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Recent blog posts

mislead

Attorneys have an ethical duty to not mislead the public with false or misleading claims about their experience and qualifications.

Unfortunately, many lawyers accept solicitations from for-profit entities selling certificates, website badges, and trophies accompanied with superlatives like "Top 100 Lawyer" "Superior Lawyer" and "Premier Lawyer" with little or no transparency revealing the true basis for such recognition. These pay-to-play enterprises do not administer a legitimate examination of the purchaser’s trial skills and legal knowledge, and consumers seeking a qualified attorney are victimized by these misleading claims.

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Posted on in DUI

defend 2016

Another new year is upon us and I sincerely hope you did not start it off with a DUI arrest. Spending four or more hours in a drunk tank is one of the most demoralizing experiences one can have, but now that you're out let's try to minimize the consequences.

Depending on whether you submitted to a chemical test of your breath or blood, or refused to do so without a warrant, you are most likely looking at a license suspension ranging from 4 months to one year.

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Posted on in DUI

how to deal

Originally published in the November 2015 issue of Marin Magazine, veteran San Francisco and San Rafael DUI attorney Paul Burglin was asked:

 - What really happens after you see the bluelights in the rearview mirror?
 - What can you do to minimize the damage a DUI charge wreaks on your life?

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Posted on in DUI

Allow me to share with you some insight about on-line reviews and website claims in the field of DUI and DMV defense.

Inexperienced attorneys are more tech savvy than veteran lawyers - the latter got their degrees and began practicing law before computers and I-Pads were in existence. Young attorneys learned how to use these things in grade school, and then got training in College on how to utilize these tools for marketing purposes. Because the business of a new lawyer is slow owing to lack of experience, reputation and referrals, they also have the time it takes to get family and friends to write favorable reviews and load their websites with the words and links that boost their organic ranking on search engines.

Let's start with AVVO. When you see an attorney with 40, 80, or 100-plus client reviews on AVVO, understand that the attorney has undoubtedly solicited reviews. I have represented more than 4000 clients in my career, but I do not solicit reviews because I believe it is unseemly to ask clients to talk about confidential matters unless they want to.

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Those leaving AT&T Park this evening may find themselves getting stopped by the California Highway Patrol or the San Francisco Police Department for any number of reasons. The safest way to avoid it is to not drink and drive, but drinking and driving remains legal in California and it alone is not a basis to stop a motorist unless the he or she is observed drinking and driving at the same time!

If you get stopped and are ultimately arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, you may be able to get the evidence suppressed and the charges dropped if the police lacked sufficient probable cause to initially detain you.

911 reports – Sometimes police officers are notified by their dispatcher that somebody reported your vehicle as being driven by a drunk driver. That alone is not always enough to justify an enforcement stop, unless the police independently observe something wrong with your driving or the reporting party gives sufficient details about you, your vehicle, and the manner of driving.

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Loss of Pilot and Medical Certificates By FAA For Failure To Disclose Prior DUI Arrest
Taylor v. Huerta , ___ F.3d ___, (D.C. Cir. 2013) – Docket No. 12-1140
WL 3762896

Taylor submitted an application for a medical certificate using the FAA's online system, MedXPress. One of the questions asked him about any prior arrests and he answered “no" despite a previous DUI arrest in California (which, ironically, did not even result in a conviction). The FAA discovered the prior arrest on a background check and opened an investigation as to why it was not disclosed. He said he did not read the question carefully, was unaware that prior arrests were now being asked instead of just prior convictions, and that he had just hit a button that put a “no" answer to a number of questions all at once. The answers were submitted under penalty of perjury.

The Court rejected the contention that the omission was inadvertent, holding that “[a] defense of deliberate inattention fails where the applicant is attesting to events about which he has actual knowledge." [cite]. It then slapped him with this rebuke:

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People v. Vangelder (2013)
___ Cal.4 th ___ (Calif. Supreme Court – Docket No. S195423)

Expert testimony that properly working and approved breath-alcohol instruments do not sample breath samples as they are designed to, and thus do not produce reliable results, is irrelevant and inadmissible on the per se charge. The exclusion extends to physiological variability such as body and breath temperature, hematocrit level, gender, and breathing patterns.

