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Your First DUI

DWI or DUI Arrest? First one? What are the first steps you should take?

Time is of the essence!

Do not delay! If you fail to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a DMV hearing, you will AUTOMATICALLY LOSE YOUR LICENSE! Contact the DMV on the 11thday, and you have waived your right to a DMV hearing with an automatic suspension resulting in 30 days. On of the first services Doan Law provides is contacting the DMV to request this hearing so you do not receive an automatic suspension. By doing so, your driving privileges are not suspended and you will continue to get to drive as if no DUI or DWI ever occurred, pending the outcome of the DMV hearing, sometimes many months away.

Don't assume the worst!

Most of our clients assume the worst after a DUI/DWI. They think that their case will surely be lost and feel hopeless. Do not despair! As DUI professionals, we know just what to look for in every case. While you might give up with a blood test of .16 or breathalyzer test of .13, we view those as opportunities to prove your innocence!

Just because a machine stated that your blood-alcohol level was a certain amount does not mean that was the true amount when you were driving. Machines and people make mistakes. We expose these mistakes by obtaining the calibration records, maintenance history, and accuracy checks of the machines that were used in performing these tests. In doing so, if we can find any problems or deficiencies, we may be able to exclude these tests altogether.

We also demand "splits" of the blood sample used, for our independent testing. The law has strict requirements on how blood samples are to be taken and preserved. If errors are exposed here, reasonable doubt is created. For instance, if there is an inadequate level of preservative or anti-coagulant, the blood may actually ferment and produce its own alcohol, rendering the results completely meaningless.

Remember, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. That means that the prosecution bears the burden of proving that you violated the law beyond any reasonable doubt, and in front of 12 jurors, that we pick from a jury pool. Our task is easier than the prosecution's. Its quite simple. If we can convince the jury of any reasonable doubt, you will be rendered not guilty. Likewise, if 11 vote guilty and 1 votes not guilty, the jury is hung and the case is usually dismissed.

Four elements to any case

The following is typical of the four distinct aspects of the prosecution's case: driving pattern, physical appearance, field sobriety test performance, and chemical test results. While the goal in any case is to negate all four elements, if we can negate any of these elements it usually results in a not guilty verdict.

DRIVING PATTERN: Police report driving patterns typically have many discrepancies upon which to seize upon and discredit. By doing that and also providing an analysis of the typical sober driving pattern, this element can be negated. Obtaining a copy of the police report to view the officer's notes on the driving pattern is critical to this analysis, and provides the opportunity to eliminate this element.

PHYSICAL APPEARANCE: Just like you cant judge a book by its cover, physical symptoms do not necessarily suggest being under the influence. Red eyes might mean that someone was fatigued, had allergies, or had been around cigarette smoke. An odor of alcohol on the breath might actually arise from the mixer in the beverage. (For instance, compare the breath of someone who just drank a 6-pack of non-alcoholic beer with someone that just had a couple of vodka martinis and see who has a more alcoholic breath!)

FIELD SOBRIETY TEST: Field sobriety tests can have numerous flaws and are non-indicative in many cases with someone under the influence of alcohol. To start, the DMV does not even require these tests to be taken by a sober person to obtain a driver's license. Indeed, how many times have you actually taken one before, if ever? Add to that the fact that a jury will certainly take into account the agility issues one suffers when an already nervous person is forced to perform roadside gymnastics after armed, uniformed police officers have forced them out of their car in the middle of the night.

CHEMICAL TEST RESULTS: Chemical testing, that final arrow of any prosecution's quiver, still must first be proven to be accurate and reliable. The machines must be proven to have worked properly at the time. All the regulations regarding testing were must be proved to have been observed. Then, even if the numbers are indeed accurate, there are still issues relating to the alcohol level at the time of driving, for this is the crux of a DUI case. It is not illegal to have a .12 back at the police station; that number is only relevant to the extent that we are able to use it to look back and determine the alcohol level at the time of driving. It is quite possible to scientifically demonstrate that someone who is a .12 at the station was really a .06 while driving, once drinking pattern, stomach contents, absorption rate, time of drinking, time of driving, and time of testing are considered.

The forgoing is just the tip of the iceberg of what the professionals at Doan Law Firm are trained to look for in each case. What may appear to be a slam shut case of DUI/DWI against you is hardly the case before our attorneys. Remember, while this may be your first offense, it is what we as lawyers deal with each day. Just like you would never perform your own medical operation, you certainly would never want to represent yourself as your own attorney in such a matter as this. Likewise, do not rely on the overworked/underpaid public defender straight from law school to get you any better result. Don't delay! Time is of the essence and so are your civil liberties!

San Diego County
Carlsbad
Escondido
La Mesa
Doan Law Firm, LLP
635 Camino De Los Mares
Suite 100
San Clemente, CA 92673
(888) 362.6529


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