Finding a Trustworthy DUI Lawyer

The DUI
Drunk driving can be one of the most demeaning offenses you can have against you. Not only is it embarrassing, but it can be threatening to your livelihood. You may have been unfortunate enough to have spent the night in jail, or you may have had your license taken away. Both things can have an affect on your life and wellbeing.

The initial arrest might be over, but the court date is looming over your head. You need to find a DUI lawyer before you go to court. You want a lawyer who can quickly and efficiently look over your situation and make a plan based on the facts. They need to look over the details about your sobriety test to your blood alcohol content when you were arrested. It might be embarrassing; it might be terrifying, but remember to tell the truth to your lawyer.

Making It Through
Sitting with a DUI charge overhead is both harrowing and humbling so you will need help. Help will come in the form of a DUI lawyer, one you can trust to be hard-working and to care about your account of the situation. The pain of a DUI charge is bad; heavy fines, possibly jail time and a mark on your criminal record! A DUI lawyer can help get you out of that tough spot and at the least they can help you stay on your feet.

Finding a Lawyer
Finding a good lawyer is hard, but resources are available. Several websites can help you find the right lawyer for your case as they list lawyers who will be a good fit after you give them the information requested. Remember to treat lawyers like everything else in life, ask around and shop around. Look at the different reviews you get from these sites, see if you can’t get in touch with other clients or find reviews for the lawyer. Also, take into account the number of DUI cases is going up, and you should be able to find at least one person who’s had the same problem and find the right solution.

Finding the Best DUI Attorneys

Many people have experienced driving under the influence by having a few drinks at a party and getting into the car to head home thinking that they’re perfectly capable of getting there. When you’re stopped by a police officer on the road and under the influence of alcohol, it doesn’t matter if you’re still perfectly fine to drive, once the cop knows you’ve had a few, you’re in trouble.

When trouble peeks around the corner you need to find the best DUI attorney you can to avoid a hefty fine or jail time, but it’s not as easy as looking a firm up online! Here are some helpful tips.

    1. Don’t take the lawyer’s claim for their competence – any lawyer or attorney can make that claim. They’ve studied the law, of course they’re competent! Competently doesn’t always mean they are specialized, and that’s what you want.
    2. Check the attorneys record & references.  The first place to start is the State Bar of California. There you can enter in the name of any attorney and find out how long they have been practicing, and if they have any negative marks on their record.  Another place to look is Avvo.com.  Avvo is a main source online for people looking for reviews of attorneys.
    3. Make sure that the attorney you’re looking to hire has the knowledge of the methods police officers use to test for drunk driving. You want them to understand every step and procedure, not just the basics! You also want to make sure they’re familiar with devices that some police officers use in the field as your defense could depend on it.
    4. Any DUI attorney you seek should be familiar with the testing performed by the laboratories to determine your blood alcohol content (a measure of how ‘drunk’ you are). Otherwise, they’re not the right attorney.
    5. In the end, just remember that NO attorney can promise you a specific result.  An criminal lawyer might tell you that they know exactly how the case is going to go the first time you two meet but that is impossible. What a good DUI attorney will be able to do however, is tell you on what they think your most likely outcome will be, and how they plan on getting that to happen.

Sometimes we get into unwanted and unwarranted trouble so if you’ve been accused of driving under the influence (DUI or DWI) it might be time to look into hiring a DUI attorney for your defense.  The attorneys at Netzah & Shem-Tov  will promise that they’ll fight for you until all options have been exhausted.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you on your DUI or DWI 818-995-4200.

The Marital Privilege

Can I Tell My Spouse Everything? Is It Safe To Speak With My Spouse? Can My Spouse Be Forced To Testify Against Me? Can I Prevent My Spouse From Testifying Against Me?

The Marital Privilege, codified in CA Evidence Code §980, in its simplest form, prevents any person and/or entity from forcing one spouse to testify against the other spouse. This long standing privilege is based on the public policy that the institution of marriage is one of the cornerstones of a successful civil society. As a highly functioning civil society, so the theory goes, we want to create an environment conducive to strong, long lasting, trustworthy marriages. Granting a married couple the peace of mind that any communications conducted between the spouses will remain private, serves as the legal cornerstone for the idea that a strong marriage is based on trust and that spouses should be able to confide in one another yet rest assured that such communications will always remain private. Sounds like a simple enough concept right? But wait, before you run to your spouse and open that Pandora Box of secrets you have been keeping for the last 10 years, as is the case in most areas of the law, the devil is definitely in the details and the Marital Privilege is no exception to the rule.

