Having An Experienced Attorney Represent Me In Criminal And DMV Cases

Judge gavel with Justice lawyers, Businessman in suit or lawyer working on a documents. Legal law, advice and justice concept.

Representing oneself is always an uphill battle. No one could perform dental surgery or brain surgery on themselves, and no one should try to represent themselves in a court case. Lawyers are trained with a bachelor’s degree followed by three years of law school. In addition, many lawyers obtain additional training and many years’ worth of experience after law school. As mentioned, I have undergone the same training that police officers go through for conducting DUI investigations; I have all of their training manuals; I understand the science behind blood and breath testing; and I’ve even spent time in a lab testing blood samples. These are things that the average criminal defense attorney has not done.

I’ve handled many cases for clients who first hired a lawyer that primarily practiced a different discipline, and it resulted in disastrous outcomes. Even someone who has been to law school can easily make errors in the defense of DUI cases. It is essential for a defendant to have someone in their corner who understands all aspects of DUI cases, has built credibility with the prosecutor, and knows how to spot the problems in the prosecutor’s case.

A defendant who attempts to represent themselves will not be taken seriously by the prosecutor and will end up in front of a jury of 12 people without any idea of the rules of evidence and what’s allowed to be brought in. If a person can’t define hearsay and talk about the exceptions to it, then they probably shouldn’t be at an evidentiary hearing or a trial in court without an attorney.

There are many misconceptions in DUI law. For example, a self-represented defendant might argue that they weren’t read their rights and that their case should therefore be dismissed. However, they would do so without realizing that, contrary to what many people think, this wouldn’t necessarily justify a dismissal of the case. Real court is nothing like T.V. court. As a result, real attorneys who understand the process and have relationships with the prosecutors and judges are necessary.

In addition, the DMV process is difficult even for a trained defense attorney, because the deck is always stacked against the defendant. A defendant who represents themselves will not be taken seriously by the hearing officer, and will not know how to marshal the appropriate evidence or issue subpoenas. The preparatory work leading up to a hearing can be incredibly difficult for someone who doesn’t have the training, time, or capacity to handle it. This is what I do for a living, and I have a staff that’s ready to help me obtain the right documents and identify the best defenses. We also have access to experts who have run both the L.A. County and Orange County crime labs, as well as an expert who is both a nurse and a private investigator who testifies on accepted medical practices and blood draws. To attempt to put on a case without these resources is a catastrophically bad idea.

Another advantage of hiring an attorney in most California cases, is that the attorney will be able to appear in court on behalf of the client, which means the client can go on with their life and won’t have to take time off of work to go to court. The vast majority of my clients never see the inside of a courtroom, and have no interest in doing so.

Why Is It So Important To Work With An Experienced Attorney?

Only an experienced attorney will be able to locate all possible defenses and work towards getting the best possible result. An experienced attorney will look at the reason for the stop to determine if the driver actually committed a vehicle code violation that falls under one of the 24 vehicle motion cues that officers are trained to look for, as well as spot flaws in the officer’s investigation. If the officer did not have reasonable suspicion for the stop or probable cause for the arrest, then the case should be dismissed. If the defendant was not admonished that they have a right to refuse a blood or breath test, then the results of the test should be suppressed. These are just a couple examples of the critical issues that could make or break the government’s case, and that only an experienced attorney will likely spot.

The government should be held accountable; if the government and the police aren’t doing it right, then none of us is free. Having a qualified attorney evaluate the government’s case, and audit their procedures and methods, is the only way to make sure that they’re not just out there arresting whomever they want. By bringing to light the government’s mistakes rather than letting them go unchallenged, we encourage the government to do better next time.

In the vast majority of cases, a defendant who has an attorney will end up with a better deal than they would have by just showing up and pleading guilty on their own. We’re able to coordinate things between the DMV and the court process to minimize the total suspension time on the driver’s license, minimize the length of required classes, and completely eliminate the hospital-and-morgue program and Mothers Against Drunk Driving program requirements in many cases. We are often able to reduce the fines and/or convert them to community service in order to help clients save money. In addition, we can help clients save money on their auto insurance by getting charges reduced or timing convictions so that they occur after insurance renewal.

In California, an attorney can also go to court for the client, which means the client will not have to take time off of work or deal with the stress of having to appear. The vast majority of my clients never see the inside of a courtroom, and that’s the way they prefer it.

How Do You Think Your Personality, Experience, And Approach Helps You To Defend Your Clients?

Judges and prosecutors respect me and know that, unlike a lot of attorneys, I am field sobriety test trained and have taken the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) course. I have spent time in a crime lab in order to understand the process of testing blood and the ways in which this process can be problematic, and I continue to delve into the science.

When I turned 21, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my life; I thought I was too cool for school and actually attended one of the most respected police academies in the United States — the L.A. County Sheriff’s Academy – while working for the L.A. Port Police. By virtue of this experience, I gained a strong understanding of the perspectives of police officers; combined with my more recent experience taking their advanced

courses and field sobriety testing trainings, I have developed a comprehensive approach that benefits my clients.

Lastly, it may be of interest for my readers to know that in fact, the first expungement I ever did was my own. I have firsthand experience being arrested, hiring a criminal defense attorney, and fighting my case for many months before arriving at an appropriate result. While I was in law school, I handled the expungement myself. I truly understand what my clients are going through, but I also understand how police officers are trained to think and operate; most people will have a hard time finding a criminal defense attorney with this combination of experience.

For more information on Experienced Legal Counsel In A DUI Case, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (323) 529-3660 today.

The DUI Attorney Don Hammond


Get Attorney Don Hammond's published book DUI Arrest,
Now What? A Primer for the Accused today for free.