Honolulu DUI Lawyer
Let Our DUI Defense Attorney Be the One to Worry About Your Case
If you were pulled over and charged with DUI, the first thing we’ll need to do is see what court you landed in. The island of Oahu alone has six courthouses that handle DUIs. While laws are statewide, each judge will have his or her own minor variations and peccadillos that a seasoned attorney needs to know. Who the prosecutors are could also greatly affect the outcome of your case, as prosecutors run the gamut of understanding to less so. If we need to go to trial with an unreasonable prosecutor who cannot understand the importance of a criminal conviction to your life, we have no problem taking them to trial to explain the importance of understanding our side.
On a side note, some lawyers may tell their clients that everything will be okay or dismissed at the initial consultation. We strongly believe that to do so is malpractice. At this point in the case, no attorney will know enough to make such a statement; and those who do are merely trying to give you a false sense of security in order to take your money.
At the Landsberg Law Office, we are honest with you from the very beginning. We can give a basic assessment based on your memory of what happened, but before we commit to a full strategy we will need to obtain the following:
- Offense Report: We will get the Offense Report from the ADLRO. If you choose, we will sit down with you and discuss the contents page by page. There are many ways around a DUI conviction. Why were you pulled over? Is that reason consistent with the current case law? Next, who is the officer? Are they TEU or a DUI Task Force Officer, or are they an inexperienced patrolman who will likely crumble on the stand? What Standard Field Sobriety Tests did you perform? Did you have any prior mental or physical injuries?
- Breath Test Score: Many attorneys are unwilling, or unable, to go up against an Intoxilyzer result. However, that’s the not the case at Landsberg Law Office. Our attorney is trial-tested and proven in court. We stay up to date on the latest news and scientific findings that relate to any of the Intoxilyzer models nationwide. Often, breath tests are simply performed wrong, or the paperwork used to justify them is outdated. The Hawaii Supreme Court has criticized the Honolulu Police Department on the way it has maintained scientific records and instruments in the past, and all that case law may end up being relevant to your case.
- Blood Test Results: The science is based on gas chromatography, mass spectrometry gas chromatography or enzymatic assay testing, and is highly scientific. You need an attorney with a science background who can explain the gas chromatography to you in terms that you can understand and can convince the judge that they know the machine better than the police officer. A skilled and knowledgeable DUI trial lawyer will not only challenge the four corners of the science and the chain of custody with the blood, but will also know how the science works and where problems arise in that process.
How Do You Win a DUI Trial?
Few lawyers have learned to win DUI trials on a regular basis. DUI is one of the hardest cases to try because it is an opinion crime. The definition of intoxication is to be under the influence of alcohol (or drugs) in an amount sufficient to impair the person’s normal mental faculties or ability to care for the person and guard against casualty, or having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.
A skilled DUI trial attorney needs to systematically weave a thread of doubt throughout the entire case, demonstrating to the judge everything that occurred leading up to, during and after the arrest. The police and district attorney only focus on the negative aspects of your police interaction. But we will give the judge ALL the information they need to follow the law. The State must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and it is their job to do so. Our job is to reveal the truth to the judge, even if it prevents the district attorney from completing their mission. It is important to find a lawyer you feel comfortable with, who can communicate with you effectively in an honest manner you can understand. Our central guiding principle is that we care about our clients: We discuss with you what you are up against, and use your responses during that discussion in how we express to the court what is important about you.
If the State has a breath or blood test, your case might become more difficult, but a fair judge will still follow the law and find you not guilty. Recently, the State of Hawaii has been very good on suppressing, or keeping out, the breath test results – meaning your breath test may not count against you. The State must prove that your BAC is accurate and reliable. Honolulu DUI Prosecutors, while well-meaning, are often overworked and relatively young. While still trying to figure out the rules of evidence and how trials work in general, it is hard for them to gain enough knowledge and understanding of the Intoxilyzer machine and infrared spectroscopy to be able to present reliably on the results. Blood is more difficult to defend than breath and, again, few DUI defense attorneys understand the science. As such, it is absolutely crucial that you hire a blood or breath DUI trial attorney such as the one at our office.
Other DUI Issues
DRUG RECOGNITION EVALUATIONS (DRE)
A person may be intoxicated by a variety of substances, including: alcohol, prescription medication, illegal drugs, over the counter medication, or any combination thereof. So, if you look intoxicated and blow a 0.000, you are still not going home. Blowing a 0.000 is the first step of the 14-step Drug Recognition Evaluation, where the officer tries to allege that you are intoxicated by something other than alcohol. You are going to need a skilled attorney who is familiar and comfortable in all aspects of a DRE.
FELONY DUI / FOURTH OFFENSE
The felony DUI has three major differences from preparing and attacking a first DUI. First, the defense is before a jury, not a judge. Second, the jury hears you’ve “done the same thing three times before.” It is a tough—but not impossible—stain to overcome. And third, when it comes to the penalty, we are looking at potentially multiple years in prison. Surprisingly enough, often your case itself is much better as a felony. Using legal techniques, we can get around the stigma of prior DUIs, and the jury gives us much greater leeway for talking about your state of mind and character, rather than simply the bad results of a faceless machine. There is no reason you should be prevented from professing your innocence even though you admitted guilt twice before. Call direct for an appointment: (808) 468-7292.
You have two cases against you if you have been arrested for DUI. You likely know about the criminal case charging you with the crime of DUI, but you also have a civil case against your driver’s license. You have a limited number of days from the date of your arrest to request a hearing to try and save your license. When you request the hearing, it will be the difference between fighting to keep your license, getting your license back, or being unable to challenge the revocation at all. If you hire our DUI defense attorney early enough, we will request the hearing for you. If you do not, we will still do everything we can to keep you driving.
Your Rights as a Driver in the State of Hawaii
There is no constitutional right to drive. When you first got your license, you signed it, effectuating a contract between you and the State of Hawaii. Part of that contract is that by driving on Hawaii roads, if you are ever pulled over for DUI then you must provide a breath sample. It is called implied consent. Due to constitutional issues, the State generally cannot force you to take a breath or blood test. We will go into more detail on implied consent below. You can fight your case if you blow, take a blood draw, or refuse the test. All require different strategy and knowledge.
About the ADLRO Hearing
If you refused the breath test, then the ADLRO is going to attempt to suspend your license for two years on your first DUI arrest. If you have a prior DUI where you refused the breath test and it is within five years of your first refusal, then the ADLRO will attempt a license suspension of three years. The penalties only go up from there. If you took the breath test or blood test and failed (over a 0.08 BAC), then the State will attempt a driver’s license suspension of one year on the First DUI and one and a half years if you have any prior convictions within five years.
Under Hawaii Law, you still have the right to a hearing on whether your license will be suspended. The hearing is governed by the ADLRO and is conducted by a Director, who plays the role of both Judge and Prosecutor. Once we request the hearing, the scheduling is governed by a number of different rules, and they are often continued for strategic reasons by either side. You rarely have to attend the hearing, and not doing so is better if the officer decides to show up and then sees and remembers you. If s/he does appear, our DUI defense attorney will have the chance to cross-examine, under oath, and get a transcript of her/his testimony to use in your criminal case.
At the ADLRO, we are either going to get valuable testimony for your criminal case or you will get to keep your license. Even if you lose your license, most times you are entitled to an Ignition Interlock permit or an Employee Driver’s Permit to allow you to continue driving. We will help you acquire whichever one is right for you. Of course, each individual case needs to be discussed and assessed in person, during a free consultation.