You need to consult with an attorney who handles these kinds of cases. S/he can guide you through the process.
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Right out of the gate it sounds as if you may have some good facts for your defense. Every DUI is different and a lot will depend on the reports, admissions, alcohol concentration, and a host of other factors to determine how the case will shake out. The location of your court will also have a bearing. Driving back from Vegas can put you in a few different counties. Which court is your court case out of?
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Is there a possibility? Absolutely. She was not driving. You were. How the heck did police decide that she was the driver if you told them otherwise? I certainly would like to review the CHP report for that issue, as well as whether the time of last driving is noted as being within three hours of the breath or blood test for your wife (assuming even that she was driving).
Yes, but substantially better odds with a private attorney. Unlike in other states, you have to actually drive the car (cause it to move) to be guilty of DUI. She didn't commit the crime. Don't let her plead guilty. If the case isn't dismissed, she has to go to trial and you need to testify to the fact that she never drove the car.
If you were driver, and no driving seen, you have a good chance. Yes the Public Defender can help you. Getting a PD however will depend on your financial status, but they can do a great job. If everything you said is true, you have a good case.
I like your set of facts. It may be difficult to get the case dismissed, but it is possible so don't expect it to be dismissed outright. You may have to fight for it. Not certain where this happened, but if you live in Vegas and have to come back to California for several hearings, then it may be worthwhile to retain private counsel. The advantage in having private counsel is that your fiancee will not need to appear for a misdemeanor DUI if she is represented by private counsel. Therefore, she doesn't have to jeopardize her job or her income. I wish you and your fiancee the best and hope everything turns out her way.
Michael K. Cernyar, Esq.
"For Your Freedom Because Sometimes Good People Find Themselves in Bad Situations"
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I certainly sounds like a good case. I am curious about what was said at the scene that made the officer conclude that she had been driving. Since she was in the passenger seat, the logical conclusion was that you were driving. If you called for roadside assistance, why were you trying to change the tire? It sounds like the cop just did not believe you. It seems odd, something does not add up. Anyway, if you can, hire a lawyer. If not, go with a public defender. Good Luck!
If funds are low then your best option would be to have a public defender appointed. It's unclear from your question why the officer would assume your wife was driving. Either way it sounds as though there is a good "no drive" defense to the DUI. In my experience here in Sacramento the District Attorney will not dismiss a DUI short of a motion to suppress evidence.
Wait - you were driving, but they arrested her and not you??? Ok, that's a good case!
Also - they impounded a car even though a registered owner is standing right there??? Did they do any sort of DUI exam on you (eye test? PAS device?) Sounds like your vehicle may have been improperly seized.
You stand a good chance of dismissal if the facts are as you relate them.
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