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Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Blog
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When you have been arrested for suspicion of a Los Angeles DUI, officers will ask you to take a field sobriety test at the scene of the arrest. This test is not mandatory, and is voluntary. This means that you do not have to submit to it, and there are no consequences. However, if you are arrested, you will be required to take one at the station. This test can be a breath test, or a blood test. There used to also be a urine test option but that is no longer the case.

Oftentimes people do not want to take the breath test and opt for the blood test. For example, they may have asthma and are unable to blow hard enough into the breathalyzer machine. If they opt for the blood test, then those results will be provided in two weeks.

However, in certain situations people refuse to take either test. They may have a fear of needles, or they may simply not agree to submit to a test. If you refuse to take either test, it could be categorized as a refusal, and a refusal will be considered an aggravating factor when and if you are sentenced for a DUI. This means that the sentence will be on the higher end of the range, or will have added sentencing because of the refusal or take a test. It is viewed as being uncooperative.

In many cases, despite having refused a blood test, officers may forcefully take one. There has been recent law that has been passed down stating that a forced blood test is in violation of a person’s fourth amendment rights. This means that if your blood was forcefully drawn, there may be an available defense or argument rendering the blood test results in admissible.

The further drawback of a forced blood test is that even though a test was drawn and the blood alcohol reported, because it was not voluntary and forced, officers and Prosecutors treat it like a refusal. Thus, it will have the same additional consequences and aggravated factors, even though a test was gathered.

This is a complicated situation to be in, but one with many variables that may potentially offer a way for the charge to be dismissed or reduced. If you find yourself in this situation, it is highly recommended that you speak to a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer as soon as possible. They will take the time to review your case, and analyze the facts. This will give you a much better understanding of what your realistic consequences are, and what your available defenses and arguments are. If there is a chance to have your case dismissed, or reduced, you do not want to risk it on your own, you want an experienced, and knowledgeable legal professional fighting for you and working hard to get you the best results possible! Don’t take the chance, call today.

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Proposition 47 was voted for on November 14, 2014, and was approved. The Proposition reduces the classification for certain non-serious and nonviolent property and drug crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor. This will apply to most offenses and defendants, unless the person being charged has prior offenses for rape, certain sexual offenses, and some gun offenses.

The offenses that will qualify for a reduction include the following:

  • Shoplifting, where the value of property stolen does not exceed $950
  • Grand theft, where the value of the stolen property does not exceed $950
  • Receiving stolen property, where the value of the property does not exceed $950
  • Forgery, where the value of forged check, bond or bill does not exceed $950
  • Fraud, where the value of the fraudulent check, draft or order does not exceed $950
  • Writing a bad check, where the value of the check does not exceed $950
  • Personal use of most illegal drugs

This proposition can be applied to people who are currently serving their sentences, if they qualify and do not have any prior offenses as stated previously. Let’s say for example, a person has been charged and convicted of grand theft and are now serving their jail sentence. Under Proposition 47, the jail sentence may be reevaluated and reconsidered, changing the crime from that of a felony with a felony sentence, to that of a misdemeanor which could mean little or no jail time.

However, as stated, each individual case must be considered carefully and reviewed. Evaluators must make a determination taking into account the specific facts of the case and past criminal history to determine whether it would be safe and appropriate to modify the sentence and to reduce the charge.

The purpose behind Proposition 47 is to save some government funds, and direct them towards education and community funds.

If you have been charged and convicted previously of a felony and have been sentenced, it is well worth your time to consult with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense lawyer to determine whether anything can be done to reduce your charge. A misdemeanor rather than a felony on you record can have significant consequences on your overall criminal record, and can be useful when applying to financial or educational institutions, licensing institutions and vocational boards.

If you have only been arrested, and have not yet been convicted, Proposition 47 can also be useful to you. It is important to assure that the Prosecutor does not charge you with a felony, when it is not necessary or appropriate under the new Proposition. To assure that your case is evaluated favorably, and proper evidence and arguments are made, be sure to consult with a legal expert who is familiar and experienced with Proposition 47 and all of its intricacies. It does not hurt just to speak to a Los Angeles Attorney, especially one that has a hassle free and cost free consultation. So what are you waiting for?

