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San Francisco Attorney Tim Pori has gotten clients accused of drunk driving acquitted.
Tim has helped people keep their licenses in DMV hearings.
Tim is a fighter and has experience determining if a case is winnable.
Tim also knows when mounting an expensive defense will likely to still result in a criminal conviction and a suspension of your driver’s license.
If you are in doubt about what to do about your DUI arrest, Tim can help you decide whether to fight or to work to minimize the punishment.
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Don’t pay Tim Pori — or any other attorney — thousands of dollars on a straight-forward drunk driving case which you are likely to lose. Instead, consult Tim about your case.
Tim will review the facts, determine the possibility you have for acquittal, and tell you what steps you or an attorney must take to protect your license with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
This basic consultation will help you decide to fight on or to fold.
Why do I need a Lawyer if I Think I am Guilty?
commentary by Attorney Tim Pori
I always recommend hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer when charged with any crime to make sure that if an accused must plead guilty, the accused is satisfied that the prosecution can indeed prove beyond a reasonable doubt all of the elements of the offenses.
When you are arrested for driving under the influence you are charged with a violation of California Vehicle Code section 23152(a) (Driving under the Influence) and California Vehicle Code section 23152(b) (Driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher) Here are the elements of the offenses that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
In order to be convicted of a violation of California Penal Code section 23152(a) the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The driver drove a vehicle;
- When the driver drove, the driver was under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or a drug or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and a drug.
California Courts have held that a person is under the influence if, as a result of either drinking or consuming an alcoholic beverage and or taking a drug, the driver’s mental or physical abilities are so impaired that the driver is no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances.
In order to be convicted of a violation of California Penal Code section 23152(b) the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The driver drove a vehicle;
- When the driver drove, the driver’s blood alcohol level was 0.08 percent or more by weight.
If the Prosecution have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that a sample of the driver’s blood, breath or urine was taken within three hours of the driver’s alleged driving and that a chemical analysis of the sample showed a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more, the jury may, but is not required to, conclude that the driver’s blood alcohol level was 0.08 percent or more at the time of the alleged offense.
What if No One saw me driving, or there was an accident, what should I do?
In my opinion, the no driving defense is the best defense because it is the defense most jurors will often rely upon to acquit.
Most of the time, the arresting officer sees the motorist driving before the stop, so the “no-driving” defense will not fly. Sometimes, the arresting officer has not actually seen the suspected driver drive the car because the car was crashed into a pole or in a ditch. Sometimes, the officer has found the suspected driver sleep in the front seat of a vehicle legally parked, with the transmission in neutral, the headlights and wipers on, and the engine running. In some scenarios, the no driving defense can be used to raise a reasonable doubt that the driver was DUI and can lead to an acquittal
The bottom line is that the prosecution always has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that, a) the driver caused volitional movement of the vehicle, and b), that the blood/breath /urine /urine test was taken within three hours of the alleged time of driving, before they can convict a driver of DUI.
Even if you are drunk as a skunk, if no one saw you driving, then the prosecution may not be able to prove its case. Why? In cases where no one saw the driving, the prosecution cannot prove a critical element of Vehicle Code section 23152(a) or (b), the fact of driving. Also, if there is no proof of the actual time when the accident occurred, the prosecution cannot prove that the alcohol test was obtained within three hours of the time of driving as required under California Vehicle Code section 23152(b). If the prosecution cannot prove that the test was taken within three hours of the time of driving they cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was drunk at the time of the accident.
Therefore, you should always get an attorney if there was an accident or if the arresting officer did not see the driving.
Even if You are Seen Driving, You May Be Entitled To Challenge the Lawfulness of the Traffic Stop.
The first reason you need a lawyer if you are arrested for of DUI is that when you are arrested for drunk driving, the prosecution has the burden of proof that you were lawfully stopped in the first place. An experienced lawyer should always review the arrest or accident report and see if you were stopped in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution which prohibits the police from stopping your car unless the stop was reasonable. For example, if you drover over a fog line once, there may not be probable cause for the traffic stop and you should ask the judge to “suppress the stop and all evidence obtained from the stop”.
In those cases when the driver want to exercise his or her constitutional rights to challenge the stop, the driver should make the prosecution prove that the stop was lawful in court. You are always entitled to a hearing before a judge so that you can challenge the lawfulness of the stop—even if you are guilty the prosecution must prove you were arrested legally. At the hearing you have the right to suppress any evidence obtained from the illegal stop which includes DUI field sobriety tests results, statements and even the blood/breath/urine test results. If you can’t challenge the lawfulness of the traffic stop, what should you do next?
Even if the stop is lawful, you should challenge the accuracy of the blood/ breath test results of equipment used to measure you blood alcohol content.
The first thing an experienced DUI lawyer should do is demand the periodic determination of accuracy documents that all law enforcement agencies and crime labs are required to maintain to prove that their blood/breath /urine test instruments were working in conformance with Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations.
Before you decide to plead guilty, you may want the prosecution to produce the blood/breath /urine test equipment calibration records to make sure the equipment was properly calibrated and working properly when your test was administered. We use the best breath alcohol analysists in the business who can review the calibration records for errors because if the prosecution’s equipment was not working properly, you may have leverage to obtain a plea bargain, raise a reasonable doubt at trial, or in some rare cases, obtain a dismissal.
Why does it matter whether the blood/breath /urine test equipment was not in proper working order when I was arrested and my sample was taken?
It is the law in California that when a jury evaluates any test results pertaining to your case, the jury may consider whether or not the person administering the test or the agency maintaining the testing device followed the regulations of the California Department of Health Services. If you find out if the blood/breath /urine test equipment was not working properly, you may be able to get a good deal at plea bargaining, raise a reasonable doubt at trial, or in some rare cases, get you case dismissed.
What about Driving Under the Influence of Drugs?
In cases where the motorist is charged with driving under the influence of drugs, the mere presence of drugs in the blood is not enough for a conviction for driving while under the influence of drugs. In fact, the prosecution has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the drugs in the driver’s blood are a substance or combination of substances other than alcohol that can impair driving to an “appreciable degree”. The bottom line is that the prosecution must first prove beyond a reasonable doubt that driver had drugs in the driver’s blood, and the prosecution must also prove that the driver‘s ability to operate the car was in fact impaired by an appreciable degree by the drugs in the blood.
In cases where the driver is charged with driving while under the influence of drugs, it is critical to retain a forensic drug and alcohol analyst who can review the prosecution’s lab reports and the arrest and intoxication reports and offer expert testimony at trial or the DMV hearing. In most cases, the expert’s opinion testimony can raise a reasonable doubt at trial through testimony that that the driver was not under the influence of drugs at the time of driving because the mere presence of drugs does not mean that the driver was impaired to such an appreciable degree that the driving was impaired.
“My Alcohol Level Could Not Possibly Be That High.”
Also, in Drug Driving cases, or in cases where there is a dispute about the level of alcohol impairment, you have the right to have your blood or urine sample retested by one of our independent labs to have the blood or urine sample re-tested at your expense. The retesting of the sample can be critical because the analyst can test the blood for alcohol or drug content, they can test for preservative to make sure the blood in the tube is not fermenting which can raise the alcohol lever, or to make sure that the blood sample is the same blood type as the drivers to make sure the lab did not switch test tubes.
Contact Defense Attorney Tim Pori
Ways to Reach Tim Pori
724 Texas St
Fairfield, CA 94533