DUI: Biggest Mistakes

The 5 BIGGEST Mistakes made by BOTH Attorneys and Defendants

By Attorney Sergio J. Lopez
Published on LatinoLA: March 16, 2013

DUI: Biggest Mistakes

1. Not taking the matter seriously.

This is a charge that will follow you for the rest of your life, if you are convicted. A DUI conviction will remain on your California criminal record forever, and could be subject to review by present and future employers, insurance companies, lenders, and others. If convicted, you will likely face increased insurance rates, or have your policy dropped altogether. The California DMV will keep track of a DUI conviction until you are dead.

2. Hiring an attorney based on the amount of the fee alone.

The State of California has virtually unlimited resources when it comes to prosecuting your case. You need to hire an attorney and pay a fee which will allow him to put time and effort into your case to counter the prosecution's efforts to come down hard on you: their responsibility from the legislature and from private groups who demand the DA's prosecute DUI with the utmost vigor and maximum penalties. DUI and Domestic Violence cases get a lot of outside pressure. You need to be represented.

When it comes to defense, you'll undoubtedly get what you pay for. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and you could be pleading guilty before you know it. You'll need a lawyer who understands California's DUI laws, and is not afraid to protect you at trial.

3. Failing to request a California DMV hearing within TEN (10) DAYS of your arrest.

California law mandates that individuals arrested for DUI have their licenses suspended if their BAC levels are measured at 0.08% or above, or if they refuse to take the breath test. If you don't request a hearing, you could lose your license for a minimum of 90 days. If you do request a hearing, you can at the least, make a case to maintain your right to drive.

Should the DMV prevail in taking away your driving privileges at your hearing, you should know that the evidence collected by your Orange County DUI Attorney can be put to good use defending you at the criminal trial.

4. Talking to people other than an attorney about your case.

Anything you say to ANYONE can be used against you. When you discuss your arrest with friends or family, you risk turning them into involuntary witnesses against you. It is in your best interest to remember the details of your arrest and keep your thoughts to yourself and only discuss your case with your attorney. This strategy will help you in your overall defense. In any criminal case, you must be represented by a competent defense lawyer.

As to self representation? Yes, you can, but it is said that a person who represents themselves in court has a fool for a lawyer. (Don't be offended ‘«Ű This applies to lawyers too, who might one day end up a defendant). An uneducated and awkward attempt to represent oneself is often very annoying to a presiding judge who will likely end up exasperated with you as you inadvertently turn the judge's courtroom into a circus with a self representation attempt.

5. Taking the witness stand and testifying in your own DUI case.

Don't make the mistake of testifying at your court hearing unless your attorney deems it necessary. It might be necessary that you may need to briefly refute any false allegations made by the arresting officer or other witnesses, such as claiming you admitted to drinking, if in fact, you never made that admission.

Other than these exceptions, the Fifth Amendment entitles you to remain silent.

The facts are, that most DUI Defendants are often extremely nervous and awkward on the stand, as opposed to the prosecution's expert witnesses, so you will rarely make a good impression on the jurors. A nervous and awkward DUI defendant will often cause the jury or judge to wonder whether the defendant is being entirely honest, ‘«Ű ‘«Ű or worse ‘«Ű ‘«Ű perhaps hiding something.

About Attorney Sergio J. Lopez:
Mr. Lopez is a former police officer and criminal investigator turned defense attorney who stops at nothing to aggressively represent each one of his clients throughout their case. He handles criminal cases as well domestic violence restraining orders.
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