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Category Archives: Your Defense

Should I Represent Myself? What, Exactly, Can a DUI Lawyer Do for Me?

Being arrested on a DUI charge is a confusing, complicated, stressful, and expensive experience. You may think that defending yourself in court is a good option to help you save money, but the critical thing to ask yourself is whether or not you can attain the necessary legal sophistication in the few weeks or months you have to prepare for trial. Will it be enough to prevail over a prosecutor who has years, if not decades, of experience?

It’s highly unlikely.

There are many misconceptions regarding defending oneself in a DUI case. Below, we address some of these misconceptions, explain why it isn’t a good idea to defend yourself in a DUI case, and explain why you should always seek representation from an Orange County DUI lawyer.

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Can I Get My DUI Expunged? Will it be on my record forever?

dui-record

Yes, you can generally can get your DUI expunged and no, it will not be on your record forever.

It is usually possible to get your DUI records expunged in the state of California. Expungement means that your criminal record for that specific conviction will be sealed. A DUI conviction results in both a criminal and a DMV record; while the conviction is erased from your driving record after ten years, the criminal conviction remains on your criminal record unless it is expunged. Working with an Orange County DUI attorney who specializes in DUI and DUI-related convictions will help simplify this process.

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OC Evidence Error for 2000 DUIs

More than 2,000 DUI cases filed by prosecutors and 900 defendants have been affected by an Orange County DUI lab error, which caused an inaccurate report of elevated blood alcohol content levels.

Bruce Houlihan, the lab director, reported that the errors began to appear when some of the .BAC data wasn’t properly recorded. Houlihan said that the lab uses two separate machines to analyze and measure the blood samples and then averages the results. An audit of the Orange County Crime Lab last October uncovered the inaccuracies which has affected around 2000 DUI cases directly.

orange county dui convictions made with errors in evidenceBruce Houlihan went on to say that the reason the issue wasn’t noticed originally, was because it was so small. The human error will only clear around 20 people of their DUI charge, Houlihan went on to report. Letters have been sent to 900 defendants who have had their DUI cases resolved, to inform them of the lab error.

Farrah Emami, spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, had this to say regarding cases that dropped below the legal limit of .08 to .07:
“There are cases we prosecute based on 0.07 and we secure convictions in those cases.” Emami went on to state that people should ask their attorneys about how to proceed if they feel their case was affected negatively by Orange County Crime Lab’s error.

Despite the severity of the lab’s errors Emani still felt, “The large majority of our cases will not be impacted…”

What do you think about flawed lab tests being used in court to convict individuals of DUIs?

For further reading about DUI blood testing lab errors.


If you or anyone you know has been arrested for DUI, you should contact a DUI Lawyer in Orange County as soon as possible. Call the Law Offices of Chad Maddox for a free consultation, (714) 695-1500.

 

Chemical & Field Sobriety Tests

If a police officer stops you for a legal reason(speeding, broken tail light, etc), and suspects a possible DUI after making contact, the officer will start a DUI investigation. There are two purposes of this investigation: the first is to determine whether you are in fact driving illegally, the second is to build evidence proving your inebriation. The DUI arrest is so clouded in rumors and misinformation, that it takes an experienced DUI lawyer to fully understand the nuances of the investigation.

When stopped for a DUI, do I have to answer the officer’s questions

The simple answer is no. You must cooperate with the officer. However, you are not required to answer any questions about how much you have had to drink, eat, or sleep, or any other questions other than providing the information contained on your driver’s license.

Am I required to take any F.S.T.s, like the “one-leg stand” or “walk & turn” test?

You are NOT required to perform any field sobriety tests. While it is possible that you may perform well enough that the officer will not arrest you, it is highly unlikely. The officer is having you perform these tests so that he can gather evidence to be used in court to demonstrate that you are impaired.Suspended License DUI

What is the difference between a P.A.S. and a chemical test:

The officer may also request you take a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test before you are arrested. This test is also voluntary; however, this is very easily confused with the chemical test that is mandatory if you are arrested.

  • The voluntary PAS test is administered BEFORE an arrest, and is tested with a breathalyzer.
  • The mandatory chemical BAC test is administered AFTER an arrest, and is tested with either a breath or blood sample (or in some instances with a urine sample).

It is this mandatory chemical test that carries a one year license suspension for refusing to cooperate with law enforcement. Furthermore, submitting to a PAS breath test before you’re arrested, does not fulfill the requirement for the mandatory chemical test after arrest. With intricacies such as these, the confusion surrounding a DUI arrest quickly becomes apparent.

