All different kinds of people get charged with DUI’s. It’s not just alcoholics, club-goers or party-girls. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, business professionals, students, police officers, and other responsible professionals out there have their share of DUI troubles. It is illegal to drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol or with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. A person who feels “fine” may still be under the influence in the eyes of the law. Because the law provides for these “alternative” standards for a DUI conviction, it is possible for one person to be charged with multiple crimes even though only one event occurred. In most cases, the police will arrest the suspected driver and release him or her the next day with a citation for the court date. Upon release, IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONSULT WITH A QUALIFIED DEFENSE ATTORNEY IMMEDIATELY! I explain below why it is not sufficient to wait until the court date in a DUI case to have the Public Defender appointed on the first day of court. A qualified and experienced DUI lawyer will ensure that common pitfalls are avoided, which include pleading guilty when there is insufficient evidence, being overcharged, lacking expert analysis of BAC measurements, or failing to review the evidence for facts that support a strong defense or that can get a case reduced or dismissed. The reality is that the D.A.’s office has the burden of proving that the charged crime occurred beyond a reasonable doubt. If they don’t have sufficient evidence, they cannot get a conviction. That is where we come in; to review the D.A.’s evidence, negotiate a plea deal based on the strength of evidence against you, or challenge the D.A.’s evidence and charges in court. Our job is to get you the best possible outcome under based on the facts of your case.No lawyer can guarantee a particular result. In fact, it is unethical for a lawyer to do so. However, investing in a lawyer, who will do the proper legal analysis of the facts, evidence and the plea offer, is worth it when the potential consequence is loss of a current job, a new career opportunity or even a hard-earned professional license. It isn’t enough for a lawyer to have some criminal law experience. You want a lawyer who has been trained to handle DUIs, who has conducted DUI trials, and whose practice includes handing DUIs on a daily basis. The point is to ensure that your lawyer knows how to challenge the prosecution’s case to get you the best possible results!In deciding to hire a DUI lawyer, the question you need to answer is whether it is worth it to you and your economic situation to fight your DUI. It is a cost-benefit analysis but the right lawyer will do the analysis work to determine what’s the best end result in your case and not just plead you out. Hopefully, the following will help you make an informed decision:What does DUI mean in California?In California, it is illegal to drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol. To be proven guilty, the driver must be “impaired.” Impairment can be demonstrated by showing poor coordination. Prosecutors can do this by showing that an arrested person performed poorly on a field sobriety tests or by pointing to the fact that the driver caused a traffic collision. More commonly however, impairment is easily demonstrated by showing a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Because the law provides for alternative forms of evidence for a DUI conviction, it is possible for one person to be charged with multiple crimes even though only one event occurred. That is why a person arrested for DUI will have a ticket that shows two counts of DUI. Doesn’t the fact that I got arrested mean I already lost the DUI case? No, some DUIs are worth fighting.Assuming the police arrest a suspected DUI driver, it is far from over. Once arrested, the suspected person will be compelled to give a breath or blood sample. Routinely, the suspected person will be released the next day after having had the opportunity to “sober up.” Upon release, the suspected person will be asked to sign a citation or ticket that shows the future court date. This is the key. Before you go to court, all the police did was develop a suspicion that DUI happened. Police officers are not trained or empowered to decide if you are guilty. ONLY a Judge in court can decide this. That is why you have a court date. When it’s time to review the evidence against you – and present the evidence FOR you – in court is the crucial stage at which a qualified and resourceful defense attorney should be working for you. The following are some of the important questions that can dramatically affect the strength of the case against an accused person. Did the police have a legitimate reason to pull the accused person’s vehicle over? Did the officers collect the evidence (blood or breath) in accordance with that laws designed to ensure scientific reliability of that evidence? Does the police officer’s statement conflict with the video and audio recordings made during that arrest? How much time elapsed before the police actually collected a blood or breath sample? These are just some of the missing answers that can determine whether an accused person will lose his/her case and become a convicted person. If your work, you have a professional license and some other economic concern depends upon it, you owe it to yourself to hire a qualified and resourceful attorney to get these answers. Accused persons are entitled to a free attorney, why