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Law Firm of Aaron Bortel

Plea Deals In DUI Cases

Plea Deals In DUI CasesThe following article will cover:

  • Plea offers and negotiations in San Francisco Bay Area DUI cases.
  • The importance of evidence in decision-making between plea and trial.
  • The challenges posed by evidence delays in DUI case resolution.
Are Plea Offers Always Possible In DUI Cases In The San Francisco Bay Area?

In the San Francisco Bay Area, DUI cases—whether felonies or misdemeanors—usually present opportunities for plea offers and negotiations. Here’s a breakdown of what this entails:

  • Nature of Plea Offers: Plea offers are proposals made by the district attorney in hopes of achieving an early case resolution without resorting to a jury trial. Typically, for first-time offenders, the plea offer might propose alternative options to jail time or possibly reduce some standard obligations associated with a conviction.
  • Role of Plea Offers: While plea offers are a standard protocol in DUI cases, the actual offer is open for negotiation. Your attorney can discuss terms with the district attorney to modify the proposed offer.
  • Importance of Comprehensive Investigation: To secure the most favorable offer, you need an attorney dedicated to conducting a thorough investigation. This involves:
    • Requesting discovery, which extends beyond just the police report.
    • Sourcing any video footage that captures your driving, the stop, interactions with the police, or interactions during any blood draw procedures.
    • Accessing records, including:
      • Breath machine logs, from both preliminary and subsequent tests.
      • Blood test results, if opted for or mandated, detailing the manner of the blood draw, chain of custody, and the chromatogram used for testing.
    • Critical Assessment Points: When examining the discovery:
      • Ensure the proper equipment was used and check for any expired testing apparatus. The use of expired equipment can compromise the validity of the test results.
      • Scrutinize the test tubes utilized and other related equipment for standard compliance.

In situations where the protocol is not strictly adhered to, it can lead to a reduced charge or even case dismissal. If the evidentiary foundation is weak, you might consider presenting your case to a jury, where the burden of proof rests on the DA to conclusively establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s crucial to remember that an informed decision involves understanding your rights, the evidence at hand, and the implications of each choice you make.

Will I Have Complete Evidence Before Deciding On A Plea Or Trial For My DUI Case In The San Francisco Bay Area?

In the majority of cases, the answer is yes. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Evidence Gathering: My practice revolves around ensuring that all possible discovery is at our disposal. This encompasses:
    • Videos and audio recordings.
    • Calibration logs, maintenance records, and accuracy verifications for machines.
    • Chain of custody documentation.
  • Your Decision: Once we’ve collected all available evidence, you’ll be better equipped to decide whether to accept a plea offer or proceed to trial. While I provide you with exhaustive information and guidance, the final decision lies solely with you.
  • Delays in Evidence Collection: Recent trends show a marked deceleration in evidence collection across numerous counties in the San Francisco Bay Area. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has particularly been a bottleneck, experiencing significant delays in providing crucial videos of driving incidents and interactions with the accused.
  • San Francisco’s Unique Delays: San Francisco poses a distinct challenge. Unlike other counties where waits span a few months, the San Francisco DA’s office often claims they don’t possess the necessary videos. This is especially vexing for clients eager to resolve their cases.
  • The Importance of Complete Evidence: While it’s always preferable to base decisions on a complete set of evidence, in certain situations, a decision might be reached with a piece missing, especially if all other evidence suggests a specific course. On occasions where essential evidence remains inaccessible and a trial is on the horizon, our strategy could shift to seeking the exclusion of that evidence during the trial, given its unavailability.

In an ideal scenario, I always strive to provide you with every piece of evidence to make a fully informed choice regarding your case’s direction.

For more information on Plea Deals In DUI Cases In SF Bay Area, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.

Aaron Bortel

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