First and foremost, we need to separate between two different scenarios that are covered by the Marital Privilege.
1. Can one spouse be forced to testify against another spouse even if the testifying spouse does not wish to testify? The short answer is… in most situations, NO. However, in a handful of situations, YES. (keep reading for the detailed and complete answer).
2. In a situation where one spouse wants to testify against the other spouse, can the non-testifying spouse prevent the testifying spouse from testifying? The short answer is… depends on the situation (keep reading for the detailed and complete answer).

The key element to understanding the Marital Privilege lies in the form of the communication that is at issue. If the communication is considered a CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATION, then no one can force one spouse to testify against the other spouse. Furthermore, if the communication is considered confidential, then one spouse can prevent the other spouse from testifying against him/her, even if the testifying spouse willingly wishes to testify against the non-testifying spouse. As such, the CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATION is absolutely the most protected form of communication between spouses and rarely can be revealed in a court of law, unless both spouses agree to the waiver of the privilege.

The next logical question is: what constitutes a CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATION? The answer to this question is fluid and extremely complicated to be explained in the limited space available in this blog. However, some key factors are: was the communication uttered in a public or private environment. Two examples of the extreme ends of the spectrum in this situation would be:
1. A husband and wife are lying in bed, the husband is visibly upset, the wife keeps asking her husband what is wrong, he keeps telling her that he can’t tell her… finally the husband turns to the wife and tell her that he just robbed a bank. This type of communication is clearly a confidential communication and even if the wife wanted to testify against her husband, her husband could prevent her from doing so.
2. Same situation but instead of being in their private bedroom, the couple is in a busy restaurant and the husband yells out to his wife “I just robbed a bank.” Clearly, there is no reasonable expectation to privacy in this situation and the communication would not be privileged. In this scenario, the husband could not prevent the wife from testifying, because the communication was not confidential, but the wife could choose not to testify because no one can force a spouse to testify against the other spouse if the content of such testimony would amount to ADVERSE SPOUSAL TESTIMONY, or stated differently: no one can force one spouse to testify against the other spouse if the testimony sought will be “bad” for the non-testifying spouse. The public policy behind this rule is that we do not want to force one spouse to testify adversely against the other spouse and at the conclusion of the testimony send the two home on their way to continue their strong and loving marriage. You can only imagine the horrible situation the wife in our scenario would be facing if at 10 a.m. she was forced to testify that her husband admitted to her that he robbed a bank and at 10 p.m. she would have to lay in the same bed with him to try to get a good night’s rest for the next day of her husband’s trial. Once again, public policy is to create an environment conducive to a strong and faithful marriage. Forcing one spouse to adversely testify against the other is clearly not conducive to a stable marriage environment.

Some exceptions to this rule are cases of domestic violence where the entire privilege is essentially waived (the theory is that if the privilege applied, then one spouse would be able to not only beat the other spouse, but then prevent the victimized spouse from testifying in court relative to the beating).

In conclusion, the Marital Privilege can be understood in its simplest form as follows:
1. The privilege against Adverse Spousal Testimony only belongs to the testifying spouse and that spouse can choose whether or not to testify.
2. The privilege against Confidential Marital Communications belongs to both spouses and as long as the communication in question is considered confidential, neither spouse can testify against the other, even if the testifying spouse wishes to testify against the other spouse.

So tonight when you are lying next to your spouse one, feel free to tell them anything your little heart desires, knowing full well that your confessions are safely protected by our long standing Marital Privilege. But make sure that no one else can hear you, that you do not beat up your spouse while you utter your dirty little secrets and for G-d sakes make sure that the person lying next to you is indeed your legal spouse.

 

Raviv Netzah, Esq.
NETZAH & SHEM-TOV
(818) 995-4200