The first thing you want to do if you find yourself thrust into the DUI court process in Los Angeles is to not panic. You are going to get through the process and if you keep your wits about you, your DUI can be handled professionally, discreetly and without that much pain.
Get your paperwork together, put a list of questions together that will help to put your mind at ease moving forward and make sure that you know what your responsibility is in making sure you are not railroaded by the system. You have got to start figuring out what you can do to achieve some damage control.
One of my chief goals as a DUI defense attorney is to make sure that when one of my clients leaves the initial meeting, they leave with a plan in place and a peace of mind that they are well represented and have an idea of what they are truly facing. We are not talking about false hopes here. We are talking about me informing the client of what they are truly facing, based on their specific fact pattern and life circumstances. This is not a time to sugar coat things and talk about defenses that do not apply to you. If you find yourself talking to a lawyer or salesperson who is rambling about defenses that have nothing to do with your case or circumstances, then run for the hills.
So the nutshell version of step one in the DUI process is to hire an attorney who knows what they are doing and has solid experience in the courthouse where your case is pending. And to make sure you get a solid understanding of what you are facing and what you can do to help your DUI defense attorney moving forward. With this information will come peace of mind, control and you will now know what you need to do to make sure you are in the best possible position moving forward.
If your attorney is familiar with your case and what you want out of it, and knows (from experience) how your case will be viewed in the particular court, by the prosecutors and judge, then they will be able to achieve the best possible result for you. The goal in any DUI situation should be do it once, do it right and never do it again!
Once you hire your attorney, cooperate with them by listening to their instructions, asking appropriate questions and being realistic about the outcome of your case. If your blood alcohol is close to or at the .08 legal limit, then your attorney will have some good ammunition to work with against the prosecutors and a good chance to get a resolution that is better than a first time DUI. If, on the other hand, you have a high blood alcohol content and got in an accident, then do not expect the case to be dismissed. The point is, once you do your due diligence and hire a well respected DUI lawyer attorney, let them do their job to help you.
Listening to your attorney’s advice is very important. If you took the time to hire your attorney and you feel confident they know what they are doing, then you should trust them to fight for you and properly advise you. You should certainly ask them appropriate questions and make sure that they did everything they could for you. But, once they give you a run down of where your case is at, then you should do everything you can to assist them in resolving the case as swiftly and successfully as possible.
If you have people in your life who are concerned about you and want to be involved in your DUI process, then by all means have them in on the meetings and discussions between you and your attorney, so they can help you make decisions and make the right moves for your future. However, do not rely too heavily on people who have very little first hand knowledge about your case. Their opinions and comparisons to other cases have very little consequence to your special circumstances. My point, let your attorney be your guide.
If you are lucky enough to get your DUI case dismissed, then you really do not need step number three. However, if you end up working out a plea bargain in your DUI case, make sure that you comply with all of the terms and conditions of your probation. The legislature and courts in California are particularly tough on DUI cases and probation violations.
One big violation that I see time and time again is people who drive on a suspended license while they are on DUI probation. These people are just asking to be thrown in jail for a period of time. The judges in Los Angeles County are not messing around when it comes to driving on a suspended license if your license was taken away because of a DUI. They will literally throw the book at you if they believe that your conduct is viewed as ignoring their orders and / or dangerous to the public.
Another area to watch out for is driving a vehicle with any alcohol in your system while you are on DUI probation is LA County. This is another area in DUI practice that I see prosecutors and judges insisting on jail time for offenders. Again, prosecutors and judge’s primary concern when it comes to DUI cases is to make sure they do everything possible to protect the community at large. There is nothing worse for them if they give someone a break and it comes back to haunt them in the form of a horrible accident that hurts another person.
The moral of the above story is to comply with all of the terms and conditions of your DUI probation and in the end you will be eligible to have your case expunged and move on with your life. If you have a DUI case or DUI related probation violation, call my firm and we will help you begin the process of getting out of a sometimes unforgiving system.