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Braden & Tucci, A Professional Law Corporation
Criminal Justice Attorney
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Came in early this morning to meet with a new client and found this note from a previous client.  This is a great way to start off the week.
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Five Star Client Testimonial

5.0 stars

Posted by a client Thursday at 5:12am

Justice For All
YOU need HIM on YOUR side NOW. You will be glad you did. 
Mr. Tucci's determination to get me justice gave me strength when I needed it most. I thought I didn't have a prayer to be vindicated but Mr.Tucci fought for me and won!
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The Cal. Supremes here rule that the DA's access to police personnel records is the same as the defense's, meaning that the DA has to make a Pitchess (11 C3d 531) motion to get those records just as the defense must. Here the police department told the DA that there might be Brady (373 US 83) material in the police files. The DA must disclose that information to the defense. Then what? Why, then the defense makes a Pitchess motion, and that satisfies Brady, the DA need do no more. The court does say that the 5-year limit on Pitchess discovery in EC 1045 doesn't limit Brady discovery. And the court restates the rule that the burden on the defense to make the showing to get Pitchess discovery is very low.
People v. Superior Court (Johnson); S221296; 7/6/15; Cal. Supremes
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Client Testimonial in the form of edible fruit....Thank you from our staff.
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Plaintiff and Appellant,
Defendant and Respondent.
 (Sonoma County
 Super. Ct. No. SCR647251)
Does a juvenile adjudication qualify as a “prior violation . . . that was punished as
a felony” so as to elevate a misdemeanor driving under the influence offense to a felony
under Vehicle Code section 23550.5?
It does not. The trial court properly rejected the
People’s attempt to elevate a drunk driving charge with a prior juvenile adjudication
pursuant to section 23550.5, subdivision (a)(2), so we affirm.
In 2006, when Mercedes Lopes was 17 years old, she entered a plea of no contest
to felony driving under the influence with injury under section 23153, subdivision (a).2
Lopes was detained as a ward of the court and committed to a DUI Youth Program with a
maximum time of confinement of 38 months.

1Unless otherwise noted, further statutory citations are to the Vehicle Code.
Section 23153, subdivision (a) provides that “It is unlawful for a person, while
under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle and concurrently do any
act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, which
act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver.”
We take judicial notice of the contents of Lopes’ juvenile court file. (Evid. Code,
§ 452, subd. (d).) 
In 2014, Lopes was charged with driving under the influence (§ 23152, subd. (a))
and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more (§ 23152, subd. (b)).
Both charges were alleged as felonies pursuant to section 23550.5 due to the prior
juvenile adjudication. After waiving jury trial, Lopes admitted the 2006 adjudication but
moved for acquittal on the section 23550.5 allegation. The court ruled that her juvenile
adjudication could not be used to elevate the DUI to a felony and therefore granted the
defense motion. Lopes then entered a plea of no contest to misdemeanor violations of
section 23152, subdivisions (a) and (b). The People appeal from the court’s order
striking the allegation of felony drunk driving due to the prior juvenile adjudication.
The sole issue in this appeal is whether Lopes’ 2006 juvenile adjudication
qualifies as a “prior violation of Section 23153 that was punished as a felony” within the
meaning of section 23550.5, subdivision (a), and can therefore elevate her current DUI
charges to felonies. We agree with the trial court’s conclusion that it does not.
At the time of Lopes’ plea, section 23550.5 provided in relevant part that: “(a) A
person is guilty of a public offense, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison or
confinement in a county jail for not more than one year and by a fine of not less than
three hundred ninety dollars ($390) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) if that
person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153, and the offense occurred
within 10 years of any of the following: [¶] . . . [¶] (2) A prior violation of Section 23153
that was punished as a felony. [¶] . . . [¶] (b) Each person who, having previously been
convicted of a violation of subdivision (a) of Section 191.5 of the Penal Code, a felony
violation of subdivision (b) of Section 191.5, or a violation of subdivision (a) of Section
192.5 of the Penal Code, is subsequently convicted of a violation of Section 21352 or
23153 is guilty of a public offense punishable by imprisonment in the state prison or
confinement in a county jail for not more than one year and by a fine . . . .”

