What is a Helmandollar Plea and how can it help me?

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What is a Helmandollar Plea and how can it help me?

What is a Helmandollar Plea and how can it help me?

What is a Helmandollar Plea and how can it help? A Helmandollar plea, sometimes mistakenly called a Helmondollar plea, is used by a skilled Orange County DUI Attorney in DUI cases.  It is a plea bargain, where the driver agrees to plead guilty or no contest to one or more counts, with the agreement that the Court will make a judicial decision, based upon the evidence presented, or based on stipulated facts, that the defendant is not guilty of the excessive blood alcohol charge (BAC) (most commonly Vehicle Code section 23152(b)).

It is named Helmandollar after the case of Helmandollar v. DMV (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 52.  The “one or more counts” referenced in the above paragraph are usually a Vehicle Code section 23152(a) charge, or a Vehicle Code section 23103 (wet reckless) charge.

So long as there is a decision, by a judge, that the defendant is not guilty of violating the excessive BAC charge, there is an “acquittal” (a not guilty verdict) within the meaning of California Vehicle Code section 13353.2(e). The cases of Claxton v. Zolin (1992) and also Gikas v. Zolin (1993) are also part of California DUI case law that has been used by our Orange County DUI Lawyer in also setting this precedent.

Unfortunately, the previous advantage of Helmandollar has been diminished for DUI offenses committed on or after September 20th, 2005, because now a conviction on the impairment charge — the Vehicle Code section 23152(a) charge of DUI, now triggers a DMV license suspension by law.

However, a Helmandollar plea does still avoid or can “set aside”, a DMV admin per se (APS) suspension based upon an above .08% or higher blood alcohol concentration.

For first offense DUI cases, the use of a Helmandollar disposition by can still avoid 30 days of a hard suspension on the APS action (it makes the driver or license holder immediately eligible for a restricted license on the conviction triggering suspension pursuant to California Vehicle Code section 13352.4).  However, the licensee must otherwise wait 30 days for restriction eligibility on the 4 month APS suspension pursuant to CVC 13353.7(a).

For commercial drivers, a Helmandollar disposition on the Vehicle Code section 23152(b) count, coupled with a wet reckless reduction on the 23152(a) count, can save a commercial driver from a one-year suspension of their commercial driving privilege, provided that they were not driving a commercial vehicle at the time.

This is because a one year suspension of the commercial privilege under Vehicle Code section 13369(b)(2), which is a separate code section that applies for any license suspension, is avoided by the APS set aside, and a wet reckless conviction does not trigger a suspension under CVC 13352(a)(1) or VC 15300.  Our DUI attorneys have had success in the past with this strategy.

Note that in our experience as Orange County DUI Lawyers, the DMV can be resistant to setting aside APS suspensions based on Helmandollar dispositions absent proof that the licensee was actually acquitted on the CVC 23152(b) count.  We recommend that the DUI lawyer Orange County submit to the judge hearing the case a “Judgment of Acquittal” pleading for the judge to sign, with enough information to show a legitimate court trial on the facts limited to the 23152(b) above .08 issue, and the reason for the “not guilty” verdict, along with details like the date of arrest, and the driver’s license number, and then mail a certified copy of that pleading entered by the court to the DMV’s legal department.

Contact our law firm today

If you have questions about a DUI suspension based upon a DMV action, and what is a Helmandollar plea and how can it help, please contact our firm today – our best DUI lawyers in Orange County are available to help you anytime.


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