Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

The proceedings at a Los Angeles DMV hearing are very different from those in Criminal Court. The DMV hearing may take in person, or at the request of a Los Angeles Criminal Defense lawyer, over the telephone. Telephonic hearings are often requested by the attorney so that they can help coach you with the testimony. The DMV hearing officer will call you the law office and the attorney and client will be present and listening over speaker phone. All dialogue is on the record and will be conducted with the professionalism and legal guidelines as any proceeding, but is just a lot more convenient for all parties involved.

The officer will call at a scheduled time and will confirm the name of the attorney and the client. The client is identified by providing full name, birth date and address. The attorney will be identified by providing a name, and address. The officer will introduce the different exhibits as evidence, one of which will be the arrest report including the officer’s statements. The issues will be stated and the officer will ask which the attorney stipulates to, and which he or she is contesting.

Once all issues have been stated and it has been entered on the record what is being contested the DMV hearing officer will swear in the client and any other witnesses that are going to testify on the record. The attorney will then ask the client questions, followed by any questions the officer may have.s

During a DMV Hearing the officer will ask questions and review the arrest report to determine several issues and make a decision regarding the restriction or suspension of your driver’s license based on their findings. All questions asked and evidence gathered will be directed towards determining answers and argument centered around the issues that must be determined.

At the hearing the DMV officer must first determine whether the arresting officer had valid probable cause to stop the driver. The officer may not stop any driver without a valid reason to do so. Majority of times the driver is stopped for a violation of the California Vehicle Code. This could be running a red light, speeding, an illegal u-turn, or similar offenses. If a person violates the vehicle code, the officer has a duty to stop the driver and cite them for the violation. If during the stop the officer believes the person may be intoxicated, they have the right to conduct a sobriety test to determine if they could possibly be guilty of a DUI.

An officer also has probable cause when they check up on a person who had gotten into an accident or is pulled over at the side of the road. When a person is pulled over or has just gotten into an accident, the officer must conduct a welfare check to determine whether the person is ok or if they need assistance. At the time of the check the officer may determine the person is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and give the person a sobriety test.

When a person has been charged and arrested for a Southern California Driving under the Influence charge they must appear before a criminal court Judge as well as a DMV hearing officer. The criminal court will determine if they are guilty of a DUI and will dismiss or sentence accordingly. The DMV hearing officer will hear the facts of the case and if found guilty will take actions against the person’s driver’s license.

Each person has the right to a criminal defense lawyer to represent them in both the criminal court proceedings and the DMV hearing. Hiring an attorney to represent the driver during the DMV hearing not only ensures that the person is properly prepared during the testimony, but also that their rights are protected. A powerful argument made during the DMV hearing can help prevent the California driver’s license suspension for an extensive amount of time, and in certain situations may allow them to retain the use of their license on a restricted basis.

During a DMV hearing the officer will present the arresting officer’s report and will give the person charged an opportunity to present their side of the case on the record. The driver has the burden of proving that they were not intoxicated while driving. They must prove their case through strategic testimony.

The burden of proof in a criminal case refers to whether the government (Department of Motor Vehicles or the Prosecutor) or the driver has to prove the person being charged meets the standard required to be found guilty of the offense.

During a DUI case in front of the Criminal Judge, the Prosecution has the burden to prove that the driver is guilty of driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs beyond a reasonable doubt. What this means is that the government attorney must demonstrate to the court that there is enough evidence that demonstrates the person was guilty of a DUI beyond the doubt of a reasonable person. If there is any kind of doubt upon any part of the evidence, or the evidence as a whole, the burden has not been met. The person being charged has no obligation to prove that they were not intoxicated and driving. They have the right to defend themselves against accusations made or presented by the government, but do not have the burden of disproving intoxication while driving. If the government cannot present enough evidence as to alleviate any reasonable doubt, then they have not met their burden and the driver is not guilty of a DUI.

Assuming as an example, a person is being charged with a DUI in front of a criminal Judge. Prosecution presents a Blood Alcohol Reading and the officer’s statements as evidence. However, the officer has been cited several times previously for fabricating reports and there is a conflict between his story and the driver’s. There was a second car on scene that witnessed the whole event and corroborates the driver’s story causing further doubt on the officer’s report. Additionally, the blood alcohol machine records show that the machine has not been calibrated or sent for proper maintenance in a few years resulting in a margin of error on readings.sDue to the discrepancies in the officer’s report and the possible erroneous reading on the breathalyzer the prosecutor has not proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt. The accused driver has no obligation to show through evidence that he was not intoxicated, the case will be dismissed.

Many different factors come together to affect the rate of alcohol absorption, how quickly it is distributed into your blood stream and how quickly it is eliminated from your body.

Alcohol absorption is affected by the food you have ingested and the type of drink. When food is eaten along with alcohol, the alcohol absorption is a lot slower and the blood alcohol concentration peak (the point of greatest intoxication) is generally achieved anywhere between an hour to six. For people who haven’t had as much to eat, and are not eating along with their alcohol, the blood alcohol concentration peak is reached faster, generally in half an hour to two. The type of food ingested; fat, proteins or carbohydrates may have an effect on the quickness of absorption, but there is no concrete evidence. There is proof however, that the bigger the meal, and the closer in time to drinking that it is eaten, there is a slowing effect on alcohol absorption.

