It is often said that courts will believe police officers over defendants or defendant’s witnesses. That is true in any criminal cases in Los Angeles, including DUI prosecutions. The typical reason provided for the courts viewing of officers as more credible – is police’s supposed lack of interest in the outcome of the case (a ludicrous rational because police officer do care about the outcome of the case even in TV shows like Law and Order). The true reason for giving more weight to officer’s credibility is the design of the criminal justice system which is primarily based on the first hand observations of its police officers. Simply, the criminal justice system would collapse if the courts would not give more weight to officers’ credibility.
Assume a typical DUI arrest in Los Angeles. The evidence consists of (1) what officer observed and (2) any chemical test results. If (for any reason – and as often the case), the DUI suspect refused to submit to a chemical test, the entire evidence will consist of what officer observed. If the courts will believe the officer as much as the defendant – many cases would have to be dismissed. To secure convictions for DUI and DUI refusal cases, the courts have to believe the officer more then the defendant – and it shows through negotiation with the District Attorney or through law and motions work with the courts. The saving grace for DUI defendants in Los Angeles is the availability of jury trials in DUI cases (and yes, it is not available everywhere in the US). The juries consists of members of community who are not part of the criminal justice system and who can be convinced that cops lie or mistaken. In my practice, it is quite common for clients to point out specific areas in the police report that are either embellished or made up.
Moreover, various cases permits the judges (and the juries) to draw conclusions that prosecutor did not meet its burden of proof – despite officer being credible. I find it simply fascinating that the law allows to conclude that officer is credible and yet find the defendant not guilty! Case in point: People v. Dickerson (1969) (273 C.A. 2d 645). There, the court of appeal held that when both defense witness and officer are credible – the People have not met their burden of proof. In other words, if defendant (or defendant’s witness) would take the stand and testify that he or she was not intoxicated and it looked believable, the law says, the jury have to find the driver not guilty because the burden of proof is on the prosecution.
If you have a DUI case in Los Angeles and are looking for an DUI defense attorney, please call me directly at (323) 464-6424 or toll free at (877) 940-4440. I am an attorney that specializes in DUI cases and I can provide quality defense at affordable rates for your DUI case.