Westminster DUI Defense: Turning a Jail Sentence Around

Shows the blood content of a person accused of a DUI Drugs

We had a Westminster DUI Defense for Our client who a pharmacy student, he was apprehended on the 22 in Westminster, following a DUI collision with drugs present in his system. His case was brought to Westminster Court, classified as a first DUI involving prescription medication found in his blood, due to the presence of 6-7 different drug types. The Deputy District Attorney at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, who handled his case, initially proposed a 30-day county jail sentence. However, our client, unwilling to accept this, eventually chose to hire us. We renegotiated with the judge, who then decided to eliminate the 30-day jail term. As a result, we successfully prevented our client from serving 30 days in jail.

What are the potential legal consequences of a first-time DUI involving prescription medication?

The potential legal consequences of a first-time DUI involving prescription medication can include up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, each case varies, and not all cases result in such outcomes. A first-time DUI often involves minimal penalties, such as fines and DUI classes. In my opinion, any jail time for a first-time DUI without a collision is unacceptable. Additionally, even with a collision that does not involve great bodily injury, a 30-day jail sentence, as in this case, is also unreasonable. In this instance, we had to intervene to reduce the jail time from 30 days to zero. This case was unusual because there was an Orange County District Attorney with an agenda he wanted to push, but he was promptly corrected by defense counsel and the judge.

How can a criminal defense attorney help in cases where multiple types of drugs are found in a DUI incident?

Defense counsel who are familiar with Westminster DUI Defense can assist in DUI cases involving multiple drugs by differentiating which substances cause impairment and which do not. Not all drugs impair a person’s ability to drive responsibly. Moreover, some drugs can counteract each other’s effects, so having multiple drugs in one’s system does not necessarily make it unsafe to drive. The term ‘drug’ is broad, and not everything classified as such affects driving ability; it’s those that impair your driving that count.

What strategies do defense attorneys use to negotiate with prosecutors in DUI cases?

In Westminster DUI Defense the best strategy defense attorneys use to negotiate with prosecutors is to emphasize the weaknesses of the case if it were to proceed. This is known as challenging the proof. Sometimes, a case is straightforward, and it’s not about challenging the evidence. These other types of defense negotiations are termed equitable ones, meaning that even if the prosecution could prove their case, they wouldn’t achieve their desired outcome, so it’s better to save time and settle the case as it would likely end up after a jury trial.

Can a DUI charge be successfully challenged if it involves a collision and drugs in the system?

Yes, not all DUI cases involving drugs are caused by the drugs. In other words, a person might have medication in their system but not be responsible for the collision. For example, a person on medication might be rear-ended while stopped at a red light. This doesn’t necessarily make them responsible for the collision. Such scenarios require sensitive analysis. Even in seemingly open-and-shut cases, there’s still a need for mitigation. An Orange County DUI attorney can challenge the penalty phase of a case to reduce the penalties, as we did in this case, reducing it from 30 days to zero days in jail.

What role does a judge play in deciding the outcome of a DUI case, and how can an attorney influence this?

A common strategy for Westminster DUI Defense is to avoid the prosecutor and negotiate elsewhere. A judge can influence the outcome of a case by offering an incentive to resolve the matter. Sometimes a judge can act as a third party in negotiations. Attorneys are aware of this and may approach the judge depending on the judge’s tendencies and history. For example, some judges at the Harbor Justice Center are known to impose jail time if that option is opened for negotiation, so attorneys often avoid negotiating DUI cases with that judge, preferring to deal with the District Attorney’s Office. Conversely, courtroom dynamics may differ in other areas of Orange County. An attorney familiar with the local courts and handling many DUI cases will know the best approach for each case.

How common is it for DUI charges to result in jail time, and what factors might reduce this likelihood?

First-time DUI charges typically do not lead to jail time unless there are aggravating factors like excessive speeding, refusal allegations, or a collision. In this case, the initial 30-day jail time request was excessive, but we managed to resolve it. Being proactive, such as enrolling in the AB 541 three-month class ahead of time or the six- or nine-month programs depending on the blood alcohol content, can help reduce the likelihood of jail time.

What steps should I take immediately after being charged with a DUI, especially if it’s a first offense?

If you are charged with a DUI, you should immediately consider requesting an APS hearing within 10 days. An APS hearing is conducted at the DMV office to determine the status of your driver’s license. If you are in Orange County, your case will be handled by the Orange Driver Safety office. You can read more here about how to request a DMV hearing.

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