Trial for a DUI Case in California
Driving under the influence is a crime in California. If you cannot resolve your DUI with the prosecution, you must take the case to a trial by jury.
The trial will be decided by a jury of 12 people from the local community. If you are found guilty, then you will be sentenced by the judge based on the specific charges and many other relevant factors.
If you are found not guilty, then you win the case and are free to move on with your life. Most DUI trials are scheduled within a few months after your arrest, but the trial has to occur sooner if you are remanded into custody.
It would be best if you had a defense lawyer representing you, especially with experience with DUI cases, to have the best chance of success.
The related statutes to the standard DUI charges, Vehicle Code 23152 VC, include:
- Vehicle Code 23152(f) VC - driving under the influence of drugs,
- Vehicle Code 23153 VC – DUI causing injury,
- Vehicle Code 20002 VC – misdemeanor hit and run,
- Vehicle Code 20001 VC – felony hit and run,
- Penal Code 191.5(a) PC – gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated,
- Penal Code 191.5(b) PC – vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated,
- Penal Code 273a PC – child endangerment.
How to Avoid a Trial in a DUI Case?
Most DUI cases are resolved without going to court. But, sometimes, you can win your DUI case before the trial. For example, perhaps your lawyer convinced the prosecutor they didn't have a strong case, and then they decided to drop the case.
Maybe there needed to be more evidence. But, on the other hand, your attorney could negotiate a favorable plea bargain, which could include dropping the DUI charges in exchange for pleading guilty to reckless driving. The deal may have included avoiding the most severe penalties.
How Can You Win a DUI Case at Trial?
Most DUI lawyers will work to avoid trials if possible because juries are highly unpredictable. However, there are times when the case must proceed to a trial, and your attorney must have experience in the courtroom.
Your lawyer will take part in the jury selection process. At trial, your lawyer may challenge the validity of the breath or blood test results.
There may be an explanation, such as using mouthwash or rising BAC. However, the attorney may get evidence excluded due to the unlawful manner in which it was gathered.
In some cases, a skilled attorney can win a DUI case outright. The burden of proof is on the prosecutor.
If they can't prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you drove a vehicle under the influence, then the jury should return a not-guilty verdict. Perhaps we can argue there was an unlawful traffic stop by the police.
Should You Take Your DUI to Trial or Work Out a Deal?
One of the most important questions that most people have when they're arrested for a DUI and they sit down and think about it is, am I going to take this case to trial and fight it, or is this a situation where my attorney needs to work out a deal for me.
Suppose you've never been arrested for a DUI. In that case, it can be pretty confusing and scary because of the potentially dire consequences that can befall you for a DUI in Los Angeles County or anywhere in California, for that matter.
We certainly have one of the strictest DUI policies and laws regarding how judges and prosecutors dole out punishment in these cases. It's imperative that you get an attorney that has the following:
- experience in DUI laws;
- knows how to deal with a DUI,
- protects your rights,
- freedom and reputation, and
- puts you in the best possible position.
That's where I come in. Right from the beginning, we're going to sit down, and we're going to meet in my office and go over your entire case. We're going to go over your history, and we're going to go over the things that are important to you, and then we're going to design a plan specifically for you.
Don't listen to these people that are pontificating over the phone about all of these things that they may or may not be able to do for you because, without all of the facts and details of your particular car, they are just spitting in the wind and not giving you any solid information.
Many people come in and say, well, this attorney told me this; this person told me that; I read this on the internet. I'm like, wait a minute, that doesn't have anything to do with your case. Use your common sense. Think.
It has to do with your case. Don't start rambling about Miranda rights if you didn't give any incriminating statement related to your case because that's the only thing the Miranda rights apply to.
Miranda rights are usually irrelevant to a case because what they're looking at is, was your blood alcohol level a .08 or greater at the time of driving; whether you admitted to drinking doesn't matter if they've got a test showing that you were drinking. So, use your common sense on these things.
Meeting with a DUI Lawyer
Come and sit down with me. Let's talk about it. I know how to deal with prosecutors and judges as it relates to these DUIs, where you're facing custody time, where you're facing the loss of your license, and your whole life being upended.
Many people think it's a traffic ticket and don't realize what's about to happen to them when they go to court, especially if their blood alcohol level was high, they got in an accident, or they were doing something dangerous on the road.
They will be looking to teach you a lesson, and they will be looking to protect the public from you. So, when deciding whether you take a case to trial, we sure will be able to win the case because if we can't beat it, we will need to resolve it.
You don't want to go to trial on a losing proposition because you'll get a much worse sentence when you get convicted in a case.
So, right from the beginning, we're going to talk about what evidence the prosecutors have against you, what evidence they don't have against you, and what your best move is related to the case.
So, if you need the best, if you're charged with a DUI, have been thinking about working out a deal, or going to trial, come into my office. Let's sit down and go over everything.
Pick up the phone now and ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. Have you been charged with California DUI? Our Los Angeles DUI lawyers offer a free case consultation.