Negotiating offers with Orange County DAs

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Negotiating offers with Orange County DAs

Negotiating offers with Orange County DAs

Central-Justice-Center OC Superior Court

Although you may have heard that the prosecutors in Orange County are tough on DUI cases, the prosecutors in Orange County as individuals are reasonable people.  Negotiating offers with Orange County DAs is not necessarily the pressure cooker experience you may believe. The district attorney’s representatives will look at your evidence, and listen to your side of the story.  They are especially interested in evidence that might suggest that they may not win the case at trial, which means evidence regarding a legal or factual defense in the case.

While the DAs in Orange County are reasonable, most are generally “by the book”, straight laced types, and are deferential to authority.  The office they work in is somewhat political, and no one wants to do something that might cost their job, put any future promotions at risk, or not be part of the overall mission of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

The DA’s in Orange County might believe that an office made a mistake, but more often, they will tend to believe whatever is in the police report.  As an Orange County DUI Lawyer, I have to use any and all corroborating and use every means of persuasion to convince them that the police made a mistake.

Remember the famous quote from Sun Tzu:

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

Hopefully we can get what we want without a jury trial.  But the more prepared we are for jury trial, the more likely the other side will agree to meet us more than halfway and make an offer that is likely to be what you want.

It is part of my job as an effective DUI Defense Lawyer in Orange County, to get the best plea bargain possible.  Negotiating offers with Orange County DAs is part of that. Then you and I will discuss whether to take the deal, or take it to a jury trial, by setting a trial date for DUI.

But ultimately, the final decision on whether or not to take a case to jury trial, or to accept a plea bargain, is you, the client.  If you have any questions about a plea bargain on a DUI case in Orange County, we can help you.

Contact us now – Let’s Get Started.

Don’t delay contacting us.  We can start you on a plan of action today that will help your court date later. The DMV needs action within 10 days of your arrest.  Contact us today.

 

Orange County DUI Checkpoints May 27, 2017

Orange County DUI Checkpoints May 27, 2017

DUI Checkpoints in Orange County

It’s Memorial Day weekend!  And the Orange County DUI Checkpoints scheduled for May 27, 2017 include DUI saturation patrols in Newport Beach, a DUI Checkpoint in Irvine, and a DUI Checkpoint in Santa Ana.

Irvine DUI Checkpoint

May 27th will be the date for an Irvine DUI Checkpoint within the City of Irvine.  It will last from 8pm to 2 in the morning.  It’s located on Culver Drive, at Barranca in Irvine.

Santa Ana DUI Checkpoint

The DUI checkpoint in Santa Ana scheduled for May 27th will be from 9:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m..  It’s located on Fifth Street, between Bristol, and Fairview, in the City of Santa Ana.  This is an unusual location for Santa Ana DUI checkpoints

Newport Beach DUI Saturation Patrols

DUI saturation patrols will take place from 4pm to 3am on May 27th, May 28th, and May 29th, all over the City of Newport Beach.  Saturation Patrols are where trained officers drive, looking for driving patterns, and traffic violations that might indicate that someone is driving under the influence.

Why does law enforcement have Orange County DUI Checkpoints?

DUI Checkpoints are even admitted by law enforcement to be less effective than other means of removing drunk drivers from the road. But, even though DUI checkpoints don’t work, police state they had a deterrent effect preventing people from driving in the first place.  The truth is that funding in grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), MADD, and the Federal Government ensure DUI checkpoints are used first before other measures.

Are DUI Checkpoints legal?

The US Supreme Court, as well as the law in California, makes DUI checkpoints legal, as long as they follow certain criteria, including:

  • Decision making by supervisors: This is important to ensure that checkpoints aren’t set up in “arbitrary and capricious” locations. The court didn’t say so, but we’re guessing they wanted to avoid any accusations of racial profiling.
  • Limits on discretion of field officers: The theme of distrust of the officer continues. Strict procedures and a random selection of drivers according to a preset pattern (every third driver, for example) are suggested to avoid abuse.
  • Maintenance of safety conditions: We’re not sure how it applies to constitutionality, but the court wanted lots of bright lights and signs.
  • Reasonable location: The location should be based on relevant factors, such as areas with high incidences of DUI or DUI accidents.
  • Time and duration: There are no hard and fast rules, but the timing should be set to optimize the effectiveness of the checkpoint. In other words, put ’em up when the drunks are out.
  • Indicia of official nature of roadblock: This is more babble about bright lights and warning signs. They do mention that the lights and signage should be visible for the sake of notification to the drivers. Drivers also can’t be pulled over for avoiding the checkpoint, unless they violate a law to do so.
  • Length and nature of detention: The time of the stop should be minimized as to infringe on a person’s rights as little as possible. That means peek at the eyes, smell for booze, and look for cans. If there are no signs of intoxication, the driver should be let go. If they look or smell drunk, field sobriety tests are appropriate.
  • Advance publicity: Ingersoll was in favor of advance publicity. It referred to the deterrent effect and stated that the notice minimizes intrusiveness to a person’s rights. In 1993, the court in People v. Banks stated that publicity was not a requirement, but it certainly helps.