Whether or not a chemical BAC test will help or hurt your case is very fact specific. If you stopped drinking minutes before the police stopped you it could help with a “rising blood alcohol” level defense. But if it has been some time since your last drink, this test could prove harmful to your case. It takes a knowledgeable DUI lawyer to know whether your chemical test readings can be a help or a hindrance to your Californian DUI case.

What if I refuse to take a Breath test or blood test?

If you are arrested for DUI the law requires you to submit to, and complete, either a breath or blood test to measure the alcohol content of your blood. A urine test is no longer an option unless the officer suspects that you may also be under the influence of drugs.

Breathalyzer Test Administered During a DUI StopIf you refuse to complete a breath or blood test you may still be prosecuted for DUI and your license will be suspended. In addition to the punishments for a DUI, if you “refuse” to submit to a breath or blood test after you are arrested, your punishments will be more severe.

There are specific procedures officers must follow in order for your license to be suspended for a chemical test refusal. For example; the police must clearly explain to you, the consequences of refusing a chemical test. If the police are alleging that you refused a chemical test it is crucial that you immediately consult with an experienced DUI attorney. I offer free consultations in person or over the phone, call me today 714-695-1500.


If you or anyone you know has been arrested for DUI, you should contact a DUI Lawyer in Orange County as soon as possible. Call the Law Offices of Chad Maddox for a free consultation, (714) 695-1500.

police being awarded unfairly

Law enforcement officers awarded for DUI arrests

Last month in Columbia, South Carolina, police officers were awarded for their crack down on drunk driving. Local officers were awarded for various accomplishments. One officer was awarded “Rookie of the Year” for registering nine DUI arrests. A local highway patrolman was also awarded for having 109 DUI arrests under his belt. This begs the question, is it appropriate to give police officers public awards for doing their job?

Drunk driving is a serious offense, but with varying laws and regulations from state to state it is important that police officers and the public alike see eye to eye on such a serious issue. As a populace are we comfortable with officers receiving a bonus for one particular type of arrest over another? Even more alarming is in the same Columbia area, local law enforcement agencies have set-up a live drawing with DUI arrests being the ticket in, for two new fully equipped police vehicles. The public must be aware of local DUI laws, as well as search and seizure rights, because law enforcement agencies are spending more time pursuing drunk driving. It would not be too much of a stretch to wonder if such “raffles” for new police vehicles or awards for DUI convictions are going to affect an officer’s ability to remain fair and unbiased.


 

Read the original article: http://www.midlandsconnect.com/news/story.aspx?id=880553#.UctC2vlO-So

community caretaker DUI

“Community Caretaker” DUI

Under state law, there is a general requirement that warrantless detentions must be based on a reasonable and articulable suspicion that a crime has taken place or is about to take place. However, the community caretaker doctrine is an exception to this requirement, whereby the courts have given the police the authority to act (in certain cases) to help distressed citizens. A knowledgeable Orange County drunk driving defense attorney can further advise you with regard to the specifics of the doctrine as it relates to your case.

With respect to drunk driving cases, the implementation of the community caretaker doctrine has been specifically demonstrated in a variety of cases, such as the case in which a defendant was sleeping on the side of the road with the engine still running and the headlights turned off. The officer knocked on the window; however, the defendant did not wake up. As a result, this caused the police officer to proceed to enter the vehicle by opening the car door, at which time he realized that the defendant was, in fact, in a drunken state.

Given those set of facts, state supreme courts have found that the police officer’s imposition in those types of cases was lawful under the community caretaker doctrine. Courts have clearly expressed a three-pronged standard for reviewing community caretaker investigations. First of all, provided that there are objective, specific, and articulable facts whereby a veteran officer would believe that a citizen needs his or her assistance or is in danger, then that officer has the right to stop and investigate.

Next, if the officer deems that the citizen does need assistance, he or she may proceed to take the appropriate actions needed in order to provide the necessary assistance or mitigate the danger.

Finally, you should note that once the police officer has ensured the citizen’s safety and believes that he or she is no longer in need of assistance, any actions that the officer takes beyond that point will constitute a seizure. If you need an experienced Orange County drunk driving attorney, please call the DUI Law Offices of Chad Maddox today for a free consultation.

15-Minute Observation in for a DUI Breath Test

The DUI breath test is the most common way for law enforcement to determine a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Although the breath testing sobriety test seems to have taken on an aura of scientific certainty, it is really subject to a host of accuracy problems. As such, if you were administered a breath test as a form of a sobriety test, it is possible for your Orange County DUI lawyer to successfully and completely discredit the results.

