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Multiple Arrests and Scared

Multiple DUI Arrests and Scared?

Cases seem to come to me in bunches.  This year seems to be my year for Crane operator clients.  I’ve had three this year.  I’ve also had several clients this year who were arrested more than once in a very short period of time.  Three were DUI’s, two were driving on suspended licenses after DUI’s and one was simply a juvenile with a bad attitude.  What they all have in common is they all are very scared and the courts and prosecutors tend to be very unhappy with this type of behavior.

So how do we deal with multiple criminal cases at the same time.  The answer, without trying to sound like a smart-ass is very carefully.  About two weeks ago I walked into court in Ventura County on what I thought was second DUI (VC 23152 AB) with an additional DUI conviction over 10 years old.  This case had the makings of a train wreck.  When I walked into court and got the complaint and reports, the charges didn’t allege a prior conviction (even though it was on my clients rap sheet).

When I spoke with the district attorney, his offer was a first time DUI offer.  What did I do?  I calmly and quietly walked out into the hallway and called my client.  How soon can you be in court to settle your case?  We resolved the case that afternoon.  My client will not face jail, will have less time on probation, smaller fines to pay, and more.

How does this happen?

District Attorneys are not perfect.  In the misdemeanor world, prosecutors are flooded with cases, often review them very quickly, and sometimes (yes, it’s true) they make mistakes.  In this case, they missed a prior conviction.  This is not the first time I’ve seen this, and I took the opportunity to jump on the settlement for my client’s benefit.

Is there any down side?

No.  I will likely have to go back and ask to have my client ordered into the multiple offender DUI program or have him enroll in it himself, if he is allowed.  This may tip the court off to the problem, but by that time it will be too late.  The case is settled and they can’t go back and re-open it.  I would advise my client that if he does violate probation in any significant way, he will hammered by the judge.  Do be careful.  Don’t risk a violation by getting kicked out of the program or getting caught driving on a suspended license.

In order to take advantage of this type of situation, I always like to employ a few tactics so I am ready for anything that comes my way.  I need good communication with my clients.  I try and speak to them immediately before and after court.  I always do a thorough client interview so I know more than the prosecutor about my client’s criminal history, if any.  I always have a bailbondsman on standby.  I always make a new file for every new client case so I don’t risk having a prosecutor see that my client has more than one criminal case going on.  I also try and keep my mouth shut.  I’m pretty good at playing stupid…just ask my wife.  The less is more approach is good in court.  I find that when I keep my mouth shut, nothing stupid comes out.  This is advice that I have been giving my clients for years.  And yes, I do follow my own advice when dealing with judges, prosecutors and cops.

Can this happen in my case?

Look, I am an honest lawyer so I will tell you the truth.  It rarely happens, but when it does, we need to be there to take advantage of it.  This is another reason why the bate and switch lawyer mills are not good places to spend your money.  If you talk to one person about your case and a lawyer shows up with you in court that you have never met, how can he do his best work for you?  He can’t.

I go back to Ventura at the end of the month for another client who just got arrested for a second DUI (VC 23152 F) before I even arraigned her on her first DUI.  Will I get away with this again?  Ask me after Halloween and I will let you know what happened.

If you or someone you care about has been arrested for DUI based on drugs, alcohol or a combination of the two, call a lawyer who knows how to help you:

Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 or (805) 230-3651

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I look forward to helping you.