Contact us

Contact our firm if you have any questions about Orange County DUI Checkpoints.

Don’t delay contacting us if you were arrested for a DUI.  We can start you on a plan of action today that will help your court date later. The DMV needs action within 10 days of your arrest.  Contact us today.

What You Should Know About Boating Under the Influence

Summer is Coming: What You Should Know About Boating Under the Influence

Summer is just around the corner, and you know what that means: Lots of partying in and out of the water. For many people, “partying” is code for “drinking” . That is if they don’t drive a boat at the same time.

Yes, there is such a thing as boating under the influence (BUI). And just like its more grounded cousin, driving under the influence (DUI), it’s illegal in all 50 states. Here are a few things that you should know about boating under the influence.

Alcohol is a major factor in fatal boating accidents

According to data from the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in boating deaths. In boating accidents where the primary cause was known, alcohol is the leading factor in 17% of fatalities. The U.S. Coast Guard also reveals that in boating deaths involving alcohol use, over half the victims fell overboard and/or capsized their boats.

There is a federal law vs BUI

Aside from the anti-BUI laws implemented in every state, there is also a federal law that prohibits BUI.

This law, which the U.S. Coast Guard is enforcing, pertains to boats of all shapes and sizes, from the smallest canoes and rowboats to the largest ships. The law also covers foreign vessels in U.S. waters and U.S. vessels on the high seas.

BUI checkpoints exist

Law enforcement sets up BUI checkpoints in the water, and has every right hail and board your boat to check for BUIs or any boating violation. In some states, officers can board your boat even without probable cause.

Possible BUI penalties

The legal blood alcohol limit in most states is 0.08%. Anyone that goes over the limit while operating a boat may be subject to the following penalties if convicted of a BUI:

· Fines – BUI fines may vary from state to state as well as from case to case. It is common among states to impose fines of up to $1,000 for misdemeanor offenses, while felony cases could draw fines of $25,000 or more.

· Probation – Many BUI convicts are slapped with probation, and are expected to comply with specific probation conditions for a 12-month period or longer. Failure to comply could mean more fines, a longer probation period or even imprisonment.

· Jail time – A misdemeanor BUI charge can land a person in jail for up to one year if convicted,

although courts are known to hand down lesser sentences. Prison sentences may be longer if it’s a felony conviction, particularly if the BUI resulted in injury or death.

States also differ when it comes to other penalties. In New Mexico and Missouri, people convicted of BUI are also required to complete a boating safety course. Loss of boat operating privileges, meanwhile, is one of the consequences of BUI in New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. There are also states like Utah, Alaska, and California that hang over the heads of BUI offenders the possibility of losing their drivers’ licenses.

It is also important to keep in mind that if you’re convicted of a BUI, you will have a criminal record.

Alcohol and water simply don’t mix

Chasing down alcohol with water is fine, but drinking alcohol while driving a boat across the water is not. The physical effects of alcohol, plus the unpredictability of waves, the heat of the sun and the inherent difficulty in operating boats all add up to what can only be a disaster.

Don’t drink and drive a boat. It’s one of the best ways to keep yourself, your passengers, other boat operators and swimmers safe when handling watercraft.

Learn more about BUIs by checking out the infographic above (click to enlarge), courtesy of the Law Office of Michelle Bell.

Plea bargains in an Orange County DUI case

Plea bargains in an Orange County DUI case

Top Orange County DUI Lawyers

There are only three paths, or directions, that a DUI case can take, which start with a DUI arrest, and end with a resolution of the case.  Plea bargains in an Orange County DUI case are one of many ways this can take place with a case pending in the Orange County Superior Court system.

Three ways a DUI case can be resolved

The three ways that a DUI case can be finished are the following:

  1. A DUI Plea Bargain;
  2. A motion to dismiss (or a motion to suppress evidence / suppression motion)
  3. A DUI Trial

Plea bargains in an Orange County DUI case.

What is a plea bargain?  A plea bargain is a settlement of the case.  It is defined as an agreement between the defendant and the prosecution to resolve the case without a trial.

