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DUI in Metropolitan Court


Metropolitan Court in downtown Los Angeles has been a good court for us over the years. We have been successful in getting hundreds of DUI cases dismissed, or charges reduced there. However, I was informed this week that things will be getting tougher there as a result of a high-profile DUI manslaughter case.

The case involved a defendant who had been given the benefit of a reduction to an “exhibition of speed” in a prior DUI case in Metropolitan Court. This is a non alcohol related misdemeanor and the defendant had not been given a “Watson warning”. A “Watson warning” is given in DUI or “wet reckless” cases and warns a defendant that they may be charged with murder if they commit another DUI involving a collision resulting in death to a third party.

After pleading to an “exhibition of speed” the defendant then drove under the influence of alcohol again and killed someone. Apparently, this case has had political ramifications for the Los Angeles City Prosecutor who has received criticism over the lenient handling of the defendant's first DUI. As a result of the reduction in the charge and the absence of a “Watson warning”, the defendant could only be charged with vehicular manslaughter as opposed to second degree murder.

When I was told this, I was in court representing a client who was charged with a first time DUI with a .09% breath alcohol reading. The defendant lived out of state. I was ready to accept an offer previously given for an “exhibition of speed”, when I was told by the prosecutor that I could not expect such offers in future. I was able to push the deal through for this client, but the Judge directed me to give the “Watson warning” to him.

If you face DUI charges in Metropolitan Court, please call a Los Angeles DUI lawyer at Gold & Witham for a free case evaluation.