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Criminal defense hero

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Defense

 
 

We've received the same training in DUI investigation as law enforcement officers, and our inside and in-depth knowledge of police process and procedures is your secret weapon when it comes to challenging the prosecution’s DUI case against you. Don’t take a chance with your freedom to drive without a dedicated DUI Defense Hero by your side.

We preserve and enforce your rights by fully investigating the facts surrounding the alleged offense and the police procedures utilized during your traffic stop, the DUI field investigation, and subsequent collection, processing, and handling of blood alcohol evidence. We can file various motions to discover and exclude evidence, and present the prosecutor with contradictory evidence and witness statements to help you achieve the most favorable outcome possible for your unique circumstances.

We deal with all DUI cases including: First-time DUI, DUI with prior DUI convictions, Felony DUI, DUI accident, DUI with injuries, DUI with high BAC, DUI plea bargains to lesser charges, and DUI – Drugs.

 

For immediate help, call 323.529.3660.

5 Essential Steps after getting a DUI

 
 

Driving under the influence (DUI) is never a good idea, but if you’ve already been detained and charged, let’s make the best out of a bad situation.

If our article on WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IF YOU’RE STOPPED FOR A DUI did not help you avoid getting charged for driving under the influence, take these 5 steps now:

STEP 1: KNOW YOUR MIRANDA RIGHTS & KEEP QUIET

When you are being arrested, you should be told “You have the right to remain silent.” This means that you do not have to answer questions or give statements. If you do say anything, it could be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney during questioning — but it is up to you to request one. If you cannot afford a lawyer, a public defender will be appointed for you.

During a DUI investigation, prior to arresting you and reading you your rights, officers will ask a series of investigative questions – don’t answer them.  These questions include:

  • Have you been drinking?

  • How much have you had to drink?

  • Where were you drinking?

  • Where are you going?

  • Where are you coming from?

  • When did you last eat?

  • When did you last sleep? For how long?

  • Do you take any medications?

  • Are there any mechanical problems with your car?

  • Do you have any medical conditions?

Politely decline to answer these questions, and also politely decline to participate in any Field Sobriety Tests, or the Portable Alcohol Sensor (PAS).

Once you are arrested, however, you do not have the right to consult an attorney prior to choosing blood or breath.  Consider blood, as it saves a sample that you can have independently tested later.  If you refuse to take a test, enhanced penalties may apply.

Ask to speak with an attorney immediately and simply respond “no comment” to any questions you are asked. Speaking will likely only hurt your case. To read more about Miranda Rights, check out our article.

STEP 2: WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING YOU REMEMBER

Whenever you are released, be sure to write down everything you remember about your arrest and the events leading up to it. Writing things down can not only help you to collect your thoughts but can also help when you are looking for a defense attorney.

Here is a list of questions to get you started:

Before driving, where were you and what were you doing?
Where were you pulled over?
Who were you with and can they testify to your activity?
How many drinks per hour did you have?
What type of drinks did you have?
Did the officer treat you badly at any point?
What instructions did the officer give you?
When did the officer read you the Miranda rights?
How did you interact with the officer?

*Do not show this writing to anyone except your attorney.  If it is discovered by the government, it can be used against you in court.

STEP 3: HIRE AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

Find a trustworthy defense attorney who can help you avoid jail time and possibly reduce or eliminate your sentence. When looking for an attorney, be sure to take your notes and the notes from the police report.

You should ask the attorney what his track record is on cases like yours and determine if he will be open and honest about what he can do for you. During this time, you should ask about attorney fees and see if he is the best fit for you. Note that the more time-consuming and complex the case is, the more expensive the attorney fees will be.

Don’t underestimate the power of an attorney in your case. People without any legal experience who decide to do it all on their own usually miss opportunities and jeopardize their case.

Los Angeles DUI attorney Don Hammond has the same DUI investigation training that the police have, including Field Sobriety Test training, and he has all of the standardized training manuals for DUI and drug related police training.  He works with a team of experts, including criminalists, investigators, former crime lab supervisors, and toxicologists, to determine the appropriate defense in each case.  With experience in over 100 criminal defense cases, Don can spot the issues and ensure that your rights are protected.

STEP 4: GET A STAY & A HEARING

It is in your best interest to immediately call the California DMV or a reputable attorney to request a hearing because you may be able to obtain a stay on the suspension of your license pending the Admin Per Se hearing.

You only have 10 days in California to call the DMV to request a hearing. This includes weekends. Not doing so could result in losing your license. You will need to call a specific DMV office depending on where you were arrested.

Although they can generally look you up by name, date of birth and driver license number, when you call, you should to have your ticket, driver’s license number, the date and location of the arrest, the type of test you took, and the name and ID number associated with the arresting officer.

