Case Study: Example of a Successful Case from a Los Angeles DUI Attorney

By | November 29, 2013

If you have been charged with a DUI in Los Angeles, you are likely distraught and anxious about your future. Arrests involving drunk driving are the most common infractions on the road. Due to the inexperience of some lawyers, DUI cases often lead to suspended licenses, extensive fines, and at times a jail sentence or prison time. However, hiring an experienced DUI attorney Los Angeles firm often makes a positive impact on the outcome of a driving under the influence case.

A skilled lawyer that specializes in DUI cases will use a variety of proven strategies that are relevant on each specific case. At every stage of the investigation, the attorney can build an effective defense based on the evidence obtained by the DUI prosecutor.

In fact, it is the prosecutor’s duty to provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that you were in fact driving your vehicle while drunk. The arresting officer likely used a variety of means to obtain evidence for the prosecutor’s case. In all likelihood, the officer noticed you poorly navigating your vehicle, or noticed a strong odor of alcohol from your breath. It might be that you appeared intoxicated, perform poorly on the standardized field sobriety test or had positive results on a breath or blood alcohol test.

Even so, every piece of evidence the prosecutor uses to support the allegations of you driving under the influence is ambiguous, and highly subject to a variety of interpretations. The evidence can be very unreliable and is usually based on faulty assumptions. A skilled successful DUI attorney in Los Angeles can develop an effective defense that openly attacks one or all pieces of evidence the prosecutor will want to use at a plea bargain or trial.

An experienced DUI defense lawyer understands that most evidence obtained through a DUI arrest is not based on hard science. Many times, a defense lawyer can prove that the evidence is actually founded on junk science. Unfortunately, innocent people in Los Angeles are convicted in court of driving under the influence, usually because they plead guilty even when facing spurious evidence by the prosecution.

An Unwarranted DUI Arrest Case

A successful attorney in Los Angeles noted that one of his clients, like others that have been arrested for DUI, had an innocent explanation for their faulty driving. After pulling a double shift at work, the attorney’s client was beyond exhaustion and eager to drive home to go to bed. Unfortunately, the arresting officer noticed that he was swerving behind the wheel for a short distance. Apparently, every now and then he would drift out from his lane and made wide turns. While these are typically sure signs that an individual is driving drunk, in reality, he was completely sober even while providing obvious cues to the officer.

Surely, all of us have witnessed drivers reading a map, talking on their mobile phone, eating, or displaying other bad driving habits including swerving in and out of lanes. However, being late at night, the overzealous officer neglected in his observations to determine whether or not the client had actually been drinking.

The officer stopped the attorney’s client, and even though there is no notation of smelling any sign of alcohol on the driver’s breath, ordered him out of the vehicle to perform the standardized field sobriety test. Upon exiting the vehicle, he noticed the driver had watery bloodshot eyes. Due to the driver’s sheer exhaustion, he was slow to respond to the questions posed by the officer. In fact, he struggled to perform the sobriety test, which requires good coordination and vigilance. As a result, the officer arrested the driver, read him his Miranda warnings and charged him with driving under the influence with derisory evidence at best.

As tired as the driver was when reaching the police station, he was smart enough to recognize he needed to call his attorney before speaking to anyone. The attorney reminded him to protect him constitutional rights to remain silent until he arrived.

Building a Defense

The skilled attorney recognized that there were various ways to build the case in an effort to have the charges reduced or dismissed altogether. His first defense strategy could be based on an unlawful traffic stop. The officer likely believed he asked specific articulable facts that indicated to him that there were reasonable suspicions that a traffic violation was being committed. However, there were not. This action alone could bring the DUI lawyer to file a “motion to suppress” on the behalf of his client to have the case dismissed.

In addition, the attorney could argue that the officer lacked “probable cause” in his efforts to execute the arrest. Even if the officer had smelled alcohol on the driver’s breath, the attorney could use a proven tactic for a defense. Laboratory studies indicate that an individual’s breath with the smell of alcohol in no way correlates with their blood alcohol level.

Even though the attorney had the two above legal arguments to present to the prosecuting office to have the charges dismissed, he instead chose a different strategy. The police car camera captured video of the entire observation, stop, field sobriety test and arrest. It was the claim of the arresting officer that the attorney’s client had “perform poorly” when taking the sobriety test and that this showed evidence of impairment.

In discussions with the prosecuting attorney, the skilled DUI defense lawyer was able to show that individuals vary greatly in their ability, or inability, to perform the standardized DUI field sobriety test. In fact, taking the test on a slippery surface, dealing with inclement weather, wearing unsuitable footwear or being tired, frustrated, anxious or nervous can easily make an individual fail the roadside tests. The prosecutor agreed with the evidence presented and dropped all charges.

Skilled Los Angeles DUI attorneys use their years of experience and proven tactics to fight the system for their clients. They recognize that the police officer has no “special ability to judge any individual’s intoxication levels. Los Angeles officers are not skilled in recognizing mental impairment or driving while tired. Without proper justification to make a driving under the influence traffic stop, many cases handled by experienced Los Angeles DUI attorneys have charges reduced or dismissed.

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