Santa Clarita Court
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT IF YOU HAVE A DUI IN THE SANTA CLARITA – VALENCIA COURTHOUSE?
There are many DUI cases filed in the Valencia / Santa Clarita courthouse on a daily basis. Having handled DUI’s over the past twenty five years, I have noticed that the Sheriff’s Department in the Valencia area is always on the look out to get someone for a DUI case. They are constantly stopping people for not apparent reason and setting up check points for people who are drinking and driving. If you get caught, then in my opinion you need someone who knows what they are doing to help you!
Another issue related to Valencia DUI cases is the streets in the Valencia area and how they are set up to make it very difficult to maneuver around. This makes it prime territory for law enforcement to catch people who have consumed alcohol and are trying to move around in the Valencia area. People making illegal u-turns or being involved in other minor traffic offenses are likely to fall prey to over zealous law enforcement efforts in this area. If you have every sat in the Valencia courthouse on any given day (which I have many times). You be shocked at how many traffic offenses move through their doors.
I’ve been practicing in the Valencia Court now for the past twenty-years. It covers that jurisdiction in Canyon County, Santa Clarita — everything in that area funnels into the Valencia Courthouse if you’re arrested for a DUI. There’s a lot of DUI arrests in the Valencia area for a number of reasons. One, because the sheriffs out there are very tough. Also, because of the way the streets are set up in Valencia. They’re not set up good for the flow of traffic. In other words, a lot of people are getting busted for traffic tickets, and that would obviously exacerbate a DUI situation because the police are smelling people’s breath, asking if they’ve been drinking and it’s a tough, conservative police department. I definitely see a lot of DUI’s in the Valencia Courthouse.
Developing a Defense Strategy
If you have a DUI in the Valencia Courthouse, obviously you want to be smart/strategic about it. Start educating yourself regarding your DUI matter so you can have the most successful result. What I have you do is come into my office. We sit down and go over your case. We talk about some of the most important factors the prosecutors in the Valencia Courthouse are going to look at in deciding how to handle your particular case.
Some of the good factors would be you having a clean record; your blood alcohol level not being that high; you not really doing anything dangerous; the police pulling you over for some sort of a minor violation — that would put you in a good position so that your DUI defense attorney in Valencia could help you get the best result.
Some of the bad factors the prosecutor and judge look at in the Valencia courthouse are if you have a high blood alcohol level, obviously that’s going to make you much more dangerous out on the road; if you have a prior criminal record; if you have multiple traffic violations, and probably most importantly, if you’re doing something dangerous out on the road such as speeding, getting in accidents, weaving in and out of traffic — these are the type of things prosecutors and judges obviously frown upon and they’re going to punish a person who is dangerous out there because they don’t want anybody to be hurt out on the road, and therefore, they’re going to make sure that they punish and put a deterrent out for individuals who are involved in DUI cases.
Consult with an Experienced DUI Attorney
The courthouse in Santa Clarita is tough on DUI cases and you should get into to see an experienced DUI attorney right away. When I meet with clients, I like to get the whole story surrounding their arrest and then map out a plan on how we will deal with the case. As long as the client is honest with me and gives me all of the details of their case, I can usually give them an idea of the range of punishment they are facing and what they can do to assist me in helping them. Once I appear in court on their behalf, then I will have the additional information I need to fully evaluate the case and make the decisions necessary to resolve it. The prosecutor will usually give you an idea of what they are thinking on the first court appearance and if you go in prepared, then you can negotiate on your client’s behalf very effectively.
DUI Factors Considered by Prosecutor
What factors will the judge and prosecutor look at in deciding how to deal with a DUI case in Valencia? There are a number of important factors that are evaluated by the judge and prosecutor in a DUI case. Not all DUI defendants are treated the same in every case. There are a number of punishments and charges that can be used to reflect what a person charged with a DUI will receive in the end of their case.
They will look at how high the person’s blood alcohol level was at the time of driving (the higher the level, the more dangerous the person is perceived and the worse punishment they will receive). They will of course look at the person’s prior criminal record and driving record in determining what their position will be in a given case. Further, they will look at the driving and actions of the person involved, to assess how dangerous they were to the public at large. Finally they will evaluate how the person did on the field sobriety tests and how they interacted with the police.
Mitigating Damages on a DUI Case
If a person was nasty and belligerent with the police, then the police will reflect that in their police report and the prosecutors will reflect that in their offer to settle the case. If, on the other hand, I can point out to the prosecutor and judge that my client was cooperative with the police and passed some of their tests, this goes a long way towards mitigating the damages that can occur in a DUI case. If my client has a family, a good career and no prior criminal record, then the prosecutors will typically give them the benefit of the doubt in a close call case or a situation where we are trying to avoid a certain penalty, like jail time or some other serious consequences.
Whenever you get a DUI in the Valencia Court and you end up having to plead guilty to it, you’re going to get a fine. You could potentially get jail time or an alcohol program and they’re going to warn you. They’re going to give you what’s called a Watson warning that if you drink and drive and kill somebody, you could be facing fifteen to life in prison. The prosecutors will charge you with second-degree murder. They give that warning for a couple of reasons. One, they obviously want people to wake up and realize how dangerous it is to drink alcohol and drive, and two, they’re trying to set you up for the future where if you actually really do kill somebody, they’re able to pull that transcript and say look, the judge warned this person not to drink and drive and they just ignored the warning.
Reviewing Your Behavior
Everybody who has a DUI in Valencia or anywhere in Los Angeles County is going to say, I didn’t do it on purpose, I was drunk. I don’t even know what I was doing. But they’re not necessarily looking at your behavior while you’re drinking and driving. They’re looking at your behavior beforehand. In other words, what type of a plan did you put in place when you knew that you were going to go out drinking? What type of an exit strategy did you have in the bar in Valencia or the party in Valencia, or wherever you were that caused you to drink and drive, and if you didn’t have any strategy, if you didn’t care about other people on the road, they’re going to punish you for that.
So, what you need to do is get in front of somebody like me who has been doing cases there for many years, knows the system, knows the prosecutors and the judges, what we can get together that’s mitigating. Obviously, you’ve got a career, a family, a job — you need to make sure you’re able to drive. You need to make sure that the ramifications related to your DUI are not so severe that you cannot recover from them.
So, pick up the phone and contact the Hedding Law Firm. Make the phone call and I can start to put together the plan to put you in the best possible position related to your DUI matter in Valencia and get you on the road as fast as possible and limit the damage to your criminal driving record.
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