Myles L. Berman KLAA Interview
Kevin Yurkus: Welcome back. Final edition of the Sports Lodge to end this 2009 year. And joining us a very special guest, a proud sponsor of AM 830 and the Sports Lodge, Top Gun DUI Defense Attorney Myles L. Berman. Myles, welcome to the show.
Myles Berman: Thank you. Great to be here. You put on a great show, by the way. I was listening on the way in.
Kevin: Thank you. That’s the first compliment I’ve had. I’ve been getting trashtalked by all the listeners for hating the Lakers. Now Top Gun DUI Defense Attorney Myles L. Berman, I’ve heard your ads. Good stuff. 8884TOPGUN is the phone number. That’s 8884TOPGUN. And your website is topgundui.com.
MylesBerman: That’s correct. Thank you.
Kevin: And you’ve got the best slogan in radio. I’m going to let you give it.
Myles Berman: You’re talking about “Friends don’t let friends plead guilty”?
Kevin: That’s right. Friends don’t let friends drink and drive, but you’re slogan I like much better.
Myles Berman: You know, our philosophy is, first of all, just because somebody is arrested for DUI doesn’t mean that they should throw themselves on the mercy of the court, or that they’re automatically guilty. Quite frankly, breath testing that the state commonly uses isn’t always accurate. And so we know the ins and outs, and we know what the issues are. And when we go to trial on cases we let the jury know what the reality is with breath testing and why it is so inaccurate.
Before I go any further, a substantial portion of our practice probably 40% of our practice is strictly Orange County. We have found that the jurisdiction….
Listen, nobody like people drinking and driving. We don’t want drunk drivers on the road either. But that’s not the issue. The issue is, can the state prove the case against a particular person beyond a reasonable doubt?
And the jurors in Orange County, we love the jurors in Orange County. They are very fair. They want to make sure the police officers treat somebody fairly. They want to make sure that if they’re convict, they’re going to make sure that the evidence is there to support it.
We’re successful in Orange County because we’re able to bring out those things in a trial that the prosecutor, of course, doesn’t want to bring out. Because that’s not their job. That’s our job.
Myles Berman: Myles, I appreciate having you here in the studio. The listeners can’t see you, but you’re a very distinguished gentleman. In fact, welldressed. When you first walked in, I thought you were Artie Moreno for a second.
Myles Berman: [laughs] Thank you.
Kevin: Which of course the Angels fans and listeners know very well. How long have you been practicing law? And DUI defense, is that your specialty?
Myles Berman: Yeah, that’s correct. We concentrate in DUI defense. I’d started my defense attorney life in California in 1988, when I moved from Chicago. We kind of talked off the air, and I know you’re from Detroit. I was at Tiger Stadium when Reggie Jackson hit the transformer in the 1971 AllStar Game. By the way, after he hit that home run, as soon as it left the bat, the stadium was dead silent. Everybody knew what they were watching was history.
And it would have gone over the stadium but it hit the transformer. It was an amazing experience. And I’m still reliving it like I’m a kid. When I saw that I was in high school.
Kevin: I’m surprised you didn’t invite me to go to the game.
Myles Berman: [laughs] I didn’t know you.
Kevin: I was in diapers then.
MylesBerman: You might have been too young. I don’t know if you were born in ’71. But anyway, for over 20 year I and then obviously I expanded to bring in other great lawyers to assist us in representing people arrested for DUI. So this has been an ongoing process, it’s a learning experience constantly. The laws are constantly changing; we have to keep up with that all the time.
What’s going on this year is, last week and I have it on my website and my blog on topgundui.com that the state of California has declared 2010 the year of the DUI checkpoint.
Huge amounts of money are now being given to local agencies in order to boost up their checkpoint presence throughout the state. And we saw this starting last week with and continue this week where, as a result of these checkpoints and substantially greater law enforcement, that arrests are up substantially as a result of more police presence.
Which, by the way, that pretty much is the way to make the roads the safer and avoid a lot of things that happen for drunk driving, by having greater police presence.
Kevin: Speaking of the checkpoints, are they posted? Are they supposed to be posted?
Myles Berman: There area number of requirements that the police are supposed to do before a checkpoint can be deemed socalled “legal.” One of them is to publicize where DUI checkpoints are supposed to be. We also invite the public, at our website at topgundui.com I don’t think I’ll mention it any more.
Kevin: No, no. Feel free.
Myles Berman: But we have a page where it’s Southern California DUI Checkpoints. We get police agencies who email us where they’re having their checkpoints to help them fulfill their requirement to publicize. We actually represent a lot of police officers. Listen, a DUI can happen to anybody, and it does. Doctors, lawyers, housewives. A big portion of our practice not just Angels fans, because we do represent a lot of Angels fans. And I fell comfortable in saying that almost everybody we represent in Orange County are Angels fans.
