Ventura County DUI Attorneys

Our DUI attorneys are criminal lawyers with a unique perspective on prosecuting DUIs in Simi Valley Court, Malibu Court, the San Fernando Valley, Conejo Valley and throughout Ventura County.  Doug Ridley served as a Deputy District Attorney with the Ventura County District Attorney’s office for many years and knows how the prosecution and the judge will look at your case.  Did you know that even if you are 100% guilty, the paperwork and process for a DUI is very complicated?  You have to fill out a special form if you try to go in and plead guilty by yourself.  You should have a DUI attorney by your side no matter what.  Most importantly, at the Law Offices of Douglas H. Ridley, our criminal lawyers understand the science of a DUI case and can find any problem that exists with the investigation.  Call now to see if your charges can get dropped.

If you get arrested for a DUI in East County Ventura, you will have to appear in Simi Valley Court.  We spend a lot of time in this courthouse and understand how a DUI is handled here.  If you go to court by yourself, you will have to wait around all morning until all the other cases get called.  You should have our DUI attorneys and criminal lawyers by your side and get your case handled by a criminal law expert.

For cases in western San Fernando Valley, you will likely have to appear in Malibu Court.  The Los Angeles Superior Court system handles DUIs very differently than in neighboring Ventura County.  Our DUI attorneys know how to plea bargain your case.  Former Prosecutor Doug Ridley knows how the Deputy District Attorneys and judges will look at your Malibu Court DUI and can help you get your charges dropped.

 

THE LAW

A DUI is prosecuted under California Vehicle Code section 23152.  It is separated into two different counts, 23152(a) and 23152(b).  This is why in law enforcement, a DUI is often referred to as a “deuce” or TWO.

The first section prosecutes someone who is UNDER THE INFLUENCE:  CVC 23152(a):  “It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.”

The second section prosecutes someone who is OVER .08:  CVC 23152(b):  “It is unlawful for any person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.”  Your Blood Alcohol Count is referred to by law enforcement as your BAC.  The California Vehicle Code defines this further in this section as “For purposes of this article and Section 34501.16, percent, by weight, of alcohol in a person’s blood is based upon grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.”

What this means to a DUI driver is that you can be arrested if you are “sober”, but over the limit.  We’ve seen cases were someone can handle their alcohol and may be a .09, but perfectly fine to drive a car.  They would be innocent of being “impaired” under VC 23152(a), but it doesn’t matter for the second count:  they would be guilty of violating VC 23152(b).

You can also be arrested if you are under a .08, but buzzed or impaired.  We’ve seen cases where a combination of drugs and alcohol makes a person tipsy, but their blood alcohol level may be only a .04.  They would be arrested for violation of VC 23152(a), but innocent of 23152(b).

 

PRESUMPTION THAT THE TEST IS CORRECT

Further, Vehicle Code section 23152(b) gives a presumption that the test is an accurate measure of your blood alcohol.  CVC 23152(b):  In any prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.”

This is one of the areas that our expert DUI attorneys at the Law Offices of Douglas H. Ridley examine very carefully in every case.  The delay between the time you drove your car and the time you took your test is critical.  We recently defended a case in Malibu Court where it took the CHP over three hours to test our client’s blood alcohol level.  We got this case dropped to a simple reckless driving because of the delay.

The science behind this is complicated, but critical:  the level of alcohol in a person’s blood increases, plateaus, then decreases. Anyone who has ever had alcohol before knows this as “sobering up”.  But the level of alcohol in your body has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order to sustain a conviction.  A test that is taken outside of this window is not a reliable measure of your blood alcohol and we know how to explain this to the prosecutors and the courts.

 

EXPERIENCE OF DUI ATTORNEYS

This importance of the science of DUI cases is the reason why you need to carefully choose your DUI attorneys.  At the Law Offices of Douglas H. Ridley, we know the science of a DUI backwards and forwards.  Doug Ridley was assigned as a prosecutor to review DUI cases for law enforcement back in 2000 and 2001 for the Ventura County District Attorney’s office.  Doug Ridley reviewed hundreds of cases a day to make filing decisions and would decide whether or not these cases could be proved in the court.  This skill is critical in knowing how to handle a DUI case.  Not only do we understand the legal and scientific aspects of these cases, but we know how the other side looks at these cases.  This allows the Law Offices of Douglas H. Ridley to skillfully evaluate your case and to craft a plan that has the highest success of getting your charges dropped.

 

DIFFERENT COURTS – DIFFERENT TACTICS

Not just anyone can be an effective DUI attorney.  Knowing the law as it exists above is not enough.  Every courthouse is different, and at the Law Offices of Douglas H. Ridley, we know how to defend these cases differently in Ventura County versus Los Angeles County.

As a DUI attorney in Los Angeles County, I have seen first-hand the difference in how to handle a case.  In Malibu Court, plea bargains happen often on DUI cases.  Someone who doesn’t understand the Los Angeles Courts will not even know to ask for a good plea bargain for you, or even worse, ask for something ridiculous and lose all credibility with the court.  It is common to get a DUI charge dropped down to a lower charge of reckless driving.  But even with a reckless driving, there are two levels:  “wet” and “dry”.  California Vehicle Code section 23103.5 states that when the prosecution accepts a plea bargain in a DUI case and allows the charges to be dropped to a reckless driving, they tell the court whether alcohol was involved or not.  If they say that alcohol was involved, law enforcement considers that a “wet reckless”.  This has the benefit of not being treated as a DUI, but has the disadvantage of still being used as a prior offense for any DUI in the future.  The prosecution can also tell the court that they cannot prove alcohol was involved, which makes it a “dry reckless”: a simple reckless driving, treated the same as a case where you were driving crazy on the freeway.  It is important for a DUI attorney in Los Angeles County to know when to ask for each one of these possible plea bargains and know how to handle these cases.

As a prosecutor in Ventura County, Doug Ridley would see LA lawyers come into court and not understand the process.  The prosecutors and judges in Ventura would get very frustrated when the LA lawyers would ask for a plea bargain deal that they usually get in LA because they didn’t understand the culture of Ventura County.  There is a process and a procedure when in Simi Valley or Ventura Court and an attorney who doesn’t know it is hurting your case.  A lawyer who asks for a “wet reckless” in Ventura County loses all credibility with the judge and the prosecutor.  There is no such thing as a wet reckless in Ventura County.  In Simi Valley court, the way to reduce the case is either to argue it cannot be proven in court and get it dismissed, or reduce the punishment by arguing the circumstances.  At the Law Offices of Douglas H. Ridley, we know how to handle these cases so that the court and the prosecutor listen to our position, thereby getting you the best result for your case.

Call me now to see if your charges can be dropped!  (805) 208-1866

August 5, 2011