California DUI cases are seldom “open and shut” cases. Cops botch roadside investigations all the time. Breathalyzers and blood tests results are open to error. Medical conditions can cause false high Blood Alcohol Content results. Good DUI defense lawyers seek out and act on these issues to win cases.
Many people charged with a California DUI guess that the evidence against them is unbeatable. For most, that is simply not true.
Fighting a DUI is often the best option over simply pleading guilty. Consider this:
There are more than 100 reasons why a DUI breathalyzer can falsely give a high result…
DUI blood tests are not error-proof either. When we use an independent lab to re-test blood samples we regularly get different results. Contamination of the blood sample is also common.
Very few cops follow the standard steps they are required to take during a DUI roadside investigations. We look for these errors and use them in your favor.
We are ready for any case including simple misdemeanor drunk driving, California Felony DUI, DUI Causing Injury, vehicular manslaughter, and gross vehicular manslaughter.
With any of these cases, we can examine the location, re-test the blood samples, study the background and training of the officers, check the maintenance records of the breathalyzer, ask the DMV to order the officer to appear and answer our questioning at the DMV hearing, and break down the prosecutor’s evidence to find the weak spot (often it only takes one weak spot) that can lead to success against the prosecutor.
If you’ve been arrested for DUI, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation with a California DUI Lawyer. We want to hear about the events leading up to, during, and after the arrest. Then our attorney will give you a sincere opinion about the chances of winning in court and against the DMV.
Below is some information about the California DUI process from arrest through court…
The DUI Arrest
Most California DUI arrests start at a DUI checkpoint or traffic stop. The cop tells you to do a several field sobriety tests and/or blow into a hand-held breathalyzer. After arrest, the cop usually will have you to take a breath or blood test at the station, jail, or hospital. The law requires you to take this test. Refusing the test may result in California DUI penalties that are tough and a one-year suspension of your driver’s license.
The cops will release you from jail within a period of a few hours after the arrest and booking (in the majority of misdemeanor DUI arrests). However, in accident cases or felony DUI arrests, you may be required to post bail. On your way out of jail you should receive two documents: a ticket where you promise to appear in court, and a pink paper that acts as your temporary license. The police will usually keep your physical California driver’s license and forward it to the DMV. If your license is from another state and you get a California DUI, the cops from a department in California can’t keep your physical license card.
The DMV Process
You must contact the DMV in 10 days or less from your arrest to demand a hearing. If you wait longer than 10 days you give up your legal right to a DMV hearing and your driver’s license will automatically be suspended in 30 days. If you hire a California DUI lawyer within those 10 days, we can contact the DMV to demand a hearing for you. It’s usually better for us to do it because we can usually schedule the hearing at a convenient date and we may be able to put leverage on the assignment of a preferable DMV officer to our case.
Your California DUI attorney usually appears at the hearing on your behalf. You might or might not have to go yourself. Your lawyer’s goal is to persuade the DMV not to suspend your driver’s license. But the DMV hearing is also an opportunity for your attorney to learn of new evidence that may help your court case court.
For instance, at the DMV hearing we can subpoena the calibration and maintenance records of the breathalyzer. Many times this exposes a history of faulty and false readings. In addition, the DMV can order the police officers to testify at the DMV hearing. Their testimony often reveals errors in the way they investigated your case and poor DUI practices.
After the hearing, the DMV hearing officer considers the evidence and later sends his/her written decision by mail within one to 30 days. If the DMV rules in your favor, the DMV will not suspend your license (but a DUI conviction in the court later may still result in a suspension). If the DMV rules against you, your license will be suspended within a few days of as stated in the notice.
Note that DMV hearings are only available for DUI alcohol cases. The purpose of the hearings is to determine if an adult driver had a BAC above .08%, or if an underage driver had any amount of BAC above .00%. Arrests for California DUI drugs, including DUI marijuana, DUI Ambien or DUI Vicodin, do not qualify for a DMV hearing. A conviction in any of these cases by a judge results in an automatic driver’s license suspension.
If Your License Gets Suspended
If you do have your driver’s license suspended, you usually have the opportunity to get a restricted license 30 days later. A restricted license allows you to drive to and from work-related activities, and any court or DMV imposed DUI classes. Sometimes we can arrange for you to get a restricted license sooner. But you must obey the suspension at all times while it is still in effect. Driving in California with a suspended license is a crime and a probation violation for which you can spend time in jail. You license would also be suspended for a much longer period of time.
DUI Court Proceedings
If your BAC was higher than .08 there were probably two misdemeanor crimes on your ticket: one for Vehicle Code 23152(a) (DUI), and one for Vehicle Code 23152(b) (Driving with Excessive BAC). You must succeed against both of these charges to win your case.
Your California DUI attorney can appear at all the DUI court proceedings without you most times. The exceptions are usually when you need to testify, or if the case goes to trial. Most DUI cases require many court appearances spread out over many months. During this, your DUI attorney will be busy finding evidence, negotiating with district attorney or judge, prepare motions, and doing everything necessary to win a reduction in charges or to have the case thrown out.
If the district attorney and you agree to a settlement where you plead guilty to a DUI or a lesser charge, your plea can usually be entered in one of two ways. You may appear in court before the judge in person, or your California DUI lawyer can prepare documents (called a Thal waiver) for you to sign and have notarized outside of court. You attorney can then submit those documents to the court and enter the plea on your behalf.
If an acceptable settlement can not be reached, you can always insist on a jury trial. Judges and district attorneys often offer better deals after a jury trial is set to start. The number of trials that the court has to accommodate can encourage the judge to accept a deal to avoid another trial. Also, the prosecutor will have to take a closer look at the evidence once the trial is scheduled to start. This can reveal weaknesses in the case that encourage accepting a deal instead of going through with the trial.
Contact Us For Help…
One of the worst consequences of a DUI conviction is the long-term effects: a permanent stain on your criminal record and driving record. A top-tier California DUI defense attorney will give you your best opportunity to avoid both effects. We invite you to contact us and find out about your options to fight a DUI charge.