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What Factors Determine How a Prosecutor Deals With a DUI?

  • By: Ron Hedding
  • Published: April 14, 2020

What Determines How Prosecutors Will Deal With a DUI in the Los Angeles Criminal Courts?

There are 38 courts in Los Angeles county as I write this post and not all of them handle DUI’s, but most of them do — the main courts in the Valley — San Fernando and Van Nuys; downtown is the Metro court.  The west side is the LAX or Airport court.

But there’s other courthouses that deal with these DUI’s.  When you’re talking about what factors they’re going to use to decide how they’re going to deal with a DUI, I would say the number one factor is what the person’s blood alcohol level was.

Blood Alcohol Level

In other words, somebody who blows a .08 which is technically a DUI in Los Angeles county versus somebody who blows a .24 for example are going to be treated much differently.

The person who blew the .08 has an argument that they were under the legal limit, and therefore, shouldn’t be able to be convicted of a DUI and they actually might be able to win in a jury trial depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding their case.

Plus we’re able to get experts that can say that the breath machine that’s used to test the breath has an error rate of .02 or greater, meaning that person could’ve been a .06. The prosecutor’s own expert will also confirm the same testimony that the machine has an error rate of .02.

So, in that circumstance, you’ve obviously got some action, especially if you have no prior criminal record, you didn’t get in an accident and you weren’t driving around like a maniac.  So, a lot of times we can get lesser charges than a DUI under those circumstances.

If on the other hand, you blew a .24, you’re triple the legal limit, you’re going to be viewed as extremely dangerous by the judge and prosecutor and you’re going to have to battle to avoid going to jail for a significant period of time and to avoid some of the other punishments that come along with the most serious DUI offenders — even the first-time DUI offenders.

So, the blood alcohol level is huge.  Obviously, the lower your blood alcohol level, the better chance you have to negotiate something less than a first-time DUI.

Dangerous Driving

Another factor is your driving.  In other words, how dangerous were you?  Were you going 100 miles an hour?  Did you nearly kill somebody?  Did you get in an accident?  What happened related to your DUI and your driving. What Factors Determine How a Prosecutors Deals With a Los Angeles DUI?

Obviously, the worse your driving, the more dangerous you were to the public, the more likely you are to get a harsh punishment.  The more likely you are that the prosecutors will not give you a lesser charge.

If you want a lesser charge or a dismissal, you’re going to have to fight the case and take it to trial, or let your attorney work out a deal and hopefully show some mitigating factors relating to you, your circumstances and do damage control in that scenario.

So, the more dangerous you are on the road, the more likely the judge and prosecutor will treat you harshly; won’t give you a break and will make it very difficult related to your DUI matter.

Those are probably the two most important factors that I know of in handling DUI’s in Los Angeles county for the last 26 years.  There are other peripheral issues.  Let’s say for example when the police come upon you, you’re not in your car.  You’re not driving.

How can you be charged with a DUI if you weren’t’ driving the car?  Well, in order to tackle that issue, the police are usually pretty smart.  They know the defense is going to make that argument so they will ask the person, are you the one that put this car here?  When were you last driving it?

If the person is stupid enough to answer that question and tell them that they drove the car ten minutes ago, that’s it.  They’ve got what they need.  You’re not going to be able to make the argument that you weren’t driving the vehicle because you gave them the information.

If you’re stopped on the side of the Freeway, you’re the only one in your car, there’s a bunch of traffic, how else would the car get there?  So, common sense plays into these things as well.

Defenses for Driving Under the Influence Charges

But if you have other circumstances where they can’t prove you were driving or, more realistically, they can’t prove when you were driving, how is there expert going to figure out what your blood alcohol level was at the time of driving if they don’t know when you were driving?  So, that’s definitely a good viable argument.  A good viable defense that can be used to try to attack the prosecutor’s case.

I could go on and on.  If you go on the internet you can find all kinds of defenses.  But the reality is, the defense has to apply to your case.  If your case doesn’t have any of the elements or aspects to a defense, you can’t just pull a defense out of thin air.

A lot of these lawyers are trying to make that claim, but I can tell you right now, I know who all the good DUI lawyers are.  I know who the lawyers are who don’t know what they’re doing and are just doing DUI’s because they figure they’re easy and then they run into a problem and now I’ve got to be called to come in and clean up their mess.

So, take your DUI case serious.  If it’s your first-time DUI, take the position that you’re going to do it once.  You’re going to do it right.  You’re never going to do it again, and to do it right, you’re going to need an attorney who’s been down this road that you’re about to travel and had success.

You’ve come to the right place  Pick up the phone.  Call me.  We’ll make it easy for you.  A lot of times we can do a lot of this stuff over the phone so you don’t have to waste valuable time.  I’ve got over 400 reviews online  I’ve got over 300 videos

I wrote a book related to DUI’s so check those things out before you call and we’ll get the ball moving in the right direction, do damage control and get you out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible.

Ron Hedding

About the Author Named Top Los Angeles DUI Defence Attorney by LA Times and named one of the Top 100 DUI Defence attorneys in California by the National Trial Lawyers Association. I'm the attorney other lawyers hire to defend them.