The statute was amended effective January 1, 2015 to substitute “separate” for
“prior.” (Stats. 2014, c. 509, § 1.)
Welfare and Institutions Code section 203 provides that “[a]n order adjudging a
minor to be a ward of the juvenile court shall not be deemed a conviction of a crime for
any purpose, nor shall a proceeding in the juvenile court be deemed a criminal
proceeding.” Implicitly acknowledging this principle, the People argue that the
Legislature’s specification of a prior “violation” in section 23350.5, subdivision (a),
rather than “conviction,” evidences its intent that juvenile adjudications, and not just
criminal convictions, may be used to elevate a current DUI offense to a felony. “Had the
Legislature intended to require a conviction,” they contend, “it would have employed the
term ‘conviction’ in subdivision (a) of section 23550.5 as, indeed, it did in subdivision
(b) of section 23550.5” and various other enhancement provisions found in the Vehicle
We disagree. Preliminarily, we note that People v. Snook (1997) 16 Cal.4th 1210,
1216–1219, construing related Vehicle Code provisions, suggests the Legislature’s use of
the term “violation” rather than “conviction” was a byproduct of its efforts to prevent
repeat drunk driving offenders from escaping enhanced punishment by manipulating the
timing of their convictions for separate offenses. People v. Camarillo (2000) 84
Cal.App.4th 1386, on the other hand, indicates the etiology of the phrase “violation . . .
that was punished as a felony” has more to do with the discretion of sentencing courts to
identify “wobbler” offenses as either felonies or misdemeanors. (Id. at pp. 1392–1393.)
Either way, nothing we have found in the statutory language, legislative history or case
law indicates that the Legislature intended the phrase to encompass juvenile
adjudications. As Lopes observes, in the relatively rare instances where the Legislature
wants to include juvenile adjudications in provisions that may elevate the penalty for new
offenses, it knows how. (See, e.g., § 13105 [juvenile adjudications can be used as a basis
for suspension or revocation of driving privileges]; Pen. Code §§ 667, subd. (d)(3) and
1170.12, subd. (b)(3) [three strikes law].) Where, as here, the statutory language is
obscure and the People’s interpretation is, at best, no more reasonable than any other, the
rule of lenity counsels against their proposed construction. (See, e.g., People v. Avery
(2002) 27 Cal.4th 49, 58) 
Moreover, even if we were to assume that the term “prior violation” might
encompass juvenile adjudications, which we do not, Lopes’ juvenile adjudication does
not qualify because it was not “punished as a felony.” Except for capital offenses,
felonies are punished by imprisonment in state prison or county jail pursuant to Penal
Code sections 17, 18 and 1170, subdivision (h). Here, Lopes was detained as a ward of
the court and committed to a DUI Youth Program as punishment for her juvenile offense.
That, patently, was not felony punishment.
The People nonetheless argue Lopes’ juvenile adjudication was “punished as a
felony” because the juvenile court identified it as a felony for purposes of Welfare and
Institutions Code section 702. We disagree. Section 702 requires that when a minor is
found to have committed a wobbler, i.e. an offense that would, in the case of an adult, be
punishable alternatively as a felony or a misdemeanor, “the court shall declare the offense
to be a misdemeanor or felony.” But it must do so in order to identify the minor’s
maximum term of confinement, and to ensure that the juvenile court is aware of and
exercises its discretion to fully consider available sentencing options. (In re Manzy W.,
(1997) 14 Cal.4th 1199, 1205–1207; see also In re Dennis C. (1980) 104 Cal.App.3d 16,
23.) Nothing of this requirement suggests that a prior juvenile adjudication was actually
“punished as a felony” because the court declared it a felony for purposes of 702.
