I’ve been practicing and doing DUI cases now for twenty-five years. I’ve spoken to all the lawyers who actually do these cases and know what they’re doing. In order to win a DUI case, you’re going to need an angle.
Most DUI cases in Los Angeles County are either dismissed because the prosecutors do not have the evidence and they know it or it’s a situation where they do have the evidence and the defense attorney works out a plea bargain for them.
It’s a very rare limited amount of cases that actually go to trial. I don’t see a lot of attorneys trying DUI cases. Despite what they try and say when they try to get people to pay them a real big retainer fee in order to get them to do a trial on the case, that the attorney doesn’t even have any information in the beginning.
I never quote DUI trials from the beginning. I want to see whether the client in fact, actually has a chance to win the case before I would ever quote a trial fee. What it takes to win a case is, you have to have an angle that if a jury believes it would give you a victory. For example, there are all kinds of different angles that can come up.
They don’t come up in every case. They’re fact dependent. There are some cases where the angle is that the person wasn’t driving the vehicle. In order to have a DUI, you actually have to be driving a car, and at the time you’re driving you can’t safely operate motor vehicle either because you have alcohol in your system or did some sort of drugs or a combination of both.
So, if the police can’t figure out when you were driving the car in relation to when they got their hands on you, when you were drinking or when you were using some sort of drugs, then they’re not going to be able to prove their case. That’s one angle that works in cases.
I had a case in Ventura county one time where my client allegedly crashed into a pole and he got out of the car because his car was not drivable anymore and he left the scene. He went to get help. He called AAA. He went to get something to eat.
He didn’t come back to the scene until quite some time later and when he got back, of course there was a Ventura County sheriff waiting there for him. But they never were able to pinpoint when he crashed into the pole, so that’s one thing they try to do. The police realize this is a problem, so they’ll ask the person, when did you crash here? They didn’t do that in his case, so that case ended up getting dismissed because they could not pinpoint when the driving was.
Another way to attack a DUI case is if there’s a problem with the blood or breath result. For example, sometimes it happens, and it’s happened to me many times because I’ve been doing this a lot and I’ve done thousands of DUI cases across LA county, but sometimes it happens.
You have a situation where the machine that is used to test the blood – the Intoxilyzer 3000 – the DUI breath machine ends up being broken and there’s some sort of issue – it’s not calibrated properly, there’s some sort of problem, it’s taken out of service for a period of time – close in time for when they used it for a particular defendant.
Now you’ve got an argument. You can say, wait a minute, the machine you have doesn’t even work right. You’re not going to be able to get somebody for a DUI in those circumstances, if that’s all the evidence that you have and that’s what you’re relying on.
Another area that I see attacked is contamination-related to blood. If you have a situation where they take somebody’s blood and then the defense is able to do a blood split on it and the expert for the defense either comes back with a much lower result that’s not under a .08, that would be one way to have an angle to win a DUI case in LA, or the expert says there’s been contamination here. There’s no way these blood results are not accurate. Some expert saying that is huge in a DUI case. So, that’s another way to win a DUI case.
Yet another winnable point is some sort of an illegal stop, and now with all of this video technology, more and more we’re winning cases on this angle where the police are claiming, the person blew a stop sign.
They didn’t completely stop, meanwhile there’s dash cam that we get and we can say no, the person did stop, they’re just not telling the truth. They just pulled him over for no reason and made that reason up or they try to claim some other traffic violation and then you get the dash cam or you get a body cam and then you can make a good argument.
Speaking of body cams, as well as angles go and DUI in Los Angeles county, a lot of LAPD officers now have body cams. If they’re claiming a person didn’t pass a field sobriety test and you have a body cam video showing that they did and that they were fine. They could walk the line. They cooperated with the police officer.
They didn’t look drunk. They were walking and talking fine. That’s another angle to get them on. So, there are angles to win DUI cases, but those angles are not apparent and they’re not relevant in every case. Sometimes the police have the goods on you. They’re out there.
They’re supposed to be protecting the public from people who are drinking and driving. If they pull you over for a lawful reason, your blood alcohol level is well over the .08, then you’ve got a problem.
So, attorney trying to claim different in every single case without even evaluating the facts, I would never trust those attorneys because all they’re trying to do is get a fee without even looking at the case first. So, first, when I get on a DUI case, I’m going to quote a fee to handle the case short of trial. I get on it. I get all the discovery. I review it.
I talk to the client about it. I speak to the prosecutor about it. I’ve obviously got inside knowledge of the court where the case is pending and now we get down to the nitty-gritty. Alright, can you win the case or not?
If you can’t win the case then we’re not going to take the case to trial. If you can win the case, then we’re going to set things up and we’re going to take the trial and we’re going to win it. But just saying you’re going to win the case before you know anything is just reckless and doesn’t make any sense.
A lot of people see that nowadays because I talk to them and they’re coming in talking about all kinds of crazy stuff. Wait a minute, that doesn’t even apply to your case. You don’t even have the paperwork on your case.
How do you know that that particular issue applies to your case? Just because some sales person on the phone brought that up to you doesn’t mean that it’s relevant in your particular case.
So, that’s the first thing you have to do is, figure out what makes sense. Use your common sense to make some good solid decisions as it relates to winning a DUI case in Los Angeles County.