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Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Blog
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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.

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When you have been arrested for a DUI it does not mean that you have been convicted, or even charged. All it means is that officers have probable cause to believe you are in violation of California Vehicle Code §23152 or 23153. This means that they have enough evidence that there is more of a probability than not that you are intoxicated and operating a vehicle.

For a DUI, you have to have been intoxicated, either from drugs and/or alcohol, and operating a vehicle while under the influence. Once an arrest has been made, the Prosecutor’s office will have to review the evidence and determine if charges will be pressed against you. Oftentimes, you will get a court date to appear and will find that no charges have been filed, or no charges have been filed at that time.

If you are charged, this does not mean you have been convicted. You have rights that are protected by the Constitution and convictions made must follow the guidelines and protections given to you by the Constitution. You must voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently enter a guilty plea. This can only be after you have been explained your rights, the consequences, possible sentences, and the charges against you.

You can also be convicted if you have had the right to a full trial and have had the right to present evidence, and take testimony. After all of that, if the jury or a Judge finds that you were intoxicated beyond a reasonable doubt, and you were driving beyond a reasonable doubt, then you may be found guilty.

So in summary, you must first be arrested. This will happen when an officer believes there is probable cause that you are acting unlawfully. Then if the prosecutor believes the evidence is substantiated and strong enough, you may be charged with a DUI. It is only after a court of law determines you are guilty, or if you enter a guilty plea that you will be convicted. It is a good idea to speak to a Los Angeles DUI lawyer to help explain the process in more detail.

Let’s consider an example to illustrate the difference between an arrest, charge, and a conviction.

David is driving home from happy hour with his coworkers. He has had two beers in the span of an hour and feels that he is ok to drive as he also ate some appetizers. As he is driving home, he forgets to stop at a red light, before making a right turn. An officer is behind him and immediately pulls him over. When the officer approaches David, he smells of beer and is slightly slurring his words. He also looks tired and is nervous and agitated. The officer asks if David has been drinking and David responds that he was drinking a long time ago but is fine now. The officer asks David to step out of the vehicle and takes a field sobriety test. The reading is a .1. The officer arrests David and takes him into custody. The next day David is released with a citation notice asking him to appear 3 weeks later in Court.

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Under California Vehicle Code §23152, a person who is intoxicated and operating a vehicle can be found guilty of a DUI. Intoxication can arise from either alcohol, drugs or both. Recent changes to the legislation state that a person can be prosecuted for having any amount of drugs in their system. This does not just include recreational drugs, but can also include prescription drugs if they cause a person to be impaired.

When a person is charged with DUI based upon the suspicion on alcohol, there are many different types of evidence that may be presented by the Prosecutors. Of course, like all criminal cases, there are available defenses. The evidence presented is blood alcohol content as read by a breathalyzer, or blood test. These are numbers, numerical quantities, and the statute itself outlines exactly what amount will be demonstrate that a person is impaired. Drugs, however, are a different story.

With drugs there is no specific articulate way to determine whether a person is impaired due to the drugs, whether there is an impact on their ability to operate a vehicle, and how much of a drug can impair a person. What if a person smoked marijuana a few days prior and were then stopped while driving. If this is the case, they are no under the influence, nor are they impaired, but it is still in their system. Does that make it viable for a person to be charged with a DUI? They are not a threat to the safety of others.

Lets consider an example. Dana is having trouble sleeping, so her doctor have prescribed her Ambien. Dana does not take it every night, but she does when she needs to. She takes it one night, and falls asleep almost immediately. It is her first time taking it so she doesn’t know how the reaction is going to be. After a good night’s sleep she heads off to work and then happy hour after work with her co workers. She opts not to have any drinks, choosing an iced tea instead because she does not know how the Ambien will work with the alcohol. Nevertheless, on her way home, she is stopped for suspicion of DUI and is charged. She is administered a blood test and it is construed negatively and found to have Dana under the influence of drugs.

Dana could use a really good, experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney to help fight her case. She took all proper precautions, including not drinking and genuinely felt that she was not impaired. The attorney would argue defenses, and point to holes in the prosecution’s lack of any articulate evidence to demonstrate that she was indeed impaired. This may be difficult with the newly revised statute, but Dana is allowed her day in Court, and should take full advantage of her rights.

If you find yourself in Dana’s position, do not hesitate. It is important to seek the consultation of a professional as soon as possible!

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California Vehicle Code §23152 is the driving under influence statute, and outlines what is unlawful behavior and grounds for a conviction. The code section states that “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle” and includes “(b) It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle”.

The code section has also been recently revised to include 23152(e), which states that “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle”. This recent revision makes it much harder for the driver who is being accused of driving under the influence, and makes the prosecutor’s case much easier. Now, prosecution only has to prove that there are drugs present in the driver’s system. It could be a very minimal amount, and would still qualify for driving under the influence.

