Fisher Law Office

July 2015 Archives

DUI deal requires UFC title contender to spend 1 day in jail

Prosecutors in California entered into a plea agreement with the UFC fighter Nick Diaz in July 2015 in connection with a number of criminal charges including two counts of driving under the influence. The former welterweight title contender had been facing significant jail time, but a deal struck by his attorneys will see him spend just one day behind bars. Diaz was charged with DUI in 2013 and 2014.

Depositions in criminal cases

A deposition is a discovery tool that lawyers use to gain more information about a case. It is basically an interview that occurs outside a courtroom, where the lawyers will have an opportunity to ask questions of a potential witness. Depositions are generally recorded using audio or audiovisual equipment, and there is usually a court reporter present as well. They typically take place in an attorney's office.

DUI: Balancing the DMV and Criminal Court

When a driver is charged with a DUI in California, they quickly realize that they must contend with two different governmental entities.  The criminal court will seek to impose jail time, fines, DUI program, and probation while the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will seek to suspend the driver's license as well as requiring that the driver complete a DUI program.  What's more, in order for the driver to maintain his/her full driving privilege, he/she must succeed both at the DMV and the criminal court. 

When someone is arrested for a DUI in California, the arresting officer will typically take their actual, physical license away from them and give them a pink sheet.  That pink sheet is a temporary license.  The fine print on the temporary license explains (albeit very cryptically) that the driver will be allowed to drive for 30 days from the date of arrest/citation, but that, on the 31st day, the driver's license will be suspended.  However, if the driver contacts the DMV within 10 days of the date of arrest/citation and requests a hearing, the driver will be given an additional temporary license and the driver will be allowed to drive indefinitely, pending the outcome of the DMV hearing.

At the DMV hearing, the driver (hopefully, with the assistance of his/her attorney) will challenge the DUI allegations.  The hearing officer (a DMV employee) acts as the judge and prosecutor.  The DMV hearing officer's job is both to prove that the driver committed a DUI and to determine whether the driver actually committed a DUI.  As you can see, this is hardly a fair process.  This makes it all the more important that the driver retains a skilled attorney knowledgeable in DUI law.

If the driver prevails at the DMV hearing, he/she is only halfway to maintaining his/her driver's license.  The driver must also beat the DUI allegations in the criminal court in order to avoid a driver's license suspension.  In other words, a driver may "win" the DMV hearing, but, if he/she is convicted of a DUI in the criminal court, the DMV will receive notice of the conviction and promptly suspend the driver's license.  Conversely, a driver could beat the DUI in the criminal court, but lose the DMV hearing.  The DMV would then suspend the driver's license solely on that basis.

It is easy to see why it is critical to retain an attorney who is very familiar with this juggling routine.  The rules are very technical and require knowledgeable legal representation.  If you or someone you care about has been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications, please contact Fisher and Fisher for aggressive, knowledgeable representation.

Countering a drunk driving charge in California

When an individual is charged with drunk driving, it does not mean that the person is guilty of a crime. There may be a variety of defenses to the charge that the defendant and counsel can employ. For instance, it may be possible to show that an individual drove while intoxicated to prevent a greater harm from being committed.

The use of the insanity defense

Mental health issues are a known problem among those who have been convicted of violent crimes in California and around the country. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 61 percent of all U.S. inmates who reside in state prisons for violent offenses have established mental health issues. Nonetheless, criminal defense attorneys say that employing the not guilty by reason of insanity plea may not have made a difference for many of these individuals.

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1322 Morro Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-4028

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July 2015 Archives | San Luis Obispo Criminal Law Blog