over.  If you were weaving or driving in an unsafe manner, this is evidence that you were not safe.  If, on the other hand, the police pulled you over for some stupid reason that has nothing to do with bad driving, then you will have the foundation of showing you were safe and therefore should not be convicted of a dui.

Other things that the police will look at related to how you where talking (where you slurring your speech), how you were walking (did you stumble or stagger), whether your pupils bouncing when they shined their light in them and whether your breath smelled like alcohol.  Of course the most important tests for evaluating safety are the field sobriety tests, which are designed to specifically indicate if you were safe to drive a car.

All of the above tests and observations are subjective in nature and also subject to police manipulation.  Hence, having a seasoned savvy dui defense attorney is essential to achieving the best result possible in your dui case.

Did the Police Violate Your Rights During a DUI Stop?

A DUI stop is intimidating, and it can be difficult to know what your rights are. As a driver, is important to understand that the police are subject to certain legal limitations on the way that they collect evidence, and violations of these limits can have a significant impact on the way that your case is resolved. In fact, in some cases, a violation of your constitutional rights can result in the entire DUI case against you being dropped entirely.

If you believe that your rights were violated during a DUI traffic stop, it is important to consult with an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney as soon as possible. The aggressive lawyers at the Hedding Law Firm will ensure that your rights are vindicated and you have access to all possible remedies.

What Remedies Are Available for DUI Stop Violations?

There are many remedies that may be available to you, depending on the facts of your case. Some of the most common are:

  • Suppression of evidence under the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment prohibits police officers from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures. What this means in practice is that the police need to have probable cause or a warrant in order to search your or your vehicle – and a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine is considered to be a “search.” In addition, in order to even make a traffic stop, they must have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is being committed. If you can establish that the police lacked sufficient legal justification for a search, it can result in any evidence they gathered being suppressed (meaning the prosecution cannot introduce the statement into evidence). Without the ability to use evidence gathered in a traffic stop, prosecutors are often required to drop their case.
  • Suppression of evidence under the Fifth Amendment. The Fifth Amendment protects your right against self incrimination. It is the reason Miranda Warnings must be given after a person is taken into custody. If you involuntarily make an incriminating statement to a law enforcement officer, an experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to have the judge suppress it from trial.
  • Suppression of evidence under the Sixth Amendment. The Sixth Amendment protects your right to counsel. This, too, is part of the Miranda Warnings, and violations of this right can also lead to the suppression of evidence at trial. If you request an attorney and law enforcement continues to question you, your lawyer may be able to suppress any statements made after your request for counsel.
  • Civil Rights actions under 42 U.S.C. §1983. Suppression of evidence can be a powerful tool at a criminal trial. But what if you were wrongfully stopped, no charges were filed against you, and there never is a criminal trial? Congress has established another remedy for violations of civil rights. Section 1983 allows you to bring a civil suit against any person (including law enforcement officers) who deprives you of any of the rights, privileges or immunities of U.S. law. For example: if, during a DUI stop, a police officer elicits incriminating statements from you about how much you drank, these would not be admissible at trial. But suppose your breath test came back just under .08 and there never was a criminal trial. You would be able to file a civil law suit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against the law enforcement agency to recover your losses caused as a result of the violation. This could include attorney’s fees, pain and suffering, etc. 1983 law suits are not common because they are costly to pursue. In addition, law enforcement officers are often given discretion to execute their duties in good faith. Nonetheless, a §1983 action can be an effective option when police conduct was particularly egregious.

Always Have a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Review Your Case

As a DUI defendant, it is important to understand that issues related to constitutional rights and the suppression of evidence are extremely complicated. As a result, it is difficult to determine whether your rights were violated or to suppress evidence without significant legal training and experience. For this reason, it is important to have an attorney review your case as soon as possible after an arrest. Failure to do so may result in an unnecessary conviction for drunk driving on your record.

Call an LA DUI Defense Attorney for a Consultation

If you have been stopped by any law enforcement officer on suspicion of DUI, contact the Hedding Law Firm today. We will ensure that your civil rights are vindicated and your criminal case is resolved fairly. Call (213) 542-0963 or contact us online to schedule your consultation today. Our professional, friendly staff offers the personalized service you deserve.