I get many questions like this where people ask, do I need an attorney? What can an attorney do for me?
Each California Vehicle Code 23152 VC DUI case is different, and you must look at the facts of the case. Such as what happened; how the arrest was made; what the blood alcohol level was, and a host of other factors.
In my opinion, you need an attorney. I've been doing this for 30 years. I've done thousands of DUI cases, and the type of stuff that a good DUI defense attorney can do for you is to keep you out of jail.
When you go to that first court appearance (arraignment) without your attorney, the judge can take you into custody if your blood alcohol level is high or you have multiple DUIs.
The judge can determine, for example, if your blood alcohol level is so high, you're a danger, and he'll take you into custody so you can get dried out and they can deal with you. If your attorney's not there to fight for you, that puts you in a terrible position.
The arraignment occurs typically within a few days if you remain in custody but will be set weeks later if you were released from jail. When you appear in court for your DUI case, you will go in front of the judge, who will deal with any bail issue, get released on your own recognizance, or go into custody.
Often, if it's your second DUI or beyond, the judge will set bail or make you attend AA meetings while your case is pending if you want to remain out of custody on your own recognizance. Our Los Angeles DUI lawyers will examine this topic more closely below.
Seeking the Best Possible Result in Your DUI Case
I think the biggest thing an attorney can do for you in a DUI case is get you the best resolution and help you decide how you will handle the case:
- Are you going to fight it?
- Are you going to negotiate it?
- Is a motion necessary?
You can't make that decision and relying on somebody else that is not paid and is not looking out for your best interests is a dangerous proposition. I can't tell you how many people have been taken into custody at their first DUI court appearance because they don't realize what they're up against.
Prosecutors and judges don't care. All they're looking at is that you are a danger to the community, drinking and driving; you might kill somebody.
They might kill themselves, so we'll take charge of them. We're going to put restrictions on them. They're not taking everything into account regarding your case.
They don't come into it knowing what happened from your perspective because usually, the police paint a one-sided story in that DUI arrest report, so you need your attorney to get over there and get your side out.
So, your attorney can keep you out of jail. Your attorney can also start moving the case in the right direction – speak to the prosecutor – let them know about you, the particular circumstances of your case, who you are, your career, and your family.
Can You Challenge the Blood Alcohol Level?
Some ideas for defending DUI cases might apply to your case. First, we will want to examine whether we can challenge the blood alcohol level.
Under California law, you're technically DUI if you're a 0.08 or greater. Your attorney must present evidence to refute that if you want to challenge a prosecution. I see most of the DUIs in Los Angeles County because it's vast with so many people.
When looking at that blood alcohol level, the closer you are to 0.08, the better you have to challenge it. For instance, if you blew a 0.08, there is a potential valid legal argument that the breath machine used to register that amount is not 100% accurate and has an error rate of .02.
This means you could be a 0.06. If we can prove that, you are not guilty of being above the legal limit, which means you have a solid argument that you were not driving under the influence.
However, also realize there are two sections under Vehicle Code Section 23152 VC, one of which talks about the blood alcohol level. The other talks about whether you could safely operate a motor vehicle.
So, technically, you could be a 0.06 but still be driving under the influence if you did not successfully pass all of the field sobriety tests. Perhaps you were driving badly, swerving across lanes, and police, believe you were DUI and can convince a jury.
Consult with an Experienced DUI Lawyer
These are all things that your attorney can talk to the prosecutor about. You know what? If there's a weakness in the case, your attorney can exploit it; can attack it.
If they illegally stopped you, your attorney can file a motion, saying you know what? You illegally stopped my client, and now everything you got after that – the breath test, your statement, field sobriety test –should be suppressed because you should have never been able to stop him in the first place.
This is not applicable in every case, but at least your attorney can tell you whether or not a motion might be helpful in your case or not. I'm very straightforward and honest with people.
The way I look at these DUIs, you should hire an attorney immediately. Let them deal with the DMV, so you don't lose your driver's license. Let them deal with the court, so you don't lose your freedom or your reputation related to this DUI charge which is a crime.
It would help if you got an attorney. If it's your first offense, do it once, do it right, and never again. I've been doing this for 30 years. I've worked for the District Attorney's office. I've worked for a superior court judge and people like you for the last 30 years.
So, pick up the phone now. Make the call. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding, the founder of the Hedding Law Firm. We offer a free case evaluation by phone or use the contact form.