Once you have contacted the DMV Driver Safety Office or a reputable attorney to request your stay (allows you to keep driving until your hearing) and hearing (allows you to keep the DMV from suspending your license), you will need to obtain a copy of the police report.

STEP 5: REVIEW THE POLICE REPORT WITH YOUR ATTORNEY

Request a copy of the police report from the arrest. You can do this by requesting it be sent to you from the DMV 10 days before your hearing, or your attorney can make this request on your behalf. Compare your notes to the police report and be sure to scribble down anything that seems incorrect or far-reaching.

The police report will detail the arresting officer’s reasoning. This includes why you were stopped, your driving pattern, your sobriety test results, your blood or breath test results, and your physical appearance.

Comparing the report to your experience can help your attorney better understand the case and the events surrounding it.

 
 DUI (driving under the influence) drinking and driving quick facts infographic

DUI (driving under the influence) drinking and driving quick facts infographic

 
 

What makes a Great DUI Defense Attorney

 
 

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the state registers more than 172,893 DUI arrests every year. Out of these, about 133,525 get convicted following an arrest. This translates to about a 73.7% DUI conviction rate. In other words, if you find yourself arrested for DUI, there is a 73.7% chance that a superior court will find you guilty on one or several counts. But what about the 26.3%? How did they manage to escape conviction? The answer lies in their choice of a DUI attorney. A qualified and brave DUI attorney is your best shot for winning your case. Here are five qualities that make a great DUI attorney.

An Attorney Should Come Recommended

When looking for the best DUI attorney, you should start by seeking out recommendations. It would not hurt to ask around among your close friends and colleagues who have been in similar situations. A close friend or colleague could offer information about an attorney they hired and the outcome of their situation. If you do not want to ask your friends or family for a recommendation, be sure to ask the attorney that you hire for past client references, who may be willing to speak with you.

Consider the Attorney’s Qualifications

Just like every other profession, there are outstanding attorneys and there are not so great ones. A critical difference between the two lies in their qualifications. Are they licensed? Are they registered on the State Bar website? How much experience do they have as a DUI attorney? How many DUI cases have they handled successfully? Do they have any experience in a DUI case that is similar to yours? What happened in this case? These are some of the essential questions that you should ask before choosing an attorney.

You should select an attorney who has extensive knowledge and experience in the DUI field specifically. While other attorneys can still handle your case, a DUI attorney is the best option because they have more in-depth knowledge and understanding of California DUI laws, and the possible defenses.

Another crucial matter to consider is the attorney’s reputation and ethical footprint. This includes whether the attorney has had any disciplinary actions taken against them. They may not reveal this, but the State Bar website is available to the public for doing a brief check on an attorney.

A Great Attorney Does Not Form any Preconceived Notions

A reasonable attorney is driven by his legal and constitutional obligation to win the case or come to the best possible outcome, whether or not they believe that you are guilty. They typically work from the phrase “Innocent until proven guilty.” While the attorney may ask about any prior convictions, their primary duty is to work their way around the current problem. In line with this, a great DUI attorney will not accept the prosecutor’s or police statements without collecting evidence (or conducting Discovery) for more information. A competent attorney will protect your constitutional rights. For example, an attorney will always remind you to exercise and uphold the Fifth Amendment, that is, the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, as your fundamental constitutional right.

Stellar Investigative/Research Skills

This is possibly the most essential quality that a brilliant attorney should have. Their research skills should be at par or better than police work. This is what makes the most significant difference between successful attorneys and haphazard lawyers. At any given point, the prosecutor and the police will have incriminating evidence against you. Attorneys should conduct in-depth research for your case to find out missing information that can help your case. Research can include anything around your DUI: from social media communications to what you ate for breakfast. They will make every possible attempt to try and find out exactly what occurred and how to use this to your advantage in court. At the end of the day, an experienced DUI attorney knows that the evidence they have (or don’t have) will determine the success or failure of your case.

Superb Negotiation Skills

Coupled with great investigative skills, a great DUI lawyer should be a strong negotiator. Negotiation is more than just begging for a reprieve. While negotiating for your penance, there are two things that an attorney should consider: what you deserve as per your offense and your likelihood of a conviction. This is why a responsible attorney will ask you to remain transparent with him at all times and divulge all the minor details around the DUI incident. By doing this, the attorney can highlight the prosecutor’s weaknesses and the flaws in their case against you. With all of these strategic tools, your attorney can argue on the best possible outcome.

 

DUI Defense Strategies

 
 

Driving under the influence (DUI) laws are taken very seriously in California. The sequence of events and consequences that follow the mistake of drinking and driving is complex. In this article, we seek to give you a good roadmap on how to come out of the woods as unscathed as possible and put this event behind you. There are many pitfalls in the road ahead, but having a great attorney with years of experience will get you through this dark and stressful time.

