At Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, we are fully equipped to guide you through every step and over every hurdle in the process of winning your DUI case. However, it is also important that you understand the process enough to avoid unnecessary confusion and costly mistakes that can result from misinformation.
After all, you only get to do this once. As soon as you make costly mistakes, there is not “start over button” that let’s you try it again. It goes on your permanent driving and/or criminal record. That’s why it’s best to rely on an experienced DUI defense lawyer instead of going with a novice or going it alone.
In the interest, then, of helping you become as equipped as possible for your upcoming DMV hearing and/or DUI trial, we present to you below the major stages, or steps, involved in fighting a California DUI charge:
- Scheduling Your DMV Administrative Per Se Hearing
Hire us before the 10 days to schedule your DMV Hearing runs outs! Whatever you do, DO NOT CALL THE DMV ON YOUR OWN. After your DUI stop and arrest, you were given a pink temporary license that is good for a maximum of 30 days . In order to avoid losing your driving privileges, you must schedule a DMV hearing and prevail on the Administrative Per Se Hearing to get your license suspension set aside. While the DMV hearing is completely separate and distinct from the actual court case, if you win the DMV hearing and later get convicted of a DUI in Court, then your license will be suspended BASED ON THE COURT CONVICTION rather than on a “DMV administrative action.”
First and foremost we will schedule the hearing for you by calling the DMV within 10 days of your arrest to schedule your Administrative Per Se Hearing. It is important to understand that these are not "business days," but actual calendar days which means weekends count so don't sleep on your rights.
It is generally always better to have your lawyer call the DMV since the mere fact you have legal representation immediately changes the attitude of those on the other end of the line. They know that your lawyer knows the law and how the system works. They know they can’t get away with shortchanging you on any of your rights under California law.
Your temporary license will give you instructions on what to do, but the information listed there can be confusing and hard to interpret to the uninitiated. What we are requesting of the DMV is a "stay of the suspension and an Administrative Per Se Hearing." A stay allows you to continue to legally drive while waiting for the outcome of your hearing, even if the hearing date is past the 30-day limit on the pink slip you were given. As the hearing can be one to three months after the arrest date, you may well be waiting for a couple of months for a decision by the DMV to suspend your driving privileges or not. This wait time gives your DUI defense lawyer extra time to build a solid defense for your court case, but it would be very inconvenient for you if you could not drive in the interim, so you definitely want a lawyer who knows how to extend the “pink slip date.”
- Obtain a Copy of Your Police Report
While scheduling your DMV hearing, our office will request a copy of the DUI portion of the police report. In most cases, we will be sent the police report about 10 days before your scheduled Administrative Per Se hearing. If your DUI involved a traffic accident, you or I may be able to get an accident report even earlier.
The police report will be prime evidence used against you at your DMV hearing and/or trial, so it is important that your defense attorney has access to it as soon as possible. I send all my clients a copy of their police report so they can review it to better understand the charges filed and the evidence against us. The report will contain such information as:
- The reason the officer chose to stop your vehicle;
- Your driving behavior as observed by the arresting officer;
- A checklist of which "intoxication symptoms" you displayed;
- Your performance on the field sobriety tests;
- Your BAC as determined by the PAS (roadside breathalyzer);
- Your blood or breath test readings post arrest;
- The serial number of the breathalyzer used, so its maintenance records can be checked;
- Your answers to questions the officer asked you.
The police report will already have been given to the DMV and to the prosecution. It is important that the defense be able to utilize it as well. You also need to compare the "testimony" of the police report to how you remember the arrest. In many cases, you will remember it differently, and you may not agree with the record of events the police report presents.
Many DUI defendants assume that there is no way to fight a police report and a BAC reading. This is simply not the case, and we successfully overcome these seemingly “insurmountable” obstacles all the time. The credibility of the arresting officer’s testimony may be challenged if he has a history of making false, exaggerated, or mistaken statements in DUI cases. If the police report contains errors, omissions, or is sloppily documented, that can also work in your favor.
In challenging the police report specifically, ask yourself such questions as:
- Were you informed of the reason for the pull-over at the time? If not, there may have been no probable cause and you could have evidence against you thrown out of court.
- Did anyone else witness the arrest taking place or your driving just prior to it? If not, there may be no corroborating evidence or your having given the officer a good reason to pull you over.
- Did the arresting officer observe you for 15 minutes, as required by law, before you took the breath tests?
- Did you burp, belch, vomit or regurgitate, or do anything else that might have thrown off the breath test results?