Note how the code section does not distinguish between drugs. It does not clarify whether the drug must still have an impact on the driver, or if it can just simply be in the system. For example, if David smokes marijuana on Sunday, and is driving to work on Tuesday. Would he still have grounds to be charged with a DUI when the effects of marijuana have worn off? This is a relatively new addition to the DUI statute.

Experienced Los Angeles DUI attorneys can provide much more insight on how the case would play out, or what evidence or defenses need to be presented. Having a knowledgeable background of not only the criminal law, but also a relationship with the Judges, clerks and Prosecutors helps an attorney determine how to approach a case. If you are being charged with a DUI where the intoxication is based upon use of drugs, it is a good idea to seek the help of a legal professional. There is much gray area when it comes to drugs, as it is more difficult to prove, and is harder to ascertain as to what amount makes a driver unable to operate a vehicle. Furthermore, prescription drugs may also fall under the category of drugs.

Even if you are not using recreational drugs, or intentionally driving while being impaired, it could result in a DUI conviction. This is why it is very important to consult with a Los Angeles Criminal attorney. They have the knowledge and experience to provide you with the guidance that you are looking for and to expertly handle your case so that you are not charged for something without the opportunity to present, and evaluate your case. Proper arguments, evidence and exhibits coupled with legal advice can guide you to determine whether Prosecutors have a strong case against you, or if it is better for you to go trial. It may also be a good option for you to accept a plea bargain, but again, that is a determination better made with the proper legal background, education and experience.

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If you have been arrested for a Los Angeles DUI, Prosecutors must demonstrate that it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you were 1) intoxicated and 2) driving. They must show that both elements exist, and not just one or the other.

You have certain Constitutional Rights that are given to you by the US Constitution. These are very important rights that come into play when you are facing criminal charges. These rights include the right to an attorney, the right to present evidence, the right to a fair trial, the right to be heard. These are all very crucial when it comes to your criminal case and they are rights that should not be taken lightly.

As stated, one of the biggest rights that you have is the right to present evidence at your trial. The type of evidence you would want to produce will require careful planning and discussion. It is a good idea to consult with a Los Angeles DUI lawyer before proceeding to trial. An experienced and knowledgeable lawyer will know the criminal court process, the procedure and the laws so that they can carefully and strategically plan your case. This will require a careful analysis of the facts, of the defenses and the arguments.

After a careful discuss has taken place the attorney will decide what to present to the Court. Evidence can come in different types. One of the most common pieces of evidence that will be presented is the police report. The police report indicates the behavior of the driver, and the blood alcohol level as well as any results of the field sobriety tests.

The police report is very important because it will have to indicate that the officer had probable cause to stop the driver in the first place. It also must show that there was reasonable suspicion for the officer to arrest the driver. These are key, because if there is no probable cause or reasonable suspicion, then the case may have to dismissed completely.

The police report is also important because it will state the officer’s observations and the driver’s test results. These are very crucial in a DUI case because it is strong evidence against the driver. These, of course, can be argued against but it may be a difficult argument.

Additional evidence that may be presented is testimony. The testimony of the officer, of the driver, any passengers and any witnesses. The officer will have strong evidence for the Prosecutor’s side. It is up to the driver, and/or his attorney to be well prepared and have strong evidence to counter that of the officers.

If you are planning to take your DUI case to trial, you need a strong plan of approach. There needs to be careful thought and argument behind each of the pieces of evidence that is to be presented, and to do that, it is highly recommended that you seek the help of a legal professional.

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When you have been charged with drinking under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, you will asked to appear in court on a mandatory appearance. This first appearance is referred to as an Arraignment. At the arraignment one of the advisements you will be given, is your right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the government will provide one for you. This attorney is referred to as a public defender.

A public defender is a skilled criminal defense attorney that can help represent you in your criminal case. The pay for the public defender will be determined on a sliding scale based upon your income. However, as skillful as public defenders are, there are some drawbacks to having one represent you in your criminal matter.

LACK OF TIME FOR PREPARATION

The only time you meet with your public defender is right before you are called before the Judge on the day of your hearing. Public Defenders have multiple cases before the Judge every single day, and they do not have time to sit and thoroughly prepare your case or meet with you beforehand, they simply do not have the time .In contrast, a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer that in private practice makes your case a priority. They will meet with you initially even prior to hiring, and they will meet with you thereafter as often as necessary. They have time to review your discovery in detail, to call the prosecutor and negotiation charges and potential sentences, and they have time to thoroughly prepare you and discuss each fact and potential defense on your case in detail.

