Being arrested for a DUI in Imperial County can be one of the most stressful and damaging times in a person's life. At Williams and Singh, we have compassionate attorneys who are experienced in defending DUIs in El Centro and the surrounding areas.
If a driver is arrested for a DUI in Imperial County, the arresting officer will typically confiscate the driver's license and issue the driver a temporary paper license. The temporary license is generally good for a period of 30 calendar days. The driver would have 10 calendar days from the date of her arrest to request a DMV hearing. For DUI arrests occurring in Imperial County, DMV hearings are requested through the San Diego Driver's Safety office. Contact information for the San Diego Driver's Safety office can be found HERE.
Why We Fight the DMV
There are many benefits to requesting a DMV hearing. To begin with, if the DMV hearing is scheduled to occur beyond the 30 day temporary license period that follows a DUI arrest, the DMV will extend the the temporary license to last until the DMV hearing is decided. This can provide the driver with some much needed additional time to prepare for a possible license suspension. Additionally, if properly requested, the DMV will provide the driver with a copy of certain reports and investigative materials written by arresting officer. Since the DMV hearing typically happens before criminal charges are even filed, this usually means that the DMV hearing provides the driver with the earliest opportunity to evaluate the evidence that her DUI arrest is based on. Under certain circumstances, the DMV hearing may also provide an opportunity to cross examine the arresting officer before the criminal case is filed.
Last but not least, the most obvious benefit of requesting a DMV hearing is that it gives you an opportunity to challenge the DMV's action to suspend your license. Although DMV hearings are by their nature very difficult to win, the attorneys at Williams & Singh have extensive experience handling DMV hearings, and will give you the best fighting chance to keep your license.
How Our Attorneys Can Help With a DMV Hearing:
- We schedule DMV hearings for our clients and request all investigative reports
- We handle the DMV hearing and make all arguments on behalf of our clients
- We appear at the DMV hearing - our clients do not have to attend if the do not want to
- We are experienced in procedural and legal issues that apply to DMV Hearings
- We are experienced in successfully handling and winning DMV hearings
- We are experienced in successfully handling and winning writ petitions in which the Imperial County Superior Court forces the DMV to return a wrongfully suspended driver's license
It is always important to remember that each DMV hearing case has unique issues that should be individually discussed with a qualified attorney. To discuss your matter with an attorney at Williams and Singh, LLP, contact us today at (760) 994-4992.
FROM ARREST TO THE FIRST COURT APPEARANCE
When a person is arrested for a DUI in Imperial County, it would be fairly common for the arresting officer to issue a citation to that person and then release him/her to a competent driver, instead of booking the person into the county jail. In criminal law, we generally refer to a person cited for criminal charges as a "defendant." Any citation issued should have a date when the "defendant" is supposed to appear in court for his/her arraignment date. After the officer issues a citation, the officer will write an investigative report that is forwarded to the Imperial County District Attorney's office. The Imperial County District Attorneys' office will have an attorney review the investigative materials and then decide whether to file criminal DUI charges against the defendant.
If the Imperial County District Attorney's office files criminal DUI charges against a defendant for DUI prior to the date stated on the citation, that defendant's first court date should be the date stated on the DUI citation. If the Imperial County District Attorney's Office files charges against the defendant after the date stated on the citation, the defendant should receive notice of his/her first court date by mail. It is important that persons cited for DUI monitor the first court date very closely to ensure that they do not miss the first court date. Assuming a defendant is properly notified of her first court, the court could issue a warrant for the defendant's arrest if she fails to appear in court on the first court date.
The first court date is called an arraignment. At the arraignment, the court informs the defendant of the charges and the defendant enters a plea. It is virtually always a good idea to plead not guilty at the arraignment. However, it is always important to remember that each DUI case has unique issues that should be individually discussed with a qualified attorney. To discuss your matter with an attorney at Williams and Singh, LLP, contact us today at (760) 994-4992.
