Today in state court at 26th and California, Villalobos & Associates won two separate cases of alleged DUI. In one case, our client was driving his car down Western Avenue when his tire blew out and fell completely off the wheel. With the wheel sparking against the asphalt and the car swerving, the client tried to pull the car over. Just as he gained control of the car and began pulling it over, he was spotted by police and pulled over. The officer questioning him noted an odor of alcohol and the client’s erratic behavior as indicators that he had been drinking. However, the client did not say that he had been drinking, he did not take a breathalyzer, and he did not perform any field sobriety tests. At trial, a judge found that the state did not meet its burden of proof that the client had in fact been intoxicated.
In another DUI case at 26th street, a client was charged with DUI after police responded to a car accident on Damen avenue. When the responding officer arrived on the scene, our client was standing on the passenger side of the car, which had hit the median under a viaduct. The client admitted he was drinking and that the car was his. In fact, the client took a breathalyzer test and was legally intoxicated.
However, at trial, attorney Raul Villalobos presented two witnesses who testified that it was actually the client’s friend who had been driving. The state called the responding officer to testify that the client actually admitted to driving the car but that testimony was contradicted by the fact that the officer didn’t write that important fact in any of her police reports. The officer further testified that she couldn’t tell if the client understood her questions because he was drunk or because he didn’t understand English. The judge agreed that the evidence against our client was not bullet proof and there was doubt about whether the client actually admitted to driving the car. As such, the judge found the client not guilty.
These two cases highlight that even for DUI charges, the state has the burden of proving every element of the criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt. In many cases, defendants can hurt themselves by admitting any of the elements, even if it seems obvious from the circumstances. That is why it is so important to call an attorney as soon as you think that you may be suspected of committing a crime. Experienced attorneys can help prevent you from admitting anything that can be used against you in a court of law. The lack of evidence can be the difference between a guilty and not guilty verdict.