Do I have a good DUI case for pleading not guilty since I was not operating my car and was a half mile away when arrested? 19 Answers as of August 06, 2011

I slid off an unfamiliar road and hit a tree when it was raining, and the bumper of my car bent into my wheelwell, blocking my front tires from moving. So my friend and I left my car on the shoulder and started walking for a payphone. A cop car pulled up to us about 20 minutes later when I was about a half mile away and started asking us questions and then arrested me for a DUI. Do I have a good case for pleading not guilty since I was not operating my car and was a half mile away when the officer arrested me?

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Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
It depends upon many factors. Did you make any statements to the police indicating you were the driver? Did your friend make statements to the cops? Are there any other witnesses? You definitely need to retain an experienced DUI attorney to assist you as you will be up against a prosecutor who will do all he or she can to convict you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/6/2011
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
You may have a defensible case. It depends on things like: Was it your car Was anyone with you Were there any witnesses What did you tell the officer A good analysis of your chances requires an interview.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/6/2011
The Chastaine Law Office
The Chastaine Law Office | Michael Chastaine
Because of the accident, there os evidence of driving. If you admited to driving you can be convicted.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/5/2011
Law Offices of James A Bates
Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
It depends. Did you admit that you were driving at the time of the accident? Did you have any alcohol to "calm down" AFTER the accident. If you did drink after driving, they will never figure out what your alcohol level was at the time you were driving.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/5/2011
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
Need more facts than what you have provided. Maybe you lost control in the rain due to too much alcohol.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo | Matthew Murillo
    If you plan to hire an attorney, or discuss your case with an attorney, you should plea "Not Guilty" in court. However, with a DUI arrest, there is a 10 day deadline within which you MUST request a hearing with the DMV. If not requested, DMV will automatically suspend your license. In a DUI, the District Attorney must be able to prove that you were the person driving, that you were, in fact, driving, and that your BAC was above .08 at the time you were driving. There are a variety of ways that the DA may attempt to prove this, it is your attorney's job to hold them to that standard. If it cannot be proven, then you may be in a good position to have your attorney dismiss charges or to negotiate a plea to reduced charges.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Offices of Ryan P. Murphy
    Law Offices of Ryan P. Murphy | Ryan P. Murphy
    Whether you should take your case to trial or not depends greatly on what you and your friend said to the authorities. If they can put you in the car at the time of the accident, you need to look at the results of the chemical test.

    Should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact my office at your earliest convenience.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/15/2010
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann | Christopher J. McCann
    The answer is, "it depends." It depends what you or your friend told the cops. If it was your car then there is a presumption you were driving, but one that can be rebutted depending on the circumstances. Plus, it may be hard to establish blood alcohol level at the time of driving if they do not know when you stopped driving. There are definitely some issues in your case that you could fight.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/13/2010
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Do you have a good case? You will know that after your attorney obtains all the police reports, your witness evidence, etc. He can then give you a more informed opinion. Of course you can fight it. you can raise all available defenses with whatever admissible and credible witnesses, evidence and facts are available for legal arguments for various suppression motions, plea bargaining or at trial. If you don't know how to do these things, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a decent plea bargain for you. If serious about doing so, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/13/2010
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    The government has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving the car under the influence at the time that the car went off the road. If they are able to do this depends on facts that you did not include in your question. Please contact me so we can go over the facts and give you the answer you need to know what to do.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/13/2010
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    This is a case you need to discuss with a skilled DUI attorney. This is one of the classic no drive situations. One of the elements the prosecutor must prove is that you were driving the vehicle. The prosecutor can use circumstantial evidence to prove this. The only chance you have of getting the case dismissed is by hiring an attorney to assist you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/12/2010
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Generally yes. If it was 20 minutes later the engine was probably cold (cops feel the hood in those cases) so they would have trouble establishing when your car hit the tree. Did they do field sobriety tests? If you failed they can charge you with drunk in public. Also how are they going to establish you were driving even if it was your car, and your friend was not driving.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/12/2010
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    Possibly. You should consult with an attorney to discuss your case in further detail.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/12/2010
    Tomas M. Flores, Esq.
    Tomas M. Flores, Esq. | Tomas M. Flores
    Yes - it is rarely a good idea to plead guilty at arraignment when there is a question as to culpability. The facts are going to dictate the best course of action. What police agency made the arrest? When is your arraignment date?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/12/2010
    Steven Mandell
    Steven Mandell | Law Offices of Steven Mandell
    It sounds like you may have a good defense, but a lot more needs to be known in order to answer your questions. In any event, of course you can plead not guilty. If you plead guilty, the case is over, and all that's left is the sentencing. If you plead not guilty, maybe your lawyer can negotiate a better disposition, or even get the case dismissed. Talk to a criminal lawyer experienced in DUI and DMV matters. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/12/2010
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    You have a good case. It all depends on what, if anything you stated to the police. Get an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/12/2010
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Only if you did not admit to driving when the car hit the tree.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/12/2010
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Absolutely. Contact a DUI specialist immediately. Not only was there no driving observed, the prosecutor may also have problems proving time of driving. Both driving and time of driving are essential in proving a DUI beyond a reasonable doubt.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/12/2010
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