In short, the People’s interpretation of section 23550.5 is unsupported by its
language and legislative history, particularly in view of our tradition of differentiating
between juvenile adjudications and criminal convictions. We conclude the trial court
correctly found Lopes’ juvenile adjudication was not a “violation . . . punished as a
felony” within the meaning of section 23550.5, subdivision (a).
The judgment is affirmed.
Siggins, J.
We concur:
McGuiness, P. J.
Pollak, J.
People v. Lopes, A142907
Trial Court: Sonoma County Superior Court
Trial Judge: Robert M. LaForge
Jill R. Ravitch, District Attorney, William S. Mount, Deputy District Attorney for
Plaintiff and Appellant, Sonoma County.
Marylou Hillberg, First District Appellate Project for Defendant and Respondent,
Mercedes Lopes.
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Another DMV victory for a client.
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DMV Victory for our client - Set Aside from the El Segundo Driver Safety Office
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A man convicted of having sex on a Florida beach in front of families was sentenced to two and a half years in prison on Monday.
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Map of the business location
82 Discovery Irvine, CA 92618
82 DiscoveryUSCaliforniaIrvine92618
Criminal Justice Attorney, Trial AttorneyToday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Monday 8:30 am – 5:00 pmTuesday 8:30 am – 5:00 pmWednesday 8:30 am – 5:00 pmThursday 8:30 am – 5:00 pmFriday 8:30 am – 5:00 pmSaturday ClosedSunday Closed
Braden & Tucci, A Professional Law Corp.
949-872-2700   24/7  Call us now so we can help
We are Southern California's Premiere DUI & DMV Defense firm.  100% of our practice is DUI & DMV defense.    As one of the top-rated DUI defense firms in California, Braden & Tucci has a high success rate of winning our clients' DUI cases or getting them reduced to a lesser offense.  Thanks to my knowledge and expertise, Vincent Tucci, is often asked to speak at legal seminars, workshops and conferences where he teaches other attorneys how to defend drunk driving cases and handle the administrative license suspensions at the CA DMV Hearings. 
Vincent John Tucci has successfully completed certification courses on the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration (NHTSA) field sobriety tests as as the Intoximeters PAS test device and National Patent Analytical Systems Datamaster breath testing device.  This intensive training, coupled with his near two decades of experience, gives Vince Tucci the skill necessary to challenge the prosecution's and the CA DMV's evidence against his clients.
Braden & Tucci has one of the best support staffs in the state, we can quickly handle California Department of Motor Vehicles APS lincese suspension matters and provide regular updates on the progress of your case.  Braden & Tucci is also backed by the top DUI investigators, forensic specialists and toxicologists in the nation.
Click here to visit our  You can call our office 24/7 at 949-872-2700.  
If you have been arrested for DUI call us immediately or fill out our case analysis online..  If you have been arrested for an Orange County DUI or Los Angeles DUI please call our office.
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Review Summary
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"Back in 2008 I met with Vince to handle my DUI case."
"He won my DMV hearing for me and I avoided any jail time."
"His office staff are great, too."
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All reviews
a month ago
Strong and determined to get you justice!! Wonderful experience!! Great people!!
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Muhammad Nouh
a year ago
Vince really helped my case out, and it wasn't pretty. He himself isn't always available but his staff is always prompt with responses and instructions. He knows exactly what he's talking about and got me the best possible outcome. Another thing I like is that Vince doesn't sugar coat anything. He's very blunt, direct, and will tell you exactly what you can expect given what he knows about your case; why would you want a lawyer bs'ing about an outcome that isn't possible? If you like what you hear, good, if you don't, leave. That's his point. Once you give him the reigns he needs full control. Thanks again Vince for handling my case!