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If you have been charged with suspicion of driving under the influence, there is a whole process that must be completed prior to having been found guilty. Your case may be dismissed right from the very onset, before you even set foot in court.

When you are arrested, the officer who arrests you prepares a report and submits it to the Prosecutor’s office. Prosecutor’s will review the report and make a determination as to whether or not there is sufficient evidence to charge the driver and to take the case to trial. If the evidence is not sufficient, the case will be dismissed before it even gets to criminal court.

Once a case has already gone to trial, there are a number of ways to work towards a dismissal. A Los Angeles DUI Lawyer will take the time to learn the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and will work towards a strategy that leads towards dismissal, or in the very least, a reduction of charges.

If an officer does not have probable cause to stop a driver, then any evidence obtained, including observations and a BAC reading, will be illegally obtained in violation of fourth amendment rights. Without sufficient evidence, a case must be dismissed. Let’s illustrate this with an example.

Dina is driving home from dinner with her friends. She sees officers behind her and she complies and immediately pulls over. When officers approach her window she asks if anything is wrong. The officers reply that she was swerving when in fact Dina knows this was not the case. When the surveillance video is obtained from officer’s dashboard cam, it is apparent that there is no swerving of any kind. There was no reason for officers to stop Dina. Because they did not have probable cause to stop her, any evidence gathered was improper. Without any kind of reason or evidence, Dina’s case must be dismissed.

A case may also be dismissed if there is sufficient reason to demonstrate that the evidence is tainted or corrupted. For example, many times a test used to measure BAC is not calibrated, or is inaccurate. It is necessary to use expert testimony, and run tests to demonstrate the inaccuracy, but it is possible and used in the right cases.

If the facts of your case provide a weak case for Prosecution, it is necessary for you to speak to a Los Angeles DUI lawyer as soon as possible. A legal professional knows the court system, the Judges and the law very well and will take the time to speak to you about the specific facts of your case. Only they can allow a thorough analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of your case before establishing a strategy to get your case dismissed. A conviction on your record, even for a misdemeanor can have consequences for your career, education and even some financial institutions. It is better to take adequate measures immediately to prevent any long term consequences.

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In the previous blog titled “Is it possible to have a Los Angeles DUI case dismissed (Part One)” we discussed a scenario in which it was likely that Prosecutors would file charges. Let’s now consider an example in which Prosecutors may debate, or be on the fence on whether they should file charges or not.

Example 2: Donny is driving home from work. He has just worked a twelve hour day, and hasn’t slept well the night before. His eyes are red, his contacts are dry causing his eyes to water and he is unfocused and is not himself. As he is driving home late at night, he makes a right turn at a red light without stopping. An officer immediately stops him. Frustrated and tired, Donny is already irritated with having been stopped. The officer asks Donny if he has been drinking, and Donny, who is tired and does not want to deal with this, says “I do not have to answer any questions, it is my right to stay silent”. Officers then make a note of his “watery eyes” and his “lack of focus” and ask him to submit to a blood alcohol test. Donny asks the officers if they have any grounds for it, and if it is mandatory. The officers have to inform Donny that the field sobriety test at the arrest site is not mandatory, so Donny immediately says no he will not be taking it. Officers then arrest Donny and take him into custody. Once at the station, Donny has to submit to an alcohol test, which is mandatory. A refusal can lead to additional consequences if found guilty. Donny takes the test and the reading is .00. Officers let him go.

Donny’s case is not likely to be filed. Even though officers are able to establish that there was probable cause to pull Donny over, that is probably only probable cause there is. They could probably charge Donny with a traffic ticket but there is not sufficient evidence for a DUI. Prosecutors could only probe without issue that fact that Donny was driving, but would not be able to show that he was intoxicated. For a DUI charge, there would have to be both intoxication and driving.

In that case, Donny’s case would not be charged, it would be dismissed. There would be no need for Prosecutor’s to file and charge a driver when the case would not be a strong case to take to trial, or enough evidence to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver is guilty.

