Category: Driving Under the Influence

California DUI | Los Angeles DUI Lawyer| California DUI Defense | No Cuffs

Superior Court Of California, County of Shasta

Superior Court Of California, County of Shasta

If you have been arrested for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or drugs in the state of California, it is important to know the location of the courthouse where your arraignment will be held. If there are multiple courthouses in the county, please contact a skilled California DUI / DWI defense attorney for more information.

Shasta County Superior Court
1500 Court Street, Redding, CA 96001

Burney Branch Court
20509 Shasta Street, Burney, CA 96013

» Shasta County Superior Court of California website.

Getting arrested on suspicion of DUI / DWI can be a frightening experience. Suspected drunk drivers face a legal labyrinth that can seem daunting. A drunk driving case generates two separate cases – in criminal court, and at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A California attorney with experience defending drinking and driving cases can help drivers navigate through both the DMV hearing and the court case.

» Return to California Superior Courts, general information

Examination of Arresting Officer

California Criminal Defense- Examination of Arresting Officer

In California drunk driving trials, both the defense and prosecution call witnesses that support each side’s theory of the case. The prosecution typically starts by calling the officer who arrested the individual for drinking and driving. This can be a challenging part of the trial for the defense, because the officer is going to offer evidence that is damaging to the defendant’s case. However, the knowledgeable DUI / DWI defense lawyers at The Kavinoky Law Firm have the experience needed to lessen the impact of the arresting officer’s testimony.

The officer typically begins by testifying about the defendant’s driving pattern prior to the traffic stop. This is how the officer establishes that there was probable cause for an arrest. The officer may testify that the defendant was weaving between lanes, driving without headlights, or some other recognized driving pattern of DUI / DWI drivers.

The prosecutor will then have the arresting officer describe the traffic stop. The officer will testify about how the driver responded to the request to pull over and the officer’s initial observations when they spoke. These initial observations include whether the officer smelled alcohol, whether the driver’s speech was slurred, or any other symptom of intoxication.

The officer will then be asked to describe the driver’s performance on a field sobriety test. The officer will testify about any variation between the driver’s performance and how the tests are meant to be completed. However, because these tests are designed to be failed, the officer will only describe the things the driver did poorly, leaving out things the driver may have done well. An experienced DUI / DWI lawyer will use an effective cross-examination to bring out aspects of the test on which the driver performed well.

The officer will be asked to testify about any chemical tests that were performed. The officer will then establish the procedures regarding the chemical test and the chain of custody of any sample (blood or urine, because breath samples cannot be retained) that were taken from the driver. Finally, the officer will describe the chemical test results as evidence of the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC).

Finally, the officer will describe the driver’s arrest. He or she will testify about the basis for the arrest – the officer usually says it was based on the “totality of the evidence” – and any statements made by the driver.

Once the prosecutor completes the arresting officer’s direct examination, the defense attorney can begin cross-examination. An experienced DUI / DUI lawyer will take this opportunity to poke holes in the prosecutor’s case. Cross-examination in a drunk driving case is not so much an examination as it is an opening for the defense lawyer to testify.

The most effective cross-examination takes place when the defense lawyer delivers questions in a manner that forces the officer to give yes or no answers. This style of questioning allows the defense attorney to testify to what he or she wants the jury to hear.

Along with jury selection, cross-examination of the arresting officer is the most critical aspect of the trial for the defense. Scoring points against a prosecution witness, rather than with a defense witness, is an effective strategy to win over the jury. In a juror’s mind, witnesses typically agree with the side that called them to testify. If the witness agrees with the opposing side, the jury really pays attention.

The practiced DUI criminal defense lawyer will use aggressive cross-examination techniques to draw out things that the driver did correctly when pulled over and arrested. For example, the police officer may have noted in the arrest report that the defendant was speeding and ran a red light prior to being pulled over, but won’t mention that the driver signaled before pulling over, or that he or she responded immediately to any requests for documents.

