LAW OFFICES OF JERRY L. STEERING
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CRIMINAL LAW LAWYER – DRUNK DRIVING CASES
If you have been arrested for Drunk Driving in California, you probably received a documents entitled: “AGE 21 AND OLDER – PAGE 3, ADMINISTRATIVE PER SE SUSPENSION/REVOCATION ORDER AND TEMPORARY DRIVER LICENSE.” That document states, among other things, that:
“YOU HAVE 10 DAYS FROM RECEIPT OF THIS NOTICE TO REQUEST A HEARING TO SHOW THAT THE SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION IS NOT JUSTIFIED. The suspension or revocation will not be stayed (delayed) unless you request a hearing within 10 days from the issue date of this order and DMV cannot provide a hearing before the effective date of the suspension or revocation and make a determination.”
Accordingly, someone (you or your lawyer) needs to make a request for the DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest for DUI based on alcohol impairment, or your driver license will be suspended; regardless of whether you are guilty of DUI or not. We can do this for you, and usually obtain the police reports in your case quickly; before you can get them from the court. We can also handle the DMV hearing for you, as well as your DUI criminal case.
Jerry L. Steering has been litigating drunk driving cases in California and in Georgia, since 1984. Until the early 1980′s drunk driving was not considered that serious of a crime; unless some got seriously injured or killed. DUI cases are so common, that the Presiding Judge of the Orange County, California, Superior Court, was arrested for Drunk Driving several years ago, and was found to have a 0.22% blood alcohol content (after his car took-out a light pole); that’s almost three times the legal limit of 0.08% in California.
In the 1960′s, the “legal limit” to drive, was a blood-alcohol content of 0.15% by weight. In the 1970′s, With the advent of the nationwide organization “Mother’s Against Drunk Driving“, Judges and the politicians started taking DUI cases a lot more seriously; with an accompanying increase in the severity of sentences for DUI offenders. The “MADD” mothers would send monitors to the various courtrooms in their jurisdictions that handle the DUI cases, and would literally write-down the disposition of each DUI case (i.e the blood-alcohol conduct that the defendant had, and the sentence that he got.) This made the judges more inclined to hand-out longer and harsher sentences for DUI offenders. In the 1980′s, however, almost no one would get jail time for a first DUI offense, and the maximum that most DUI convicts would get for a second DUI, was 96 hours; the then statutory minimum.
The Reagan Administration used the bully pullpit to force a reduction of varying state blood-alcohol limits for driving, to a national uniform 0.08%blood-alcohol limit by weight; the limit that we all have today, save youths or commercial drivers. In 1990, California reduced the driving blood-alcohol limit to 0.08% by weight. In the 2000′s criminal sentences for DUI offenders dramatically increased; especially for repeat offenders. So, for example, in Orange County, California, sentences for a second time DUI offender with a 0.15% blood-alcohol levels, increased from a usual ten days in jail, to sixty to ninety days in jail. Third time DUI offenders are typically sentenced to six months to a year in the Orange County Jail, and fourth time DUI offenders can be convicted of a felony, and can be sentenced to state prison.
WHAT WE CAN DO FOR YOU DUI – ALCOHOL CASES
Usually, the most that a DUI / Drunk Driving criminal defense lawyer can do for you in these cases, is to get a better plea agreement for you than you would have gotten yourself. Moreover, you just don’t want to be the person dealing with the District Attorney’s Office. They feel uncomfortable speaking with you, as they don’t want to be witnesses in their own case (and usually can’t be), and that just might happen if you represent yourself and make admissions or confessions to the Deputy District Attorney.
However, there are occasions where errors by the arresting officer can result in your Drunk Driving case being settled for a lesser charge (i.e. Cal. Vehicle Code 23103 (reckless driving) or 23103.5 (reckless driving, alcohol related; “a Wet Reckless”), or being dismissed outright; such as when the officer didn’t have sufficient legal grounds to have made a traffic stop (the evidence of the officer’s observations of you, and your blood-alcohol test results, would then be considered “the fruit of the poisonous tree“; not admissible against the motorist at trial; essentially guaranteeing either a dismissal or verdict in the motorist’s favor.) Your lawyer may even get you an acquittal at trial; especially when you’re actually innocent. In close blood-alcohol cases (i.e. 0.08% breath test), you may also be able to show that at the time that you were driving, that your blood-alcohol was lower, and that it was on the rise (absorption over time into the blood) at the time that you took your test. Moreover, breath-tests are only an estimate of your actual blood-alcohol. Over the years, experiments were done to compare the ratio of alcohol found in a person’s blood, compared to the amount of alcohol found in deep-lung air. The scientists came-up with an average ratio in the average person; that ratio being 2,280 more alcohol found in 1cc. of blood than in 1cc. of deep-lung air. Some persons tested as high as a 1:1300blood to breath alcohol ration, and some tested as low as a 1:3000 ratio. Therefore, the law enforcement community settled on breath machines, that collect 1 cc. of deep-lung air from a DUI suspect, multiply that amount of alcohol (that is ethyl alcohol) by 2,100, and come-up with an estimated amount of alcohol in that person’s blood.
There are physicians and other experts that can testify on this for a person prosecuted for DUI who took a breath test only. DUI criminal defendants can even have their own blood to breath alcohol levels tested, to prove their innocence.
Thus, there are ways to win DUI alcohol cases, but in most cases, that is not the expected outcome. Jerry L. Steering is an expert in Fourth Amendment search and seizure law, and his experience in litigating search and seizure issues may be a great benefit to you to prevail in your DUI case. His science background (i.e. B.S. Biology / Chemistry) is also helpful in this area.
WHAT WE CAN DO FOR YOU NON-ALCOHOL DUI CASES
MODERN DUI PROSECUTIONS; PRESCRIPTION DRUG AND MARIJUANA DUI CASES
More and more these days, person are being prosecuted for driving under the influence of prescription medications; some of which don’t even make the person feel impaired. For example, the DUI case drug of the past few years is Ambien; a commonly prescribed sleeping pill. Ambien is often the drug found in the system of persons who took the sleeping pill at the appropriate time (bed time), got an adequate amount of sleep, but exhibited poor driving in the morning. These people didn’t feel groggy, and didn’t know that there was anything wrong with their driving.
Moreover, these days, marijuana is more and more being the predicate drug for DUI prosecutions. However, there is no scientific study that shows driving impairment from driving while high on pot, and, in fact, there are recently studies that suggest that motorists on pot actually drive safer than they would have otherwise. Moreover, a recent report by the British government sponsored studies on the issue, admit that there is no particular amount of the active pot chemicals ingested that is indicative of pot impairment, and that pot impairment is difficult to detect and to quantify. With the right lawyer, DUI pot cases should be winnable; at least more so than DUI alcohol cases.
If we can answer any of your questions, or if you’d like to discuss The Law Offices Of Jerry L. Steering representing you in a DUI case, please feel free to call for a free phone consultation.
Best of luck,
Jerry L. Steering