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Category Archives: Penalties

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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California Prop 47

Proposition 47 Can Reduce Certain Felony Sentences

Proposition 47 has turned certain felonies into misdemeanors for some non-violent drug and property crimes. This can lead to an early release from incarceration, for inmates who have been sentenced for non-serious and non-violent crimes. 

Who does this affect?

This recently passed proposition will immediately affect people who are being prosecuted, or have been convicted of the felonies covered under the prop. Namely:

  • Inmates who are currently incarcerated because of a felony conviction that is now being considered a misdemeanor
  • People who are currently being tried for a felony that is now being considered a misdemeanor
  • Anyone with a loved one that is still serving time for a felony that is now being considered a misdemeanor

If you think you may fall into one of these categories please call our office for a FREE consultation.

Which felonies are now being considered as misdemeanors?

The following crimes have been reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor by the State of California:

  • Health & Safety Code 11350(a), Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • Health & Safety Code 11357(a), Possession of Concentrated Cannabis
  • Health & Safety Code 11377(a), Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • Penal Code 459, Commercial Burglary (during business hours and less than $950)
  • Penal Code 470, Forgery (less than $950)
  • Penal code 476a(a), NSF Checks (less than $950)
  • Penal Code 487, Grand Theft (less than $950)
  • Penal Code 496(a), Possession of Stolen Property (less than $950)
  • Penal Code 666/484(a), Petty Theft with Prior Convictions (less than $950)

For example: If an inmate was found guilty of Commercial Burglary (Penal Code 459) for less than $950 worth of stolen property, charged with a felony, and given a felony sentencing. His/her felony would now be considered only a misdemeanor, and therefor the felony sentence could be reduced to a misdemeanor sentence.


If you or anyone you know has been arrested for DUI, contacting an Orange County DUI Attorney should be your first priority. Call the Law Offices of Chad Maddox for a free consultation, (714) 695-1500.

Teenager Kills 4 & Walks Free

Texas Teenager Ethan Couch (16), was sentenced to 10 years of probation with no immediate jail time, after his June 15th, 2013 DUI accident that killed four and injured two others. The night of the crash, Ethan Couch and friends were caught on camera stealing alcohol from a local Walmart. Hours later, Couch crashed his father’s Ford F-350 truck into, and tragically killed, Breanna Mitchell (24), Hollie (21) and Shelby Boyles (52), and local youth pastor Brian Jennings (43).

Ethan Couch and Four Victims Ethan Couch and the Four People Who Perished from his DUI Accident

As the story was reported, Breanna Mitchell’s SUV had broken down and friend Hollie Boyles offered to come help with the vehicle; Hollie’s mother Shelby had accompanied her. Pastor Brian Jennings happened to be driving past when he saw the women outside the SUV, and decided to stop and attempt to help. Ethan Couch, driving around 70mph, then drove the truck through the group killing all four of them. When police arrived on scene it was reported Couch had a .BAC of .24% which is three times the limit for drivers who are of the legal drinking age.

The two teens who were in the bed of the truck when it crashed are still hospitalized, with one of them being in a vegetative state.

Teen kills 4--DUI Attorney Orange CountyCouch was sentenced to 10 years probation, under the defense of Affluenza, a claim that because of his upbringing and family’s wealth he did not know right from wrong. The lone psychologist who testified, Dick Miller, claimed that Couch grew up in a world where money cured all problems.

“The teen never learned to say that you’re sorry if you hurt someone. If you hurt someone, you sent him money.”

Miller went on to testify that Ethan’s family, “felt that wealth bought privilege and there was no rational link between behavior and consequences.”

District Judge Jean Boyd was unconvinced the Texas juvenile justice system could handle Ethan Couch’s rehabilitative sentence, so she suggested he be taken to a rehabilitation facility in Newport Beach, California.

Any deviations from the sentence given may lead to much harsher penalties, including jail, over the course of the 10 year probationary period.

If you or someone you know needs to defend a DUI in California please contact an experienced DUI lawyer in Newport Beach. It doesn’t cost anything to find out your options.

Man Sentenced to 10 years in Philadelphia Prison

On July, 8th 2012, Philadelphia resident John Leck hit and killed Highway Patrol Officer Brian Lorenzo while drunk driving the wrong way on Interstate 95. Leck had never been accused or convicted of a crime prior to his DUI accident and neighbors reported he was well liked. Leck, 46, pleaded guilty, last October, to: third-degree homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, murder, and DUI in exchange for the District Attorney’s Office dropping more serious charges of homicide with a vehicle and involuntary manslaughter.

DUI accident kills police officer--OC DUI Lawyer
Highway Patrol Officer Brian Lorenzo was on his way home after his shift around 3:15 a.m., when Leck’s vehicle hit him with such force, the soles of the officer’s boots were ripped from his feet and his body was launched more than 20 feet away. John Leck refused to leave his car, after witnesses at the scene of the accident told him he had hit and injured a police officer. Leck’s car was on fire at the time.

