Even if you’ve never been stopped on suspicion of drunk driving in California, you probably know that a “Breathalyzer” or other breath-testing machine is often used during a DUI stop to estimate how much alcohol is in a driver’s bloodstream.
What you may not know, however, is how these machines work – or that, if the machine is not calibrated and operated correctly, a false test result can put you at risk of a conviction even if you were not breaking any laws. Read the rest »
Being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) can throw your life into chaos. The system is confusing, especially for those who are facing it for the first time. The arrest alone can result in the suspension of your driver’s license, even if you are not convicted in court.
The first thing you SHOULD do if you are arrested for DUI is to contact an experienced California DUI defense lawyer who will defend your legal rights and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Alternatively, here are four things you SHOULD NOT do in the event of a DUI:
- Don’t talk to the police about any details if you want to assert your constitutional rights, minimize any potential negative consequences and maintain any defenses you might have.
When you are arrested, you have the right to remain silent. You do not have to talk to the police except to give them your name, and you should not do so. Instead, tell them only that you want an attorney. An attorney can help you ensure that you don’t accidentally say something that is later used against you in court. Read the rest »
In California, like in other states, the minimum legal drinking age is 21 years. People under age 21 who are drinking, possessing alcohol, or trying to purchase alcohol may find themselves facing a criminal charge and a harsh driver’s license suspension.
Like other alcohol-related convictions, a minor in possession conviction comes with strict penalties. The potential penalties include:
- Up to $250 in fines for a first offense and up to $500 in fines for a second offense,
- Up to 32 hours of community service for a first offense and up to 48 hours of community service for a second offense. When possible, community service is often served in an alcohol or drug treatment program or at a county coroner’s office.
- Surrender and one year suspension of driver’s license Read the rest »
When you’re facing a drunk driving charge in California, you may be confused, overwhelmed, frustrated, and burdened with the loss of your driving privileges and the costs of the case even before a decision is reached. A guilty or “no contest” plea may sound like a quick way to end the problem, but it is never a good idea to plead until you have spoken to an experienced California DUI defense attorney who is fighting on your behalf. Here’s why:
- The prosecutor is not advising you in your best interests. The prosecutor may already have urged you to take a plea. Maybe he or she argued that there was no way you would win in court or that you would get a lesser penalty if you plead guilty. It is in the prosecution’s best interests to end a case quickly, and for the prosecution, a plea deal is a quick end. However, what is in the prosecutor’s best interests is rarely in your best interests. Even if the case seems “black and white,” work with an attorney who can give you the advice you need – not the advice the prosecutor wants you to hear. Read the rest »
As part of its ongoing efforts to curb drunk driving in California, the California Highway Patrol and other law enforcement officers regularly conduct sobriety checkpoints. These checkpoints are stationary stops along California roads, at which officers stop drivers to talk to them, check driver’s licenses, and look for evidence that points to driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, as well as potential evidence of other offenses.
Not every state holds sobriety checkpoints; in several states, they are prohibited by the state Constitution. California courts, however, have consistently held checkpoints to be allowed under the state and federal constitutions if they meet certain requirements.
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California’s state legislature recently voted down a bill that would have imposed a charge for driving under the influence (DUI) on anyone found to be driving with trace amounts of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in their bloodstreams. The bill was voted down in the Assembly Public Safety Committee, 4-2.
The bill, AB 2500, imposed a “zero tolerance” rule that would have made a DUI charge possible if blood tests found any amount of THC in the driver’s blood. The bill was amended to set the limit at two nanograms per milliliter of blood, which is still lower than the five nanograms per milliliter limit advocated by several prosecutors and legislators. The bill also sought to set a specific limit for other drugs, like cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and morphine. Nevertheless, the amended bill failed as well.
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In California, a person who is charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or other drugs may face more serious penalties if he or she already has a DUI conviction on the record.
Generally speaking, California courts “look back” 10 years for prior convictions. In most cases, a DUI conviction that has occurred within the past ten years will affect the penalties you face if you are convicted of another DUI. This “look back” includes convictions for DUI in other states, as well as convictions for certain related offenses.
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If you have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), your driver’s license has likely been suspended or revoked by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This license suspension or revocation is an administrative one, which means it takes place on arrest, not on conviction. It also means that you have the right to a hearing before the DMV.
You may have an experienced California DUI defense attorney represent you at the hearing. To ensure you meet the deadline to request a hearing and help your attorney prepare the best possible defense, you may find this to-do list helpful:
- First, contact an experienced attorney. You should take this step as soon as possible after your arrest in order to protect your legal rights both before the DMV and in court. Read the rest »
If you are arrested in California on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), you may not have done anything wrong. An arrest is not proof of drunk driving. However, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) automatically suspends or revokes the driver’s licenses of people arrested on suspicion of DUI.
Drivers whose licenses are suspended or revoked as a result of a DUI stop or arrest are entitled to a hearing with the DMV to seek a restricted driver’s license. You must request this hearing within ten days of your arrest date, and you may have an experienced California DUI defense lawyer represent you and protect your rights at this hearing.
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Thousands of sobriety checkpoints are set up throughout the United States every year. About 2,500 occur in California alone. California is one of 38 states that use sobriety checkpoints as a way to monitor drivers for inebriation.
Drivers who are suspected of having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that impairs their ability to drive or that is over the legal limit of 0.08 percent may be expected to take a chemical blood or breath test to measure their BAC. Drivers at sobriety checkpoints may also receive tickets or be arrested for other violations, such as for having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.
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