Kern County DUI Attorney Bruce Blythe Awarded Top Rating

June 21, 2014

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One of the nation’s largest attorney rating services just awarded Kern County DUI Lawyer Bruce Blythe the title of “Superb Rated Attorney” based on a rating of 10 out of 10 in endorsements, experience and client reviews. The award is only handed out to those lawyers that demonstrate the highest level of ethics and knowledge in their practice.


High Court Reverses Reduction of DUI to Misdemeanor

June 21, 2014

In California it is possible to have a felony DUI reduced to a misdemeanor by filing a motion and giving a judge reasons why the circumstances warrant a reduction.  In Kern County, these motions are rarely granted but in other jurisdictions they are possible.  In this case the court granted such a request the case was reversed on a technicality.  Here are the facts.

Appellant pled no contest to driving with a BAC of .08% or more, admitted DUI priors, and admitted violating probation in another case. She was placed on formal probation and required to complete a felony drug court program. At appellant’s successful drug court graduation, her counsel’s oral motion to reduce the felony charges to misdemeanors and dismiss them was granted. The prosecution appealed because it did not receive the required two days’ written notice of the request to reduce the charges (Pen. Code, § 1203.3, subd. (b)(1)), or 15 days’ notice of the petition to dismiss charges (§ 1203.4, subd. (e)(1)). Appellant countered that any error was harmless because she was overwhelmingly successful on probation. Nonetheless, the prosecution is entitled to due notice. Reversed.

It is certainly possible that the same result will occur.


Court upholds defendant’s statements made during booking

June 1, 2014

Defendant was convicted of attempted illegal reentry and making a false claim to U.S. citizenship. Appellant testified at trial that he did not attempt to reenter the U.S., but was only seeking help for a painful jaw injury. The prosecution impeached appellant’s testimony with the fact that he did not mention the jaw injury when he was asked about his health during the booking process after he was arrested. Appellant answered these booking questions after invoking his Miranda rights. On appeal, appellant argued that this impeachment evidence violated his constitutional rights under Doyle v. Ohio (1976) 426 U.S. 610. Held: Reversed. When a defendant invokes his right to remain silent and an omission in his post-Miranda statements is arguably inconsistent with his trial testimony, the omission cannot be used to impeach him if he chooses to testify at trial. However, a direct inconsistency between the post-Miranda statements and the defendant’s trial testimony may be used for impeachment. Here, appellant’s statements to the booking officer were not directly inconsistent with his trial testimony as the questions did not directly call for appellant to mention his jaw injury. It was only the fact that he never mentioned his jaw injury that was relevant to impeach him. As a result, the impeachment evidence operated as an impermissible comment on appellant’s silence in violation of Doyle. Because the violation was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, reversal was required.  Thanks to CCAP for the summary of case law and contributions to this blog.