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Collateral Consequences and DUI


Many people who retain me to represent them following a DUI arrest in Los Angeles believe that they will lose their job or will suffer damage to their career prospects if they are convicted of a DUI. Certain proffessions are more sensitive to a DUI conviction than others. Lawyers, doctors, teachers or other careers requiring a state license are obvious examples. Defendants who drive for a living or otherwise depend on a clear driver's license also face problems if convicted. People who need security clearance also face difficulties with a DUI on their record. Business owners who do business in Canada will not be able to travel to that country easily if convicted.

Prosecutors will often take into account these collateral consequences and will sometimes agree to reduce charges even with strong evidence of guilt. However, it is not an easy matter convincing a prosecutor to dismiss a strong case because a particular defendant will lose their job. Some prosecutors will take the position that they must treat everyone the same and place the blame firmly on the defendant, “He should of thought about his job before drinking and driving” is the standard refrain from an unsympathetic prosecutor. Dismissal of DUI charges often causes a prosecutor to incur the critisicm of his or her supervisor or the judge.

In order for a prosecutor to be convinced that a defendant shoud be treated differently and given special consideration, it is necessary to produce strong evidence that the defendant would lose their job if convicted, such as a strongly worded letter from an employer, or a copy of an employment contract confirming a zero tolerance policy for DUI convictions. In addition, proof of acceptance of responsibility in the form of voluntary AA attendance, counseling or community service can be convincing. Often, it is not the deputy prosecutor in court, but his or her supervisor, the deputy in charge, that must make the judgement call.

My partner, Jeff Gold and I have been able to save the jobs and careers of many clients charged with DUI by successfully convincing a prosecutor to dismiss or reduce charges because of collateral consequences if the defendant suffers a conviction. If you have been charged with a DUI and your job depends on the case being dismissed, you need representation from a skilled Los Angeles DUI lawyer. Please call us at 562 938 7771.