Our client, age 27, had grown quite tired of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. She had worked a full day and was itching to just relax and enjoy a good dinner. Alone, she went to a Mexican restaurant near her house, ordered dinner and downed two large margaritas.
She then drove to her Harbor City home at about 8:00 p.m. She found it extremely hard to find parking, but maneuvered her 2017 Ford Focus into a small spot. Unfortunately, as she did so, she clipped the front bumper of a 2021 Toyota Corolla belonging to her neighbor.
Our client did not think the low-speed collision would have caused any visible damage to either car. She then entered her house, took a shower and began watching television with her parents.
About forty-five minutes after she sat down to watch TV, two police officers knocked on her door.
The offices explained that they received a report of a non-injury traffic accident down the street and asked our client if she was the driver of a 2017 Ford Focus. Our client answered that she was the driver and “I won’t lie. I had a few drinks. I am guilty.”
The officers then asked our client to step outside, where they requested that she perform some roadside gymnastic tests, also known as field sobriety tests (FST’s). Our client refused to perform such tests, as is her right. The police then arrested her and asked her to submit to a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test, which she also refused, as is her right.
Officers had a video camera inside the police car recording our client as she sat in the backseat of the police car. Our client launched into a twenty minute monologue of how she knew her rights and was waiting for police to read her the Miranda warnings and then let her go. During this monologue, she belittled the officers arresting her and told them that she was studying to become an attorney, “so I know my rights.”
The monologue was painful to watch and seemed to suggest she was quite intoxicated.
Our client was then transported to the Harbor Station for the Los Angeles Police Department and then the 77th Street station off Broadway in South Central, where she refused to submit to a breath or blood test.
After being held overnight, she was released to her parents with no bail required, but with a promise to appear in the Long Beach Courthouse in about three months.
Once released, the client called Greg Hill & Associates, who had represented her previously on a criminal threats case involving a similar parking dispute with neighbors, except involving different neighbors. When the client was arrested for DUI, she was still on probation for the criminal threats matter.
The client then described the facts of her DUI and her refusal to submit to a breath or blood sample. She explained how she parked and believed the other car was not damaged in any way.
The client then retained Greg Hill & Associates a second time. Greg appeared for the arraignment on the client’s behalf and was greeted with a complaint against our client for not just DUI (only Vehicle Code § 23152, with a refusal to submit alleged under Vehicle Code § 23612, but not Vehicle Code § 23152(b) because the client never provided a breath or blood sample to have a measured blood alcohol content (BAC)), but two counts of resisting, obstructing and delaying arrest (Penal Code § 148(a)(1)) and hit and run (Vehicle Code § 20002) as a misdemeanor.
The first offer from the Los Angeles City Attorney assigned to the case was that the client would enter a no contest plea to a violation of Vehicle Code § 23152 (“DUI”) and hit and run. In exchange, she would be placed on three years of summary, or informal, probation with an obligation to serve 60 days of county jail for the hit and run and resisting, obstructing and delaying arrest, as well as attend and complete the nine-month alcohol awareness program (AB 1353), pay a court fine of $500 plus penalties and assessments and give her admission of a refusal to submit to a breath or blood sample.
Over four court appearances, Greg was able to negotiate the case to a resolution wherein the client pled no contest to just DUI and incurred no jail time. She would have to attend the three-month alcohol awareness program (AB 541), attend the two-hour Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) victim impact panel and the nine-hour Hospital and Morgue (HAM) program, as well as pay the $500 fine, plus penalties and assessments. The client also no longer had to admit her refusal to submit to a chemical test.
The client was happy with this resolution, as she did not want to spend another day in jail and risk losing her job.
For more information about refusal to submit issues in a DUI, please click on the following articles: