Wednesday , September 20 2017
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Police Credibility Being Challenged In DUI

I once talked to a criminal defense attorney who told me in the late ’60’s he won 17 consecutive motions to suppress evidence based on Fourth Amendment violations committed by the police. Many DUI defense attorneys have not prevailed on that many motions to suppress evidence in their careers. What happened is that our courts became packed with conservative judges following the ouster of Rose Bird and two of her colleagues on the California Supreme Court. Voters in California were also persuaded to pass an amendment to our State Constitution declaring that only evidence obtained in violation of the Federal Constitution could be suppressed, even if the search or seizure violated our State Constitution.
Fast forward now to the Internet and cell phone cameras, and a once naive judiciary and public have suddenly become privy to countless examples of police officers lying under oath and abusing citizens. Many judges and jurors previously inclined to accept police testimony as the gospel truth are now more circumspect. We are seeing evidence of this sea change in the form of monetary awards for police abuse, motions to suppress evidence being granted more frequently, and jurors returning “not guilty” verdicts.
There is now more video and audio evidence for people arrested and charged with driving under the influence or refusing a chemical test of their blood or breath. We also have judges and jurors more open minded to the possibility of police perjury, or at least embellishment of the facts. In the past week I had the evidence in two separate DUI cases suppressed —one due to an unlawful entry into the home and the other due to a poorly trained phlebotomist repeatedly sticking my client with a needle to the point of unnecessary discomfort and pain. All cases are fact dependent and these examples do not mean the same thing happens in every case (or even most cases), but the trend of more favorable rulings is good and one has a better chance with a lawyer who knows what legal issues to look for and what evidence to obtain.
Paul Burglin is Board-Certified in DUI Defense (as recognized by the American Bar Association) and has been defending people accused of drunk driving for the past 30 years.

About Paul Burglin

Paul Burglin
Paul Burglin practices DUI defense in the San Francisco Bay Area including the Napa/Sonoma wine country. He has been in practice for more than 30 years and was formerly a partner at one of the oldest Marin County law firms (Mitchell, Hedin, Breiner, Ehlenbach & Burglin). After graduating from U.C. Berkeley in 1980, Mr. Burglin received his law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law in Washington. He is Board Certified in DUI Defense and co-authors the two-volume treatise, "California Drunk Driving Law." He is on the Board of Regents with the National College of DUI Defense (www.NCDD.com) and is Editor-in-Chief of its case law update and newsletter. He is one of only a select few of DUI defense attorneys in the United States to have attended the University of Indiana’s Borkenstein Course on chemical testing and scientific protocols offered to prosecution experts, and he is a certified graduate of that program.

If you would like to contact the author, please visit: http://www.burglin.com


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