Beverly Hills DUI Process
Famous worldwide for being home to the rich and famous, Beverly Hills also possesses one the most well-funded and responsive Police Departments in the United States. The Beverly Hills Police Department generates thousands of cases each year. In addition to the cases arising from arrests in city of Beverly Hills, the Courthouse that handles crimes in Beverly Hills also handles cases arising from arrests made by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood and other adjoining areas.
As a result of the numerous bars, nightclubs and other hotspots located in and near this area, Driving Under the Influence in Beverly Hills pursuant to California Penal Code section 23152(a) and/or California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) is one of the most prevalent charges handled at the Beverly Hills Courthouse.1. Beverly Hills DUI Investigation
A Beverly Hills DUI investigation may occur after one of several triggering events occur.
The vast majority of Beverly Hills Drunk Driving investigations and arrests occur after a law enforcement officer on patrol observes a driver engaging in some variety of violation of the California Vehicle Code or other law. The law violated may range from relatively minor non-driving violations, such as equipment violations and failing to signal while changing lanes, to serious violations like grossly excessive speeding which can be a danger to the general public.
Whatever the violation is, the Beverly Hills law enforcement officer must be able to cite clearly articulable facts to justify that there was sufficient evidence of a crime or violation to justify the automobile stop. The officer cannot make such decisions on a mere hunch or suspicion. This is one area that a top rated Beverly Hills DUI Attorney is able to attack to defend a person arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Beverly Hills.
Once the vehicle has been stopped, the officer will be actively seeking any obvious physical signs of intoxication from the driver, including slurred speech, bloodshot and watery eyes, and odor of alcohol coming from the driver's breath. The officer usually will ask the driver if he or she had been drinking.
If the law enforcement officer sees enough to make them believe the driver may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will request the driver leave the vehicle in order to participate in a series of Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs). These tests include the standardized tests used by police agencies through the nation. These typically include the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), which test for certain involuntary eye movements that occur when someone is drunk, and the walk and turn test and one-leg life test, which tests for agility and ability to remember and respond to requests.
Beverly Hills law enforcement officers may additionally utilize a series of non-standardized tests, including the Finger to Nose Test, the Rhomberg balance test, and others. FSTs are discussed further at length in the article on Beverly Hills Field Sobriety Testing. It is important to remember that all of the tests used are completely subjective and depend on the individual judgment of whatever officer is conducting those tests, and is thus subject to any individual prejudices or ideas that officer may harbor.
During this testing phase outside of the vehicle, the Beverly Hills law enforcement officer may ask the driver provide a breath sample using a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) device. This is a portable device used for measuring alcohol content. This PAS test does not give an official reading due to its susceptibility to external factors such as weather and temperature. However, law enforcement officers often rely on the PAS device as an important gauge on whether or not there is probable cause to arrest someone for Driving Under the Influence.
A traffic collision may also trigger a Beverly Hills Driving Under the Influence investigation and arrest if there was any indication that one or more of the drivers involved may have been drinking. Furthermore Drunk Driving can also be reported by members of the public. The general public is encouraged to call 911 if they observe a driver who appears drunk, and law enforcement will try to track down the suspect. In these instances, the driving conduct need not be directly observed by the law enforcement officer in order to justify a resulting DUI arrest and charge.
Additionally law enforcement agencies in and around Beverly Hills have commonly relied on DUI checkpoints to monitor and enforce the DUI laws. These checkpoints are placed at heavy traffic intersections which have shown to have a high concentration of DUI incidents in the past. The checkpoint permits Beverly Hills law enforcement officers to stop any driver at the Checkpoint and initiate a DUI investigation. The Beverly Hills DUI checkpoints must follow specific guidelines set forth by the California Supreme Court. These checkpoints are discussed further in the section on DUI checkpoints.2. Beverly Hills DUI Arrest
Once a Beverly Hills law enforcement officer has concluded that there is sufficient evidence of intoxication, they will arrest the suspect for Driving Under the Influence and take that individual to the police station for booking and further testing. If the suspect elects to provide a blood sample, they will be taken to a hospital where this can be performed. If the suspect instead opts for the non-invasive breath test, they will be taken directly to the police station where they will provide a sample on the Intoxilyzer breath testing device. The suspect is typically booked at this time into the Beverly Hills Police Department Jail, located at 464 North Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills, 90210.
The suspect is usually released the next day and provided a notice to appear, which gives information pertaining to the charge to be filed and the date and time of the future arraignment. If the suspect had chosen the breath test and the result was 0.08 percent blood alcohol or higher, the individual will be charged under both California Penal Code section 23152(a) and/or California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) If the suspect took a blood test, the results will not be readily known and so the suspect will only be charged with VC § 23152(a). However, prosecutors can include an additional count under VC § 23152(b) when the blood results come back.
