The Realities of a DUI and What You Need to Know Now.
Dyke E. Huish, DUI Defense Lawyer
Orange County, California
Reprint: California Law Forum - March 2011
In every way possible I wish that I could tell you to stop reading this article and simply call me. You are not going to find the answers you really need in any article or on the Internet. Sure you may find some information but the simple reality is what you really need is information on how to find the best DUI attorney. I am not saying you should remain ignorant of your problem; just that the first thing you should do is find the best attorney for your needs.
REALITY NUMBER ONE:
The Only Thing You Really Need To Do Right Now Is Find The Right Criminal Defense Attorney.
A DUI is a complicated issue with far reaching consequences. The decisions you make may affect many parts of your life for a very long time. Reading a few articles or marketing pieces on the Internet will not help you to solve those very real problems.
I was asked once “Do I really need an attorney.” My response then and now is still the same. “Do you really need a dentist? Oh sure you can grab a rusty pair of pliers and yank out your tooth after reading a few articles on the Internet but is that really the best idea?”
After three years in Law School, two years as a Deputy District Attorney and then five more years as a Public Defender and more than 300 DUI handled I was still learning about the consequences and ramifications of a DUI. I also had about fifty training courses on DUI’s and still I was learning about the consequences of and management of a “simple” DUI.
Here is my point. If you have the time to go to law school for three years, be a Deputy District Attorney for Two and then a Public Defender for at least three more years and handle at least one hundred DUI’s then by all means go ahead and handle your own. If not I suggest you stop learning about your DUI and start learning about how to find the best DUI attorney for your needs. Problem is that you have only TEN DAYS from the time of your arrest to call the DMV so I am guess the idea of law school is temporarily off the table.
It took me years and the handling of more than 700 DUI’s until I had truly mastered the defense of a DUI. This is why I suggest that the first step is finding an attorney because the reality is that there is nothing “simple” about being arrested and charged with a DUI. But be careful there are also a lot of bad or irresponsible attorney’s seeking your business. Remember what you need is a lawyer not a businessperson who is making money be being a lawyer. There is a big difference.
REALITY NUMBER TWO:
The Are Many Ways To Hire The Wrong Attorney.
There are a few Great DUI lawyers, many Good DUI lawyers but a lot of DUI Marketing schemes propped up by idiots. (Sounds harsh I know – but it is also very true).
In the modern age most people will go to the Internet to find answers to their questions. When you begin a search for your DUI problem what you will probably find is a lot of lawyers “claiming” to be experts in DUI defense. The simple truth is that the vast – and I mean vast – majority of these sites are Internet marketing schemes designed by business people not attorneys.
The will offer all types of bait and switch approaches but in the end are nothing more than cleaver marketing packages with nothing inside but a very young lawyer they pay on the cheap to handle your problems. They will promise the moon by claiming to use a “team approach” or having an “in with the judge and DA.” I have seen web sites where they claim to have an advantage over other attorney’s because they practice in a given courthouse or that they are on television all the time. Such nonsense. The simple reality is that what you need is not a marketing expert but a well-respected attorney. Let me suggest a list of things you should look for in your search for the right attorney:
1. Are they a California State Bar Certified Criminal Law Specialist.
The State Bar of California offers every Criminal Defense Attorney’s the chance to be certified as an expert in criminal law. This is not an easy process and it is the ONLY official certification provided by the State Bar and is sanctioned by the Supreme Court of the State of California. This is a serious and prestigious honor. In fact at the time this article was written there are approximately 600 lawyers in Orange County that practice Criminal Law and only a scant 24 are Certified Criminal Law Specialists. That is approximately 1 in 25.
Those lawyers who claim it is unimportant to become certified probably don’t have the skills to become certified or are just too lazy to step up and prove their worth.
2. Do they have at least 15 years of Criminal Defense Practice?
I am not suggesting that an attorney with five years of experience cannot handle a simple DUI. I am telling you that you can hire a DUI attorney with 15 years for probably the same price so why go with the inexperienced attorney.
Additionally, you will notice I said “Criminal Defense Practice.” About ten years ago the County made a deal with the District Attorney’s union that allows prosecutors to retire at 55 and receive most of their salary (good for them – bad for the tax payers). Many of them have become part or full time defense attorneys. Let me say that just because you prosecuted people for 20 years does not make you a good defense attorney. The skill set is entirely different. It is like hiring the best pitcher to bat clean up. A few years as a DA is fine but these life time prosecutors spent their entire career punishing people like you – it is really hard to turn off that mind set.
Will the Attorney you hire be the attorney that handles your case?
Many of the firms that have a high Internet profile will claim to use a “team approach.” This means that they are probably going to hand you off to a young an inexperienced (and cheap for them to pay) lawyer. Make sure that when you hire an attorney you get an attorney that is going to handle your case and not just pass it down the line.
REALITY NUMBER THREE:
You Have 10 Days From The Arrest To Call The DMV.
This is why it is critical to call an attorney right now. You not only have to call the DMV you must say the right things to preserve your license. Better to just let you attorney handle this whole process right the first time. If you can’t find the right attorney then you must call the DMV to set the required hearing but the reality is you can find someone in just a few days.
REALITY NUMBER FOUR:
You Cannot Learn All You Need To Know On The Internet.
While you might find some good information on the Internet there are just too many variables in any given DUI. I cannot express to you how strongly I feel that you should contact a qualified DUI attorney today. The expense for even the best attorneys is not that high and they can real save you a lot of pain. The good attorneys have spent a life time preparing to handle your case. Your freedom, job and driving privalage hang in the balance it is a good idea at leat to sit and talk with a person that understands your problems.
Perhaps my suggestions are not what you wanted to read. Maybe you wanted to learn about the rising alcohol defense or how food can affect alcohol absorption rates. Maybe you wanted to read about why the officer did not read you your Miranda Rights. Maybe you wanted to know how the bacteria in the blood could corrupt the labs results or maybe you just wanted to know about the fabled “Wet Reckless.” But in the end a single article cannot give you what I have learned over the course of 18 years as a defense attorney. Which is why I am always willing to sit for a free consultation and do my best to explain the basics of your situation.
For now, however, your best course of action is to find the best attorney for your situation and let him take care of the problem. That is the simple reality of a DUI.
Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer Dyke Huish is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist who practices Criminal and DUI defense in Southern California.
His offices are located in Irvine California and he can be reached at 949-837-8600.