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Law Offices of Ian Pancer
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Law Offices of Ian Pancer
Ian Pancer

444 W. C Street, Suite 410
San Diego CA 92101
(619) 955-6653

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Law Offices of Ian Pancer

Please Call : (619) 955-6653

Are you looking for a San Diego DUI lawyer? If you are reading this, you or someone you care about has been cited for driving under the influence in San Diego County. It is a common misconception that there is not much an attorney can do for you if you are charged with DUI. The truth is that you may have a strong case and not even know it. You will not know the strength of your case unless you contact a San Diego DUI attorney. The Law Offices of Ian Pancer will give you a free case evaluation to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case and a possible strategy for a winning defense.


San Diego DUI Criminal Case

The steps in a criminal proceeding for a misdemeanor DUI in San Diego are straightforward. Your first court appearance is at your arraignment. Your arraignment is followed by one or more readiness conferences, sometimes motion hearings, and then trial. This is a summary of what goes on at each of these court appearances:


When you are arrested for a misdemeanor DUI in San Diego, your first court appearance is at your arraignment. At your arraignment, the prosecuting Attorney (the San Diego City Attorney or the San Diego District Attorney) provides you with a document, called a complaint, which tells you what you are charged with. Usually, you will enter a plea of not guilty, and set a future date for a readiness conference.

Readiness Conference

After your arraignment, but before your readiness conference, your DUI lawyer should meet with the prosecuting attorney to see what kind of deal they are offering. At the readiness conference, you can set a date for trial, set another readiness conference, or accept the prosecution's plea bargain offer. At your first readiness conference, your DUI lawyer will often set another readiness conference in order to have enough time to properly investigate your case. If necessary, an attorney can usually set  several readiness conferences.


Motion Hearings


Either before your first readiness conference, or between readiness conferences, your attorney may decide to file motions.The most common motion to file in a DUI case is a motion to suppress. The goal of filing a motion to suppress is to persuade the judge to exclude evidence from trial. For example, your attorney may argue to the judge that your arresting officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop you or probable cause to arrest you.  If the attorney wins this argument, then the judge will exclude any evidence that the police obtained from you as a result of the illegal arrest, such as a breath or a blood test given after the illegal arrest.


In California, you have the right to a trial in front of a jury of 12 people when you are charged with a DUI. You also may choose a trial with only a judge - a BENCH TRIAL Your decision about whether to go to trial will depend largely on the strength of your case, the plea offer from the prosecution, and your willingness to take risk. One thing to consider when deciding whether to go to trial is the “trial tax.” Many judges in San Diego give harsher sentences to defendants convicted after trial than to defendants who plead guilty, because trials consume so much time - the judge’s time, the jury’s time, the prosecutor’s time, and the time of the police officers who come to court to testify. The price you pay to go to trial, in terms of the potentially worse sentence, is called a “trial tax.”

Defenses to the Criminal Case

There are a number of defenses that a good DUI attorney may offer at trial.  For example, there is the ‘rising’ defense. To offer this defense, an  attorney argues to the jury that a defendant’s blood alcohol level was below .08% at the time of driving, even if it rose to .08% by the time the defendant got to the police station and took the test. This defense may be offered when a defendant drank shortly before driving, in amount that could have raised her blood alcohol content from below .08% at the time of driving to .08% or above at the time of the test.

A good DUI lawyer may challenge the accuracy of the device used to administer a blood or breath test. To do this, an attorney may analyze records for the device, looking for evidence that the device gave the wrong reading in response to a test solution of a known alcohol concentration.  Also, preliminary alcohol screening devices, like the ones that are typically used on the scene, are often off by .02% or more.  If you had anything to eat or drink, smoked cigarettes, burped, or regurgitated any alcohol into your mouth shortly before a breath test,  , then the results the test can be thrown off.  An attorney in trial also may attack the way in which the police officer administered field sobriety tests, like the walk in turn, the one leg stand, and the eye test.

My goal, and the goal of any good San Diego DUI attorney, is to get your case dismissed or to win at trial. But you should be informed of the potential consequences of a DUI criminal conviction. The maximum jail time for a person convicted of a first-time DUI, without any special circumstances, is six months in jail. But it is very rare for a person to be sentenced to that amount of time...

Instead of a jury trial, you can choose to have a Bench trial, a trial in front of a judge, without a jury. Normally, you will choose a trial front of a jury because most judges are former prosecuting attorneys and are biased in favor of the prosecution. But, if the outcome will be the same regardless of whether you request a bench trial or a jury trial, then it may be a good idea to choose a bench trial in order to reduce or eliminate the trial tax. For example, if there is an issue of corpus delicti you may want to choose a bench trial. Corpus delicti is a Latin word that means “body of crime.” Roughly speaking, the corpus delicti rule says that the prosecution cannot introduce a defendant’s confession at trial without at any corroborating evidence. In effect, this means that a defendant cannot be convicted where the only evidence of his guilt is a confession.  If a defendant has a corpus delicti issue, then the outcome of the trial will probably be the same regardless of whether the defendant chooses a bench or a jury trial because if the judge keeps the confession out, then the defendant cannot be convicted, and if the judge lets the confession in, then the defendant will be convicted.

Please Call : (619) 955-6653

About Us

San Diego DUI Lawyer


Ian Pancer is a native of San Diego, California. After graduating from La Jolla High School, he attended the University of California at Santa Barbara as a Regents Scholar, where he earned a Bachelors degree in Philosophy. Mr. Pancer received his Juris Doctorate from the top ranked law school in San Diego, the University of San Diego School of Law. 


After sitting for the California State Bar examination, Mr. Pancer interned at the Office of the Public Defender of San Diego County, where he gained invaluable experience and solidified his intent to practice criminal defense. As Mr. Pancer's passion lies in the courtroom, his offices are in the Emerald Plaza Building - within two blocks from the State courthouse and the Federal Court in downtown San Diego.  


Mr. Pancer is a member of the California Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyers Club, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Mr. Pancer has received training at some of the nation’s finest legal institutions. He was selected to attend the most prestigious Trial Practice Institute in the United States, the Trial College of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He also has received training specific to the area of DUI law at Seminars organized by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  

San Diego drink driving defense attorney Ian Pancer is certified to practice in all State courts in California as well as all Federal Courts in the Ninth Circuit, which encompasses California, Arizona, and Washington. 




If you've been charged with DUI in San Diego, time is of the essence. You only have 10 days following your arrest to defend your right to keep your license. Contact us today for a free consultation.


444 W. C Street, Suite 410
San Diego, CA. 92101
Office: (619) 955-6653
Fax: (469) 398-0724

San Diego CA Criminal Defense Attorney

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