not just use a public defender?Public Defenders are licensed attorneys, paid by the government to represent indigent, accused persons. Many of them are very good attorneys. In fact, Mr. Raul Sabado and Mr. Kratu Patel were both public defenders earlier in their careers. It provided them with a solid foundation to build their private practice upon.Nonetheless, there are some good reasons why a public defender might not be right for you. For instance, public defenders are not authorized to represent accused persons at DMV hearings. DMV hearings are crucial because the DMV will take action to suspend an accused person’s driver’s license independent of what happens to in criminal court. Second, a DMV hearing is a valuable place to get access to evidence against you, often weeks before the District Attorney has to give it to you after your arraignment.Also, even a good public defender has a duty to serve all needy clients who appear in court that day. In other words, an accused person must share his one public defender with countless other clients who have the misfortune of having court and no lawyer that day as well. This makes it extremely difficult to get quality, dedicated time with a public defender attorney. Lastly, all courts have a process to determine if your financial situation fits the definition of indigent and therefore qualifies you to use a public defender. So you may or may not qualify and if you wait, you may miss out on some good opportunities to start defending your case.DUIs are hard to beat, so why fight? Accused persons may be inclined to believe “I might as well get this over with and plead guilty because I have no shot at winning.” At least make sure that the conclusion that “no shot at winning” is based upon an analysis of your own case made after all the evidence is collected and with the assistance of a qualified criminal defense attorney who has handled thousands of DUI cases. If you are making that decision alone or with the help of a non-qualified attorney, the decision is less than rational. In fact, even people who had a DUI (or two) – whether they plead guilty or got it dismissed – can’t legitimately give you good advice. That is because their whole understanding is based upon the facts of their own where in their own cases. So don’t listen to them, because they are doing this without the benefit of thousands of cases behind them, trial experience, legal training, passing the bar exam, or even going to law school. How do I know when an attorney is qualified to handle a DUI? Unfortunately, there is no definite legal definition for what a qualified DUI defense attorney is. But here are a few guidelines. First, understand that there is no legal definition for “DUI Specialist.” The California Bar does officially define and regulate a specialty in criminal law but it doesn’t relate specifically to DUIs. Lawyers simply use this as a marketing scheme. Simply telling you they have a great “success record” is not meaningful because clients, not lawyers, are the ones who get to determine what “success” means. For example, a client comes in and says, “I did it, just keep me out of prison.” Another client might say, “I wasn’t driving drunk, please help me.” These two clients will each define success differently. What is important is that a lawyer has handled enough DUIs to have experienced the different kinds of DUIs multiple times over. There are first time DUIs, DUIs with injuries, DUIs involving drugs, A-count DUIs, B-count DUIs, DUIs with GBI, DUIs involving death, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time DUIs. Defenses run the gamut from rising blood alcohol, Title 17 violations, GERD, to no-driving. Professor Raul Sabado has handled at least 6000 DUI cases and has handled the kinds of DUIs above several times over to 100s of times over. This is enough to have determined what evidence will be sufficient for conviction, what defenses prosecutors will take seriously, what jurors think of certain kinds of evidence, when reduction or dismissal is justified, and what advantageous resolutions are available if a defense does not work.In summaryDUIs can suspend a driver’s license, result in the loss of a professional license (i.e., medical, real estate, teaching credential, etc.), or cause disruption to or loss of employment. A qualified and experienced DUI lawyer will ensure that common pitfalls are avoided. Pitfalls include pleading guilty when there is insufficient evidence, being overcharged, lacking expert analysis of BAC measurements, or failing to review the evidence for facts that support a strong defense that can get a case reduced or dismissed. Unfortunately, no lawyer can guarantee he/she will “win” or get the case dismissed. In fact, it is unethical for a lawyer to do so. However, investing in a lawyer who will do the proper legal analysis of the evidence, the plea offer, and can meaningfully bargain is worth the price.It isn’t enough for a lawyer to have some criminal law experience. You want a lawyer who is a dedicated criminal defense attorney, who handles DUIs on a daily basis, who has conducted DUI trials, and whose practice includes handling every kind of DUI there is. The point is to ensure that your lawyer knows how to challenge the prosecution’s case to get you the best possible results.
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909.626.2003678 S. Indian Hill Blvd., Ste. 210, Claremont, CA 917111109 W. San Bernardino Rd., Ste. 250, Covina, CA 9172230 N. Raymond Ave., Ste. 705, Pasadena, CA 91107Assistant@sabadolaw.comhttp://www.sabadolaw.com