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Fullerton, Non-Alcohol DUI, Client Rear-Ends Car on I-5

On Halloween night in 2021, our client, age 34, was having a rough day at work, where she was a licensed occupational therapist with a Ph.D. 

She had taken her prescribed Klonopin (Clonazepam) for managing her anxiety, but she was still experiencing a panic attack.  So, she decided to self-medicate with Molly (Ecstasy, or MDMA), which then made her feel too relaxed and therefore took some meth and energy drinks.  She also took some Prozac.

The combination of all these substance led her to be unsafe to drive and indeed, she rear-ended a 2021 Toyota Sienna, driven by a thirty-four year old father with his five-year-old son inside.  Our client was driving a 2009 Honda Civic.  It was about 9:30 p.m.

The accident happened in the slow lane of the northbound I-5 freeway.  Our client immediately got out and yelled at the other driver for driving too slowly and the other driver yelled at our client for driving too fast and rear-ending a car with a child onboard.

Neither the father nor his son was injured.  Our client was not injured either.  Both cars had moderate property damage.
The CHP arrived and suspected our client was under the influence of some controlled substance.  She was arrested on suspicion of violating Vehicle Code § 23152(f) (driving under the influence of a controlled substance) and agreed to submit to a blood test, which detected the presence of methamphetamine, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), clonazepam and caffeine. 

The client was released and called Greg Hill & Associates.  She explained what had happened and explained she had no prior criminal history.  She was extremely concerned with how a conviction for DUI while under the influence of a controlled substance, particularly controlled substances that were illegal, would affect her license as an occupational therapist.

Greg explained how such DUI cases without alcohol were often resolved for a dry reckless if there was no accident or a minimum terms DUI when there was a car accident.  Greg also explained that the blood test for controlled substances usually did not measure the quantity of a controlled substance, so a further test measuring the quantity of the controlled substance might be helpful to clarify if the client likely was affected by the substance enough to render her unsafe to drive.

Greg asked that the client provide her prescription for Klonopin so that he could at least show the prosecutor that the clonazepam was legal, although this did not rule out the possibility that our client took the Klonopin in a quantity more than the prescribed amount. 

Greg also explained how in Orange County, in contrast to in Los Angeles County, resolution of most cases required the defendant to provide a DNA sample through a cheek swab, but some judges were permitting plea bargains without such a condition of probation.  Greg explained the origin of such a sentencing requirement in Orange County.

The client then retained Greg Hill & Associates and Greg appeared on the client’s behalf at the Fullerton courthouse for our client’s arraignment. 

Greg discussed the facts of the case and the blood results with the Fullerton City Prosecutor, who regarded the client’s conduct as particularly reckless because she was a state licensed professional in the medical field.  He then made an initial offer for our client wherein she would enter a guilty plea to a violation of Vehicle Code § 23152(f) with an obligation for our client to serve three years of informal or summary probation on the following terms and conditions: 1) that she enroll in and complete the AB 541 three-month DUI program, pay a court fee of $500 plus penalties and assessments (more than the standard $390 because of the car accident), ten days of community service due to the car accident and submission of a DNA sample.

Greg regarded the People’s offer as significantly more than what would be normally reasonable under the facts, so he asked the judge for a sidebar conference with the prosecutor and told the judge our client was highly motivated to resolve the case, but the terms were just too demanding.

The judge, recognizing Greg’s suggestion that he recommend an alternate sentence, then suggested to the prosecutor that he allow our client to resolve the case with only a $390 fine (not $500) and without any community service or DNA sample.  The prosecutor reluctantly agreed to this significantly better offer.

Our client then agreed to this resolution, pleased that Greg had pushed the prosecutor in front of the judge and resolved the case on far less demanding terms.  In fact, since our client spent three days in custody, her credit for such time wiped away the court fine and her probation terms only included enrolling in and completing the AB 541 program.

For more information about non-alcohol DUI, professional licensing issues related to a conviction and DNA tests in Orange County, please click on the following articles:
Client Reviews
"Thank you so much for putting so much effort in this case. We really appreciate it and we are happy that all turned out well." S.A., Torrance
"Greg Hill did an outstanding job on every level. He was efficient, thorough, knowledgeable, courteous, responsive & brilliant. He welcomed my input and my concerns. . . from the first conversation to the last - I always felt 'it mattered' to him." S.C., Rolling Hills Estates
"Thanks again for your hard work. We want you to know that we are very appreciative of all that you have done [on our son's] behalf. With warmest regards." L.H., Torrance
"Dear Greg, Thank you again for all your help. Your professionalism and thoroughness is greatly admired. I will definitely recommend you to my friends if they ever need legal help." V.L., Carson
"Thanks for investing in my case. I talked to other attorneys out there and they had an arms-length of attitude, but not you. Your intensity and interest helped a lot." C.R., Pomona