How Do You Win Your DUI In Los Angeles?

Winning a DUI typically would mean that you are found completely not guilty of the charge or that your attorney convinces the prosecutor either to not file the case or to dismiss a case that’s already been filed.  As you might guess, this is not an easy thing to accomplish, but it has been done and will continue to be done time and time again.  What it typically boils down to is some sort of an angle to upend the prosecutor’s case.  In other words, when it comes to a DUI in Los Angeles, the prosecutors — who are typically the Los Angeles City Attorneys, but sometimes the District Attorneys — need to prove certain things in order to obtain a conviction for a DUI.

Proving The Elements Of The DUI Crime

Once a DUI defense attorney sees that the prosecutors are going to be able to prove the elements they need to prove for the DUI, at that point, they’re going to try to negotiate with them and get the best possible resolution for their client, and then they’ll talk to their client about it and decide how to best handle the case.

If on the other hand, there appears to be a problem with their ability to prove the case, then the defense attorney will obviously attempt to use that to get a dismissal or some lesser charge, depending on the circumstances.  Sometimes it looks like there might be a problem, but it’s not 100% clear that there is a problem.  For example, sometimes they stop people and give a certain reason, and then the client says that’s not true.  So, now the question becomes, if they’re just pulling somebody over for no reason — like let’s say for example — they’re waiting outside a club or a bar at 2:00 a.m. when they close, they’re just getting people when they come out of the bar.  They’re allowed to wait outside the bar.  They’re just not allowed to pull people over just because they came out of the bar.  They’re going to have to have some reason that criminal activity is afoot.

Was The DUI Traffic Stop Unlawful?

If the person is staggering drunk out of the bar and they get in a car and drive away, that obviously would be a good reason to pull them over to protect the public and safety.  So, in that scenario where they’re pulling somebody over illegally, but we have to prove that, we’re going to try to get some things to prove it.  For example, if the vehicle that the police are driving is equipped with video, the video may capture what the client is saying which is that they didn’t do anything wrong.  All they did was come out of a bar and get pulled over.  So, we’ll try to get that video to prove the defense’s case.  Unfortunately, the police know that a lot of times the defense will try to get video, so they don’t turn those videos on until their car or motorcycle is in a position where they cannot capture the illegal pull over.  In other words, if they’re just turning it on after the car has been pulled over, then obviously, we’re not going to be able to capture the driving immediately before the pull over.  Like when they claim that you didn’t change lanes or you were weaving or swerving, we would love to see that video to see if it’s true, because if it’s not true we can point out that they didn’t pull this person over because they were weaving.  Look at their car.  It’s driving fine in the middle of the lane.

Were You Driving The Vehicle When Observed By Police?

So, that’s one area where you can win a case — which is if they illegally stop you or pull you over.  Another area that I see come up a lot in DUI cases in Los Angeles that’s a way to win the DUI case is, the person wasn’t driving when the police came upon them.  That happens all the time.  Somebody’s car breaks down on the freeway.  They get into some sort of an accident and when the police come along the person’s outside their car, so then there’s two issues there that can win the case.  Issue number one is, can they prove that you were even driving?  Of course, again, they know this is a potential problem for them, so they’re going to start asking you, or your passenger if you have one or other witnesses in the area, who was driving that car?  Also, they’re going to ask you point blank if you drove that car and if you say yeah, I drove the car, then they’ve got that box checked as far as not being able to lose the case.

When Were You Driving The Car?

The next question is going to be as far as driving goes in DUI’s in Los Angeles and trying to get a win from that angle is, when were you driving the car?  That’s important because at some point — unless you refuse to take the test which makes it a lot easier for them — they’re going to get your blood or breath and have a reading which is likely going to be a .08 or greater.  Then the question becomes, if you were a .08 or greater at one time, what were you at the time of driving.  So, their expert is going to have to try to extrapolate backwards to say, if they were a .09 at this time, then they would have been a .08 at this time and they’re going to have to explain their reasoning.  But if they don’t have that piece of the formula to say when you were driving, then that’s another angle to win your DUI case.

Proving You Could Not Safely Operate a Motor Vehicle

I would say the final angle — and listen, we could come up with all kinds of different scenarios — but just the final general angle when it comes to winning a DUI case is, the key thing that the prosecutors have to prove is that you could not safely operate a motor vehicle.  So, if you can show that you could safely operate a motor vehicle at the time of driving, then you can win your DUI case.

So, how do they prove that you couldn’t safely operate a motor vehicle?  They’re going to prove it by the police’s observations, but the field sobriety tests and by how you were driving and also what your blood alcohol level was.  So, if your blood alcohol level was a .08, it’s presumed that you could not safely operate a motor vehicle, so you have to try to rebut that presumption.  A perfect example was, you blew a .08, you get arrested for a DUI, and then at the trial you call an expert that says that the machine they used to test your breath has a .02 error rate so there’s a chance you could have been a .06 which would be below the legal limit.

