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Don Hammond

Don Hammond

Criminal Defense Attorney
(Torrance, CA)

The Law Office of Donald R. Hammond

I have been a licensed attorney since 2010 and have my own general criminal defense practice that focuses strongly on DUI law. In fact, about eighty percent of my work involves DUI cases. The shift toward a primarily DUI-focused law firm occurred shortly after I attended a seminar with a drug recognition expert (DRE) instructor. There are seven different classes that officers can take related to DUI investigations, and the class for drug recognition experts is the highest level. The seminar opened my eyes to the depth of what exists and what is possible in DUI practice. In particular, it expanded my awareness of the many opportunities for error on the part of the police officer in almost every DUI investigation.

After attending the seminar, I dug deeper by attending an actual standardized field sobriety testing course—the same course that police officers take. I have the instructor and participant manual for each of the seven courses that are offered to police officers, and I keep up with the updates every few years. Having these on hand allows me to determine which version of the manual a particular police officer used, and to tailor my cross- examination accordingly.

After field sobriety test school, I took the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) course and acquired the associated instructor and participant manuals. ARIDE involves more drug recognition-related material than field sobriety testing material, so it helps in the cross-examination of officers in drug cases. This training is imperative for being able to recognize problems in police reports, body camera footage, and dashboard camera footage.

With regard to the scientific aspects of DUI law, it is important to understand the preliminary alcohol screening devices that are used by most police agencies in Southern California. I have one of these in my office so that I can easily demonstrate its flaws. Additionally, I have spent time in a laboratory processing and testing blood samples for alcohol using a gas chromatograph. Understanding the type of equipment used and the processes employed in obtaining the test results used to prosecute individuals for DUI is critical to identifying errors and building a strong defense. Fermentation science also plays a role in this, and I have had some of the best fermentation experts in the country testify in my cases. Government chemists may deny that fermentation exists, but that doesn’t mean jurors will, and it certainly doesn’t mean that the science will.

There is absolutely no guarantee that the amount of alcohol in the blood at the time that it is tested is the same amount of alcohol that was in the blood when it came out of a defendant’s arm, and that can be a real problem. A defendant needs someone in their corner who understands this and understands the conditions under which blood can create its own alcohol.

I’ve handled hundreds of DUI cases throughout the state, including in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, San Bernardino, and Monterey County. If the case is right, then I’m willing to travel for it. Very few attorneys in California have the same training and expertise as I do.

Don Hammond

Criminal Defense Attorney
(Torrance, CA)

The Law Office of Donald R. Hammond


DUI Arrest Now What? A Primer For The Accused
Published Date: Oct 2020

DUI Arrest Now What? A Primer For The Accused

I want readers to understand that getting charged with a DUI is not the end of the world—in fact, it’s not even the end of the process. I also want them to understand that the government is not always right. Despite the government’s massive amount of resources and bought-and-paid-for non-peer-reviewed studies, there are problems with their processes and we should be skeptical. In many ways, DUI is a political crime. The vast majority of DUIs are victimless crimes (although there is a small percentage of cases wherein someone other than the driver does get injured, and those are certainly incredibly unfortunate cases). Regardless of the circumstances of a DUI charge, everyone deserves a defense, and it is the government's obligation to prove that someone is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; convincing 12 jurors of this can be a difficult task. Our system is founded on the principle that it's better to let 100 guilty men go free than to convict one innocent person. It's supposed to be hard for the government to get a conviction.

I want readers to understand that there is so much behind the veil in a DUI case, and there is hope. If we end up taking a plea deal, we can likely minimize the consequences and make the terms run as smoothly as possible, and at the end of it all, we can go back and dismiss the case. This is because California allows for expungement, which is a dismissal under California Penal Code section 1203.4. This statute allows us to retroactively have the conviction set aside, have a plea of not guilty entered, and get the case dismissed. A DUI conviction is certainly not a “marked-for-life” type of situation.

In other cases, we're able to convince the prosecutors to dismiss the case or influence the process in a way that prevents the case from being filed in the first place. If there is no conviction, then we can have the arrest record sealed under Penal Code Section 851.91. This will make it so that the client can legally answer “No” to the commonly-encountered question, “Have you ever been arrested?” There are always things to be done—even if a case was never filed in court. The purpose of this book is to share all of this information with people, help them understand why there is so much to unpack in every DUI case, and remind them that there is always hope.