Chances of Winning a DMV DUI Hearing in the State of California

Written by James Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

California (CA) is just one of many states in our fair Union that is very serious about its “driving while impaired” (DWI) and “driving under influence” (DUI) laws.   CA has mandated penalties for initial offenders and it holds very tightly to them.  But, by the same statutes, it demands that its police officers attend as tightly to the laws and rules that control their behavior.  For a person who has been arrested and charged with DUI first offense, who is over 21 and took the breathalyzer and hit a “blood alcohol content” (BAC) of .09 percent (.08 percent is the limit), and has a pristine criminal record, all of the DUI 1st offender penalties are still going to be applied … unless … The “unless” is unless the police officer somehow failed to correctly follow the DUI procedure.  Another option is unless the charge can be plea bargained down to a lesser charge.   This is where one’s very good, very experienced lawyer comes into play.  The lawyer will determine the merits of the case and likely give advice as to how to proceed.

One’s first step is to retain that lawyer who has very good, strong experience in the jurisdiction where the DUI occurred.  One’s second step is to listen very attentively to this lawyer and do what this lawyer says to do.  That is why the lawyer was retained in the first place.

A police officer must have a reasonable cause to pull over and stop a driver’s car.  It can be as simple as a checkpoint.  It is sufficient for the officer to believe that he or she smelled alcohol on the driver’s breathe to then have the driver do sobriety tests, arrested, taken to the police station, and administered a breathalyzer and or other chemical blood alcohol test.   At all times the accused must be under the close physical watch of a police officer.  The breathalyzer is a less that foolproof machine that has been scientifically shown to be a machine that can register a false positive as often as a true positive.  An accused can get a jury trial where the district or prosecuting attorney must convince each member of the jury that the accused is guilty as charged.  The police officer will have to be in attendance to give testimony.  The accused’s lawyer will have the opportunity to question the police officer on the various steps taken and the reason for these steps being taken and what the outcomes were.  Did the officer ask if the accused had been drinking?  What was the response?  Was the accused was using a cell phone after being stopped what occurred?  What did the police officer do?  Where is the cell phone?  How did the officer perceive the accused’s attitude during the stop and arrest?  Was the accused cooperative?  Was the accused asked to take a breathalyzer?  Was the accused cooperative?  These are the types of questions that can be asked to determine how well the officer followed mandated protocol.  All the while the jury is listening and weighing the guilt of the accused.  What are the chances of the accused winning?

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