The officer will always mention details such as the driver’s red, watery eyes, slurred speech, or an odor of alcohol on the breath, but will not volunteer any information that indicates that the driver acted in any manner consistent with a sober person. The officer will always note even the smallest errors committed on a field sobriety test, even if these things do not indicate that a person is under the influence. Cross-examination of the officer is the time when the defense attorney can draw out positive information that will bolster the defendant’s case and discredit the officer.

Cross-examination is one of the most important aspects of an effective drunk driving defense. An experienced California criminal defense attorney who focuses on DUI / DWI defense will use aggressive cross-examination techniques to minimize the impact of the arresting officer’s testimony and create reasonable doubt in the driver’s guilt.

In-Custody Search

Locating an individual after a California DUI / DWI arrest can be challenging. The driver often spends hours at a police station before being transferred to a county jail, and finding the motorist can be a frustrating experience. However, a knowledgeable drunk-driving lawyer can help. An experienced criminal defense attorney from The Kavinoky Law Firm can locate the driver quickly and secure his or her release.

The task of searching for a motorist accused of driving under the influence will be much easier if the attorney has the driver’s full legal name and date of birth at hand. If the accused motorist has been in touch with family or friends since the arrest, obtaining the booking number will also help.

The ease in getting the accused driver released from jail depends on the jurisdiction in which the offense occurred and the facts of the case. Drivers arrested for DUI / DWI are sometimes released on their own recognizance, also known as OR. Being released on OR means that the driver doesn’t have to post bail if he or she makes a written promise to appear in court on the drunk-driving charge. If the driver fails to appear, an arrest warrant will be issued, and the driver will face a separate Failure to Appear charge (FTA). The FTA charge will be a misdemeanor if the underlying DUI was a misdemeanor, or a felony Failure to Appear charge if the underlying DUI was a felony.

In some jurisdictions, there is an OR Officer who evaluates accused DUI / DWI drivers to determine whether they’re suitable to be released on their own recognizance. Some jurisdictions automatically release drunk-driving arrestees if they have identification, are local residents, and are in custody long enough to protect the arresting agency from liability if the driver causes a DUI injury accident. If the driver isn’t released on his or her own recognizance, the driver may need the services of a bail bondsman.

A drunk-driving arrest carries potentially life-changing consequences, and requires fast legal action to protect the driver’s license, rights, and freedom. The skilled drunk driving criminal defense attorneys of The Kavinoky Law Firm are ready to help any motorist accused of driving under the influence secure immediate release, whether the charge is misdemeanor or felony DUI / DWI, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUID) or any other drinking and driving offense.

Non-Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

Suspected drunk drivers in California typically take field sobriety tests before getting arrested. These exercises shouldn’t even be called tests, because they’re designed to be failed. They exist only to create probable cause for a DUI / DWI arrest and to generate evidence for a drinking and driving court case. However, this evidence can be effectively challenged by a skilled defense attorney. A knowledgeable defense lawyer from The Kavinoky Law Firm can use the driver’s performance on a field sobriety test to demonstrate that the driver was not impaired.

Field sobriety tests fall into two categories: Standardized and Non-standardized. Three standardized tests recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, the Walk-and-Turn Test, and the One-leg Stand Test.

A second category of tests are such unreliable gauges of alcohol intoxication that they aren’t even recognized by the NHTSA, yet are still used by police. These Non-standardized field sobriety tests include the Rhomberg Balance Test, the Finger-to-Nose Test, the Finger Tap Test, the Hand Pat Test, the ABCs, the Numbers Backward Test, and coin tricks.

Non-standardized field sobriety tests are more easily challenged in court, because they aren’t recognized by the NHTSA as accurate indicators of intoxication. While police claim that these tests measure mental and physical impairment from alcohol use, many of these so-called signs can be traced to physical problems other than alcohol.