- Were you read your Miranda Rights? This must be done after you were informed you are under arrest and before you are interrogated by police.
- Did the arresting officer seem to be inexperienced and unsure of the proper protocols? California police who fail to follow Title 17 and other police regulations to the letter can cause evidence to be declared inadmissible in court.
- Did the officer make any unusual or inappropriate comments? If so, were they merely “unprofessional” or did they possibly amount to harassment?
- Winning Your Hearing and/or Trial
You will likely get anywhere from a dozen to two dozen letters/pamphlets from DUI defense attorneys sent to your home via jail mail. All these attorneys are turds. They didn't give two shits about you before your arrest and now they are sending you unsolicited mail into the sanctity of your own home?! What if you wanted to keep the arrest from your family members and or roommate(s)?
Defending oneself is not the best option when facing a DUI charge. DUI's to the untrained seem to be a very easy area of the law to defend. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Public Defenders are at your disposal should you not have the funds to hire a private defense lawyer to fight your DUI case. However, Public defenders are often too busy and overloaded with work to give adequate attention to your case, and often are less experienced in the intricacies of a solid DUI defense.
The experienced DUI defense lawyers of Los Angeles DUI Lawyer can give you the advantage of an accurate case assessment of your matter and competent legal counsel. We will investigate your case thoroughly and demand and conduct a meticulous legal discovery process to obtain important information about your case in order to evaluate the strength of the prosecution's case. We will find and exploit and violation of your rights or of police protocols that took place and challenge the Blood or Breath results with independent tests.
We know how to do everything possible to win your DMV hearing, and if a Jury Trial becomes necessary, we can argue your case to a Jury to seek an acquittal of all charges. If that is not possible, we also have well developed negotiation skills to use in securing a favorable plea bargain that can reduce your charges/sentence considerably.
Although the prosecution sets the terms of probation in the offer to settle the case in exchange for a "guilty" or "no contest" plea on your part, the fact that you have skilled defense attorneys fighting on your side will often induce the prosecutor to come to a reduction in terms. This is especially so if we have already exposed weaknesses in his/her case.
Typical negotiated plea agreements include such things as a reduction to a "wet reckless" or "dry reckless" charge, elimination of or reduction of jail time, reduced fines and fees, a reduction in the length of the alcohol program, dismissal of other terms of probation such as the Hospital and Morgue Program and/or Mother's Against Drunk Driving class. Some prosecutors will try to "scare" first-time offenders with jail time, but imposition of jail only applies to repeat offenders. They may also act as if they won't negotiate or as if their case is stronger than it really is, but at Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, we have seen it all before. We know how to call the prosecution's "bluff."
Here is a short-list of the most common DUI defense strategies we will use in winning you the best possible outcome to your case:
- Improper traffic stop: If the officer did not actually see you violate a traffic law or have other valid probable cause for pulling you over, nothing he found out after the stop will matter in court. Unless you were arrested on DUI at a designated California DUI checkpoint, the reason for the pull-over is key.
- The FST results are misleading: If the arresting officer did not correctly administer the field sobriety tests or if innocent explanations for failing the eye test, balance test, and other elements of the FSTs are available, we can often neutralize this source of evidence against you.
- The PAS test results are inaccurate: There are many ways to challenge the portable breath-test results. It may be the officer was not properly trained to use the particular type of breathalyzer you were tested with. It may be he/she did not observe you closely for the required 15-minute period or that you burped or vomited.
- Title 17 violations: Title 17 prescribes very specific protocols police must follow when administering a blood test, including how the sample must be stored. An extra sample must be taken and stored for verification by a lab of your defense attorney’s choice. And if the blood sample was tampered with or there is not proper custody record, its results become invalid.
- A still-rising BAC: It takes time for your BAC level to peak, and it is possible that, during a long arrest and interrogation, your blood-alcohol concentration rose to or above .08%, whereas, it was below .08 while you were actually driving.
Contact Us Today for Help
For more information on the California DUI process or for a free consultation regarding the details of your DUI case, do not hesitate to call Los Angeles DUI Lawyer anytime 24/7 at 424-281-3020. We have the legal expertise and the familiarity with the local L.A. court system it takes to secure for you the best possible outcome to your DUI case.
And remember, Jeff Voll has achieved over 100 cases completely Dismissed in One 12 Month Period. No other lawyer in Los Angeles County can make that claim. So why bother with any other Los Angeles Defense Lawyer!