June 11, 2015 By Matthew Wallin
innocent man convicted of DUI
An innocent man blows into a court-ordered ignition interlock breathalyzer system following a DUI conviction.

It’s no secret that DUI is one of the most heavily prosecuted crimes today. Chances are you probably know someone that has been arrested for DUI.

The high number of DUI arrests is a result of the direction of DUI legislation over the last 30 years. Lobbying efforts by organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (M.A.D.D.) have pressured state legislators across the country to make DUI laws stricter. One way they’ve accomplished this is by lowering the allowable BAC level to lawfully drive. Historically, the legal limit was set at 0.15. Lobbying efforts reduced that number to 0.10; and now 0.08.1

DUI laws are written so there are multiple ways a prosecutor can obtain a conviction. The law gives prosecutors both objective and subjective measures to get a conviction. In California, you could be convicted of DUI if you are:

  • Under the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving, or
  • You were driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher.

But what exactly is under the influence?

Prosecutors are Motivated to Get DUI Convictions

Because multiple roads lead to a DUI conviction, it is easier for prosecutors to get a conviction. In fact, as of 2006, the DUI conviction rates in California were nearly 80%.2

If your case goes to trial, your right to a fair trial is questionable. Widespread public disfavor of DUI makes juries biased and more likely to convict you. That bias is even more pronounced in politically conservative areas in southern California. Jurors also give weight to officer testimony and may find them more credible than a defendant. And when the law is written to convict you based solely on one officer’s testimony, it is even more likely that you can be convicted even if innocent.

Prosecutors know that many DUI defendants can’t afford to hire an experienced DUI attorney or that most defendants are ignorant of their rights. As such, prosecutors will try to get you to admit guilt before a public defender can look at your case or before you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.3

Field Sobriety Tests

Undue weight is given to field sobriety test (FST) results to show you were under the influence. The problem is that many FSTs are extremely unreliable and inaccurate. Yet, prosecutors are able to obtain convictions even when they have no evidence of a BAC or when your BAC is 0.08 or close to that. FST unreliability makes it even more likely that innocent drivers are convicted of DUI. An experienced and skilled DUI attorney who knows how to fight these charges can help you avoid a wrongful conviction.

Why You Need to Hire an Attorney and Not Plead Guilty

There are many reasons why you should hire an attorney and not admit guilt. Most importantly, you may be able to have your case dismissed because of unlawful police action.

Even if your case goes to trial, the prosecution must prove legal intoxication beyond a reasonable doubt. Often times, questionable police tactics in administering FSTs raise reasonable doubt of intoxication, doubt which can be exposed when cross-examining the arresting officer on the stand.

A private criminal defense attorney can also represent you in your DMV administrative hearing, in which your driving privilege may be taken away. DUI not only carries criminal penalties, but may also affect your job and your livelihood when you can’t drive or need your license to work.

You may not be considering the future consequences of a DUI conviction right now. However, if convicted, a DUI conviction could follow you for years to come. It may prevent you from getting the job you want or even getting a professional license, and cost you thousands of dollars.

Possible Defenses

Our skilled criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich know the legal defenses to DUI. Some defenses might include:

  • Your were not intoxicated at the time you were driving;
  • The breathalyzer or FSTs were not administered properly;
  • The police did not have a lawful reason to stop your vehicle or made a pretextual stop;
  • The police unlawfully arrested you because they did not have probable cause to prolong an otherwise lawful stop.

Call the DUI Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich

If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI, you need to contact an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have been successfully defending clients facing DUI charges for over 30 years. We will meet with you immediately to review the facts of your case, and plan a defense strategy that will help you get the very best outcome possible.

With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich DUI defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

1. http://www.liquorlaws.net/duilaws.html

2. http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/about/profile/rd/r_d_report/Section_3/S3-235.pdf

3. http://www.duiease.com/why-prosecutors-nail-innocent-defendants/

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