On the notice to appear will be a date and time to appear at the Beverly Hills Courthouse located at 9355 Burton Way, Beverly Hills, CA.3. Beverly Hills DUI: Before The Arraignment
The time between a Beverly Hills DUI arrest and this arraignment date can be critical and having a private Beverly Hills DUI attorney involved with your case early on can be crucial. Prior to being released from jail, the arresting agency will seize the suspect's physical driver's license and provide them with a pink, temporary license and a date of an impending DUI suspension. Many people fail to realize that they only have ten days to request a hearing from the DMV challenging the suspension, and a Beverly Hills DUI lawyer can handle this immediately in order to get an immediate stay of the suspension.
In addition to handling the DMV administrative action, having a Beverly Hills Drunk Driving attorney handling your case early in the DUI process may allow that attorney to intervene in the criminal filing process with the prosecutor or relevant law enforcement officer before charges have been filed in order to have charges reduced and even dismissed in certain cases.
If charges do get filed, a Beverly Hills DUI attorney is needed to challenge the People's case in court in order to obtain the absolutely best outcome for their client. After receiving all relevant discovery material, the attorney may notice serious flaws in the prosecutor's case, such as problems with the vehicle stop, inconsistencies in the official incident reports, or clear errors in the various testing devices, among other things. A knowledgeable and experienced Beverly Hills DUI attorney can make the difference in what cases are dismissed or significantly reduced by the prosecutor.
A person charged in a Beverly Hills Driving Under the Influence case ultimately has three options in regards how they want to handle their case: they can represent themselves ("pro per" or "pro se" as it referred to in court), they can request that an attorney from the Public Defender's office be appointed (if they are truly indigent), or they can choose to retain a private Beverly Hills DUI attorney.
Representing yourself in court can be very risky and can lead to irreversible errors. As Abraham Lincoln, who was a criminal defense attorney before he became President, famously stated, "he who represents himself has a fool for a client." The Beverly Hills DUI process is complicated, and lawyers can devote entire careers to mastering the intricacies of this area of the law.
A knowledgeable and experienced Beverly Hills Drunk Driving attorney can rely on a career's worth of information, knowledge and resources that a Pro Pre defendant simply is unable to access. Someone representing themselves has no reasonable way to evaluate a case for its potential strengths and weaknesses and may be unable to spot the relevant legal issues pertinent to their case.
Someone charged with DUI may apply for the services of the public defender on their arraignment date. This option can also be problematic. The public defender's office is required to provide representation to all indigent defendants, regardless of the charge. As a result, a public defender who is handling several serious felony cases may not be able to give your misdemeanor DUI charge the attention it deserves. Public defenders are typically assigned at the arraignment date, and a defendant is not able to choose which public defender will be handling their case. If they do not like the attorney they are assigned, there is little they can do about it. In addition, many people find they are unable to qualify for a public defender. To be eligible for a court-appointed attorney, defendants must not earn income above a certain financial amount, and owning certain assets like a car may prevent someone being able to have a public defender appointed.
The final option for someone facing Drunk Driving charges in Beverly Hills is to retain a private Beverly Hills DUI defense attorney. The choices may seem overwhelming, as there are numerous attorneys advertising their services.
When choosing a Beverly Hills DUI attorney, there are several things to remember and watch out for. One should automatically beware of lawyers charging significantly lower retainer fees than other private attorneys. Such lawyers rely on having a high volume of cases and thus are unable to provide individualized attention to any one client.
Additionally, one should be cautious before retaining any attorney that sent them a letter in the mail advertising their services. These lawyers purchase lists of all people booked into local jails every week and then send out mass mailings. These attorneys often promise to deliver big results but rarely do.
Someone facing criminal charges in Beverly Hills related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs may look for an attorney who is an expert on DUI law. These attorneys often have great credentials, but one should be careful if they are the owner of a large firm or are highly visible on videos and websites online. These attorneys typically rely on teams of younger, more inexperienced attorneys to actually represent clients in individual cases. You may come to learn that attorney you met with initially is not the attorney who will be actually representing you.
