Prosecuting a DUI Case in Los Angeles – The District Attorney's Office Or The City Attorney's Office? For those of you who do not know about DUIs and how they're dealt with in Los Angeles County, most of the time, the City Attorney will deal with these misdemeanor DUI cases.
However, if the case is filed as a felony, the City Attorney will not deal with it. The District Attorney deals with the issue. Then there are cases where the District Attorney deals with a DUI jurisdictionally, even if it is a misdemeanor.
For example, in the Van Nuys court, if something is filed in Malibu — which is now a closed-down courthouse — a percentage of those cases go to the District Attorney's office in the Van Nuys courthouse.
In Valencia, for example, there is only a District Attorney's office there. So, for those courthouses like Valencia that only have a District Attorney's office, they will deal with all of the cases, including any misdemeanor DUIs that are filed in that jurisdiction. So, in general — and I've been doing this for twenty-five years, it's the City Attorney's Office that deals with DUIs across LA County.
Knowing How to Deal With Tendencies of DUI Prosecutors
However, there are several jurisdictions and several areas where the District Attorney deals with them. So, if you do DUI defense in Los Angeles County, you're going to have to know how to deal with both, and you're going to have to understand what both entities ' tendencies are.
I have several cases where the District Attorney gets the chance. It's a questionable case, and they're trying to do something that I will consider out of the ordinary. I have asked them on numerous occasions to ask the City Attorneys at least how they handle those cases.
Sometimes they're insulted by that request; other times, they get what I'm saying, and they will check into it. To me, it's an equal protection argument.
If a District Attorney is not being reasonable when it comes to a DUI case in Los Angeles and not being fair and not at least being consistent with what the City Attorney is doing in the same jurisdiction. Then that's something that needs to be pointed out to the prosecutors, and they sometimes need to re-evaluate and think about how they're going to deal with a particular DUI.
First Time DUI Offense
For example, if somebody blows under a .08, that person in general — especially if it's a first-time offense — really shouldn't have to plead to a DUI. As everybody knows, .08 or more significant is the standard. But we have District Attorney's offices filing .06's, .07's, and their using California Vehicle Code 23152, which doesn't have anything to do with the percentage of alcohol.
It has more to do with your alcohol in your system and couldn't safely operate a motor vehicle. They prosecute that by all the tests that the police do on you and by any statement you make regarding your alcohol intake.
So, the bottom line is, whether it's the District Attorney or the City Attorney that's handling it, you're going to need a DUI lawyer who knows how to deal with those entities — knows how to deal with those prosecutors, what their tendencies are, what will get them to mitigate a crime down to a lesser offense, to dismiss a crime under the right circumstances, and it becomes complex.
There are a thousand District Attorneys and hundreds of City Attorneys throughout LA County. There are twenty to thirty different courthouses. You need to know the lay of the land when it comes to DUI's in Los Angeles County if you're going to practice in this area.
And that's what we do. We sit down with clients and go over everything. We get a game plan together. We know who we're dealing with.
We also have to consider the Judge's tendencies as well. So, when you have all these different factors at play, you've got to know what to do and when to do it if you want to get the client the best possible result. If you're looking for a DUI defense attorney, make the phone call. Come in. We'll sit down, and we'll get our strategy together.