After Being Charged with DUI, What Happens When I’m Released from Jail?
A local news article indicates that a woman was arrested and charged with DUI after crashing into a Santa Rosa house. The woman, Angela Marie Angerman, 33, also known as Angela Paetz, was released from jail at about 1 p.m. on Thursday June 20th. According to police, Angerman—who is on felony probation for a theft offense and required by the terms of her probation to avoid consuming alcohol—collided into the side of a residence in the 1600 block of Keoke Court in northern Santa Rosa.
Police indicated that Angerman had backed the silver 1998 Ford Mustang out of a residential driveway, collided with the side of a vehicle parked on the street, then accelerated forward and sideswiped a tree in the front lawn of the residence before striking the east wall of the same home with the vehicle.
Fortunately for everyone involved, the house was not occupied, and nobody was injured as a result of this event. However, there was significant damage to the residence. The silver Mustang was found parked on State Farm Drive with flat tires and damage consistent with the collision. Police spotted Angerman walking away from the vehicle, and after investigating, determined that she was intoxicated. According to police, Angerman’s blood alcohol content was allegedly more than twice the legal limit. Angerman was arrested on suspicion of DUI and for violation of her probation.
At this stage in the process Angerman probably has a few different opportunities coming up to respond to the accusations against her. These events include her arraignment, at which she would have the opportunity to enter a plea (e.g. guilty, not guilty, no contest). Another event is her preliminary hearing, during which she would have the opportunity to learn the evidence which the prosecution is using to show that there is probable cause to believe that she has committed each element of each offense that she has been charged with.
The arraignment and preliminary hearings provide defense attorneys with the opportunity to negotiate with the prosecutors.
People similarly situated to Angerman can sometimes improve their negotiating posture by bringing in evidence to mitigate the offenses charged, for example, by making a credible offer to make restitution to the individuals whose property has been damaged, by showing evidence of having attended 12-steps meetings, and by obtaining supporting declarations from friends and family members who have insight into the problems that gave rise to the offending behavior, who can relate the outcomes to the root causes and who can ask the court to show lenience to the defendant.
A criminal defense attorney could also improve Angerman’s negotiating position by making a showing that Angerman is not guilty of the offenses she was accused of. It appears that with the exception of the probation violation, the charges against her are currently built out of circumstantial evidence. She was not directly observed driving the vehicle at all, only walking in the vicinity of the vehicle.
If, during her preliminary hearing, the prosecution is unable to show good cause for the committing magistrate to entertain a strong suspicion that she drove the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, then the DUI charge could be taken off the table without the necessity for going to trial.
There are a variety of maneuvers that a skillful defense attorney can make to try to improve the prospects of a person similarly situated to Angerman. In order to more fully assess her chances, a review of the materials which the prosecutor is mandated to disclose would be required, which would include among other things, the police reports, lab tests, and any other potentially exculpatory evidence. The Santa Rosa, Mendocino and Lake County prosecutors each have their own customs regarding informal resolution of cases such as Angerman’s. The guidance of a skillful DUI Defense attorney could make a world of difference for a person in Angerman’s position. If you know of anyone who needs help with criminal DUI defense,contact Back Law P.C. for a consultation.