Manhattan Beach DUI, Second-Time, 0.20% BAC, Torrance
Our client, age 33, was lost. He was heading home to Santa Ana from a work get-together in Santa Monica. Somehow, he got lost in Manhattan Beach and was pulled over at about midnight for expired vehicle registration, a violation of Vehicle Code § 4000(a).
The client had consumed some drinks at the work function and knew he had the right to refuse a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test, so he did not submit to this test.
The client was nervous, as he had been convicted in Fullerton of DUI nine years earlier and he was well aware of the ten-year window within which he could not get a further DUI without risking enhanced punishment.
Once at the Manhattan Beach Police Station, however, our client did submit to a breath test and his breath measured at a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.20%. The client was then arrested.
The following morning, the police released our client with a signed promise to appear in the Torrance Superior Court about six weeks later.
The client then called multiple attorneys, talking with each one at length. He even met with several attorneys, but hired Greg Hill & Associates after meeting with Greg for almost two hours. The client explained what had happened to him and his concerns with serving time in county jail (as he knew this was mandatory on a second-time DUI) and the 18-month DUI class called the SB38 program.
Greg also explained how the Torrance Superior Court handles misdemeanor matters and how his case, originating in Manhattan Beach, would be assigned after the arraignment in one department with a certain judge before being transferred upstairs to another judge with a very aggressive, young prosecutor. Greg explained how this young prosecutor had recently lost three DUI trials in a row, so she was angry with being an attorney in general. She had openly commented to other attorneys that she was thinking about becoming a real estate agent instead.
Greg then appeared on the client’s behalf for his arraignment at the Torrance Superior Court. The calendar DA there made an offer of a plea bargain wherein our client would plea “no contest” to violating Vehicle Code § 23152(b) and he would then dismiss the allegations of violating Vehicle Code § 23152(a) and the excessive BAC allegation under Vehicle Code § 23538(b)(2). The client would be placed on four years of informal, or summary, probation with requirements that he serve 96 hours in Los Angeles County Jail, enroll in and complete an approved SB-38 program, pay a court fine of $450 plus penalties and assessment, less credit for one day in custody (total would be $1,684), attend the Hospital and Morgue (HAM) program (which is a two day program costing $250), also attend the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Panel (VIP), which is a two hour program costing $50 and pay the City of Manhattan Beach booking fee of $255.
Greg discussed the offer with the client, explaining that if his case were to be transferred to the other courtroom, Greg expected the prosecutor there to increase the jail term to ten days and the court fines to increase to $500, as Greg had a prior second-time DUI case transferred up to the other department and this is exactly what the young DA did (and in that case, our client’s BAC was only 0.12%).
Greg also discussed the various defenses that the client had to the facts of the case, but explained that unless this case were to go before a jury, it was all about plea bargaining at this point and the people involved.
Since the client could not afford to miss more than four days of work, he decided to take the initial offer. He was happy that Greg was able to warn him about the consequences of pushing the case on to another court and losing the terms of the offer initially made.