Asked 10 months ago - Los Angeles, CAFlag
Hello there and thanks in advance for your help. I will try to quickly provide details. I got stopped at a DUI checkpoint (in Anaheim) and blew a .89 and followed by a .097 and .098 bloodtest. I did reasonably well on my FST's (counted to 31 seconds instead of 30, etc). This is my first DUI and first experience dealing with the law/cops. I have completed my 3 month school and am currently driving with a restricted license until 9/8. Orange County took a few months to formally file against me and at the first meeting with my attorney, I was given the standard first DUI penalty with the standard probation. Where do you recommend I go from here? I was under the impression that considering my low BAC that a Wet & Reckless was more likely. Recommendations on how to negotiate?
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Based on the information you provided, we have no bad driving, good FST's and a rising BAL defense. You should consult with a DUI lawyer (try a member of the National College for DUI Defense and there are many in your area). That lawyer will most likely tell you that this case should GO TO TRIAL. If they don't tell you it's a good case for trial, then talk to another one. Feel free to contact me for some names of the lawyers in your area who go to trial (and often win) on cases like yours. These are facts that we wish we had on every DUI case.
How do they prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were impaired when driving? With a good expert witness (toxicologist) on your side, it will be tough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were at or over .08 at time of driving (assuming your DUI lawyer can get the PAS result in front of the jury).
If you have an attorney, this question is better directed at him or her. If there has been a breakdown in your relationship with your current lawyer, then you may want to consult with others. Based on the facts provided, I would not accept the "standard first" conditions either.
SLG Criminal Law Group
515 South Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
If you feel that you cannot work with your lawyer, you really do need to hire one that you are more comfortable with. You should be working with an attorney who is well-versed in DUI law, and who can advise you what defenses may or may not be available to you and what motions may be available. I would reccommend doing this before deciding whether or not to accept a "wet & reckless." Let me explain: A wet and reckless may carry significantly lower penalties (half the fine, no jail time, a lighter DMV course) but is considered a DUI for purposes of priorability. This means if you get stopped for DUI again within the next 10 years, and are convicted of that charge, it will be treated as a second DUI. If you are in an accident where another person dies as a result, and you are found to be under the influence of alcohol, you can be charged with murder. A wet still carries repurcussions for your auto insurance and may affect employment, especially if you drive a company vehicle.
Therefore, carefully consider whether a plea is appropriate in your particular situation first. The only way to do this with all of the information you need is to discuss it with an attorney who is well versed in the area.
Although we do not know the facts of your case, if it is close to your recitation, you should never consider pleading to DUI [or if you were mt client even to wet]; checkpoint stops are frequently winnable in motions, and that low a BA is almost always winnable at trial. The fact that you have an attorney does not mean you need to keep him, if you do not trust his judgment. https://www.facebook.com/LawOfficeOfKennedy
If you cannot work with your attorney, you should hire one that you are more comfortable with and that will explain things and take the time for you. You want an attorney who is experienced in DUI law, and who can advise you what defenses may or may not be available and what motions may be available. I would reccommend doing this before deciding whether or not to plea and what plea deal to accept.
Your BAC is low enough that a "wet reckless" plea offer may be appropriate. A wet and reckless may carry lower penalties (half the fine, no jail time, a lighter DMV course) but is considered a DUI for purposes of priorability. This means if you get stopped for DUI again within the next 10 years, and are convicted of that charge, it will be treated as a second DUI. If you are in an accident where another person dies as a result, and you are found to be under the influence of alcohol, you can be charged with murder. further, a wet reckless still may impact your auto insurance and may affect your employment.
From what you have stated, further negotiation is warranted to get you to a Wet and Reckless. If you do not feel your attorney is representing you to the fullest, you should retain another attorney. Depending on how much work your current attorney has done on the case, you may be able to get some of your money back if you discharge him/her.
WHAT TO EXPECT
If you are arrested for an Orange County DUI-DWI you will be faced with some very difficult decisions. Most likely you will want to hire a qualified attorney who can represent you at all phases of the proceedings -especially when it comes to negotiating a plea bargain.
It is important to remember that two distinct hearings are triggered by an Orange County DUI arrest: a criminal court proceeding and a civil proceeding through the Department of Motor Vehicles. At both, you or your attorney will be able to provide evidence as to your Orange County DUI case. You have the right to defend your drunk driving case and may be able to get the charges dropped or at least reduced.
After an arrest for an Orange County DUI the arresting officer will likely have confiscated your driver’s license and replaced it with a temporary license (DS-367). This temporary license expires 30 days from the date of arrest and gives important information to the suspected drunk driver. Most importantly, the DS-367 states that you have only 10 days from the date of arrest to contact the City of Orange Driver’s Safety Branch Phone (714) 703-4000 Fax (714) 703-2526 to request a hearing. This hearing will usually be set a month or more from the date it is requested and the DMV will send you a new temporary license on expiration of the first one. In essence you will have full driving privileges until a decision is reached at the DMV Administrative Per Se hearing following your Orange County DUI. The DMV restriction is based off of the arrest for the O.C. Drunk Driving incident, so the penalty can and will be in addition to any criminally imposed sanctions. Most likely, if the DMV APS hearing results in a suspension it will be a 4 month suspension with 1 month of hard suspension (no driving) for a first time Orange County DUI offense. After that, a suspected drunk driver may apply for a restricted license which gives the applicant the ability to drive during the course of employment and to and from an alcohol treatment program. The restricted license will lengthen the original 4 month hard suspension to 5 months of restricted driving.
Court Sanctions following an Orange County DUI
A conviction in the criminal courts following an Orange County DUI arrest will result in a 6 month suspension of your license for a first time offense. The abstract will be sent from the court immediately after a decision is reached in the drunk driving case regardless of whether it is the result of a plea bargain or a jury trial. While the 6 month restriction is in addition to the DMV limitation, a qualified Orange County DUI attorney can run the sentences concurrently. Furthermore, the 6 month restriction imposed by the criminal court allows you to immediately apply for a restricted license.
The penalties for an Orange County DUI could be jail, an alcohol treatment program (3 months -18 months), probation (3 years – 5 years) and fines (2k) and classes and programs such as MADD/VIP
Depending on the facts of the arrest, jail time could be up to a year for a misdemeanor (not likely in your case) .
CRIMINAL 1st OFFENSE DUI PENALTY CHART
SENTENCE RANGES IF PROBATION IS GRANTED:
FIRST Offense within 10 years
· 3 Year Minimum to 5 Years Maximum of Non Reporting Probation
· 3, 6, or 9 month alcohol program, which you will have to pay for
· $1900 Approximately in Court Cost, Fees, Fines, & Penalty Assessments
· Possibly 48 hours to 6 months in jail.
· 6 to 10 months driver’s license suspension
· Mother's Against Drunk Drivers & Victim Impact Program
SENTENCING RANGES IF PROBATION NOT GRANTED
· 96 hours to 6 months in jail,
· $16000 fine,
· 6 month driver license suspension.
Call me to discuss your facts. I will give you a fair price and workout a payment plan if money is tight.
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