But they also have California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) which says you had alcohol in your system and you couldn’t safely operate a motor vehicle, so the prosecutors can try to rely on that to get you for the DUI.  Under that circumstance, they’re going to be looking at how you were driving, were you swerving, did you get in an accident.  They’re also going to be looking at how you did on those field sobriety tests.  Did you fail them?  How were you walking when you got out of your car?  Did they observe erratic, crazy, unsafe driving?  These are going to be the issues that are considered when it comes to determining whether you could safely operate a motor vehicle and whether you can win your DUI in LA.

Contact Our Los Angeles DUI Lawyers

If you want more information about your specific case — your specific DUI in Los Angeles — call my office.  Set up a free face to face consultation with me and I will put my twenty-five years of experience to work for you.

Hedding Law Firm – Los Angeles DUI Defense Lawyers
633 West Fifth Street Los Angeles, CA 90071

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How Do You Win Your DMV Hearing In Los Angeles Related To A DUI?

The real short answer to winning a DMV hearing is to have an angle and that angle has to be sufficient to upend the DMV’s case against you so they just set it aside because they don’t feel that they can prove that you were driving under the influence of alcohol.  There’s a whole bunch of different ways to do that and they’re fact specific.

If somebody is not driving when the police get their hands on them and now the police are attempting to figure out if they were driving and when they were driving, that’s always been an angle against the DMV, to say, wait a minute.

If my client has to be driving the vehicle in order to get a DUI, of course, if you’re the only one in the middle of the freeway outside your vehicle, the police are going to surmise that you’re the one that must have driven it and they’re also going to ask you, did you drive this car?  When did you drive?  So, that’s the way the DMV will try to get out of it.  They’ll say the police have evidence that your client was driving it ten minutes earlier.

DUI Blood and Breath Tests

So, driving is definitely one of the angles — and not only driving, but you get your blood or breath taken and let’s assume for purposes of trying to figure this out that you’re over a .08 — the next question is, if I was a .08 at 10pm, what was I when I was driving?  And when was I driving?

So, that’s always another angle.  Anytime somebody is not driving their car at the time, that’s not an automatic win because the police know that’s a problem and they’re going to try to fill in the gaps for the DMV and for the court as well.  But, that’s always an angle to try to win your DMV case.

Unlawful Police Stop?

Another angle is, you have to look at what the DMV is trying to prove here and then if you could attack those things, then you’ll be in a position to try to win the case.  So, the three things the DMV always says they’re trying to prove is:  (1) was the defendant legally stopped?  Or you have to add extra onto it, because a lot of times they’re not stopped by the police.

An accident happens where everyone is outside of their vehicle talking and the police come up — that’s not a stop.  So, it goes a little bit deeper than that.  Was the person illegally stopped or did the police legally come in contact with them.  Those are the two things you’re going to look at when you’re assessing this issue of whether or not the police legally stopped you.

Legal Arrest?

The next question is, did they legally arrest you?  The DMV believes apparently that you can’t just be illegally arrested.  If you’re illegally arrested, they’ll throw the whole case out.  The problem is, that the police are going to lie or tell the truth and say that you didn’t pass the field sobriety tests.

They feel you’re not safe to drive and that’s why they’re arresting you.  If the DMV believes that and if the police can show evidence of that, then they’ll be able to get by that hurdle, but they can’t just be grabbing people for no reason.  They can’t just be pulling people over for no reason.  If you can prove that — either through video or some other form of evidence — then you can win the DMV hearing.

Blood Alcohol Level

The last thing is, your blood alcohol level has to be a .08 or greater.  If they can’t prove that your blood alcohol is a .08, they’re not going to take your driver’s license.  That happens all the time.  People get busted and blow a .07.  The DMV is not going to get them for that.  You need to be a .08 or greater.  So, if they cannot prove that you’re a .08 or greater then they’re not going to take your license away.

There is an exception to that.  If you refuse to take the test.  You see, there’s a presumption in the law that if you refuse to take the test — because driving in California is a privilege, not a right — and part of your test is they tell you that if the police think you’re drinking and driving, you must cooperate; you must take the test.

So, if you’re a refusal and the DMV can prove that and they can also prove that the police told you that if you don’t take this test then you’re going to lose your driver’s license for a year, then they can get passed that hurdle as well, even if they don’t have a .08 or greater.

The policy behind this is, if people could just say they’re not taking the test and that’s the end of it, then everybody would do that and nobody would get caught for a DUI.

So, they’re not going to allow that to happen.  I would almost say that 99% of the time, if the police are asking you take the test you should take it because on a first-time DUI for example, even if you blow over a .08 — you’re only going to lose your license for a real thirty days and you can get it back on a restricted basis; but, if you refuse to take the test you lose your license for a year with no restriction.  So, why would somebody take that risk?  It just doesn’t make any sense.

Contact our Los Angeles DUI Lawyers

I don’t like people talking to the police because they usually same something that’s going to incriminate them, but you do need to cooperate with the police, otherwise you’re going to lose your driver’s license for a year.  So, there are ways to beat the DMV as it relates to a DMV hearing, but you have to look at what they’re trying to prove.

Hedding Law Firm
Los Angeles DUI Lawyers
633 West Fifth Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Related Resources:
Information About Driver Safety Administrative Hearings
Immediate Driver License Suspension or Revocation Drivers Age 21 and Older

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