“I’m not the monster I’m made out to be,” Leck told Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina before her sentencing.. “I don’t have a hurtful bone in my body.”

Sarmina’s sentencing of 10-20 years in prison also includes 10 years of probation when Leck gets out of jail. Leck’s blood alcohol content was more than two times the legal limit (.218), despite the fact that friends and family said he never overindulged in alcohol.

Man Confessed to Vehicular Homicide on Youtube

Matthew Cordle was attempting to drive home in the early morning hours on June 22nd, in Columbus Ohio after a night of drinking with friends. Cordle’s vehicle was driving the wrong way on Interstate 670, when it was involved in an accident with four vehicles, one being 61-year-old Vincent Canzani’s. Canzani was subsequently killed in the crash, and Cordle was taken into custody.
Fatal DUI Crash Orange County DUI Lawyer

Fast forward to September 3rd, several months later, where Cordle’s story went viral when he posted a Youtube video confessing to the murder of Vincent Canzani and taking responsibility for the DUI fatality he caused. Several media outlets published stories accusing Matthew Cordle of trying to look like the victim in the crash, because of the nature of the Youtube video.

On the 23rd of October, Matthew Cordle received his sentence for vehicular manslaughter, from Ohio Judge David Fais:

  • Six-and-a-half years in prison
  • A lifetime suspension of his driver’s license
  • A $1,075 fine

In court Cordle had this to say, “Whatever my sentence may be, the true punishment is living.”

Angela Canzani, the victim’s daughter, had this to say in response to Matthew Cordle’s punishment as well as to his Youtube confession. “I’ve heard about a message. The message we don’t want to hear is that if you hit and kill someone — and admit to it — you get away with it.”

Speaking to the judge about the punishment Cordle received, Angela Canzani added, “My father got a death sentence. Eight-and-a-half years is nothing. After eight-and-a-half years, Matthew Cordle will have his life back — my father is never coming back.”

 

Do you think Matthew’s YouTube confession was an attempt at gaining sympathy for his trial?
Or a legitimate way to send a sobering & powerful message?

Additional coverage:
Huffington Post
NBC

DUI Suspension Periods

There are several formalities and procedures police officers must follow when investigating and arresting you for Driving Under the Influence. Police officers are bound by the law just as you are. When they do not properly follow the law during your arrest, it may result in an “unlawful arrest”. This is why it is important for all CA drivers to know their rights when stopped on suspicion of a DUI, and to contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible, in the case of an arrest.
Police are Bound by Laws that Protect You

How long will my license be suspended for a DUI in CA?:

The effects of a DUI suspension can be one of the most damaging and confusing aspects of the entire DUI process. For any given DUI; the courts & the DMV impose SEPARATE license suspensions. For most the majority of cases, the court & DMV suspension periods may be served at the same time (for example: someone with a basic 2nd DUI conviction, could potentially receive a court-triggered suspension of 2 years, and a DMV APS suspension of 1 year. Since credit for both of these suspensions can be earned at the same time, a 2nd DUI offense has a practical suspension period of 2 years, not 3).
It is highly recommended that you seek the help of a criminal defense lawyer who exclusively handles DUI & license suspensions to represent you through this ordeal.

  • If you are 21 or older at the time of your arrest:
    • 1st DUI has a potential license suspension of: 30 days + 10 months restricted
      • 4 months (suspended by the DMV) if your alcohol level is 0.08% or more
      • 6 months (suspended by the courts)
      • You may be eligible for a restricted license after 30 days
    • 2nd DUI has a potential license suspension of 3 months + 21 months w/IID:
      • 1 year (suspended by the DMV) if your alcohol level is 0.08% or more
      • 2 years (suspended by the courts) May be served at the same time as DMV suspension
      • You may be eligible for a restricted license after 90 days
    • 3rd DUI has a minimum license suspension of 6 months + 18 months restricted:
      • 1 year (suspended by the DMV) if your alcohol level is 0.08% or more
      • 2 years, up to 10 years (suspended by the courts)
      • You are ineligible for a restricted license if you received your 3rd DUI while on probation for a prior DUI offense
    • A “refusal” to take a chemical test during your arrest can result in:
      • 1 year suspension for 1st DUI
      • 2 year revocation for 2nd DUI (a revocation is a more severe form of suspension)
      • 3 year revocation for 3rd DUI (a revocation is a more severe form of suspension)
      • There is no provision to obtain a restricted license for refusal DUIs
  • If you were under the age of 21 at the time of your arrest:
    • If your blood alcohol level is 0 .01% or more you will be subject to a one year license suspension
    •  You will not be eligible for a restricted license

Getting a DUI Causes Lots of Problems with Your Ability to DriveWhen you are arrested, the officer will likely take your license and give you a pink colored temporary license and order of suspension.  You only have 10 days after your arrest, counting weekends and holidays, to request a DMV hearing to challenge the order of suspension. It is of the utmost importance to seek the help of a license suspension lawyer to represent you at your DMV hearing. If you do not request a hearing, the license suspensions discussed above will automatically go into effect 30 days after your arrest.  Requesting a hearing within 10 days of your arrest is crucial because after that time period you have given up your right to challenge the license suspension.

