Successful Defense in Complex Second DUI in Santa Ana Courthouse Case with Probation Violation

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Introduction

We recently represented a young man in his twenties at the Santa Ana Courthouse. The case involved a second DUI with a probation violation, following his prior DUI in 2021, which also involved an accident. We successfully got into DUI court and were able to keep him out of jail.

Background of the 2nd DUI Case

Initial DUI Incident

Our client, employed in a white-collar job and living with his family in Santa Ana, faced his first DUI charge in 2021. After this incident, he attempted to abstain from alcohol. However, over time, influenced by social gatherings where alcohol was present, he found it challenging to maintain this abstinence.

Second DUI Incident

Two years later, while still on probation, he was involved in another DUI incident, recording over a .2 blood alcohol concentration and, unfortunately, was involved in another accident.

Legal Strategy and Negotiation at the Santa Ana Courthouse

Addressing Probation Violation and Bail Challenges

The legal complexities in this case were multi-layered. The immediate concern was the probation violation, which carried the potential for a six-month jail sentence and a $1,000 fine. Additionally, we faced the challenge of securing his release on his own recognizance at the arraignment, avoiding the combined $25,000 bail for the probation violation and the second DUI.

Implementing Electronic Monitoring

We successfully negotiated for the court to permit an electronic monitoring device on his ankle. This not only assured the court of his sobriety but also helped him avoid posting bail.

Enrollment in DUI Court Program

Furthermore, we facilitated his early enrollment in an 18-month DUI program, demonstrating his commitment to reform and reducing the risk of reoffending.

DUI Court and License Suspension

Delaying License Suspension

Our strategy included delaying his license suspension, which allowed him more time on the road and to demonstrate his commitment to sobriety.

SCRAM Alcohol Monitoring at the Santa Ana Courthouse

Although we initially sought credit for time under SCRAM X monitoring, the court did not agree. Consequently, we shifted our focus to reinforcing his candidacy for DUI court through sustained alcohol monitoring.

The Outcome

Avoiding Jail Time through DUI Court Program

After rigorous negotiations, considering the severity of a second DUI with a probation violation, we secured his acceptance into the DUI court program. This meant no jail time and potentially no fines if the program was completed satisfactorily.

Benefits of DUI Court Program at the Santa Ana Courthouse

The program offered him comprehensive treatment for his alcohol issues and the opportunity to modify his probation from formal to informal upon successful completion.

Conclusion: Lessons Learned and Advocacy

This case exemplified the possibility of alternative routes to avoid jail, even in complex scenarios involving probation violations. Our firm played a crucial role in advocating for our client, allowing him to continue his employment. We utilized Penal Code 977 A, enabling us to represent him in court without his physical presence.

What exactly is a probation violation in the context of a DUI case, and how does it impact the legal proceedings?

In the context of a DUI case, a probation violation means that a person has violated the terms of their prior DUI sentencing. Originally, when a person was sentenced to a first DUI, the court technically has the power to sentence them up to a maximum of six months in jail and a $1000 fine. However, instead of doing that, the court puts them on what they call probation. Probation means that they have to follow certain terms and agree to do classes, not drive with any measurable amount of alcohol, and several other conditions as a way to avoid getting sentenced to the maximum. They call this probation. When a person falls out of line or is noncompliant with the probation, they call this a probation violation for a DUI. This means that the court has the power to violate them and bring them back in if they break any of those conditions. In this case, our client was two years into his three-year probation when he picked up his third DUI. So technically, he could have gone to jail for six months for the first one and then up to one year for the second one.

How does an electronic monitoring device work, and why was it chosen as an alternative to bail in this case?

An electronic monitoring device works by picking up the skin and sensing any type of alcohol that’s been digested in our body. When our body absorbs alcohol, it releases alcohol in our skin. The machines pick this up and read it. The reason why bail exists is to ensure that a person will show up to court, and the second reason, which applies to most DUI cases, is to make sure that the interest of public safety is taken care of. If public safety is taken care of via bail by posting $10,000, $15,000, or even $25,000, or if public safety is ensured through AA classes or alcohol monitoring devices, they all serve the same purpose. They ensure public safety. In this case, the most cost-effective way to ensure this for our client was to use the electronic monitoring device. This way, we could double dip later for the DUI court support.

Can you explain more about the DUI court program and its requirements? How does it differ from regular court proceedings?

More can be read about the DUI Court here. However, in a nutshell, the DUI court is an Intensive Outpatient program. It requires people to check into court and also get randomly drug tested. It has several phases to move through, and most participants move through the program within a year to a year and a half.

What strategies are employed to delay a license suspension in a DUI case, and what are the legal implications of this delay?

Strategies employed to delay a license suspension in a DUI case involve using the DMV hearing. If we use the DMV hearing, we are able to set the license suspension out by 45 to 60 days. This means that they have a couple of months more to drive. What people do with their driving privileges is important. Many people depend on their cars and their driver’s license to get around. These things are important for people to have. We delay as much as possible so that our client can continue driving.

What is the SCRAM alcohol monitoring system, and how does it influence a defendant’s eligibility for DUI court?

The SCRAM alcohol monitoring system checks a person’s skin for any type of alcohol ingested into the system. If it detects any type of alcohol, it lets the device know, and it sends this information to the SCRAM coordinators, who then send it to the court. In this case, there was an agreement to get on SCRAM. Once the person was on SCRAM, they were subjected to the court knowing if they drink alcohol or not. The judge or the court is satisfied if they do not drink alcohol, and that is the whole goal behind this.

In cases of a second DUI with a probation violation, what are the typical stances of district attorneys and judges, and how can these be negotiated?

In Orange County, California, on second DUIs with probation violations at the Santa Ana Courthouse, the typical stances of District Attorneys and judges and how the cases are negotiated usually end up with jail time. This jail time means no electronic confinement. Things could change, however. It’s very dynamic, and judges rotate in and out. However, as of the date of this writing, which is December 6th, 2023, that is the nature of the Santa Ana Courthouse, or at least where this case took place. This means that we have to find more creative ways to keep our clients out of jail.

What are the potential consequences of not completing the DUI court program satisfactorily, especially in cases involving probation violations?

The potential consequences of not completing the DUI court program satisfactorily mean that a person could come back and be sentenced up to 270 days in jail. However, for this to happen, they would have to be hopeless and mess up several times in order to get the book thrown at them. Many people who relapse do end up spending a weekend in jail. However, they do make it back and eventually work their way through the program.

How can legal representation be beneficial in DUI cases, particularly in terms of court appearances and navigating complex legal situations like probation violations?

Having legal representation by your side in DUI cases, particularly in terms of court appearances and navigating complex situations like probation violations, is important. They take the guessing game out of this and make sure that the crucial moves are made. For example, in this case, had our client not got on SCRAM, this would not have factored into the decision whether or not he got accepted into the DUI court program. In other words, he could have been sent to jail and be doing his time.

Invitation for Legal Assistance

If you face a similar situation, such as a probation violation or a subsequent DUI, please contact our office. We can provide a similar analysis and strive to achieve comparable results for your case.

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