You will hear many different opinions on how to select the best attorney. You want to find someone who just practices DUI. You also want to make sure you're comfortable with that attorney as you will have a lot of communication with them, especially if the case goes to Trial. Find someone who will actually handle your case themselves instead of handing it off to an associate. An attorney who conducts your first consultation, getting every detail you remember when fresh in your mind, will know your case better for Trial than someone who gets handed the case at a later stage in the process. Make sure they are members of CDLA and NCDD.
If the blood results came back below the legal limit, what are you being charged with?
When you look for a DUI attorney, look for three things: experience, someone who'll talk about a tentative case strategy based on your initial interview, and someone with whom you're comfortable.
Please look at the attorneys listed at the http://www.california-dui-lawyers.org/findlawyer.asp
Then follow the advice to interview a couple of them at least - choose from your area.
Good luck on your case,
Joshua M. Dale, Esq.
I agree with the previous posts, you need to get a criminal defense lawyer in this case ASAP. The "agreement" that your lawyer friend can get may be nowhere near as good as the deal an experience criminal defense trial lawyer can get.
Even though this case is probably going to be resolved short of trial, you still need an experience criminal defense trial lawyer on the case ASAP. A good trial lawyer with a strong record for winning cases is a much better position to negotiate the best possible resolution - which from the sounds of it is a dismissal.
In order to prove you guilty of DUI the prosecutor has to show that either you were above the legal limit or you had sufficient alcohol in your system which impaired your driving. They can't prove over the limit - so they lose that count. You don't say how close you were to the limit or how many drinks you reported to cops, but depending on the BAC the prosecutor could use the results coupled with the driving to try to prove impairment. However, the driving you describe - delay in turning lights on - is not indicative of alcohol impairment. It is a common error that many people make.
You don't mention anything about field sobriety tests (FST) or the results - my guess is the cop will say you failed them otherwise he wouldn't have had probable cause to arrest you. Failing the FSTs can be used as evidence of impairment, so trial lawyer will need to challenge the cop's conclusion that you failed the FST's. You'll need a trial lawyer with sufficient DUI motion practice and training on FSTs - that does not necessarily mean a lawyer who only does DUIs.
There should be a video; if there is, your trial lawyer can use this to show that you were not impaired.
In any event, a decent trial lawyer with DUI experience would be able to point out weaknesses in the prosecution's case and use that in negotiations. A lawyer with a DUI practice is a good choice IF the lawyer is an experienced and skillful trial lawyer. Otherwise, just look for a good criminal defense trial lawyer who has successfully tried some DUIs and is familiar with the DUI motion practice.
Even with a blood alcohol below the "legal limit" of 0.08%, I'm sure you know you can be charged with DUI if they think they have a case & can show that any alcohol impaired your ability to drive. The time frames between the last drink, the driving and the blood test will determine if the DA thinks they can do "backward extrapolation" to get to a guess at your blood alcohol level at the time of driving.
If you have identified procedural irregularities on the part of the police, then it sounds like your case will be decided in pre-trial motions.
Additional information about DUI procedures, accuracy of breath tests and field sobriety tests can be found at the link below.
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