2 DUI Charges and a Victory at Fullerton Courthouse

Our client got multiple DUIs in Orange County between 2017 and 2019 at the Fullerton courthouse. He failed to appear for the 2017 DUI. Eventually, he incurred a second DUI in 2019 and failed to appear for this second DUI as well. This resulted in a bench warrant for dui against our client. The Orange County District Attorney wanted 120 days in jail for his case, or alternatively, he could attend DUI court. Consequently, we filed a motion under Penal Code 1538.5 during the pretrial process and succeeded in getting the blood evidence suppressed for the second DUI. This gave us greater leverage in negotiating the resolution of both the first and second DUIs. Despite this, the District Attorney was unwilling to relent on the second DUI and sought jail time regardless of the suppressed evidence. We had to set the matter for trial, which prompted the Orange County District Attorney’s Office to reconsider their stance on the case. However, even after this progress, the offer remained unsatisfactory. Eventually, a more reasonable judge reviewed the facts and decided to treat this as a first DUI, resulting in no jail time for our client.

How can suppressed blood evidence impact the negotiation process in a DUI case?

Suppressed blood evidence can significantly impact the negotiation process in a DUI case. Many DUI cases rely on blood as the primary evidence of the driver’s blood alcohol content. If this blood evidence is suppressed, or if it was destroyed, there would be no evidence for the jury to determine guilt if the case proceeds to a jury trial. As a result, the outcome could likely be ‘not guilty.’ This is why a case may need to be reconsidered if the blood evidence is suppressed, fails to enter into evidence, or is destroyed.

What are the possible consequences of failing to appear in court for a DUI charge?

The consequences of failing to appear in court for a DUI charge can include a new charge for failure to appear or a bench warrant for the DUI. A bench warrant means you can be arrested by any police officer at any time and detained in jail until your court hearing.

Can you explain what a bench warrant is and what it entails for a defendant?

A bench warrant in Orange County is an order from a judge to take a defendant into custody. The most common reason for issuing a bench warrant is a failure to appear at an arraignment. This may occur if a case wasn’t filed at the initial arraignment, and the defendant is unaware of subsequent court dates because they missed the notification. When this happens, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office will request a bench warrant be issued, effectively making the individual a fugitive.

What is Penal Code 1538.5, and how does it apply to DUI cases?

Penal Code 1538.5 is a motion to suppress evidence when the state or a police officer violates a person’s constitutional rights. Remedies can include the exclusion of evidence against the accused. In the context of a DUI case, such a motion could result in blood evidence being excluded from trial, despite its factual consistency with DUI allegations.

How does the District Attorney’s Office typically respond to suppressed evidence in DUI cases?

For a District Attorney, proceeding with a DUI case when crucial blood evidence is suppressed is challenging. Suppressed evidence means it cannot be considered during the trial, substantially increasing the likelihood of a ‘not guilty’ verdict, which is unfavorable from the prosecution’s perspective.

What options are available if the District Attorney’s offer is not acceptable in a DUI case?

If the District Attorney’s offer is unacceptable in a DUI case, several options remain. These include filing motions to uncover any constitutional violations or proceeding to a jury trial, with outcomes varying based on the evidence. Additionally, the defendant can engage in negotiations directly with the judge, who may provide a different offer than the District Attorney.

How can a case be treated as a first DUI offense if the client has prior DUIs?

A case can still be treated as a first DUI offense even if the client has prior DUIs through creative sentencing structuring. The first offense could be terminated, and the second reduced. Various legal maneuvers can align the case with the characteristics of a first DUI, and allegations can be modified accordingly.

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