How Our Attorneys Can Help With the Beginning Stages:
- We monitor court dates on behalf of our clients to help them avoid arrest warrants
- We appear in court on the first court date on behalf of our clients
- We provide assistance to our clients and answer any questions that come up prior to the initial court date
FIGHTING A DUI IN COURT
The first step to fighting a DUI in court is to develop as much information about the case as possible. In criminal law we call this process "discovery." After the first court date, the prosecutor will turn over certain discovery documents such as the police report, the print out from any breath test administered, and any laboratory results of blood testing. In order to effectively defend DUI charges, it is critical to pursue additional discovery beyond what is typically provided by the prosecutor. Additional discovery materials may include breath testing accuracy records, breath testing calibration records, officer body cam footage, patrol unit dashboard camera video, dispatch logs, dispatch audio, and much more. Obtaining these additional discovery materials can open up the door to defenses that were previously unavailable. For example, when patrol unit dashboard camera footage is available, sometimes the footage will show that the arresting officer really did not have a legitimate reason to pull over the driver. When an officer pulls over a driver without a legitimate reason to do so, the case should be dismissed.
How Our Attorneys Can Help with Discovery
- In breath test cases, we pursue calibration and accuracy records for every device used during the investigation
- In blood test cases, we pursue blood test laboratory reports
- In blood test cases, we pursue blood sample splits to retest the blood alcohol level
- We pursue dashboard camera surveillance footage
- We purse officer body cam footage
- We evaluate all discovery obtained and use it to fight for our clients
It is always a good idea to have a qualified DUI attorney evaluate a DUI case to determine whether there are any pretrial motions that may help the defendant win his case. There are a variety of different pretrial motions that could result in a DUI case being dismissed, depending on the specific circumstances of a given case. The pretrial motion most commonly filed in a DUI case is called a motion to suppress evidence. In a motion to suppress evidence, the defense attorney will typically file a brief with the court which alleges that the police pulled over the defendant without a search warrant. The prosecutor will then be required to prove that the police either had a search warrant or had some valid reason to pull the defendant over without a search warrant. Sometimes the prosecutor will call the officer to testify, and the officer will fail to provide a legitimate reason for stopping the driver. When this happens, the court will suppress all of the evidence collected following the vehicle enforcement stop, and the case will virtually always be dismissed.
How We Can Help with Pretrial Motions
- We review and evaluate all DUI cases for viable pretrial motions
- We are knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys with extensive experience handling pretrial motions
- We are well versed in criminal law and motion practice
- We have successfully handled a variety of criminal pretrial motions, including motions to suppress evidence, speedy trial motions, double jeopardy motions, and more
Negotiations AND PLEA BARGAINING
Most criminal cases resolve through negotiations and plea-bargaining. There is a wide variety of negotiated settlements that could be reached for a DUI depending on the particular facts and circumstances of the case. If a DUI case involves speeding, reckless driving, a high blood alcohol level, or multiple prior DUI convictions, the primary goal of negotiations may be to keep the defendant out of jail. If a DUI case involves a routine traffic stop with a relatively low blood alcohol level, the primary goal of negotiations may be to have the charges reduced or possibly even dismissed. However, it is always important to remember that each DUI negotiation involves unique issues that should be individually discussed with a qualified attorney. To discuss your matter with an attorney at Williams and Singh, LLP, contact us today at (760) 994-4992.
When a case cannot be resolved through pretrial motions, negotiations, or plea bargaining, the only remaining option is to fight the case in trial. In California, the defendant is entitled to a jury trial where 12 members of the local community hear evidence about the case and then decide whether the defendant is guilty of DUI. A defendant can only be convicted of a DUI if all 12 jurors agree that the prosecutor proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed a DUI offense.
It is a common misconception that DUI crimes cannot be successfully defended in trial. On the contrary, there are many viable trial defenses that may apply in a DUI case depending on the particular facts and circumstances. Any discrepancy with the prosecutor's evidence may be enough to create a reasonable doubt and support a not guilty verdict. Common DUI defenses trial include:
- Breath testing equipment not properly maintained
- Breath testing equipment not accurate
- Breath tests not properly administered
- Blood test not properly administered
- Blood sample stored in proper tube
- Defendant not intoxicated based on field sobriety tests
- Defendant not intoxicated based on driving behavior
- Defendant not observed driving
There are many other trial defenses that may apply given the facts and circumstances of a particular case. It is always important to remember that each DUI negotiation involves unique issues that should be individually discussed with a qualified attorney. To discuss your matter with an attorney at Williams and Singh, LLP, contact us today at (760) 994-4992 or fill out the form below and we will follow up with you. DUI consultations are free.