When looking for the right attorney for you, there are several qualities to look for. It is critical that the attorney you select has extensive experience in DUI law, specifically experience in both prosecuting and defending Beverly Hills Drunk Driving charges. In addition, it is important to look for an attorney that you are comfortable with and are confident will not simply pass their case down to another attorney. A qualified attorney may charge more than others, however with so much at stake this is not a decision for which a "bargain" is necessarily a good thing. Retaining a Beverly Hills DUI attorney with 14 years of prosecutorial experience may ultimately give you the best shot in court.4. DMV Hearings
As discussed earlier, after someone is arrested on suspicion of Driving Under the Influence, the police will physically take their driver's license and will provide them notice of a DMV license suspension. From that point, this person has 10 days to file a request for an administrative hearing with the DMV to challenge the license suspension. If they fail to do this, the license suspension will automatically go into effect. The specifics of the suspension can depend on many factors, and is described further in the article on DMV hearings. To have any chance at keeping your license, it is critical to have a private Beverly Hills DUI attorney representing you before the DMV.5. Beverly Hills Arraignments
The arraignment date, as listed on the notice to appear which is provided at the time of arrest and/or booking, is the first court hearing at the Beverly Hills Courthouse. At the arraignment, a defendant is formally informed of the charges against them and is required to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. A private Beverly Hills DUI attorney can appear on behalf of their client at this hearing, meaning that they client does not have to attend.
At arraignment, a copy of the complaint is provided to the defense which formally lists the charges against the defendant. Also at the arraignment, the defense is given a copy of the "discovery," which usually consists of the police reports generated at the time of arrest. After touching base with the prosecutor, a private Beverly Hills DUI attorney will typically enter a plea of "not guilty" on his client's behalf and will request a pretrial date.6. Beverly Hills Pretrial Hearings And Motions
Every DUI case is unique and requires special handling, depending on the factual circumstances involved. After having a chance to review the complaint and incident reports, a private Beverly Hills Drunk Driving attorney can develop a strategy that best suits his client's needs. Typically, there are several pretrial hearings at the Beverly Hills Courthouse in which a private DUI defense attorney works to attack the People's case. This requires a Beverly Hills DUI defense attorney to file requests and motions for additional discovery to ensure every avenue is fully explored.
It is at pretrial hearings where most of the contested motions can be decided by the presiding Judge or Commissioner. These may include motions challenging the Constitutionality of the stop and detention of the defendant, motions to suppress evidence of the blood and/or breath samples, and motions challenging the accuracy of the chemical test used. Such motions will vary depending on the facts in the case. Such motions may prompt a prosecutor to reevaluate a case if they become aware of potential flaws, and often leads to a dismissal or reduction of charges.7. Beverly Hills Jury Trial
It is very unusual for Beverly Hills DUI charges to go to formal jury trial and nearly 95% of the DUI cases resolve prior to trial, either because a settlement is reached or the charges are dismissed.
In the rare case that someone's DUI charge is unable to resolve, a private Beverly Hills DUI attorney can try the case at jury trial. At trial, the prosecutor is required to prove every element of the offense to the jury beyond a responsible doubt. The prosecutor is allowed to introduce any evidence they may have to accomplish this and will rely on the testimony of government witnesses.
A Beverly Hills DUI defense attorney is provided the opportunity to cross-examine the People's witnesses in addition to presenting witnesses and/or evidence that benefits their client. At trial, a defendant will be afforded the opportunity to testify on their own behalf, however they are not required to take the stand.
Once the case goes to the jury, they will be asked to return with verdict of either "guilty" or "not guilty." The verdict must be unanimous, and all 12 jurors must be convinced of a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt before they can convict that defendant. If the jurors are unable to come to a unanimous verdict, the case will be deemed "hung" and a mistrial may be declared. The prosecutor may then attempt to retry the case against the defendant in an entirely new trial and a private Beverly Hills DUI attorney will fight the prosecutor's attempts to do this.8. After The Beverly Hills Trial
If a defendant "wins" at trial and the jury returns a verdict of not guilty, his Beverly Hills DUI defense attorney can pursue motions to seal or destroy any criminal records associated with the case. A Beverly Hills Drunk Driving attorney can also file the necessary forms to inform the DMV, insurers, and even employers of the acquittal.
If the jury returns a verdict of guilty, the DUI defendant is usually sentenced to DUI jail time and probation, which would include a mandatory alcohol education class, fines, fees and assessments, and finally an IID device in their car.
Beverly Hills DUI Attorney Michael Kraut is a highly skilled at representing clients facing DUI charges. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Mr. Kraut is highly regarded and respected by prosecutors and police officials in Beverly Hills. Mr. Kraut's reputation for passionately defending his clients charged with DUI is unmatched.
For more information about the Beverly Hills DUI Process, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Beverly Hills DUI Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located 8484 Wilshire Boulevard, #660B, Beverly Hills, CA 90211-3220. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 310-550-6935.