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What is a Wilder Motion in a Los Angeles DUI Case?

  • September 1, 2017

    Having a DUI conviction on your driving record can lead to any number of unpleasant consequences for years to come, including higher auto insurance premiums, inability to obtain certain jobs or promotions, and even trouble with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities. Fortunately, an experienced DUI defense lawyer can often convince a court to reduce the charge to a lesser offense or even have the case against you dismissed. In many cases, a DUI defense lawyer will file what is known as a “Wilder Motion” to challenge the evidence to be used against you.

    A Wilder Motion gets its name from a man named Wilder who was accused of receiving stolen property on the basis of what was later determined to be an illegal search of his vehicle. When he appealed his conviction, the court ruled that any evidence obtained by the illegal search could not be used against him and the prosecutor was forced to ask that he be released.

    When your DUI defense lawyer files a Wilder Motion, he or she is informing the court that some of the evidence that the prosecutor will use against you was obtained improperly and in violation of your civil rights which are set forth in both the state and federal constitutions. Under California law, any evidence that was improperly or illegally obtained cannot be introduced in criminal court. If the prosecution’s case depends on evidence that cannot be introduced at trial, it will often be forced to drop any charges against you.

    In the Los Angeles area, Wilder Motions are usually raised for two specific reasons or “grounds”:

    1. Lack of probable cause to make a traffic stop.

    You cannot be “pulled over” by the police just because they think you might be driving under the influence, they must have a valid reason for doing so. This is called the probable cause to suspect that you may have been impaired. These reasons can include weaving between traffic lanes, going too fast or too slow for traffic conditions, or driving without signaling turns. If you were arrested for suspicion of DUI and your lawyer can demonstrate that you were stopped without sufficient probable cause, every bit of evidence obtained by the police will be suppressed (“thrown out”) and your case will be dismissed.

    2. Evidence that was improperly obtained or improperly processed / tested.

    Once you have been stopped by the police for a legitimate reason, your DUI lawyer can still challenge potential evidence on the grounds that such evidence was obtained improperly or was tested in a manner that could lead to an inaccurate result. These challenges are best described by examples.

    When you obtain a California driver’s license, you are agreeing to take either a “Breathalyzer” test or submit a blood sample if you are arrested on a suspicion of DUI charge. The police must inform you that you have the right to state which test you prefer as well as the consequences you will face should you refuse to submit to such testing. In special cases, such as when you are suspected of driving while impaired by both alcohol and drugs or being under the influence of a drug only, a urine test will be requested. If the police do not explain these options to you in a manner that is easily understandable by you, your lawyer may be able to have that evidence excluded by the court.

    Furthermore, all forensic testing in California must be conducted by a lab that is certified by the state and by or under the direct supervision of a qualified technologist. If the state cannot prove that such testing was done according to state law, the lab test results cannot be used against you.

    At the H&M Law Firm, we are a group of former prosecutors who now defend those accused of DUI. Using our knowledge of the courts in Southern California and the requirements of state law that police and prosecutors must meet in order to win a conviction, we have often been able to have our clients’ charges either reduced or dismissed without going to trial. Although we cannot guarantee the same results in all cases, you owe it to yourself to have us on your side!

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