PART 2 : There are Different Degrees of Success with any criminal case.
On any criminal case there are different degrees of success. I usually explain to clients on their first appointment, that many years ago I was in the office of famed criminal attorney Robert Shapiro, who later became O.J. Simpson’s lawyer. We were planning on having dinner and discussing cases on which we were working together. Shapiro got a call from a prospective client and had to stay late to meet with him. He asked me to sit in the office with him but of course I was to say nothing.

When the client came in, he said “I don’t want to know anything about your case.” He merely asked “what are you looking for?” He then explained that there are different degrees of success. If I go into court and the DA wants a year in custody and I can get you 6 months, that is success. If they want 6 months and I can get you 2 months, that is success. If they want 30 days and I can get you 10 days, that is success. If they want 10 days and I can get you a weekend and/or home arrest, that is success.


It is impossible to guesstimate what the success will be on a case when you only hear the client’s side of the story. It is necessary to review the police report, chemical test results for the Blood Alcohol Reading and the criminal record. In the Indio Court, the police report, Blood Alcohol Reading and criminal record are not available until the Arraignment. In 2013, we often do not receive these reports until the next court appearance. If there is a blood test, the results are often not available at the Arraignment. If there is a Traffic Accident, there is often no filing for months while they investigate and decide how to file the case.
When Do We Get the Police Report?

When we appear for the Arraignment on a DUI with an Accident, there is often no case yet filed with the court, and we must wait for the court to hopefully notify you by mail of the new return date. We also ask the DA to notify us of the new arraignment date. It does not always happen because the DA does not have a file in which to put our request. The DA has to save our letter or note our calls. Thus, it often does not get matched with the newly created file. Sometimes the arresting agency directly files the case with the Court as a bench warrant and the DA does not tell you or us. That is why we have to regularly monitor whether there has been a filing.
The police report is NOT available until the arraignment and thus, we will normally not have any news before the arraignment date. Recently the court stopped providing the police report at the arraignment. Now, we have to get it from the DA, and they often do not have it at the arraignment. Obtaining the report can often be delayed for a month or so, and the court is then upset with us for not being able to proceed when we arrive (without any idea of the evidence against our clients) at the pre-trial. In addition, they are now often charging us for the discovery, that has been free for the 30+ years that I have been practicing, and thus costing the clients a few dollars more in costs.
At the Arraignment in Dept. 2K, we will enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf and set the matter for a Pre-Trial in Dept. 2K, if it is a misdemeanor DUI and for a Preliminary Hearing or a Settlement Conference for a felony DUI. When the matter is set for Trial it goes to Dept. 3M. In any criminal case, the police have to prove they have probable cause to arrest you. The DA has to prove whether or not they can prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt, i.e., whether a crime has been committed and whether it can be proven. (For Joshua Tree cases they only do Pre-Trials on Friday.)
We will send you a copy of the police report for your review and ask you to tell us what looks correct or incorrect. Please email me or write out neatly the things that are incorrect in the police report and whether we have any proof to back up your position.
Please understand we are not concerned with whether the officer wrote down the wrong color of your car or shirt in the report. That has nothing to do with whether you were DUI.
I Have A Clean Record:
Clients often think that because they have had a clean driving record or been a pillar of the community that will factor into their guilt or innocence. That is wrong. It may effect the sentence, but not GUILT or INNOCENCE. Sometimes factors like a prior record will aggravate the sentence and philanthropic work in the community may mitigate the sentence. However, they have nothing to do with GUILT or INNOCENCE. We also do not know if you had “Black & White Fever” and did or said something that was wrong. Failing the attitude test also makes the case more difficult.
Home Arrest:
Riverside has recently approved the use of the SCRAM Ankle Bracelet device in some cases, in lieu of jail. SCRAM stands for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring and you are hooked up to your home or cell phone. SCRAM is usually necessary if there is a traffic accident.
When you wear a Home Arrest ankle bracelet through the Riverside Sheriff Department, they will normally allow you to wear it 12 hours at home and 12 hours out of the house for work. If you are NOT working they will normally give you 8 hours to do what you want and be home for the rest of the time. . .but, you must wear the bracelet at all times.
Judges have the option to order DUI offenders, as part of their probation, to wear the SCRAM ankle sensor device that can detect when the wearer consumes alcohol. The sensor measures ethanol vapor or sweat as it migrates from the pores in the skin. The device has a Tamper Detection system that reveals when the offender is trying to inhibit or remove the bracelet. It takes a sample every half hour and stores it in the Ankle Bracelet. The information is downloaded wirelessly via a telephone modem and transferred over phone lines to analysts.
To Get LCA Home Arrest you must have requested it at the plea. Otherwise everyone goes to Banning. Linda Connelly, the President of LEADERS IN COMMUNITY ALTERNATIVES (LCA) supplies these 8 oz. bracelet devices that are worn 24 hours a day for 3, 4, 6 or 12 months. LCA is located in Riverside at 4133 10th Street, Suite B, Riverside, California 92501 and their phone number is (951) 367-3601. Gislena Gonzalez is the contact person with whom we work. The cost is based on a sliding scale of $15.00 to $50.00 per day and is negotiable. William Kramer is the Court Liason and is a retired Probation Officer. They have Tuesday morning appointments in Indio. The LCA average price is about $25/day vs Banning at $13/day. They check your pay stubs to determine what they will charge.
The ALERT DUI Program just opened a small office in the Probation Department offices at 47-940 Arabia in Indio. However, the Judges usually order the ankle bracelet through the Riverside Sheriff’s Department in Banning.
In the Indio Court, when you appear at the Arraignment, there is often no District Attorney there to discuss your case. When they are there, they often do not participate in the Arraignment. After you enter a plea of not guilty on the DUI, the matter is then set for Pretrial. At this stage a District Attorney is normally available and this is the time when we can talk to the assigned Trial Deputy. For a Misdemeanor charge, a criminal trial lawyer can technically appear on behalf of the client for the Arraignment and every other appearance pursuant to the 977 Waiver you signed.
We often have to pressure the DA to get the best results. Sometimes, that means setting the matter for trial. The old DA, Rod Pacheco, would not allow plea bargains. The new DA Paul Zellerbach has adhered to this same policy so far.
Recently, the Indio Court started setting DUI’s for a Mandatory Settlement Conference (MSC) after the pre-trial and most Judges now demand the defendant be present at the MSC, though this is contrary to my understanding of the law. No client has wanted to spend the money to take this issue up on appeal. The MSC is set on a Friday and the following Monday the matter is set for a Jury Trial.


The Indio Court has become more strict because of the high volume of DUI’s in the greater Palm Springs area. A recent Desert Sun newspaper headline was “Palm Springs tops state list of alcohol-related collisions.” The article explained that in the City of Palm Springs alone there have been 32 deaths in the past 7 years linked to drunken driving. Palm Springs has the LEAD (License Education on Alcohol and Drugs) program offered quarterly, to the local merchants. Statistics show that the majority of Palm Springs DUI arrestees had been drinking at one of the following: Village Pub, Toucan’s, Tiki Bar, Spa Resort Casino, Hunters, The Nest, Azul, and Zeldaz. It’s amazing that science is so advanced that the officer’s computer beeps as it reads the license plate of every passing car and identifies the drivers who have had their license suspended and are driving on a suspended license.