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Kathleen Phillips
a year ago
All I can say is WOW, Vince Tucci is the BEST! My son had 2 DUIs in a matter of months and was definitely looking at jail time among other things. I felt it was just a matter of how much time. Much to my delight and relief, I received a call from Vince yesterday informing me of the outcome of my son's court appearance yesterday. NO JAIL TIME, AND ONLY 45 HRS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE. I was like are you kidding me?? I was speechless and anyone who knows me knows that is a rare occasion. I'm not sure how he did it, but my son is extremely fortunate! My advice to anyone who might be going through a similar situation, it seemed like a lof of money at the time but well worth every penny. I am still in shock as it is beyond me how Vince pulled it off. I never would have beleived it if he hadn't called me personally to let me know. Don't let your life get ruined by a DUI. Vince Tucci is the guy to call to get you out of whatever mess you've gotten into. Thank you Vince!!!!
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Wesley Haynes
a year ago
There really is only one thing to say about Vincent Tucci. Miracle worker. You would be foolish to have anyone else represent you. Mr. Tucci has amazed me with his accomplishments in the court room. I promise you, no other attorney will care for you like this. He makes you a part of his family. It is a genuine sincerity. I remember sitting in the court room with such anxiety. I just knew what I was experiencing was going to be a life changer. Stay calm, be still and let the man do his business. When it was all over I had to ask Mr. Tucci to say the verdict twice. Do you know what buyers regret is? You will never have that feeling here. Vincent Tucci is a life saver.
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William Brody
10 months ago
Tucci went above and beyond and really took care of me. I was charged with an underaged DUI and he got it reduced to a wet and reckless which is almost unheard of in that situation. Moreover, when I had an issue with a speeding ticket two years later he handled it for me free of charge. Tucci really cares about you and will stop at nothing to make sure your case is reduced to the minimal charge. I highly recommend his services and will definitely use him in the future.
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Nathaniel S
a year ago
Vincent Tucci was blatantly disrespectful, rude, loud and seemed so full of himself. He is also accompanied by his incompetent staff that almost seems like chickens running around with their head cut off when calling them for something. This firm felt like a joke. I am shocked at how I was treated by them after reading all the positive reviews. Now that I research more extensively, I found more than a few people who feel the same way. Of course, Vince says their not "real" people so If he tries pulling that on my review, please feel free to contact me if you'd like to see proof that I am real and was going to be a client. He seemed so childish, it's just astonishing. Wish I would have saved myself from the stress and embarrassment he caused me!
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Michele Colussi
a year ago
Mr.Vince Tucci is clearly the best attorney I have had the pleasure of working with. I have used several other attorneys over the years and they do not compare to his excellence. He is competent, straight forward and knowledgeable. He delivers exactly what he promises. Many attorneys drag things out and you always end up incurring more expenses as time goes on with little to no satisfaction. Mr. Tucci's fees are very reasonable. Mr.Tucci goes above and beyond your expectations. He expunged a family members DUIs in a matter of a few months. He is truly one of the best. I would recommend him in a heartbeat to everyone I know. Thank you Mr. Tucci for all your efforts and hard work in this DUI matter. It is a life changing moment to have a clean record and which will create countless opportunities.
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Louise Minniear Ito
3 years ago
We found Braden & Tucci on the web when we needed an attorney in CA to help our daughter with a 4 year old DUI warrant. It was made even more difficult because she is no longer living in CA. Vince was wonderful from the very first phone call. He immediately went to work on her case, setting a new court date so that the warrant was cleared and she could get her new license here where she lives now. He kept us updated every step of the way and our daughter never had to appear in court or even go back to CA! When Vince called me yesterday with the news that he was able to get the case dismissed due to the evidence being mishandled by the police, I almost cried. If I could have reached through the phone and kissed him, I would have! As a mother, I have had many sleepless nights dealing with the possible ramifications of this situation, and when Vince told me he could help me/us I just didn't know if I could believe it or not. But Vince is a man of his word, and a true professional, and he did everything single thing he said he would and in a much shorter time than I thought possible. I just can't say enough good things about Vincent Tucci and his firm. If you need help, please don't wait to contact it now!!!
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