If you find yourself having been arrested for a DUI, call a Los Angeles DUI attorney as soon as possible. There is a chance your case can be dismissed and with the right negotiations and discussions, it could go from being ideal to a realistic chance. Consult with a legal professional today!

 

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In order to answer the question of whether it is possible to get a Los Angeles DUI case dismissed, it is important to first explain the process of how a case goes to criminal court in the first place.

When a person is arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, it is only a suspicion. It simple means that an officer who pulled the driver over, has enough evidence to believe that the person was both intoxicated and operating a vehicle. The officer will base this on his own observations, including the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, inability to follow direction, and any test results showing the presences of alcohol in the blood stream. This does mean that the driver is 100% guilty of a DUI, nor does it mean that the driver was in fact intoxicated, and he or she was operating a vehicle while intoxicated. All it means is that the driver more probably than not, based on the officer, was intoxicated and driving.

The officer will then forward their report to the prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor’s office will review each individual case, read the facts, the officer’s report and run a brief analysis with their legal experience and knowledge. If it seems to be a case in which the driver could be charged and found guilty of a DUI, a knowledgeable Los Angeles DUI Lawyer can tell you that chances are, the prosecutors will file charges.

To better illustrate this, let’s consider an example in which Prosecutors will likely file charges.

Example 1: David is at a friend’s birthday, and has had a few beers to drink. He believes he is not impaired to drive his car, and gets behind the wheel. On his way home, he forgets to turn on his headlights and is pulled over by officers. The officers ask David if he has been drinking, to which he replies “yes, I have had a few beers but I feel fine”. Having reasonable suspicion that David has been drinking, through David’s own admission, officers administer a field sobriety test which comes back with a reading of .12. This is a case that Prosecutors are likely to file and charge David with a DUI. There was sufficient cause for officers to pull David over; the headlights were not on. There was also sufficient reason for officers to administer a field sobriety test; David’s admission that he had been drinking. There is also enough evidence that David was driving at the time, as officers had to pull him over and observed him driving the vehicle, and enough evidence of David’s intoxication, the fact that his BAC was .12. This is sufficient for Prosecutor’s to file charges, but that does not, in and of itself, mean that David will be found guilty.

 

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What does reasonable cause have to do with a DUI arrest? It has a lot to do with it, and in fact, you cannot have one without the other. It is a crucial part of a DUI arrest and can lead to a dismissal of a DUI, if it is appropriate.

When an officer first asks a driver to pull over, he must have reasonable cause to do so. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but in a majority of cases there must be reasonable cause for the officer to ask a driver to pull over. If there is no reasonable cause, then this could lead to a dismissal of the case, as any evidence that is not properly gathered is inadmissible.

Let’s consider an example to get a good understanding of how reasonable cause is applied to a DUI arrest.

Lets assume that Oliver is an officer and he is parking on the shoulder of an off ramp and he is watching for oncoming traffic. Oliver may ask a driver who is speeding off the freeway to pull over. He may also request a driver to pull over if they are running the red light, or swerving in and out of lanes. These are all reasonable causes that would justify Oliver pulling someone over.

Oliver may also ask someone who has no headlights on to pull over, or someone who has illegally tinted windows to pull over. The officer may not ask someone to pull over because he sees them pulling out of a bar, or because he believes that they might be drinking. These are not valid reasons and will not constitute reasonable cause.

Let’s say that Oliver sees someone pulling out of a bar and pulls them over. His reason is simply because he believes they were drinking. The driver has not committed any traffic violations, but is simply pulled over based on Oliver’s whim. This is not probable cause. Let’s say Oliver subjects the driver to a field sobriety test anyways, and is in fact right, the driver has been drinking. The field sobriety test reads at .12. Unfortunately, the evidence of the .12 blood alcohol level will not be admissible because Oliver obtained it without following proper procedure.

Asking a driver to stop, purely based upon an officer’s whim, is in violation of the driver’s fourth amendment rights. These are constitutional rights afforded by the Constitution and taken very seriously.