The Court characterized expert witness Michael Hlastala’s proffered testimony as a “regulation-based argument" that improperly seeks to trump legislative determinations concerning alcohol limits in deep lung breath. It specifically declined to address whether the limitation applies to the impairment count (it would appear not to).

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Partition Ratio Evidence Admissible To Defend Impairment Charge Even If Prosecution Only Introduces Breath-Alcohol Test Results To Prove The Per Se Offense
State v. Cooperman
(2013)
Arizona Supreme Court – Docket No. CV–12–0319–PR

The Arizona Supreme Court holds that partition ratio variability evidence (either in the general population in the individual specifically) is relevant and admissible in prosecutions for driving while impaired even if the state elects to introduce breath test results only to prove the.08 or higher per se count. The decision cited and followed Supreme Court decisions from California and Vermont on this issue.

In affirming, the Arizona Supreme Court did not address an important aspect of the Court of Appeal’s decision below in State v. Cooperman (Ariz.Ct.App. 2012) 282 P.3d 446. The lower Court additionally held that physiological variability (e.g., breathing patterns, body and breath temperatures, hematocrit levels, gender, etc.) in the general population may be admitted to cast doubt on the reliability of breath-alcohol samples in defense against both the impairment and per se charges. The California Supreme Court noted this holding in Vangelder (see below) but declined to follow it on the per se count.

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Blood Draws At Jail Facility By Non-Physician/Non-Nurse Found Reasonable
People v. Cuevas
___ Cal.App.4 th ___ (2013) (California First District Court of Appeal, Div. 1 – Docket No. A138062)
2013 WL 3963601

The Court reviewed seven consolidated cases involving DUI arrests where the subjects opted for blood testing under California’s implied consent law and six were done at a jail facility. The blood draws were each performed by a trained phlebotomist or blood technician. Police officers testified to observing the blood draw site being cleaned and a needle being used from a sealed package. No evidence of pain or discomfort was presented, and in five of the cases there was testimony that the area was bandaged following the blood draw.

The Court rejected defense contentions that the blood draws failed to meet the constitutional standard of reasonableness because police officers arguably lacked the medical training necessary to testify whether the blood draws were performed in a medically approved manner and were done in a jail facility rather than a hospital.

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Symptoms of Intoxication and Manner of Driving Held Valid And Relevant Basis for Rejecting Rising Blood-Alcohol Defense in Administrative License Suspension Action
Coffey v. Shiomoto (Director, Calif. Dept. of Motor Vehicles)
___ Cal.Rptr.3d ___, 2013 WL 4196651 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.)

Non-chemical test circumstantial evidence was properly considered an administrative hearing officer to reject a defense expert’s opinion that driver was under.08 percent at the time of driving notwithstanding his post-driving chemical test results of.08 and.09 (Breath), followed by blood draw that later showed results of.095 and.096 percent.

Always Poll The Jury Following A Guilty Verdict!
People v. Jones (2013) No. 1-11-3586 (Unpublished)
Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Second Division.

It often seems like a waste of time and gratuitous torment, but this case demonstrates that polling a jury after a guilty verdict occasionally bears fruit.

A guilty verdict was announced by the foreperson following deliberations. The court told the jurors it was “going to ask each and every one of you whether or not that verdict was your verdict and if it's still your verdict." After polling four jurors, the following exchange occurred:

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Whether the police lawfully stopped you by reason of a reported complaint to the police about your manner of driving depends on what the United States Supreme Court refers to as “the totality of circumstances." Last month, the high court reviewed the trial court record of a vehicle enforcement stop in Berkeley, California, in a case called Navarette v. California .