DUI Breath Test

Inaccurate breath test results may be the leading cause of wrongful DUI arrests. One way for your Orange County DUI lawyer to successfully challenge this is to determine whether the arresting officer complied with the requirements of Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations section 1219.3, which requires that before an officer can administer a breath test, he or she must continuously watch you for 15 minutes to make sure you do not belch or regurgitate. This is because even the slightest belch could bring alcohol to your mouth and give a false high reading on the breath test.

Despite this legal requirement of a continuous 15-minute observation period, arresting officers commonly fail to abide by it. This failure can be detrimental to a prosecution’s case. Often, the officer will not continuously observe the individual but will either do paperwork or start the 15 minutes while driving to the station. If the continuous observation is not performed as directed by the law, then the result of the breath sample is not reliable. Your Orange County DUI lawyer will be able to expose the arresting officer’s error and undermine the validity of the breath test.

Your Orange County DUI lawyer may even use the expertise of a defense expert to enlighten the jury as to the importance of the 15-minute observation period to the accuracy of a breath test.

If you have been arrested for a DUI and was administered a breath test, your Orange County DUI lawyer may be able to successfully discredit the results and have your DUI charge dismissed.

For a free consultation with Orange County DUI lawyer Chad Maddox call (714) 695-1500.

Drinking Creates Tolerances

One of the many issues that Orange County drunk driving attorneys encounter from case to case is tolerance. Alcohol affects each person differently, particularly those persons who are habitual drinkers or have developed some kind of tolerance to alcohol.

 

What Causes Tolerance?

Tolerance can result either from a metabolic change in your body or an adaptation of your nervous system. If your body has developed a tolerance to alcohol, it is because your body’s tissues are not as responsive to alcohol as they originally were. Tolerance can also be the result of your body causing less alcohol to spread to the areas of your body that are typically affected whenever you drink.

Tolerance can generally be characterized by the following:

  • If you repeatedly drink the same amount of alcohol, the effects of the alcohol decrease; or
  • The original effects of drinking can be reached by increasing the amount of alcohol that you have been drinking.

 

Different Kinds of Tolerance

Orange County drunk driving lawyers encounter different kinds of tolerance as well. Below are examples of the different types.

 

Behavioral tolerance happens when you have learned to suppress the visible effects of intoxication. This is developed through the repeated engagement of the same physical activities every time you are experiencing the effects of alcohol.

 

Acute tolerance happens when you are less impaired at the same blood alcohol concentration (BAC) during the time your body is eliminating alcohol from your system than during the time that your body is absorbing it into your bloodstream.

 

Acquired tolerance can happen when your body’s cells become resistant to the effects of alcohol (more specifically known as cellular tolerance) or the way the body absorbs, distributes, and eliminates alcohol is altered (otherwise known as dispositional tolerance).

If you have been charged with a DUI in Santa Ana, Irvine, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Huntinton Beach, Long Beach or San Diego you should retain the services of an attorney. To schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable Orange County DUI attorney please contact Chad Maddox for a case evaluation.

The One-Leg Stand Test

The one-leg stand test is one of three field sobriety tests that have been standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to determine whether a driver is suspect of a DUI. In order to be considered valid, the test must be administered in accordance with specific procedures. If you are ever subject to the one-leg stand test, you should try to remember all of the details of how the test was administered so that your Orange County DUI attorney can explore whether the officer who stopped you complied with the procedures.

Below are some of the rules an officer should follow when administering the one-leg Stand test:
• The test must be administered on a hard, flat surface in a safe location.
• If you have a sufficiently serious physical impairment or are overweight, the test should not be administered to you.
• The officer must clearly explain the test to you and demonstrate the steps.

If the officer who arrests you fails to follow the above procedures or any of the other mandatory procedures for the one-leg stand test, your Orange County DUI defense attorney may be able to obtain a ruling excluding evidence of the results from your trial. Even if he or she is unable to get the results excluded, your DUI attorney will argue the jury should not give the results significant weight because the test was administered improperly.

If your Orange County attorney convinces the jury that your field sobriety test results are not valid, you will be positioned to obtain an acquittal from the DUI charge against you.

To speak with an Santa Ana, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, or Anaheim DUI defense attorney free-of-charge, please contact the DUI Law Offices of Chad Maddox at (714) 695-1500.