DUI Defense Strategies in California
In Los Angeles, if you are found driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or above, or under the influence of drugs, you will be arrested DUI – either as a misdemeanor or felony offense. California vehicle Code 23152 VC covers most driving under the influences cases.
At Cron, Israels & Stark, our law firm specializes in defending clients against any type of drunk driving charges in Los Angeles County.
We are familiar with the problems prosecutors normally face when proving DUI cases. We have extensive experience in the courtrooms in Van Nuys, San Fernando, Burbank, Glendale, Metro Court, LAX Airport, among others. We know that even a first-time DUI arrest can have devastating impact on your life and will aggressively work to get your DUI charges reduced or dismissed.
To give readers useful information about effective defense strategies against driving under the influence charges, our Los Angeles DUI lawyers are providing an overview below.
By law, in order to convict you of DUI, the prosecutor must be able to prove all the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you were arrested for DUI in Los Angeles, the most common charges include:
- Vehicle Code 21352(a) – Driving Under the Influence
- Vehicle Code 23152(b) – Driving with a BAC of .08% or Higher
In order to convict you, the prosecution has to prove that you were driving under the influence and were not able to drive with the caution of a sober driver. This is normally proven by driving patterns, performance of field sobriety tests, and results of the blood alcohol chemical test.
Tin order to convict you of driving with a BAC of .08% or higher, the prosecution has to prove at the time you were driving – you possessed a blood alcohol content of .08% or more. We may be able to challenge this crucial element of the crime.
Police Stop was Unlawful
In some DUI cases, our lawyers might be able to challenge the right of the police to have contact with you in the first place. This means challenging the probable cause police used to pull you over on a traffic stop. In order to stop you, police must have reasonable suspicion you committed some type of traffic violation.
Next, we could challenge officer's right to detain you longer than necessary in order write a ticket for the traffic violation to investigate the DUI. In order to extend a detention, police must have reasonable suspicion you are under the influence. We could also challenge officer's right to arrest you based on a lack of probable cause that you committed a crime.
Attacking DUI Chemical Test
Our lawyers can also challenge the chemical test used to produce your blood alcohol content result. Chemical testing is controlled by Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations – which contain guidelines for conducting chemical tests.
The guidelines require that you are observed continuously for 15 minutes prior to performing a breathalyzer test and machines used to test your breath or blood have to be calibrated properly so the margin of error is .01% or less.
They also state that if a BAC test is performed more than three hours after you were stopped, the test is not to be presumed an accurate indication of your BAC when you were driving. In these situations, the prosecutor has to offer expert witness testimony to form an opinion about your BAC when you were driving. The expert has to consider other evidence beyond the actual BAC result – including breath tests, field sobriety tests, and your statements.
Our experienced DUI lawyers will take all steps to challenge the validity of the BAC test results by attacking accuracy of the machines, validity of the results, or timing of the test. If you provided a blood sample for the chemical test, we can arrange to have a portion of your blood sample independently tested by a third-party laboratory.
Motion to Suppress Evidence
Our lawyers will obtain any audio or video of the DUI stop and arrest – including dash cam video – in an attempt to discredit the police officer's version of events to support a Motion to Suppress under California penal Code 1538.5. This is a formal request that a Judge suppress certain evidence based on the fact it was obtained illegally was in violation of your Constitutional Rights.
It could be based upon either the officer lacked probable cause for the traffic stop, lacked reasonable suspicion to conduct a DUI investigation, or lacked probable cause to arrest you.
A successful Motion to Suppress could result in a case dismissal. In some cases, your statements to police could also be suppressed because police didn't read Miranda rights after placing you under arrest then started asking questions. However, it should be noted that in a DUI case, a violation of your Miranda rights rarely results in complete dismissal of the charges.
Example of Successful Motion to Suppress
Here is a an example of a successful DUI dismissal after filing a Motion to Suppress a defendant's Statements:
While driving, someone is pulled over for playing loud music – but were not observed driving in a manner that might suggest they were intoxicated. However, during the stop, they were able to establish reasonable suspicion they were under the influence.
The police officers called for assistance from another officer to conduct a DUI investigation, but while waiting, they handcuffed the driver and placed them in the back seat of their patrol car.
When the assisting officer arrived, he removed the handcuffs and began asking the driver questions about if they had consumed alcohol and started some field sobriety tests, but never performed a breath test at the scene.
After his DUI investigation, the driver was arrested for driving under the influence and taken to the hospital to have their blood drawn – which by now, occurred over 3 hours after they were stopped by police.
Recall Title 17 above – due to the fact the blood was drawn more than 3 hours after he was stopped, an expert witness would need to establish his BAC. They could only make this determination using the driver's statements about his drinking pattern. Without it – the expert witness didn't have enough information to form an opinion.
The case proceeds to court where a Motion to Suppress the statements was filed – making an argument that since the driver was handcuffed in back of the police car before questioning – he was already under arrest the police needed to read his Miranda rights before asking him questions. Since the prosecutor's expert couldn't form an opinion on their BAC when driving, they had to dismiss the DUI charges.
Contact our Lawyers for Help
Our DUI lawyers have decades of experience and a track record of success defending clients against any type of driving under the influence cases. We need to closely examine the details of your DUI in order to develop the best strategy.
We will use all our resources to obtain the most favorable outcome on your drunk driving case. We might be able to get the charges reduced of be able to avoid a conviction through a diversion program. Our DUI lawyers will work aggressively while litigating your case in court.
Cron, Israels & Stark is a Los Angeles criminal defense law firm located at 11755 Wilshire Blvd, 15th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90025. We offer a free case evaluation by calling (424) 372-3112.