In this particular case, the enforcement stop was deemed constitutional based on the following facts:

• Use of 911 system (suggestive that caller was not concerned about the report being traced back to him);

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Participation in Florida’s Discovery Scheme Mandates Defense Disclosure of Independent Blood Analysis Even If Expert Not On Witness List

Kidder v. State , 117 So.3d 1166 (2013) (No. 2D12-3535)

Florida District Court of Appeal (2 nd District)

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Attorney Advertising Held Unethical (And Subject To State Bar Discipline) Where Competitor’s Name Used As A Keyword

2010 Formal Ethics Opinion 14 (NC April 27, 2012).

Opinion of North Carolina State Bar Ethics Committee rules that it is a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct for a lawyer to select another lawyer's name as a keyword for use in an Internet search engine company's search-based advertising program.

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License Suspension Upheld Where Driver’s Refusal Based on Location of Blood Draw
McLinden v. Commonwealth, Dept. of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing
Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

Unpublished; 2013 WL 5973940

Driver’s conditional consent to blood testing constituted a refusal where he insisted upon the blood draw being at a location other than a police trailer next to a DUI checkpoint that was staffed with a phlebotomist.

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State v. Berg (2013)
District Court Tenth Judicial District
County of Anoka (Docket No. 02-CR-13-4444)

DUI suspects have a constitutional right to refuse consent to chemical testing absent a warrant or sufficient exigent circumstances, and the exercise of that right cannot be criminalized. See Camara v. Municipal Court of City and County of San Francisco , 387 U.S. 523, 540 (1967).

“If the exercise of a constitutional right is criminalized the rights afforded United States citizens loses all meaning. The officer, upon learning Defendant was invoking her right to refuse a search had the ability to request a warrant and force Defendant to submit to testing. The officer chose not to get a warrant. The state’s right to test Defendant was lost at that point. Therefore, this Court grants Defendant’s motion and will dismiss County [sic] I of the complaint."

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Implied Consent Is Not Fourth Amendment Consent
State v. Butler
232 Ariz. 84, 302 P.3d 609

Independent of the implied consent statute, the Fourth Amendment requires an arrestee's consent to be voluntary to justify a warrantless blood draw. If the arrestee is a juvenile, the youth's age and a parent's presence are relevant factors for a trial court to consider in evaluating whether consent was voluntary under the totality of circumstances.

Are Statutes Criminalizing or Enhancing Sentences Based on Chemical Test Refusals Constitutional?

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Read my article on the DUI News Blog (www.duinewsblog.org) about constitutionally suspect DUI Checkpoint operations, many of which are operated right here in California. Call me today, or send me an e-mail, if you desire a consultation about your DUI arrest. 

More On Warrantless Blood Draws - What Constitutes Consent?

In Missouri v. McNeely , which was discussed in our previous post, the United States Supreme Court affirmed its holding in a 1966 case called Schmerber v. California (several California Court of Appeal decisions in the 47-year interim had watered down and misinterpreted Schmerber , declaring that it authorized blood draws without a warrant anytime a person was lawfully arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence). In fact, Schmerber very clearly indicated that a warrant is required except in limited situations where there is no time to get a warrant.

Now that McNeely has overruled those California cases, warrantless blood draws in DUI cases present a bevy of potential issues for suppression of the evidence in the absence of consent.

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The U.S. Supreme Court Decision belows underscores why it is important to have a Board-Certified DUI defense attorney in your corner who keeps abreast of these decisions, as they may impact your case.
MISSOURI V. MCNEELY

THIS U.S. SUPREME COURT DECISION OVERRULES SEVERAL CALIFORNIA COURT OF APPEAL CASES THAT ERRONEOUSLY HELD POLICE MAY FORCIBLY TAKE A BLOOD SAMPLE FROM A DUI SUSPECT WITHOUT A WARRANT BASED SOLELY ON A LAWFUL ARREST AND MEDICALLY APPROVED MANNER OF DRAWING BLOOD.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN AND HOW IS IT PLAYING OUT?

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