10 Biggest Mistakes
The 10 BIGGEST Mistakes made by BOTH DUI Attorneys and Defendants
1. Not taking the matter seriously. This is a charge that will follow you for the rest of your life, if you are convicted. A DUI conviction in Los Angeles will remain on your California criminal record forever, and could be subject to review by present and future employers, insurance companies, lenders, and others. If convicted, you will likely face increased insurance rates, or have your policy dropped altogether. The California DMV will keep track of a DUI conviction until you are dead.
2. Not hiring an attorney who specializes in DUI. Or hiring a general criminal lawyer who spreads his or her practice across a broad range of crimes. The DUI laws are complex and you need competent representation. You must raise the right defenses at the right time or you will lose them. The equipment and evidence pertaining to drunk driving cases is very technical and scientific in nature. Facts will disappear, memories fade and witnesses vanish. A winable case can quickly become a loser. What should you do? You need legal advice and fast. The DUI Lawyer you choose can make a critical difference in the outcome of your case.
3. Hiring an attorney based on the amount of the fee alone. The State of California has almost unlimited resources when it comes to your case. You need to hire an attorney and pay a fee which will allow him to put time and effort into your case to counter the prosecution.
Attorneys must earn enough in the time they spend on your case in order to keep their doors open and make a living wage. If you go too low, your attorney will not be able to put in the time necessary to protect you. Look for a reasonable, predictable fee, not the lowest.
When it comes to defense, you’ll undoubtedly get what you pay for. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and you could be pleading guilty before you know it. You’ll need a lawyer who is at least as competent as the State’s prosecutor, which does not mean that my fees are at the high end. My fees are reasonable and I make what payment arrangements necessary to assist you at this difficult time in your life.
4. Failing to request a Los Angeles DMV hearing within TEN DAYS of your arrest. California law mandates that individuals arrested for DUI have their licenses suspended if their BAC levels are measured at 0.08% or above. If you don’t request a hearing, you could lose your license for months or longer. If you do request a hearing, you can at the least, make a case to maintain your right to drive.
The statistics are that those who represent themselves at a DMV hearing prevail 34% of the time, while those with competent legal representation will retain their ability to drive in 75% of the hearings. Should the DMV prevail in taking away your driving privileges at your hearing, you should know that you can exercise your constitutional rights and appeal their verdict.
5. Driving after your license has been revoked. You have no right to drive after revocation and driving then is more serious an offense than your original charge. California criminal & DMV penalties are actually higher for driving with a suspended license charge when the license suspension or revocation resulted from a DUI conviction or related Drunk Driving offense.
Driving with a Suspended Drivers License in Los Angeles following a DUI is considered a misdemeanor crime, not just a traffic infraction. If caught, the suspended licensee will be arrested and fined up to $1000 and sentenced to jail for up to six months! Your vehicle may also be impounded and possibly sold. Of course, if this were to happen during your court appearances, the Judge and DMV will predictably come down on you harder than ever as you are disregarding the Judge’s and the State’s authority.
6. Talk to anyone but an attorney about your case. Anything you say to ANYONE can be used against you. When you discuss your arrest with friends or family, you risk turning them into involuntary witnesses against you. It is in your best interest to remember the details of your arrest and keep your thoughts to yourself and only discuss your case with your attorney. This strategy will help you in your overall defense. In any criminal case, you must be represented by a competent defense lawyer.
As to self representation? Yes, you can, but it is said that a person who represents themselves in court has a fool for a lawyer. (Don’t be offended – This applies to lawyers too, who might one day end up a defendant). An uneducated and awkward attempt to represent oneself is often very annoying to a presiding judge who will likely end up exasperated with you as you inadvertently turn the judge’s courtroom into a circus with a self representation attempt.
7. Failure to appear in Court. The Court will issue a bench warrant for your arrest and revoke any bond you may have. The next time you are stopped for a traffic infraction, you will be arrested for (1) the outstanding bench warrant, (2) the original DUI offense, and possibly for (3) contempt of court. You will be spending some significant time in jail and posting a new –likely LARGER bond– for your future appearances.
8. Taking the witness stand and testifying in your own DUI case. Don’t make the mistake of testifying at your court hearing unless your attorney deems it mandatory. It might be necessary that you may need to briefly refute any false allegations made by the arresting officer or other witnesses, such as claiming you admitted to drinking, if in fact, you never made that admission. Other than these exceptions, the Fifth Amendment entitles you to waive your right to testify to avoid self incrimination. The facts are, that most DUI Defendants are often extremely nervous and awkward on the stand, as opposed to the prosecution’s expert witnesses, so you will rarely make a good impression on the jurors. A nervous and awkward DUI defendant will often cause the jury or judge to wonder whether the defendant is being entirely honest, – - or worse – - perhaps hiding something.
9. Taking the District Attorney’s first offer. The first offer is not a bargain, it’s just to get rid of your case with the least amount of work. Very few cases are dismissed or reduced to a non-alcohol charge at this stage. You do not give the judge an opportunity to rule on constitutional challenges. You give up your right to raise these issues and make the State prove it’s case.
10. Failing to have a back-up or loss-mitigation strategy. While the ultimate goal of taking a case to trial is to effect a “non-guilty” verdict, there are times when circumstances outside of your control will affect the case. If your DUI offense was a felony, and/or there was bodily injury caused to another resulting from your driving impairment, or perhaps you have prior DUI convictions, you should strategically prepare for the sentencing portion of your hearing. You need an experienced and competent Los Angeles DUI Lawyer on your side who will present you and your case in the best possible light; who will call appropriate witnesses on your behalf, and who will testify as to your significant contributions to your community, your family’s dependence on you, and your remorse and rehabilitative accomplishments and goals since your DUI arrest. It is always wise to be prepared to effectively mitigate any DUI punishments that might be leveled against you.
If ever there’s a time to find a quality, experienced Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, that time is now.
Considering that your very freedom itself may be on the line, it makes sense to opt for the best DUI legal defense available to you. Fortunately, you have the option to call me, the Los Angeles DUI Guy, Mark Rosenfeld. This is not a side line for me. I specialize in DUI / DWI and have literally dealt with hundreds of cases.
I know the local courts, the judges, the prosecutors and the minutia of building a strong DUI defense. The clock is running and that is not a cliché. Time is not on your side. I insist that all calls come directly to me – you will not be talking to a paralegal nor a staffer. Your initial phone and office consultations are free and utterly confidential. If your recent ordeal leaves you without transportation, I will even come to you, meet you at a local Starbucks, or whatever is necessary to get you the legal representation that you need.
Let’s talk about your predicament,
—Los Angeles DUI Guy
Law Offices of Mark Rosenfeld