The plea bargain can be anything from a dismissal to a conviction.  In turn, that conviction can include classes, probation, or even jail.

 

It matters very much what the charges are during a plea bargain.  For example, for Orange County DUI cases, the state imposes a minimum and a maximum for the DUI charge itself.  That means that the judge must impose a three year probation, an alcohol school, and certain fines and fees.  While the upper levels of punishment can go up, and include a longer school, up to six months of jail time, and can also include MADD classes in Orange County, Orange County DNA database submission, and the Orange County Work Program, CalTrans, or Community Service in Orange County, the bottom level cannot go any further.

The way to take care of that is to negotiate to reduce the charge to a different code section, with lower minimums.  We have had DUI cases reduced to a traffic ticket, DUI cases reduced to a fighting in public charge, and DUI cases reduced to a reckless driving or wet reckless, which is a common reduction.

Contact us today if you have questions about a plea bargain in a DUI case in Orange County, or what might be possible in your case.

Being arrested for DUI is traumatic

Being arrested for DUI is traumatic

being arrested for dui is traumatic

Being arrested for DUI is traumatic as an experience.  The entire process of being arrested for DUI, and being booked into county jail is very much a shock for most people.

In Orange County, most arrestees are brought to the Orange County Central Jail in Santa Ana.  This is true whether you are arrested by the California Highway Patrol, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, or any of a number of local police agencies from Anaheim DUI to Newport Beach DUI arrests.

Being arrested for DUI is traumatic, and can feel like you are in the planet of the apes.  The Orange County Jail is part of the training for new graduates of the policy academy, and so it is staffed full of new officers that are eager to prove that they are the boss, and that you cannot control or break them.  They do not want to give you any rights in jail, and they do not want to show any mercy. The good news is, unless you have an extensive criminal history, you won’t have to go back there.

Being arrested for DUI is traumatic, but most people arrested get probation for an Orange County DUI, without having to go back to jail.

A big part of our job as Orange County DUI Lawyers is to tell you what to expect from a DUI charge.  In many ways your lawyer or law firm will take on much of the stress of handling the case – appearing in court, analyzing the issues, negotiating with the judge or prosecutor, or handling a jury trial.

But the truth is that much of this process will be expensive, inconvenient, and mildly humiliating, depending on your personality.  For a first time DUI, the system wants to educate you to death via alcohol school.  For a second time DUI or third time DUI (or higher) DUI, the system wants to punish you to teach you a lesson.

Please let us guide you and help you through all of this, and help minimize the impact on you.  Contact us today. 

Can the police take your blood in a DUI?

Can the police take your blood in a DUI?

Can the police take your blood in a DUI?

There are some situations where the police can take your blood without a warrant.  Under the US Supreme Court’s ruling in the McNeely case, the court made clear that the taking of blood is actually a search of the body, which requires either (a) Consent; or (b) A warrant, or (c) Any of the more rare exceptions to a warrant situations.

Can the police take your blood in a DUI and get a warrant?

In Orange County, the judges and prosecutors have conspired, I mean got together, to make a policy where judges rotate being on call 24 hours per day to be available to issue warrants for blood tests.

Under California law, a blood sample must be drawn within three hours of driving in order to be admissible and used in a DUI case to prove blood alcohol.

Can the police take your blood in a DUI instead of breath?

Under the Ingersoll decision, the police are supposed to give you the choice between a breath test, and a blood test.  However, if a breath machine is not available, they can select a blood test for you.  If they suspect you are under the influence of drugs, you can also be limited to a urine test or a blood test (and sometimes the police require both).

So, can the police take your blood in a DUI?

The answer is a qualified yes.  One of the consequences of DUI attorneys advertising on radio and television, reminding people that field sobriety tests are optional, and not required or mandatory, and that field breathalyzer tests are completely voluntary, is that many people end up refusing all tests, and then being charged with a DUI refusal.

When it comes to a breath or blood test that is to be used as evidence, one of the conditions of your license is that you must submit to a test, or lose your license for one year.  You can also be subjected to additional punishments in court as well.

What do you recommend?

We recommend refusing all DUI field tests, and to ask for a breath test at the station.  Hopefully that will give you enough time for your blood alcohol level to drop from the time of driving to the time of the test.

Contact us today to get information for your DUI case.  We can help.

Was the breathalyzer in my DUI case operating properly?

Was the breathalyzer in my DUI case operating properly?Was the breathalyzer in my DUI case operating properly?

A breathalyzer device is a machine, and like all machines, they are only as accurate as they are designed to be, and are subject to input errors (garbage in, garbage out), and, like any measurement device, has a margin of error.