But also a lot of women who arrested for DUI. Housewives, professional women, anybody who’s….
Kevin: There’s no distinction.
Myles Berman: Yeah. It cuts across all people, all incomes, all professions or occupation. Now I forgot where I was going with all of this, so I need a court reporter to read back what the original question was.
Kevin: We’re visiting with Myles L. Berman, Top Gun DUI Defense Attorney, from the Law Offices of Myles L. Berman, 8884TOPGUN. topgundui.com is the website. I thought it’s very interesting that you have the postings for the checkpoints on your website. It’s a great tool for people to be able to go to your website, to check out the checkpoints. And certainly if they have an issue, if they need help, they certainly shouldn’t be dealing with it themselves, they should be working with a seasoned professional like yourself.
Myles Berman: Well, of course. As soon as somebody is arrested for DUI, a number of things are immediately triggered. For example, the DMV will begin the process of taking your license and suspending it, for a minimum of four months on a first offense. But they need to be contacted within 10 days of the arrest, and that contact, we document it very thoroughly to protect our clients, so that we have the ability and the right to contest any suspension that the DMV wants to impose. And we force the DMV to the test.
Police officers, they do the best they can. They’ve got other things that are on their minds. They have paperwork that they have to fill out so they can get back on the street and patrol and do the things that they need to do.
But when it comes to the government taking action against a person, a citizen who’s arrested for DUI, it’s very important that they follow the rules. And that’s why we like Orange County jurors other jurors as well, but especially Orange County. In the courts, they hold the police officers to the standard to which they’re supposed to operate.
If they fall down in any one of those standards or any one of those requirements, no action should be taken and a punishment should not occur for somebody who’s arrested for DUI or any other crime.
The fact of that matter is, if somebody is arrested and convicted for DUI, the consequences are very severe. You can lose your job, you livelihood, loss of reputation, insurance cancellation or an increase that can be anywhere from $15, 000 to $25, 000. And the stigma, of course.
And just switching over to sports, we talked about this off the air. I think it was one of the players in Florida who was merely arrested for DUI and suspended as a result of being arrested. Which I thought was very unfair.
Kevin: Did not play in the SEC Championship Game.
Myles Berman: And of course Florida lost. Now I’m not suggesting that that was the reason, but that was a contributing factor.
Kevin: It was a distraction, no doubt.
Myles Berman: Yeah. And it’s really not fair. We do also represent a lot of highprofile people who get arrested for DUI and a lot of athletes. What’s interesting with athletes…
Kevin: Sports radio shows hosts? How about them?
Myles Berman: Yes. Yes. But I won’t talk about who these people are.
Kevin: [laughs] Of course.
Myles Berman: But what happens is when an athlete gets arrested, especially a ball player, it’s two things. First, they’re very traumatized by it because they feel very embarrassed about being arrested for DUI. But secondly, the spotlight is put on them to a much greater extent than the average Joe or Jane. And so sometimes it can even be more difficult for them to defend themselves because of some type of bias that may exist.
However, we’re able to work around that and, you know, if the case isn’t publicized, we’re not going to publicize it. If the case is publicized, then…
Kevin: You’ll handle it.
MylesBerman: Yeah. We’ll deal with it either way. But like I said, we represent police officers, we represent athletes, highprofile people, and we understand the dynamics. But the most important case for anybody who is arrested for DUI is their own individual case. No one client, as far as we’re concerned, is any more important than any other client. They are all equally important.
Kevin: Which begs the question, if you are in a situation where a DUI might be lingering, do not let it linger, do not handle it yourself. They need to seek a professional like yourself: the Law Offices of Myles L. Berman, Top Gun DUI Defense Attorney. 8884TOPGUN. That’s 8884TOPGUN. All right, Myles. Let me ask you this, New Year’s Eve, it’s always a hot topic about DUIs and drinking and driving. If you’ve been drinking and you’re pulled over, give the listener some tips as to what they should do. How should they handle that situation if they’ve been drinking and they’ve been pulled over?
Myles Berman: OK, great question. First of all, field sobriety tests are completely voluntary if you’re older than 21, so you don’t have to do the field sobriety test: walk the line, finger to nose, you know.
Kevin: You can decline them outright.
Myles Berman: You can. You have that right. You’re not compelled to do so. Before you’re arrested, oftentimes police officers ask you to take a breath test on a handheld portable breath test machine, and a California breath test is two samples. That is completely voluntary as well, so you don’t have to do that. Now let me stop for a second: we don’t believe breath testing and I don’t believe breath testing is accurate. I’ll give you a perfect example, and I’m sure many of your listeners have experienced this: they get arrested for DUI and they have two samples. And the first one, say, is a 0.15, and the second one, say, is a 0.17. Now that sounds really high, because the alcohol level in California is a .08 as to one charge.
