By Dale Gribow
The Fire this week has been one of the worst fires I can remember in our area. As I drive in the CV, I see drivers looking up at the hills that are on fire. This is just as bad as talking on the phone or reading email messages or looking on Facebook. It does not take much for one to become distracted as one drives. The slightest distraction can cause an accident.
I realize that no matter what I write here most of you will not follow or remember this missive and many of you will get in an accident or be stopped for a DUI this summer. Clients often have no memory of what they were doing after an accident or DUI arrest. Sometimes your lack of memory is from Black and White fever for which you do not have to have been drinking. You just get nervous. This is the same fear we have when we see a police man behind us and worry about getting a ticket. Multiply this several fold when you have been in an accident or have been drinking and worry about being arrested for a DUI.
On my former legal radio show and I started off each episode saying People Don’t Plan to Fail, They Fail to Plan. If you understand and remember what I am writing this week you will be Planning Ahead. If you are stopped for a possible DUI remember that the Field Sobriety Tests (FST’s) at the scene are OPTIONAL as is the BREATH TEST at the scene. Politely tell the officer that you understand the FST and Breath test are optional and you opt “not to take them”.
Then be courteous and request a Blood Test. They will have to take you to the hospital or police station to get a professional to draw your blood. There is a case that came down a month or two ago that requires a licensed person to draw blood if there is a refusal and a resulting Forced Blood Draw. I predict it will soon extend to regular blood draws,
The following is a step by step summary of what will happen with a DUI:
A DUI is a criminal offense that has two separate legal proceedings… the Court and the DMV :
Booking and Custody: The officer will snatch your license, under the Stop and Snatch Law, and give you a pink DMV form which is a temporary license to drive for 30 days. They will then take you to the station. You may be asked to submit to another chemical test to determine your Blood Alcohol Content and you will be fingerprinted and a booking photograph will be taken. You will be in custody and released on your own recognizance after 4 hours.
Schedule a DMV Hearing Within 10 days. That is all you have and if you wait 11 days the DMV will tell you that you are too late. Thus your license will be gone for 4-5 months. If you request it on time you will given a Temporary License and when your attorney requests a DMV hearing and asks for a stay you will get a new temporary license that will be good until the DMV hearing is over.
Retain an Attorney.
DMV Hearing: Your lawyer presents evidence and can subpoena witnesses, including the arresting officer. Your attorney can advocate for your license and driving privileges on your behalf, and the DMV will then rule on whether or not the officer had reasonable cause to take your license. The DMV hearing is stacked against the driver as the hearing officer is both the prosecutor and judge. However it gives you and your attorney to get a free glimpse of the case and the evidence against the driver. The hearing is taped and thus when you have a motion in court if the officer testifies differently you can impeach him/her. We have a case now where the deputy testified two different ways and the DA’s knew that WE have a copy of the tape we would play in front of the jury.
Arraignment: You, or your attorney on your behalf pursuant to a 977 Waiver of your appearance, will appear and enter a plea of not guilty.
Plea Bargains and Pretrial Motions: After the arraignment your attorney can discuss the case with the DA and possibly negotiate a plea bargain or set the case for Motions to Dismiss, Motions to Suppress Evidence and or for a Pre Trial or Trial
Trial: The DA and your lawyer will present evidence, argue, and cross-examine any witnesses. The jury will then decide whether or not you are guilty of driving under the influence and driving with a blood alcohol of over a .08. If you are found guilty of either that is enough to convict.
Sentencing: The court sentences you after a plea bargain or conviction. The penalties will differ based on the circumstances of your case, but could include fines, jail time or home arrest with an ankle bracelet, community service, and alcohol education.
If you have any questions regarding this column or ideas for future columns please contact Dale Gribow at The Dale Gribow Law Group at our NEW number 760 837 7500 and or our new email of email@example.com