If you believe that your rights have been violated, and you were not stopped with a sufficient cause, then you may have a probability to get your case reduced or dismissed. It is important for you to speak to a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer who specializes in that area of law and knows the law inside and out. They will be able to give you a knowledgeable and educated assessment of your defenses and arguments, allowing you to fully understand your case and the probability of dismissal.

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Many of our clients are talking to several different attorneys when they come meet with us. Unlike many other attorneys out office offers a free consultation with no obligations. The result is that when you come and talk to us, you are under no pressure to retain our office, nor are you required to pay anything when you visit us.

We take the time to talk to you about your case. About the different facts, the things that make your case unique, as well as your available defenses and arguments. This helps give you a good idea as to the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and the potential outcomes. While we cannot guarantee an outcome or predict how the case will turn out, we can give you a good idea as to how your case will be presented.

We are able to offer a realistic idea as to the potential consequences and outcome of your case because of the extensive experience our attorneys have. This can make a very big difference to your case. Many Los Angeles DUI attorneys are vey educated and reasonably priced, however, that is not always enough to win the case.

Each of the criminal Judges has their own preferences in regards to arguments, and evidentiary rules. Some Judges are really harsh when it comes to first time DUIs, and order higher penalties or requirements. Some Judges are not as harsh and are more lenient towards first time DUIs. These are things you want your DUI attorney to be aware of, so that they are sure to strategically present their case.

Let’s use an example to illustrate what I mean. Don is charged with a first time DUI. He is asked to appear in criminal court in Downtown Los Angeles. The first appearance, referred to as the arraignment, is before a Judge who has a zero tolerance policy on DUIs. He believes that if you harshly punish the first offense, it will deter additional offenses. An experienced lawyer that knows this will likely enter a plead of not guilty.

The arraignment Judge does not hear the entire case from beginning to finish. He only hears arraignments. So, if you plead not guilty, your case gets set for Pre Trial and is then transferred into a different courtroom where that Judge only hears Pre Trials. The experienced lawyer will know that entering a plea of not guilty will get it kicked to a different Judge. The lawyer will also know what the Pre Trial Judge’s stance is on first time DUIs. If that Judge is lenient, then it is in the client’s best interest to plead not guilty and have the matter heard by the Pre Trial Judge, not the Arraignment Judge.

This is why, when searching for a legal DUI professional, it is in your best interest to seek an attorney with not only legal experience, but knowledge of the Judges, courtrooms and even the clerks!

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When you have been arrested for a Los Angeles DUI, and are issued a citation to appear in court, you will also be given a notice to schedule your DMV hearing. This must be done within ten days of your arrest or you lose your right to hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether your license will be suspended, for how long, and whether you will have the option of a restricted license.

You have the right to an attorney in your DMV hearing, even though the hearing is administrative. There is no Judge at a DMV hearing, only a hearing officer who then makes a determination. You attorney, or you, can bring up any procedural issues with the officers conduct at the time of the arrest, or failure to follow protocol.

For example, an officer must have probable cause to pull a driver over. This means a traffic violation, or otherwise. If the driver ran a red light, the officer has a right to pull them over, or if they were speeding. An officer does not have the right to arbitrarily pull someone over. If the officer pulled someone over with no probable cause, the evidence they have gathered is inadmissible and can lead to a dismissal of the case. This is an argument that can be addressed or brought up during a DMV hearing.

Another example is if the officer had followed the right protocol in administering a field sobriety test and one thereafter. It is not required to take any tests at the scene, but if you are arrested and taken in, an officer must inform you that it is required, and if you refuse to take the tests, then it may have some consequences. An officer must inform you of these steps. If they do not, then it could result in consequences for obtaining evidence.

You also have the right to subpoena the arresting officer to testify at the DMV hearing. You can question the officer regarding their report, or their observations. This will allow you to provide doubt in the hearing officer’s mind or perhaps question protocol or procedure having been followed.

You may also present the police report or other evidence against the officer’s statements or testimony. In any case, a DMV hearing is important because it pertains to your ability and privilege to drive. You have to treat it as you would treat your criminal case, with seriousness and with the best possible legal representation. It is highly recommended that you seek the help of a Los Angeles DUI lawyer to provide the best possible representation to you not only during your criminal case, but also during the DMV hearing.