But if you think about it, a breath test is done two minutes apart. You don’t go from a 0.15 to a 0.17 in two minutes. It’s scientifically impossible. So we know this. So you don’t necessarily want to subject yourself to an unreliable chemical test, which is what a breath or a blood test is. So you don’t…
Kevin: So decline the tests.
Myles Berman: Well, you don’t have to. I don’t want to tell people exactly what they should or shouldn’t do.
Myles Berman: They’re not clients. All I can tell people is what their rights are.
Myles Berman: So you don’t have to do the field sobriety test, you don’t have to blow into a portable breath test machine before you’re arrested. After you’re arrested, we now agree to take it’s called implied consent we now agree to take a chemical test, which is a breath test or a blood test. So people have a right to take…
Kevin: You have to take one.
MylesBerman: Well, you’re supposed to take either one or the other, and if you don’t, if you refuse, two things can happen, and one of them we’re seeing a lot more lately, a person refuses a chemical test. If you think about it there’s less evidence. But if you’re convicted of DUI, then your penalties can be greater, and the DMV will take your license for a year on a first offense with no privilege to drive to and from work. They can take it for a year. I mean, we also fight the DMV and win refusal cases as well.
But the other thing that’s happening and to me, I don’t think this is right, I don’t think this is fair after you’re arrested, and if a person refuses to take a breath or a blood test, the police can force you, can hold you down, can stick a needle in your arm and extract blood.
I never thought it was fair, but the reason why I even think it’s even more unfair nowadays, with all of the problems that are happening with diseases and…
Kevin: Absolutely. They’re not professionals.
Myles Berman: And they’re not sterile. No, and here’s another thing. Well, yes. Let me backtrack. They have nurses at jails who can draw blood, they’re called phlebotomists, and they’re somewhat trained to do this. But there is a movement not in California yet where police officers are now being trained to draw blood. It’s happening in Arizona. And they’re taking it in other states as well, and Arizona police officers are training other police officers how to draw blood. I don’t know how I would feel well, I know how I would feel I don’t know how the general motoring public would feel if they find out that the officer who arrested them is also going to be drawing blood.
Myles Berman: I mean, you know, when you go into a hospital or you go to a doctor, and even though it’s a routine blood withdrawal for a blood test or a flu shot or whatever, I still want to make sure that they hit the right spot and it’s not going to hurt. So maybe I’m talking about I’m a little chicken when it comes to getting a shot.
Kevin: Yeah. A police officer in a somewhat hostile situation is a not hostile, but an uncomfortable situation.
Myles Berman: Yeah. So what’s happening now is that we’re seeing this, that it’s a forced blood draw. And the unfairness about that is if they force your blood from you, you can get written up for a forced blood draw and still they can prosecute you with the results of a forced blood draw. So there is a little bit of unfairness built into the system. But then on the other hand, the government feels like it has a right to make sure the roads are safe, and by doing that they feel that by getting people arrested and convicted, it helps keep the roads safe.
That may or may not be the case, but from my point of view, our job is to make sure that our clients’ rights are protected. If the government doesn’t have the evidence, they shouldn’t be penalized.
Kevin: I think where we’re going with all this, Myles, in the short time we’ve had you on the air, it’s very clear that there are a lot of issues surrounding DUIs, the potential of a DUI becoming convicted or charged. There are a lot of issues, and the general public needs help with these issues. And they don’t just apply to one particular sector, they apply to everybody. And if you are in a situation like this, you need help. There’s nobody better than Top Gun DUI Defense Attorney Myles L. Berman. That’s 8884TOPGUN. 8884TOPGUN. The Law Offices of Myles L. Berman. The website is topgundui.com. And Myles, I’m going to let you give the slogan one last time.
Myles Berman: [laughs]
Kevin: Because it’s the best slogan in radio.
Myles Berman: Thank you. And our Orange County is in Irvine. “Friends don’t let friends plead guilty.”
Kevin: And you can hear that here on AM 830. Myles L. Berman joining us in the studio. Myles, thank you very much. Very informative stuff. Happy and safe new year to you and your family.
Myles Berman: A happy, safe and sober new year to you, your family, and to the KLAA audience, which is a great audience.
Kevin: All right, that’s great. Top Gun DUI Defense Attorney Myles L. Berman. 8884TOPGUN. All right. When we come back, the list of quality guests continues. We’re going to have Tony Reagins, Angels general manager, when we come back to find out what the Angels are doing during the holidays. Stay tuned. This is the Sports Lodge on AM 830.
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