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Law Firm of Aaron Bortel

San Matteo DUI Charges: Case History


Interviewer: Are there any particular cases that occurred in San Mateo that you can share with us?

Aaron Bortel: I recently had a case where it was my client’s third offense. He was over twice the legal limit. He got in an accident. He was charged with a hit and run and typically in these cases, they’re looking for a year in jail, or sometimes at least nine months. They are pretty adamant about that.

After doing all my research and investigation, it became clear that we were not going to win this case and that the DA was not willing to reduce the charges. From the beginning, I had a long talk with my client and he said, “You tell me what I can do to help my case.” I said, “Here’s what you do. You need to differentiate yourself from all the other people going in there with similar charges. There are other defendants with hit and runs on third offenses as being twice the legal limit.”

Listening to Your Defense Attorney’s Advice Can Lead to a Favorable Resolution of a DUI Case

I said, “You need to start attending AA meetings all the time. You need to get an ankle bracelet to show the court that you’re not drinking and you need to get yourself into a residential treatment program. You do all those things and you increase your chances of getting a better result. You will help me help you.”

I’ve had plenty of clients that have not listened. I have current clients who aren’t listening. Once you get to your third DUI, you’re often set in your ways. You’re not willing to change, but many people are, which is fantastic.

This client did everything I told him to do. This client is not going to have to do a day in jail. Typically, that’s how this case came out. He’s in a residential treatment program and he’ll be there for a year, but he’s able to save his job.

He’ll be able to get a license with an ignition interlock device on it after six months and the DA’s office was willing to eventually dismiss the high blood alcohol level allegation and the hit and run. Basically, this client demonstrated his intentions to the court by attending multiple AA meetings a week for months. He kept the ankle bracelet on for months before our pre-trial conference and had himself into an accepted in a residential treatment program, which he had been in for a while before we had our pre-trial conference.

We were in front of a judge that realized that this client understands the gravity of the situation. He was extremely pleased and at the sentencing, we were the first case called and the courtroom was packed.

The judge made quite a speech saying how this is a lawyer and this is a client hat understands what’s needed to stay out of jail. As I mentioned, in San Mateo County on most third offenses they want at least nine months in jail, if not a full year. Very often the best we can do with some of these judges is a month in jail, followed by or preceded by many months or often a year in a residential treatment program. It doesn’t happen that often where we avoid jail completely.

Here we were able to do so, which was fortunate resolution to the case. My client is extremely happy. If he had been sentenced to jail, he would have lost his job. It’s as simple as that and he supports people. He’s been at his job for a long time. They love him at his job, but he would lose it if he went to jail.

Very often in these situations, we end up helping people to get the best result, which means they need to help themselves as well. We’re able to save jobs, save families, keep families together. It’s just nice to be able to point people in the right direction and walk them through it.

While Not Every DUI Case Can Be Won, Having the Services of an Experienced DUI Attorney Can Help Mitigate the Outcome, in Every Case

Obviously in DUI defense, I can’t win every case. I can’t win most of the cases, but in most cases I can do something for someone to make the outcome better. You will always have a better result with an attorney than if you go in there on your own or use a court appointed lawyer.

Much of our success may have to do with the DMV and our skill in getting the license restored much quicker or preventing it from being suspended altogether. We often help with insurance, saving clients thousands of dollars over the next five to seven years. Sometimes clients can save tens of thousands of dollars, depending on what kind of cars and insurance needs they have.

By Aaron Bortel

Aaron Bortel

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