Los Angeles DUI Plea Negotiations
When a driver is charged with a driving under the influence offense, the case begins at the defendant’s arraignment. While a defendant has a right to a speedy trial, if he or she is out of custody the defendant may decide to waive this speedy trial right in order to give his or her attorney time to obtain additional discovery evidence and explore possible defenses. There may be several pretrial hearings where the prosecution and defense exchanges discovery and see what can be done to resolve the case prior to trial. It is during these pretrial hearings that plea negotiations are conducted and the involvement of an experienced Los Angeles DUI Attorney can be critical.
At the defendant’s arraignment, the defense will be provided with the initial discovery packet, which is typically limited to the criminal complaint, police reports and a copy of the chemical test results. The defense is entitled to all relevant discovery evidence, which may include patrol vehicle video recordings, radio dispatch recordings, 911 calls and calibration and maintenance records for breath testing devices. The defense would request specific items from the prosecution, who would in turn obtain these items from the relevant law enforcement agency. This process can take a while and it is not unusual for a case to extend over several pretrial hearings while discovery issues are resolved.
The defense can also complete an independent investigation into the facts of the case. It may be necessary to obtain the services of an accident reconstruction expert where there was a collision involved or a toxicology expert where there is reason to challenge the chemical test results. The defense can gather additional evidence and expert analysis and present this material to the prosecution. In many cases, the prosecutor may consider this additional evidence and may make a better offer in hopes of resolving the case. In some cases, the prosecution may be willing to reduce the case to a wet reckless in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23103/23103.5 VC or an exhibition of speed pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23109(c) VC.
Prosecutors do not necessarily want to be tied up in a trial that can last several days and may be willing to reduce charges or penalties in order to resolve a case. Judges also want to clear their calendar and often encourage parties to reach a resolution. The judge may be willing to undercut the prosecution’s offer if the defendant pleas open to the court. A skilled DUI attorney can effectively present evidence and information to the prosecutor or judge in order to obtain the best resolution possible.
In some cases, the prosecutor handling the case may be unwilling or unable to come down on an offer and it may be necessary to consult with senior management at the District Attorney or City Attorney’s Office. Having an experienced Los Angeles DUI Attorney who has worked with these supervising attorneys for years and has an excellent reputation can often be crucial in obtaining the best possible outcome in a plea negotiation. Prosecutors do not want to risk losing a case and may often be willing to consider a reduced sentence in order to resolve the case.
If you have been charged with a DUI offense, it is imperative that you meet with a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who understands how to put his clients in the best position possible when negotiating with prosecutors and defending a DUI case.
For more information about Los Angeles DUI plea negotiations, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.