In California, the allowed margin of error for any admissible device is a .02.  That means that a test result that is a .08 could be as low as a .06%, or as high as a .12%, and still be considered to be an accurate reading.  One breath testing company we know has advertised the accuracy of their device to be within a 0.05 margin of error.  In other words, someone who blows a 0.08 might be as high as a 0.13 or as low as a 0.03.  This is the difference between being highly intoxicated and having less than one glass of wine for some.

Orange County DUI Breathalyzers – The Alcosensor IV

The Alcosensor IV is the current breath machine used in most DUI cases in Orange County.  It is soon scheduled to be replaced by a newer machine, the Alcosensor V.  Known issues with the Alcosensor IV include any, or all, of the following:

  1. Floating Decimal Point – The breath test results are .224 and .228 while state blood draw hour later is .014. If you just move the decimal point, then one hour earlier (when breath test occurred) the driver could actually have had a .0224 and .0228 breath alcohol reading. This result would comport with the possible parameters of alcohol metabolism. Orange County DUI tests are required
  2. Problems with temperature. Breath testing devices are highly sensitive to temperature, and as you can expect, there is a wide variety of temperature conditions in the field.
  3. Contamination. This can be breath contamination, or contamination in the device.
  4. Software extrapolation (algorithm integration problem ).
  5. High calibration – check simulator solution or dry gas and regulators, true calibration problems.
  6. Software degradation – Software ages and get corrupted with time or self-imposed degradation. This does happen and might have occurred on any unit.
  7. Plunger problems and carryover contamination. This occurs with heavily used machines.

Acetone DUI Breath Contamination.

Acetones can provide a false positive for DUI, which can happen in any of the following cases:

  • Inhalation of Paint or Glue Fumes
  • Inhaling Lacquer Fumes
  • Swallowing Unleaded Gasoline
  • Bread Products of various types
  • Untreated Diabetics
  • Persons on a Weight Reduction Diet (especially ketogenic or Atkins type diets)
  • Fasting
  • Alcoholism, which can create acetaldehyde in breath or blood;
  • Long-term smoking – smokers  are more likely to have higher blood-alcohol readings due to a greater amount of acetaldehyde in the lungs.

Programming and Software Errors with Breath Devices

Software errors in the programming of devices can also be a problem with breath testing machines, and often are discovered well after the machine has been in use for some time.

Contamination and Interference with Breath Testing Machines

Most machine manufacturers ask police to have testing subjects wait at least 20 minutes to blow after eating, drinking, or smoking. Under California Law, tests are required to have a waiting period of 15 minutes before starting.  Breath machine manufacturers admit that cologne, perfume, hand sanitizer, and toothpaste can result in breath test false positives.  Users are warned not to conduct the test in any place where radio interference from other electrical devices, or radio transmissions, might affect the breath device.

Contact us if you have any questions about if a breath machine used in your DUI is accurate.  We are the top choice for Orange County DUI Lawyers.

Why did the police pull you over in your DUI?

Why did the police pull you over in your DUI?

Best Orange County DUI Lawyers

There are a lot of different types of DUI arrests.  The most common situation is where the officer notices some smaller violation of the law (usually a traffic violation, or violation of the California Vehicle Code).

They do not teach this in driving school, but the rules change after dark.  Officers say that if you follow someone long enough, they will eventually violate some portion of the vehicle code. And the smallest violation of the law will be enough to pull you over.

Slightly rolling through a stop, or running a yellow light, or being one inch over the lane lines, are enough for you to be stopped.

Once the officer pulls you over, they are looking for an odor of alcohol, bloodshot and watery eyes, fumbling of your driver’s license, registration, or insurance, and any indication you are under the influence of a drug or alcohol.

Once they have that suspicion, they can ask you to do field sobriety tests.  As we have mentioned before, field sobriety tests are voluntary.  At this point, depending on the officer, and how well you’ve done, the officer has only one of three options available:

  1.  Let you go with a warning;
  2.  Let you go with a citation for any violations; or
  3.  Arrest you for DUI.

There was a time, in the past, that many talk about, where the police would just drive you home and not arrest for DUI.  However, pressure from Orange County prosecutors, and in turn, pressure from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) leads police to have a “zero tolerance” policy for anyone suspected of DUI.

Why did the police pull you over in your DUI? The police still have to have probable cause to pull you over, and separate probable cause for a breath, or blood, test that is not consented to.  Probable cause is defined by the US Supreme Court as “articulable suspicion that a specific crime has occurred, or is in the process of occurring”.

If you have questions about why the police stopped you for a DUI in Orange County, contact us today.  We can help .as we have helped many others.