There are many arguments, and defenses available to you, and an experienced Los Angeles lawyer will have insight and knowledge into each officer and their preferences. This will help immensely with your case and ensuring the best possible results!

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When you have been arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles, you have not yet been charged. Before you can be charged the Prosecutor has to review the evidence and observations. If a decision is made to charge you, the Prosecutors office will move forward. At this point you will not have been convicted. A court has to find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt before that can happen, or you have to voluntarily and knowingly enter a guilty plea.

The DMV does not work under the same procedures, nor is it dependent on the criminal case. The DMV can make it’s own independent findings, despite what the criminal court does. From the moment you get arrested, the DMV is moving forward on their own set of procedures. You have ten days from the date of the arrest to schedule a DMV hearing. If you do not do this, you lose your right to be heard in regards to your license being restricted or suspended.

A temporary license will be issued to you for you to use until a hearing is held. The DMV will require a full hearing. The hearing is administrative, and it will be you, the officer and your counsel if you are represented. It is different from criminal court because there is no Judge. The hearing officer advocates the position of the DMV and makes the final decision.

You have the right to present testimony and evidence at the DMV hearing. You also have the right to subpoena the arresting officer if you wish to do so. It is standard that a license will be suspended for about 30 days, except for in certain situations. Thereafter, it is discretionary to allow for a restricted license. A restricted license allows you to drive to and from classes and/or work. This is important, as well as the duration of time the license will be suspended or restricted.

The outcome of your criminal case will make no difference or impact on your DMV hearing. Even if your criminal case is dismissed or reduced, the DMV may suspend your license at their own volition. Whether you are debating on hiring a Los Angeles Criminal Defense lawyer to represent you in Criminal Court or at the DMV hearing, it is important for you to consider the consequences of both.

It is highly recommended that you consider both to be equally important and retain a legal professional to help you. Both have consequences that can have lasting consequences. A legal professional is experienced and can provide you with the insight and arguments you need to ensure the best possible chances of winning your case.

If you find yourself in this situation, do not hesitate. Contact an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer as soon as possible so that you can learn about all of your options and defenses prior to entering any kind of plea or having your license suspended.

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In the previous blog, a brief overview was provided regarding the difference between an arrest, charge and conviction. Further, an example was given. What follows is the analysis.

At the point where David was stopped and administered a field sobriety test, he has only been arrested. The officer found that there was probable cause to believe that David was intoxicated and that he was operating a vehicle. Proving that David was driving a vehicle will be easy with the facts of this case because the officer himself observed David driving, and David was operating the vehicle when he was asked to pull over. Determining whether the driver is intoxicated is a little bit trickier, but in this fact pattern may be stronger for the officer.

The officer’s observations support his belief that David is intoxicated. This includes that he is slurring, and the odor of alcohol as well as his nervous, agitated behavior. Furthermore, David has admitted to having had some drinks. This admission will be strong evidence, as well as the field sobriety test reading of .1.

David was taken into custody and released the next day with a citation to appear in Court in three weeks. This will be his arraignment date. Let’s say that David appears on that date and they inform him that nothing has been filed yet. Does this mean he is free of all charges? No, it doesn’t. Oftentimes, due to the backlog of cases, and budget cuts, it takes the court system some time to review the facts of each arrest and determine if the driver should be charged. The court will simply give David a new date to appear, or send him home and wait for something in the mail.

David may receive something that states he is clear of all charges and that it will be dismissed. Or he may receive a letter informing him of a new date as to when he has to appear. This means that David has been charged. It means that the Prosecutor’s office, whether District Attorney or City Attorney, that there is reason to believe there is enough evidence to find David guilty of a DUI.

David will then appear at an arraignment, which is his first court date. If David opts to plead guilty on that day, then he will be convicted of a DUI. If he chooses to continue the hearing, or to retain counsel, or to fight his case, or many other options, the case will continue. Unless David enters a guilty plea, it will be the Prosecutor’s job to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that David is guilty of a DUI. Only after the Prosecutor proves that, he will be convicted.

If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to contact a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer as soon as possible so that they can explain the criminal system to you.