This is a key aspect of successful DUI / DWI defense: Experts agree that when it comes to alcohol intoxication, mental impairment always occurs before physical impairment. Some individuals have a high tolerance for alcohol and can mask signs of physical impairment, but mental impairment can never be disguised. If a driver is physically impaired but not mentally impaired, the physical impairment must come from a source other than alcohol, and a jury must acquit a driver on a charge of driving while impaired.

Keep in mind that in order to return a DUI / DWI conviction, a jury must be convinced of the driver’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced DUI attorney knows that the inherent flaws in non-standard field sobriety tests pose great problems for the prosecution, and create doubt in the minds of jurors.

Obviously, many factors unrelated to alcohol intoxication can cause physical impairment, including injury, illness, fatigue, or nervousness. By taking a complete medical history, a lawyer who specializes in California DUI / DWI cases can establish whether causes other than alcohol impairment contributed to any physical impairment. Ultimately, the results of field sobriety tests can be successfully challenged.

DUI Punishment in Federal Court

Generally, driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated cases are prosecuted in State Superior Courts. Arrests that take place on federally-owned land such as national parks and military bases are prosecuted under the jurisdiction of the Federal Court. Federal Courts are different from State Courts in that they are controlled by different procedures. A California criminal defense attorney who is experienced in defending federal drunk driving cases understands the difference between state and federal prosecutions, the potential penalties that each may carry, and the many methods that are available to mitigate the consequences of a conviction for either.

Arrests in national parks are under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, and as such, they are governed by the Code of Federal Regulations. Under the Code of Federal Regulations, driving under the influence of alcohol in a national park is a Class B misdemeanor. A driver convicted of a Class B misdemeanor can face up to six months in a federal prison and a fine of up to $5,000. He or she may also face up to five years of federal probation.

People driving under the influence of alcohol on federal land that does not fall under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service face the same punishment as those prosecuted in State Superior Court. The Assimilative Crimes Act, provides that DUI / DWI arrests on any land other than National Parks and military bases that are owned by the federal government fall under the law of the state where the driver was arrested.

The penalties for a conviction in a federal DUI / DWI case can be harsh and inconvenient, so it is crucial to hire excellent legal representation. An attorney experienced in defending federal drunk driving cases can implement a plan to achieve the best possible results in an individual case.

The federal government has Implied Consent laws similar to California’s Implied Consent Law. When a driver refuses to submit to a chemical test in a federal DUI investigation, there will be additional consequences. Refusal to submit is a misdemeanor under the Code of Federal Regulations and could lead to six months in a federal prison. A convicted driver will not be allowed to drive on federally-owned land for one year. Although there is no automatic license suspension under the federal laws, the California DMV will be notified of the refusal to submit and it will suspend the driver’s California license for one year.

It is important for a person facing federal drunk driving charges to understand that not every attorney is fully capable of representing a person in Federal Court. Federal courts differ from state courts in terms of timelines and procedures. It is important to use a federal criminal defense lawyer who is knowledgeable about the federal rules when fighting federal DUI / DWI charges.

California Supreme Court Allows Traffic Stops Based on Uncorroborated Tips

California Supreme Court Allows Traffic Stops Based on Uncorroborated Tips

In a setback for privacy and civil rights, the California Supreme Court has ruled that police can use anonymous tips to stop suspected drunk drivers even if the officer doesn’t spot any illegal activity. An attorney plans to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a 4-3 decision, the court ruled that a California Highway Patrol officer acted properly when he pulled over a San Joaquin Valley woman after an anonymous caller said her van was weaving, even though the officer witnessed no signs of impairment. The woman later failed a field sobriety test and was arrested for heroin possession.

The ruling gives police in California the broadest powers in the nation to pull over suspected drunk drivers and other motorists based only on anonymous tips. In recent months, the state has posted signs urging motorists to report suspected DUI / DWI drivers to the CHP. Those signs, coupled with the high court’s decision, open the door for abuse by drivers involved in road rage or grudges unrelated to criminal activity.