To be found guilty of a DUI, which covers both alcohol and drugs, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was:

  • a driver 21 years old or over operating a normal vehicle with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of 0.08% or higher
  • a driver of or a motor vehicle who is impaired by drugs and/or alcohol
  • a driver operating a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or higher
  • a driver under 21 years old with a BAC of 0.01% or higher

*It is worth noting that prescription or over the counter medications that contain alcohol will also affect your BAC (like cough syrup).

Penalties if you are convicted of a DUI vary widely depending on many factors. To better understand the penalties you face, please see these articles: DUI Sentencing Enhancements and DUI Penalties in California. If you are charged with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, there are two major events coming your way. The 1st is a DMV hearing, which you must request within ten days of your arrest. The 2nd is a trial in court where you will face the charges against you. It is in your best interest to immediately call the California DMV or a reputable attorney to request the hearing because you maybe able to obtain a stay on the suspension of your license pending the Admin Per Se hearing.

Once you have contacted the DMV Driver Safety Office or a reputable attorney to request your stay (allows you to keep driving until your hearing) and hearing (allows you to keep the DMV from suspending your license), you will need to obtain a copy of the police report. You can do this by requesting it be sent to you from the DMV ten days before your hearing, or your attorney can make this request on your behalf. This report is important as it should contain every detail of your arrest, from the reason the law enforcement officer stopped you to the blood test results.

Before you go to the hearing or the case proceeds to court, you will need to decide whether you are going to represent yourself or hire an attorney to represent you. If you are going to fight the charge, a defense attorney is recommended because he will not only defend you, but he can help you navigate the complex legal process and life process that come after being charged with a DUI.

There are numerous legal defenses strategies that your attorney can argue to reduce or dismiss a DUI charge. Some include:

  • Mouth alcohol – The instruments used to test for alcohol are designed to capture a sample of your breath from deep lung tissue: however, several factors can affect this reading. For example, your dental work trapped a small amount of alcohol-soaked food in your teeth, you used a mouthwash that contained alcohol, or even you simply burped. The result of any of the aforementioned could be a falsely high BAC reading.
  • Rising blood alcohol – Alcohol takes between fifty minutes to three hours to absorb fully into your system. This means that your reading at the time of arrest could be far lower than your reading at the police station. Legally this second reading is irrelevant and an attorney who has a good understanding of rising blood alcohol will be able to use this as a defense.
  • Blood test errors – The potential for errors is a well-used Californian DUI defense. These can occur from incorrect blood storage, contamination, and fermentation. If your attorney can prove an error has been made or has likely been made, then they could have the blood evidence suppressed.
  • Lack of probable cause for a stop – In order for the police to stop you on a suspected DUI, they need to have what is known as probable cause. This means they need a good reason to think you are drunk driving, such as swerving out of the lanes.
  • Simply bad driving – Unfortunately the police often assume that someone who is driving badly is drunk. This is quite often not the case though, erratic driving can be caused by simple actions such as eating, changing the radio station, and etc. Attorneys often build a good defense around this as it is something most drivers can relate to doing.
  • No mental impairment, no DUI – According to Californian DUI law there are two types of impairment – mental and physical. Reports of drunk drivers often contain physical impairments such as slurred speech, poor coordination, and an unsteady gait. Very few reports contain indications of mental impairment, which experts agree on being a primary indicator or intoxication- no mental impairment, no DUI.
  • You weren’t driving – In order for the police to prove a DUI, they need to prove you were driving at the time. For example, if the police found you while you were parked, or you were involved in an accident where no one saw you driving, they would struggle to convict.
  • Police misconduct – An attorney could help you dismiss your DUI charges if he can prove that the police reports were not accurate, or the courtroom testimony is not truthful. Purposeful manipulation, fabricated evidence, and illegally obtained evidence are also grounds for dismissal. Don Hammond reads the police training manuals forwards and backwards and knows exactly where police typically make errors that help your case.

Getting a DUI charge is intimidating, especially if you don’t even know the 1st steps to take, but the situation is not hopeless. If you need assistance, please contact Don Hammond or a reputable DUI attorney who can help you lower or eliminate your sentence in court. You can request to meet with the attorney before committing to using their services. Most attorneys offer a free consultation. Make sure to select a competent attorney who has positive reviews and a good idea on how to handle your case to lower or eliminate your sentence.

Even after the settlement of the case, there are numerous other process you will have to face like enrolling in a CA DUI Program, applying for a restricted license, reinstating your CA driver’s license, and securing reliable transportation to your job if you’re unable to drive. This is where Don Hammond stands apart from most other DUI attorneys – once the case is settled and they received payment, it’s hard to get a hold of them. Don Hammond will not only help you navigate the legal process, but also the personal and professional process of getting your life back on track.