My daughter got arrested on DUI 23152(a)VC. She is 18 years old.
Got results from DMV for alcohol and drugs. 0.00 for alcohol DMV will take no action. She got a positive for Cannibis, we do not have an attorney, do we need one or can she defend herself on this?
3 Answers from Attorneys
You are always entitled to represent yourself in court. Whether you should is a different issue. The conventional wisdom is that an attorney will be able to do a better job and get a better outcome. Prosecutors and judges donít like dealing with ProPers, unless you are simply pleading guilty, not defending the case.
When charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a test, search or statement be used against you, can you be convicted, and what can you do? You will have to 'deal with' the drug test results in your defense, as well as the FST and officer's testimony.
If you don't know how to represent yourself effectively against an experienced prosecutor intending to convict, then hire an attorney who does, who will try to get a dismissal, charge reduction, diversion, programs, or other decent outcome through motions, plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate.
If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. Iíll be happy to help fight and get the best outcome possible, using whatever defenses and sympathies there may be.
Some of this will depend on where this happened. Different prosecuting agencies take a different stance when it comes to a "drug DUI". It will also depend on several facts:
a) the driving. The prosecution will often point to the driving as the "clear" sign of impairment, but if she was stopped for an equipment violation (burnt out light, etc), then how is there any "bad" driving to show she was unable to drive well? The reason for the stop may also lead to a legal defense and a motion to suppress if the stop wasn't valid.
b) the field sobriety tests. If there is some "bad" driving, her performance on the FSTs is what they'll look at next. If she "passes" them (they really aren't pass/fail), that obviously works in her favor.
c) any statements she made. If she made any admissions regarding whether she felt the effect of the marijuana, how recently she used, etc. that plays into things.
d) the actual results of her blood test. If the levels are incredibly low, it's questionable whether anyone from the crime lab would be able to testify that the results mean anything. There's just no magic correlation between THC levels and intoxication
Given these issues, she'll need a lawyer. A DUI conviction can impact her license, cost her a bunch of money and impact her insurance... not to mention background checks.
I'm not sure whether you are talking about appearing on the criminal case or at an administrative hearing before the DMV. In both case she needs a lawyer. It's the "easy cases" where one is either not guilty or questionably guilty where you most need a lawyer. A DUI will have a long term effect upon her record, her automobile insurance, her ability to have a license, her liberty, etc. A lawyer is crucial to protect her rights.