Our client entered a plea to a first-time DUI in Fullerton and was placed on three years of informal, or summary probation. He had driven with a blood alcohol content of 0.13% and the case was otherwise not too unusual.
As a consequence of the conviction, the DMV suspended his driver’s license until he installed an ignition interlock device (IID). As a further condition of probation, he was warned by the judge in Fullerton that he was not to drive with any alcohol in his blood until probation ended.
Twelve days after entering into his plea on the first DUI, our client was involved in a car accident on the eastbound I-10 freeway near West Covina. He did not have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in his car, so he should not have even been driving a car, as his license was suspended from the DUI conviction in Fullerton. Making matters worse, his blood alcohol content was 0.16%, or twice the legal limit. Luckily, no one was injured in the crash on the freeway.
The client then called Greg Hill & Associates to report his new case. Greg had worked on the first DUI, so he was taken aback by the new turn of events.
Greg listened as the client described what happened on the eastbound I-10 and then Greg explained what he expected the plea bargain in the West Covina Courthouse to involve, as well as what he expected the Fullerton judge to do in for the violation of probation.
Greg told the client that for the West Covina case, he probably would be offered five years of informal probation, at least 20 days in county jail for the second-time DUI with a car accident and while driving on a suspended license due to a DUI, a fine of $500 plus penalties and assessments, an obligation to take the eighteen-month DUI program (the SB38) and perhaps an obligation to attend the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) victim impact panel (VIP) and the Hospital and Morgue (HAM) program.
In terms of the probation violation, Greg predicted that the judge in Fullerton would order our client to serve 60 to 90 days in county jail in Orange County. Greg explained that the judge would be tough on him and could even order more time, as judges in Orange County seem to have a special zeal for punishment on DUI’s.
Greg further explained that Orange County jails are distinguishable from Los Angeles County jails, where a sentence of 90 days really meant about 10 to 20 days actually served. In Orange County, one would serve the entire 45 days on a 90-day sentence (taking into account four-for-two credits under Penal Code § 4019).
Greg, however, said that until the Orange County Superior Court notifies him that they have revoked his probation and set a probation violation hearing, he should simply plan on a decent amount of time in custody there.
In the meantime, Greg and the client worked on resolving the West Covina case. Over many months, Greg finally negotiated a plea bargain in the West Covina Superior Court that the client agreed to: three years of informal probation, a court fine of $450, plus penalties and assessments, 30 days in county jail (including the minimum of 10 days for the driving on a license suspended for a DUI from Fullerton) and the SB38. The DA, the judge and Greg all agreed that the 30 days would be credited for any time served in Orange County on the probation violation. The judge, the DA and Greg all agreed that the Orange County judge likely would impose 90 days minimum in county jail.
Just as the case was being resolved in West Covina, our client received notice from the Fullerton Court that the judge there on his case had revoked probation and set a probation violation hearing.
Greg and the client then appeared quite nervously in the Fullerton Courthouse, quite aware that the client would most likely be remanded for at least 60 days in custody.
Much to the client’s and Greg’s surprise, the judge in Fullerton looked over the new case in West Covina and discussed its facts with Greg and the Orange County district attorney. The judge was concerned about our client’s drinking problem and very disappointed that our client seemed to have a genuine issue with alcohol. The judge could see our nervous client standing in the courtroom with his father beside him.
However, the judge ruled on the probation violation that there would be no jail and our client was reinstated on probation under the same terms and conditions. The judge was aware that our client would serve 30 day in Los Angeles County jail under the plea bargain from West Covina (which meant he really would serve perhaps three to six days). The judge did not order our client remanded. He did warn our client that it was unsafe to drink and drive, but otherwise then moved onto the next case in his courtroom.
Greg, the client and his father walked out of the courtroom amazed and feeling very lucky.