Hermosa Beach Dui Lawyers
Bluntly, getting a Drunk Driving or DUI charge in Hermosa Beach is no laughing matter. A conviction could cost you in excess of $5,000 in fines plus probation fees for first-time offenses, notwithstanding the long-term damage it could inflict on your career. However, you still have options. Choosing to hire an experienced, aggressive attorney can distinguish your case from the others. Moreover, we have a former DA on staff who formerly specialized in prosecuting DUIs–now he defends them. The choice is yours, and we’ve provided some DUI basics below in order to help you decide.
In a DUI, the prosecution must prove two main things:
1) the person being charged (the ‘defendant’) actually drove a vehicle
2) at the same time, the defendant was ‘under the influence’–meaning that the person’s ability to drive safely was affected to an appreciable degree by drinking alcohol, taking a drug, such as prescription medication, or a combination of alcohol and drugs.
A good defense attorney will challenge these two elements right off the bat. If one challenge proves successful, it pretty much kills the prosecution’s case. But that doesn’t mean the fight is over; there are still a number of defenses left in the arsenal to choose from.
DUI is an acronym for “Driving Under The Influence,” which means, if you weren’t actually driving, you cannot be convicted of DUI. Most cases begin with a suspect getting pulled over, so there usually isn’t much on our platter in terms of whether the defendant was driving or not. However, if the officer didn’t actually record that he/she observed the defendant driving–the officer approached an idle car while the defendant sat in the driver seat in a parking lot, for example–the issue may raise enough reasonable doubt to warrant a dismissal based on that evidence alone.
If the officer didn’t have the legal jurisdiction to arrest the defendant, or if the officer failed to follow proper procedure, then the arrest itself may be deemed inadmissible by the court. Some attorneys colloquially refer to this as “chopping the dragon’s head off,” because it leaves the prosecutor with virtually no evidence to rely on. For example, because the BAC results or officer’s testimony couldn’t be used as evidence.
No Probable Cause Defense
If the officer did not have probable cause, which is often defined as “the requirement, found in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, that must usually be met before police make an arrest, conduct a search or receive a warrant from a judge…,” then the defendant may be able to prevent any evidence obtained during the arrest from being used at trial. For example, the defendant believed he/she was pulled over because of their race or ethnicity (yes, this still happens in the 21st Century), not because of their actual driving. In this case the defendant may have a strong challenge to the arrest. The defendant, after all, has a constitutional right against searches that are deemed unreasonable under the law, just like every other citizen.
No Miranda Warning Defense
In Miranda V. Arizona, the Court held that prosecutors could not use statements proffered during custodial interrogation unless they “demonstrated the use of procedural safeguards… effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination.” In other words, if the officer fails to incorporate “procedural safeguards” (e.g., reading of Miranda Rights), or recites them incorrectly, some evidence may be excluded at trial.
Defendants have a right to provide witnesses to testify on their behalf, before the court. Some common testimonies include the following:
1) Witness didn’t see defendant drink anything prior to entering vehicle
2) Defendant appeared to be sober
3) Defendant ran a stop sign because of a distraction unrelated to alcohol consumption
Though rarely needed, defendants also have the right to testify on their own behalf. Some common testimonials include:
1) I don’t do well on tests due to my physical impairment
2) My eyes were bloodshot/speech was slurred because of sleep deprivation
3) The officer provided me with instructions that were incredibly confusing
Most importantly, the best way to prevent facing DUI charges is don’t drink and drive. However, we’re all human beings and things happen. So if you’re ever facing Drunk Driving or DUI charges, do not fight it alone, look to Hermosa Beach’s most successful outfit and talk to us about having our experienced, aggressive DUI attorneys fight your case.