[Please note: For confidentiality reasons, specific details of the cases must be omitted to protect the identity of the Clients. While attorney Ann Gottesman is dedicated to achieving the best possible results for her clients, there is no guarantee that your case will result in a dismissal, charge reduction, DMV set-aside, acquittal, probation or no incarceration. The facts of each case are different, and while Ann Gottesman has resolved many cases successfully, no attorney can guarantee a result in a particular case. Call Ann for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your unique case.]
Client hired counsel to represent him with the DUI since the court case had not been filed. After obtaining all the evidence including the body camera from the officers involved, a few things became clear: First, Client was clearly severly intoxicated. But more importantly, the young and inexperienced officer read Client his Miranda rights (right to have an attorney present and right against self-incrimination) several times. Most importantly, the officer informed Client of his right to remain silent and right to have an attorney present before answering any questions, before the officer informed Client of his requirement to provide a blood or breath test under implied consent law. After Client acknowledged he understood his Miranda rights, he actually remained silent and refused to answer the officer’s questions for the most part. At some points the Client would ask the officer a question such as “why am I being arrested?” Throughout the contact, the officer read the client Miranda warnings three separate times, and in between readings, the officer read the chemical test refusal admonition printed on the back of the DS367. This caused “officer-induced confusion,” as spelled out in the Hoberman-Kelly case, meaning that the client did not willfully fail or refuse to take a chemical test. After a long battle and several DMV hearings, the hearing officer made the ethically and legally correct decision by setting aside (not imposing) the two year hard suspension. Client was able to keep his license.
Client had allegedly been drinking and hit two vehicles at a car wash. He fled the scene and went home. A few hours later the officer arrive to investigate. They smelled alcohol and client had admitted to drinking at home. He had been self-medicating with alcohol for a few years due to serious depression and anxiety. Once time, his intoxication led to a 5150 hold. The judge agreed to dismiss his case after 18 months if he completes counseling.
Client and her wife got into a verbal and then physical altercation resulting in the victim having minor injuries. Client was accused of also grabbing phone out of victim’s hand as victim tried to call police. A few years earlier, a prior incident involving Client resulted in the police arriving but not arresting Client at that time. Client had a career and professional license on the line. After negotiating with the prosecutor, client was allowed to earn a full dismissal through an informal diversionary period of 6 months. After completing domestic violence counseling, the charges were dismissed!
Client stole about $300 from a store but admitted he had done so on previous occasions. This case was filed, instead of going to an “office hearing” where most first offense non-aggravated petty theft cases go. I presented a mitigation package and convinced the supervising District Attorney to allow the case to be re-routed to the Hearing Officer. After meeting with the hearing officer, the charge was completely dismissed after client completed a short online theft class.
Client was young with no prior record, but got into a terrible accident, supposedly injuring a man as he was getting into his car. It was also alleged to be a hit and run since she clipped one parked vehicle and hit another around the corner. After a thorough investigation it appeared the alleged victim was lying. It became clear he was never hit by my client’s mirror and had only claimed injury as a way to get insurance money he was not entitled to. It also became clear client lost control of her vehicle, skidding around the corner where her vehicle flipped and damaged a second parked car. It was argued this was not a hit and run, but rather two collisions resulting from loss of control of the vehicle, not an intent to flee the scene by the client. To top it off, the police report indicated Client had a fraudulent registration sticker and had not had registration for about 2 years. A deal was negotiated where client was convicted of driving with a .08 or higher and only had to complete a 3 month DUI class and pay a fine.
Client worked in the medical field and DUI conviction or even a wet reckless would have serious collateral consequences to his career. Client appeared to be very intoxicated on the bodycam footage but upon careful review it also appeared that such symptoms could have been caused by head injury. Client was up and walking and talking but he had a wound on his head. Careful review of the evidence showed a plausible explanation for the appearance of impairment. The smell of alcohol was consistent with some drinking, but the argument was that Client was not at or above the legal limit and was not impaired by alcohol. The Officer admonished him at the hospital and a portion of that was recorded as well. Although the DMV unfortunately did issue a suspension, the prosecutor was ultimately agreeable to a non-alcohol related reckless driving charge (dry reckless) with minimal requirements. Client was able to keep his job at the hospital.
Client was an out of state rental car company owner and made the mistake of personally trying to repossess his business’s vehicle from a dead beat lessee. When Client learned his unreturned car was in California, he drove to the residential address and tried to reclaim it. A driver and passenger were in the rental about to leave the residence, when Client blocked their way in order to repossess his property. After an argument ensued and the driver and passenger would not get out of the vehicle, Client called police. The victims fled the scene and were gone when police arrived. However, a witness told police that he saw Client brandish or hold the gun and insert a magazine into it. When cops arrived, the gun was empty and the magazine was next to, but not inside, the gun. However, the loaded magazine was in close proximity to the gun, which is an illegal way of transporting a firearm in California. After negotiations, and convincing the prosecution that they had evidentiary issues and that there were strong mitigating facts and collateral consequences to any gun related conviction, the prosecution agreed to dismiss the charge and allow Client to plead to an infraction under PC 415(2) for disturbing the peace, to wit: disturbing others with a “loud and unreasonable noise.” Penal Code section 415(2) is the preferable subsection when resolving a case for disturbing the peace, because it applies to factual scenarios such as when a neighbor has a loud party after hours, or a person creates a loud noise. Section (1) of Penal Code 415 applies to fighting in public, which looks much worse on a person’s criminal record.
This case is an example of how important it is for an attorney to obtain all the evidence and to review it with a fine-toothed comb. The MVARS (dash-cam video and audio) of the entire interaction between the arresting officer and Client was obtain and transcribed. The Officer claimed he properly admonished Client regarding the consequences of a refusal in accordance with VC 23612, but this turned out to be a lie. After client was taken to jail, the dashcam recording was still on. The door to the small jail was very close in distance to where the police vehicle was parked, Therefore, the dashcam recorded the voices of the officer and Client as he was telling client to blow into the breath machine. After Client failed to provide a sufficient breath sample, the officer never gave her the option of a blood test, nor did he read or recite to her the refusal admonition and offer her a test after the warning, as required under section 23612 of the California Vehicle Code. When asked what her reading was, the officer rudely replied “You will find out in court.” He never even informed her that she was being cited for a refusal DUI! The DMV hearing officer did the right thing and set aside the suspension. Client was a medical professional and losing her driver’s license would have been devastating. But the court case was still looming.
While it is not always wise to show one’s entire hand to a prosecutor in case the matter proceeds to trial, in some cases it results in the prosecutor doing the right thing and dismissing the case. In addition to the evidentiary issues and credibility issues of the officer, as well as having no BAC, it was discovered that the officer stated something that was completely inappropriate. The Client was humiliated and ashamed about one of the questions the arresting officer asked during the pre-Field Sobriety questions. The question was sexual in nature and completely not relevant to the situation. This fact also had a big influence on the case.
After the criminal charges were dismissed and the APS (DMV) suspension set aside, Client was able to go on with her career without the devastating effect a DUI conviction or suspension would cause.
In this case Client was intoxicated and in possession of alcoholic beverages at a concert. After meeting with prosecution, it was agreed the case would be dismissed in 6 months after a few days of community service was completed.
Typically, in these kinds of cases, a diversionary offer which results in a full dismissal, can be worked out with a reasonable prosecutor. The facts of the case and a client’s prior criminal record, as well at the attorney’s rapport with the prosecutor, will impact whether informal diversion is possible.