DUI CONSULTATIONS, DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE!
As a lawyer specializing in criminal defense, my practice can involve all sorts of cases, from petty misdemeanors to murders. But the topic where I receive more questions than any other is in my role as a DUI defense attorney. These questions come from all types of people because almost everyone has either experienced a DUI arrest or knows someone who has been arrested.
The reality is that politicians, judges, prosecutors, and police officers will and have been arrested for DUI. Unfortunately, many attorneys are less than truthful when discussing the punishment that a defendant will likely face in Southern California. Attorneys will often state something that is factually correct but is not a reflection of the real world…allow me to demonstrate with a couple of examples based on a common factual scenario I have seen in my practice. Let’s use the following facts:
A DUI defendant in Manhattan Beach meets with me to discuss a recent DUI arrest. The defendant was pulled over for expired registration and admitted drinking alcohol prior to driving when questioned by the police officer. After a series of tests, the individual registered a .13 on a preliminary breath test. The defendant was arrested and submitted a blood test roughly two hours later that came back as a .11 result. The defendant admitted that they were likely over the legal limit, admitted that their registration was expired, and said that the officer was professional throughout the process.
The individual had recently met with another attorney that we will call “Attorney A”. Attorney A told them that they needed to be hired immediately so that the “Attorney A” could try and avoid jail time for the defendant as the defendant was facing the possibility of 6 months in jail. The defendant was very concerned about doing 6 months in custody as they had never been arrested before.
The individual also met with an attorney that we will call “Attorney B”. Attorney B heard the same facts as Attorney A and told the defendant that he would likely be able to get the charges dismissed. He assured the defendant that he had contacts within the court and that he was quite confident he could get everything taken care of without a conviction.
So what is my issue with what “Attorney A” said? Nothing the attorney said is technically incorrect, but it is 100% misleading. The reality is that an individual in the above scenario is almost certain to receive an offer with no additional jail time. The maximum on a first time DUI is 6 months in custody, but this is not going to be an offer that a prosecutor will make. This reflects a practice I see far too often, which is attorneys attempting to scare potential clients when they are at their most vulnerable. The facts and potential consequences may change depending on the individual case but no defense attorney should be engaging in such behavior. There are plenty of reasons to hire an attorney to deal with a DUI but you deserve an attorney who is going to be honest as to why you should do so.
What’s wrong with what “Attorney B” said? It sounds great but how is Attorney B making these promises? Is he willing to put this promise in writing? Of course not, because Attorney B has not talked to a prosecutor, spoken to a judge, or even seen a police report. If an attorney ever makes a promise like this to you at your first meeting, then do not hire that attorney! Once again, you deserve an honest attorney who you can trust.
If you are facing a DUI, I strongly encourage you to speak to an attorney who is going to give you honest feedback along with skilled representation. As an award-winning former prosecutor who has handled thousands of DUI cases, I pride myself on my ethics and my advocacy. Contact me today for a free consultation!