Three justices opposed the ruling, saying police should not be allowed to stop motorists without witnessing illegal activity. “One of the hallmarks of the liberty guaranteed to persons in this country is that agents of the government cannot arrest, seize or detain them without a good reason,” Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar wrote for the minority.

The panel’s ruling comes on the heels of a string of high court decisions that erode the rights of criminal suspects across California and the nation. The California Supreme Court recently ruled that police can enter some DUI / DWI suspects’ homes without a warrant to administer chemical tests.

In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that police can enter suspects’ homes without knocking if they have a valid search warrant. However, the justices also recently ruled that police cannot pat down a suspect for weapons based on an uncorroborated tip.

Defense attorneys decried the California Supreme Court’s ruling on anonymous tips as a setback for privacy and civil rights that may resonate for decades.

“Anyone can call in an anonymous tip for any reason,” said Darren T. Kavinoky, one of California’s top criminal defense attorneys. “This ruling essentially allows police to go on fishing expeditions in the vehicle of any driver unfortunate enough to be the target of an anonymous tipster.”

Despite the setback, motorists arrested for drunk driving or any other criminal offense involving an anonymous tip still have numerous options to launch an effective defense. An experienced California criminal defense attorney can challenge evidence on a number of fronts and dismantle a prosecutor’s case.

The top attorneys of the Kavinoky Law Firm are experienced in defending DUI / DWI cases and other criminal charges throughout California. The firm’s expert attorneys will develop an aggressive defense strategy to challenge charges of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, drug possession, or any other criminal offense.

How Do I Find an Experienced Los Angeles DUI Attorney?

Experienced Los Angeles DUI Attorneys

It is important to hire a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer when faced with a Los Angeles criminal charge. Not all criminal lawyers are the same. You want to make sure that you are given all the resources possible to resolve your criminal case with minimal repercussions. At the Kavinoky Law Firm, you not only get the knowledge and experience to win, you get an entire team working around the clock on your behalf.  Our main objective is to remove all the burdens off your shoulders. Let us handle the case, so you can sleep well at night.
There are many aspects and procedures that can be challenged to help get you off your criminal charge. We spare no expense to make sure we have uncovered all avenues of your Los Angeles criminal case.  We understand the impact of a criminal charge on your life and livelihood.

We focus on a plethora of Los Angeles criminal charges including:
Bench Warrants
Crimes Against Children
Domestic Violence
DUI Drugs
Drug Crimes
Drug Possession
Federal Cases
Gang Offense
Grand Theft
Sex Crimes
Violent Crimes
Weapons Crimes
White Collar Crimes

Big-Firm Resources, Small-Firm Feel

• The Kavinoky Law Firm has more than a dozen lawyers and a support staff of 25.

• We employ a team approach: Your defense strategy will be engineered by founding lawyer Darren Kavinoky, Senior Supervising Attorney Joel Koury, Northern California Managing Attorney Michael Meehan, and their handpicked team. The Kavinoky Law Firm has more than a century of combined legal experience, and over 500 completed jury trials.

• We are one of the largest law firms in California that concentrates on defending cases involving alcohol and drugs. This translates into greater resources for your defense.

• We employ a specialized Intranet Toolkit to ensure all of our attorneys effectively collaborate, share information, and work in concert.

• All of our attorneys use Blackberries or Droids. This means that you’ll receive an immediate response to your emails and phone calls and outstanding customer service.

• We have a network of attorneys throughout the United States for cases that involve issues that cross state lines, such as foreign prior convictions, or those involving out-of-state driver’s licenses that could be impacted by an action in California.

• We conduct frequent comprehensive case-evaluation roundtables, where a “mastermind” group of lawyers each review your case, and come up with the best approach that is designed to achieve the best possible result in your criminal case.

• We have an-house appellate department to address writs and appeals. We are willing and equipped to fight (and have successfully fought), significant legal issues all the way to the Supreme Court.

• We employ a team approach, which translates into more resources to come up with the winning strategy in your case.

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