The stronger a drink is, the faster it will be absorbed by the body. Drinks that are generally between 10% and 30% of alcohol concentration will be most rapidly absorbed. Drinks that are less than 10% will take longer to be absorbed by the body.

A driving under the influence conviction not only affects a person’s criminal record, but also their driving record and auto insurance. Exactly how it affects each person’s auto insurance policy will differ from person to person, and from company to company.

When a person is convicted of a DUI, the DMV is automatically notified. Along with scheduled court dates to determine the outcome of the criminal case, the DMV will hold a hearing to determine the status of the person’s driving privileges. Once the sentence is determined, a person’s auto insurance company is allowed to access any information they need regarding the conviction. Upon their research, the auto insurance company will make a determination regarding the status of the person’s insurance policy.

Insurance policies are affected in different ways. For some people the premium will increase significantly, whereas other policies will be cancelled until further notice. The approach taken by an insurance company depends on several factors; the past driving record of the individual, the criminal record of the driver, as well as the age. After taking into consideration all factors as a whole, the company will make a determination.

One of the biggest goals our firm fights hard to achieve for our clients, is to avoid any jail time and to receive the lowest possible sentence. However, if there is a complex criminal history, or the charge is a serious one, jail time may not always be avoided.

Even though jail time may be a part of a person’s eventual sentence, there are creative alternatives that will allow them to avoid serving the time in an actual county jail or state prison. These alternatives are granted as a result of well prepared negotiation and skill with the Judge and Prosecution by an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney.

The option of house arrest is available to many people in lieu of serving traditional county jail or state prison. House arrest comes in many forms, including electronic surveillance, house confinement, or home detention.sEach achieve the same goal; to allow a person to serve mandatory time in their own home.

Many of our clients proclaim that the officer had no reason to stop them while driving and administer a field sobriety test. The reason may be any number of things, but our clients hold that those are false allegations. If there is no actual probable cause for an officer to pull someone over, then they cannot charge you with a DUI. Some common causes that officers cite for pulling a person over include: weaving in and out of lanes, broken taillight, not indicating before turning, and not staying within the lanes. If a person is stopped for doing any of the aforementioned violations, plus any others, an officer has a right to stop the person and ask the person to complete some field sobriety tests if they feel it may be necessary.

In the absence of any valid reason to stop a person, the officer has no right to do so. The police report will list the reason the person was initially stopped. When a person claims that there was never a reason to stop them, it is the officer’s word against our client’s, which brings up the issue of credibility. Generally the officer is taken to be accurate in his report, and his or her word is to be taken as truth. The person charged however, does not have as much credibility for many reasons, including the assumption that they were intoxicated at the time of the report.

When a person claims that there is no probable cause, it can often be difficult to prove. For example, say a person is stopped by an officer because they were weaving in and out of lanes. The officer stops the person, and notices symptoms of intoxication and administers a field sobriety test. The person is found to have a relatively high BAC and is taken into the station and charged with a DUI. Later on the person hires a Los Angeles DUI attorney and claims they were not weaving in and out of lanes, and therefore the officer had no right to stop them.

Many of our clients are suspected for a DUI even when they are in a vehicle that is pulled over or not being driven. If the government cannot prove that a person was driving the car under the influence of alcohol, the case may be dismissed.

A crucial element that must be present in any DUI case is the fact that the person charged was in fact driving the vehicle. This must be proven without a reasonable doubt before anyone can be convicted and sentenced for a DUI in Los Angeles. When a person is found in a vehicle that is parked, prosecution relies on surrounding circumstances and facts to prove that the person was in fact driving.

Several different facts will be taken into account. One of the things they will consider is where was the car parked? Was it in the parking lot of the venue, was it on the side of the freeway, was it in front of a friend’s house? If the car is at the venue, or at a friend’s house and hasn’t moved, there is a stronger argument that the driver had not driven the car anywhere. In comparison, if the car is on the side of the freeway, the government has a strong argument that the person drove the car there, and then decided to pull over.

When a person is charged with a DUI, the government makes their case using all evidence gathered during the arrest. This evidence will include the officer’s report and observations as well as the reading from any blood or breath test taken. These two pieces of evidence will make the bulk of prosecution’s case against a person, therefore if either account is inaccurate; it is in the best interest of the defense to argue its validity.

The accuracy of a breath test can be argued by demonstrating that the machine has not been properly calibrated, or it is running insufficiently. This is done by subpoenaing the maintenance records and reviewing them. If the machine has been used for a long time without having been checked for accuracy, there may be a weakness in prosecution’s case.

The reliability of blood test results may also be argued. This is done by questioning the lab that has done the testing. The lab may have contaminated the sample, may be biased, or may have even tested the sample inaccurately. To obtain a valid, accurate sample, the person charged with the DUI has the right to have the blood sample tested by an independent lab. They also have a right to go to their own doctor and have their blood tested. However, this does weakens the strength of the blood sample as evidence because many hours have passed since the original arrest. Consequently, the sample will not reflect an accurate reading of the Blood Alcohol Level.

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