At your first court appearance, you may end up going in front of the judge with your attorney. Your attorney will be given all the paperwork related to the case.
That would include the arrest report, the breath results, the notes from when the police officer took any information about you, and your criminal history.
Your attorney would typically talk to the prosecutor about the case, see what their position is, and then a number of things can happen at the arraignment.
If there is some sort of an issue with the safety of the public, the judge can set a bail, and then you would be taken into custody.
Most people, on a first time DUI, will be released on their own recognizance, which is just a promise to appear.
A new court date would be set and then you would come back and decide what you're going to do with your case.
If you had a high blood alcohol level at the time of driving, the judge might make you do a meeting while you wait for your next court appearance, in exchange for release on your own recognizance.
This is the court's way of trying to make people see the dangerousness of drinking and driving. Your attorney has a number of choices at the first appearance.
They can just continue the arraignment, so they don't enter any plea, review everything, and then come back and decide whether to enter a plea at that time. They can enter a not guilty plea and then the case will be set for a pretrial.
Your attorney could try to resolve the case on the day of the first court appearance. Most attorneys will not have their clients come to the first court appearance in a DUI case, as long as it's a misdemeanor.
The best method of preparation is to hire a seasoned DUI defense attorney. Give them all the information and let them go to work on your behalf.
When Will I Find Out What The BAC Level Was On My Breath Or Blood Test In LA County?
Most of the time, the arresting officer will give you your test reading immediately upon testing. There are some officers, however, who don't want to give out readings because they're afraid the person is going to panic.
If you're already in custody, they will usually just give you the results, so you know what it is. At the very least, you should be able to see your test results when you're given your paperwork on your pink slip.
There is a box that says BAC reading and in that box is the breath result. You can give that to your attorney and let them decide how to move on from there.
Can My LA County DUI Attorney Possibly Get My DUI Charge Dismissed?
It is possible to get a DUI dismissed. The prosecutors have to prove certain things in order to convict you of DUI.
There are jury instructions and there are elements that have to be proved for the crime. If they can't prove one of the elements of the crime, then the case will get dismissed.
Another possibility is that the prosecutors get the case and they realize that the police acted improperly.
You shouldn't have been arrested for DUI, so they just don't file the case against you.
The prosecutors are the ones who have the power to file DUI cases, not the police. The police can only book someone and then send the paperwork to the prosecutor.
Each prosecuting agency has a filing department that reviews cases, decides whether or not to file criminal charges, and either reject the case or sends it for further investigation. You want to get a great DUI defense attorney, who knows what they're doing.
Anyone who is worth their salt as a defense attorney is going to want to get every case dismissed if they can.
However, the police don't usually arrest you unless they've got evidence that you committed a DUI offense. If you blew a 0.08 or greater, you're going to get arrested, and you're going to get prosecuted. Don't bet on a dismissal.
The other area where a case could get dismissed is when the police violate your rights in some way.
Then, your attorney capitalizes on that violation and uses it to get your case dismissed. For example, if the police pull you over for no reason and they end up getting a bunch of information and arresting you for DUI, it would be an illegal pull over.
Everything that flowed from that pullover, including your breath alcohol level, would be suppressed. The prosecutors would have to dismiss the case.
Another area that I see that as ripe for the attack is whether or not you were driving the car. Many times police come upon someone out of the car and they smell alcohol on their breath and start doing a DUI investigation.
They must ask that person when they were driving the car so that their expert witness can extrapolate backward from the time they got the blood or breath sample to say what the person's blood-alcohol level was at the time of driving.
Can Los Angeles Police Arrest Me For A DUI If I Have Alcohol In My System And I Have Car Keys On Me Near My Vehicle?
If the police watch you drive to a spot, get out of your car, put your keys in your pocket, and then have some lawful reason to approach you and do a DUI investigation, they could arrest get you for a DUI.
If the police come up to you while you're exiting from a bar, your car is there, and you've got your keys in your hand, they cannot arrest you for DUI. The crime requires driving, not being about to drive.
They have to be able to prove that you were driving and that while you were driving, you were intoxicated.
They can use circumstantial evidence but just being near your car with the keys is not enough. If you're inside the parked car with the keys in the ignition and the police come up upon you, you would not be able to be arrested for a DUI because you're not driving the car.
There are exceptions to that. If you have parked on the road and you're partially blocking the lane, you may get arrested.
Otherwise, unless some witness can tell the police that you were driving within three hours of the police coming upon you, they cannot prove a DUI.
If My BAC Was Under The Legal Limit, Can I Get A Reduced Charge In LA County?
Typically, if you're under the legal limit, you shouldn't be charged with a DUI. Right now the legal limit is 0.08. If you get 0.7, you cannot be prosecuted under Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) because that says if you are 0.08 or greater, it's presumed you are DUI.
However, there is another DUI code section that's typically charged in every DUI case.
What it says is you were driving a motor vehicle, you had alcohol in your system, and you couldn't safely operate the motor vehicle.
Basically, in the police's opinion, you couldn't safely operate a motor vehicle. What are police basing this on? One thing they're going to base it on is how you performed on the field sobriety tests.
Another thing that the police start doing in order to start to build the case against you right from the beginning is checking off boxes as they come upon you.
They're going to observe how you were driving. All they need to do is show that you have got alcohol in your system and that you were weaving or driving erratically because of the alcohol.
When they come up to you, they're going to smell your breath. If you have a smell of alcohol, that's another indicator that you are driving with alcohol in your system.
If people are slurring their speech, staggering, or have an unsteady gait, the officer is going to put that in the police report to try to help the prosecutor get the person for DUI.
They will ask how many drinks you had, where you're coming from, and when the last time you had drink was.
Now, they're trying to help the expert in the case to be able to figure out if your blood alcohol level at 10 p.m. was a 0.9, and you were arrested at 8:30 p.m., what your blood alcohol level was at the time you were driving.
Is A Reduction In Charges More Likely In My LA DUI Case If This Is My First DUI Offense?
The fact that it's your first DUI offense would only be one factor in whether they lessen your charges. The main inquiry is going to be what your blood alcohol level was.
If you're close to the 0.08 or at the 0.08, you've got a good chance to get it reduced down to something less than a DUI.
If you're double the legal limit or more, you probably have no chance to get it reduced, unless there's some glaring problem with the case.
There are other factors though. If you do something crazy while you're driving, it would certainly be an aggravating factor that would probably result in you being unable to get the case reduced.
If you're extremely rude and belligerent to the police, the prosecutors are going to be reading that police report.
Now, you have a very slim chance of getting the case reduced because the prosecutors don't like you.
This is why it's so important to have an attorney to be able to give your version of events and breathe some life into your side of the case.
Another thing that I've used, as a defense attorney, is whether you could pass some of the sobriety tests that the police gave you.
That is a sign that you're not that intoxicated. They aren't allowed to arrest you unless they say that you failed at least one test but you may have passed another one.
You've got to rely on your defense attorney to be able to flush those things out. All you can do is give them all the information, without putting a spin on it, and let them figure it out for you.