OVERWHELMING CASELOAD

Public defenders are government employees and have a large caseload. They are before the Judge every day representing everyone that needs help. They meet with people right there in the courtroom, discuss their options, and present the case to the Judge minutes after. This is not sufficient time for you to fully understand what is going on, for you to take the time to weigh out each of your options and make an educated decision. It also does not give them any time to speak to potential witnesses, or review potential evidence that could really help your case. With a private attorney with over thirty years of DUI experience, you have plenty of time to present what you need. You have the option of asking the attorney to speak to family or friends, to collect letters of recommendation, as well as speak to potential witnesses or review potential evidence.

If you are faced with charges and cannot afford an attorney do not automatically choose a public defender. Many Los Angeles Lawyers offer payment plans and affordable rates. At the end of the day, you will not be just another case number, but a client that gets the careful time and attention they deserve.

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When you have been stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence, you have not yet been convicted. Chances are you were arrested, and charged under California Vehicle Code §23152 or 23153. These are the California DUI statutes. You have yet to be found guilty of these charges before you can be convicted.

At the time of arrest you will be given a citation. This citation will state the date of your first court appearance and the courthouse at which you must appear. This is not optional, there is no mail in plea option, it is mandatory. Failure to appear at this court date or prior to that court date can result in a warrant out for your arrest and additional charges or sentences. It is a good idea to be present in court the day you are required to be. If you hire a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, that lawyer may appear on your behalf as long as it is not a felony. In most DUI cases, a lawyer is allowed to appear on behalf of the person being charged. This is a great benefit because it saves you the time, hassle and trouble. It is a very anxiety provoking event and most people would rather not have to address it or deal with it.

That first date on your citation is called an Arraignment. At the arraignment you will be read your rights, potential sentences against you, the charges and you will be asked if you would like to enter a plea. You will also have the opportunity to speak to a prosecutor who will give you a plea bargain, or an offer as an incentive for you to plead guilty and resolve your case right then and there.

Before entering any type of plea or accepting a plea bargain it is a good idea and highly recommended that you speak to a legal professional who has over thirty years of experience. Their input is very beneficial to determining if the plea bargain is a good offer, whether there are any strong defenses or arguments available to you, or if your case is a weak one.

If after speaking to a professional you determine that your case is strong and the offer made by prosecutors is not a good one, it is likely that you would enter a plea of not guilty and the court will set the case for pre trial. At Pre Trial, you, or the lawyer you have on your behalf will negotiate and talk to the prosecutors. The initial plea bargain given at the arraignment will no longer be available, but based upon thorough discussion of cases and facts, the offer at the pre trial might be much better.

If you are not familiar with the courthouses, the Judges or the law, you will not know if the offer being made is a good one, or if it is a weak one. You will not know whether you should take your chances at Pre Trial or accept what is offered at the Arraignment. Therefore, do not hesitate! Consult with an expert right away!

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As discussed in the previous blog, you will be asked certain questions by an officer during a routine DUI stop. An officer needs probable cause for intoxication before he can arrest you for suspicion of driving under the influence. Admissions by the driver and observations made by an officer are just two of the ways an officer can suspect that a person is intoxicated. These will give the officer the probable cause needed to be arrested. These were discussed in the previous blog, Probable Cause During a Los Angeles DUI Stop – Part One. In this second part we discuss additional ways an officer can obtain probable cause.

  1. Field Sobriety Tests

If an officer feels that it is necessary, they can ask that you submit to a field sobriety test. There are several different test that can be administered.

  1. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

The HGN test is the most accurate of the three field sobriety tests. It involves an officer asking you to follow an object from side to side. The officer is checking for jerking or bouncing of the eyeball. This is an indication that there may be alcohol present in the driver’s system, or even certain drugs.

  1. Walk and Turn

This test is about 68% accurate. The officer will ask the driver to walk a straight line taking nine heel to toe steps. Once the driver has walked the line, they will be asked to turn around and return to the starting point in the same fashion, nine heel to toe steps. If the person does not follow instructions, or starts too early, then that could be an indication that the person is intoxicated.

  1. One Leg Up

This test is about 65% accurate and the officer is required to demonstrate this test to the driver. They are asked to stand with both feet together and arms at the side. They are then asked to lift one leg up and count upwards of 1000.

All these tests must be clearly instructed by the officer and demonstrated if necessary. It is important for there to be clear instructions so as to avoid any procedural issues. If an officer has not given clear instructions, it is possible that the results of the test may be tossed out which could result in no probable cause.

These tests are very subjective with the officers observations being the only source of evidence as to intoxication. If you submitted to these tests and are concerned that you were not given proper instruction or it was impossible to perform due to external circumstances or conditions, it is a good idea to consult with a Los Angeles DUI Attorney as soon as possible. It could be the key to having your DUI charges reduced or dismissed based upon all legal defenses and remedies available to you under California Criminal law.