I have been defending DUI cases in the San Fernando courthouse now for the past 26 years. I remember in 1994, the courthouse was seriously damaged by the Northridge earthquake and they had to do a lot of these DUI cases in the outer buildings near the courthouse that were not damaged.
So, I really have a good feel for how DUIs are handled, what the best approach is, who to speak to, what tendencies the judges and prosecutors in San Fernando have when they deal with DUI cases.
Also, when you talk about defense, you don't just talk about going to jury trial and fighting the case and winning, although that certainly is the main thought that people have when they talk about a defense of a DUI.
Mitigating the DUI Case
But you also talk about mitigating the case. You also talk about keeping the person out of jail, realizing that person has a future and a career.
A lot of the DUIs that are prosecuted in San Fernando, the person is guilty of the crime and their blood alcohol level as over a .08 and they were lawfully pulled over. Therefore, they're going to have to do some sort of a negotiated plea. That's part of the defense of a DUI.
Sometimes we're going to be able to take someone who is charged with a DUI and get that reduced down to a wet reckless or a dry reckless or a speed contest.
Other times, we're going to have people with very high blood alcohol levels who are facing jail time, who are facing extra allegations related to their DUI and we're going to be able to get those extra allegations struck and get that person the bare minimum punishment as it relates to a DUI.
So, I think the bottom line is, you've got to realize that in order to properly defend a DUI in the San Fernando courthouse, you first have to have a good defense strategy and an attorney that can execute it.
Elements of a DUI in San Fernando
I believe that's where I come in, having handled thousands of DUI cases over the hears in the San Fernando court. I know how to handle the various elements of a DUI.
You'll first start off in Department M on the first floor in the San Fernando courthouse. That's where you'll be arraigned. Your attorney will be given all the evidence related to the case.
Certainly, we're able to investigate anything we need to. We're able to use any experts that might be appropriate in your case.
We don't do the same thing in every DUI case. Sometimes we'll do one thing because it's relevant to a case; other times we won't do that because it doesn't have anything to do with your particular case.
So, I think the most important thing is to call, ask to speak to Ron Hedding and set up a meeting with me. Let's sit down and talk about it. Let's break everything down in the privacy of my office and then we can figure out what the best move is going forward.
Negotiating Your DUI Case for Best Outcome
After you get out of the initial arraignment, if you enter a not guilty plea, you'll then be moved into one of the other departments in San Fernando that handle the trials and negotiations regarding your DUI case.
What I typically will do is appear for you at the first court appearance, pick up all of the paperwork, speak to the prosecutor and then continue the case for two to three weeks so that we can meet. I can tell you what the prosecutor said.
I can get you a copy of the paperwork so you can review what evidence the prosecution has against you, and then you and I in the privacy of my office again, can sit down and talk about exactly what the best strategy is moving forward.
Whether to take the case to trial; whether to negotiate the case, and we're obviously going to talk about keeping you out of jail and doing everything we can to minimize the damage to your license and do everything we can to minimize the damage to your life.
That's what it's all about. It's difficult when you get arrested and your driver's license, because of the DMV, is on the line, your freedom is on the line because you're facing a criminal charge.
It's my job as your defense attorney to assert all of your defenses and to do everything possible to make sure you are treated fairly and you get the best result.