As you may realize, it is impossible, unreasonable and unrealistic to honestly predict an outcome at this time and until a number of fundamental things happen:
A) We review and analyze all of the State’s evidence including but not limited to the arrest report, the BAC test record (not just the result; the result may be at or above the legal limit but the record may be legally inadmissible), any PAS hand-held breath test results, and all other documents;
B) I conclude my investigation including responding to the evidence once we receive copies; and
C) I meet with the prosecutor to respectfully request dropping charges.
Anyone who can predict an outcome before that is not being forthright with you, as you can imagine. The State Attorney Bar precludes one to predict an outcome, so it is legally unethical to try to predict an outcome.
Things can change once I am inside a hearing or in a courtroom. I have had losers but then once I get in them, I make things happen based on different factors – e.g. a failure to follow proper police procedure, etc.
Obviously, our objectives are win the court case/get the charges dropped/avoid the license suspension (vs. get convicted and receive severe penalties).
There are many “in betweens” and a number of different possible results and outcomes. The California Vehicle Code is over 1,000 pages long and contains over 42,000 sections.
The maximum sentence for a second-time DUI is 12 months Jail; the minimum is 96 hours/90 days Jail if second conviction within 10 years.
Realistically, Jail is not likely for a first time conviction unless there was an accident causing injury to a victim; in fact, any Jail for a first offense is utterly unacceptable and I would fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court (before whom I am licensed) to avoid same.
Possible San Diego, California DUI and DMV Penalties and Criminal (Misdemeanor) Sentences for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and/or drugs (Vehicle Code Section 23152) can be found here.
You can find a list of partial DUI/DMV Victories here.
I am not Las Vegas. I do not predict nor do I set probabilities. I am a fighting realist. All you do when you hire a DUI Specialist is to retain someone who will:
a) Be prepared at all times;
b) Look under every stone;
c) Try to keep you driving and out of San Diego County Jail; and
d) Protect your legal rights.
Beyond that, any DUI attorney who tells you what can be done – at this moment – should not be believed. If an attorney tries to convince you now, get it in writing.
I can make no guarantees and cannot tell you what our best strategy or tactic is at this early stage.
Our best strategy – and hence, our likelihood of prevailing – is a direct function of the evidence, our investigation and evidence and what can be done at the actual hearings (which is, in turn, a function of which prosecutor is assigned your case, which judge hears the case, etc.) This is based on my honest opinion and reasonable experience since I began practicing law in 1983.
“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” [Sherlock Holmes]
I hope this helps with your decision.
I know it is difficult but one must first hire a very good attorney to do the hard work before experiencing the fruits of that vigorous representation.
For my free San Diego DUI/DMV Defense Evaluation, click here.
Rick Mueller, Attorney, San Diego County DUI Law Center 1 of 2 certified San Diego “Specialists” by California DUI Lawyers Association and the Editorial Consultant for the California Drunk Driving Law book 1-800-THE-LAW-DUI.