Judge sentences teen to Church for DUI conviction

17 year old teenager, Tyler Alred, pleaded guilty in August to first degree man slaughter after killing his friend, John Dum, on impact in his DUI crash last December. Oklahoma Highway Patrol had initiated a breathalyzer test at the scene of the crash, and found Tyler Alred had alcohol on his breath at the scene of the crash. Being a minor, any traceable amount of alcohol is grounds for immediate DUI arrest.

Judge Mike Norman handed down the controversial sentence to Alred. The Oklahoma teen, who could have faced up to 10 years in prison for pleading guilty, was sentenced to:

  • counseling sessions
  • ordered to wear a drug and alcohol bracelet
  • graduate from high-school
  • and attend 10 years in church, weekly, at a congregation of his choosing.

In court an emotional father of the victim, embraced Alred’s father, seemingly forgiving Alred’s son for the mistake he had made that led to John Dum’s death. Controversy followed Judge Mike Norman’s decision because many believe that sentencing Alred to Church is a violation of the separation of Church and State laws. Alred’s DUI defense lawyer was, not surprisingly, in favor of the sentence. As far as DUI attorneys are concerned a 10-year prison deferment is the best thing that could happen to a client. Judge Norman was reported as saying, “Only time will tell if we saved Tyler Alred’s life.”

Woman Charged with Child Endangerment

In Anaheim California, a 24 year old woman was charged with DUI and child endangerment when she crashed into a parked car, injuring her four year old passenger as well as herself. Since the child was a passenger in the vehicle when the Anaheim DUI accident happened, enhanced penalties and fines may be included. The law states that because the child was under the age of 14 when the accident occurred, 48 hours of enhanced jail time may be included in her punishment as well as increased monetary fines and penalties. The defense of this case should be handled by an experienced Orange County DUI attorney.

These penalties would of course only be added after the conviction of driving under the influence (Vehicle Code Section 23152), and would be nullified if the conviction was not made. DUI Jail time is enhanced, as well as the penalties imposed for each successive DUI conviction. The child endangerment charge (Penal Code section 273a), gives the prosecuting attorney the right to file charges as either a felony or misdemeanor depending on; past criminal history of the person involved, and the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Some charges associated with a misdemeanor child endangerment conviction, are as follows:
1. Up to one year in a county jail
2. A minimum of 4 years informal probation
3. Fines up to $1,000
4. A year of child abuser’s treatment program
5. Alcohol and drug rehab, if endangerment occurred under the influence

Even worse is being convicted of felony child endangerment. The punishments can range from:
1. State prison 2-6 years
2. 10,000 dollars in fines and penalties
3. A possible strike on your criminal record.

Drinking and driving is a serious offense, but it can be made worse when a child is involved. If you or a loved one is facing a DUI or any other alcohol related charges, you want an expert Anaheim DUI Lawyer on your side.

A DUI Checklist

If you are stopped and arrested for a DUI, there are certain pieces of information that your Orange County drunk driving lawyer will want to know about the events that took place at the time of the arrest. The following is a short checklist of things that you should keep in mind so that your attorney can prepare the best case possible for you.

With respect to the arrest itself:

  • Did law enforcement search your vehicle, and if so, was anything found?
  • At what point in the process did the officer tell you that you were under arrest?
  • Were you put in handcuffs?
  • Was a videotape or audiotape made, or were pictures taken during the stop?
  • Were you read your Miranda rights, and did you waive those rights or stay silent?
  • Did you request an Orange County drunk driving lawyer?
  • Were you on a diet when you were arrested?
  • How much sleep had you gotten over the previous two days?
  • Had you taken any medications recently?
  • Do you suffer from any physical disabilities or do you have balance problems?
  • Do you have any mental health problems?
  • Did you burp or throw up during the required observation period?
  • How many breath samples did you give?
  • Did you have any problems giving a sample?
  • Did the operator disturb your breathing pattern at any time during the test?
  • Did the operator make you hold your breath for any amount of time prior to blowing?
  • Were you tested on more than one machine?

Your attorney will also want to know about your health at the time of the arrest:

Regarding the breath test:

If you have gotten a DUI, and you need an Orange County drunk driving lawyer to help you with your case, please call Chad Maddox at (714) 695-1500 for a free consultation.