100+ Criminal Cases Dismissed in 1 Year Check My Case Results HERE
- Our criminal defense attorneys have not and will not ever consist of former prosecutors and cops.
- I chose sides a long time ago and no cop or prosecutor will ever work for the Law Offices of Jeff Voll.
- We are not hypocrites who once argued to a jury to send the accused to rot away in prison or County Jail and then now advertises for you to hire them because they had a change of heart and now desire your money.
If you are facing a DUI charge in Los Angeles, Orange County or San Bernardino County, availing yourself of a fearless and experienced DUI lawyer could make a huge difference in your life for many years to come. I am a dedicated DUI defense lawyer who will fight to save your drivers license and your reputation. I understand how to challenge the evidence brought forward by the prosecution to convict you of driving under the influence or alcohol, marijuana or drugs. I am an expert at negotiating reduced charges and/or lessened sentences that benefit my client. But most importantly, I always treat my clients with dignity and respect because an arrest for driving under the influence of drugs. alcohol or marijuana does not mean one has to be convicted of DUI.
California DUI Law
As in other states, it is illegal in California to operate a motor vehicle while your blood-alcohol content is .08% or higher. For drivers of commercial vehicles, the standard is twice as tough (.04%), and for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21, even the smallest detectable blood or breath alcohol concentration BAC (.01%) is illegal.
It is irrelevant whether the DUI is caused by alcohol, an illegal drug, medical marijuana, soy sauce, a prescription drug, or an over the counter medicine like common cough syrup; a DUI can be charged regardless of the source of alleged intoxication. And quite frankly, it happens all the time.
The California DMV began the practice of immediately confiscating the driver's licenses of those suspected by police of drunk driving many years ago. This policy is called the Administrative Per Se area of California DUI law, and it essentially treats you as guilty until proven innocent with respect to losing your driving privilege as a result of being arrested for DUI in California. After your arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or marijuana, your license is sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and held there until you or your attorney appear for your Administrative Per Se hearing. By law, the DMV hearing officer will grant you a temporary license to use until the Hearing date. If you fail to request a DMV hearing within 10 days of being arrested for DUI, then you will lose your right to an Administrative Per Se hearing and your driving privilege will go into automatic suspension 30 days after your arrest for DUI.
If convicted of a DUI, the punishment will vary based on whether it is your first or a repeat offense. The general sentencing guidelines are as follows:
- 1st Offense: 30 day to 1 year license suspension, 2 days to 6 month jail time, up to a $2,000 fine and attendance and completion of a 3, 6 or 9 month alcohol program;
- 2nd Offense: License suspended for up to 2 years but can be reduced to 1 year or even 90 days, 4 days minimum to 1 year jail sentence, up to a $2,500 fine and attendance and completion of an 18 month alcohol program;
- 3rd Offense: License suspended for up to 3 years, 120 days to 1 year jail time, fines of up to $3,000, attendance and completion of an 18 month alcohol program OR in rare instances - 30 days jail and attendance and completion of an 30 month alcohol program
Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
Use of an ignition interlock device may also be required by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), along with attendance at DUI school for months on end. Whether you get the maximum punishment, the minimum, or somewhere in between will be at the judge's discretion. He/she will take into account the circumstances of your case, and a good DUI lawyer will be able to present any mitigating factors to the judge that might result in a lighter sentence or reduced charge, if a dismissal is not possible. Check with your lawyer to see if your case is prosecuted in one of the 4 California pilot counties where upon a DUI conviction, installation of an IID device is mandatory.
The Zero Tolerance Law
As mentioned above, California has a zero-tolerance policy toward any BAC whatsoever in driver's under the age of 21. The possession/use of alcohol AND driving while intoxicated will at a minimum be the two charges filed by the District Attorney.
Possible sentencing elements for under-aged DUI include:
- Up to a 12-month license suspension
- A 30-day vehicle impoundment
- Up to 6 months in the county jail
- Fines as high as $2,000
- A $125 license re-issue fee
- Mandatory use of an ignition interlock device
- Mandatory enrollment in a DUI program
Commercial Driver DUI
Those operating a commercial vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol or an intoxicating drug can lose their California Drivers License (CDL) for a full year for a first offense. For a repeat offense within 10 years of the first, the permanent loss of their commercial driving privilege will occur. Heavy fines, jail sentences, DUI classes, and other punishments may also be imposed, and remember, only a BAC of .04% or higher is required.
Driving With a Suspended License pursuant to Vehicle Code section 14601.2
When your license is already in suspension for DUI, and you are charged with knowingly driving while in suspension, the consequences can be severe. A jail term of up to 6 months, a fine from $1,000.00 to $2,000.00 will be imposed and installation of an Ignition Interlock Device will also be required. If the original suspension resulted from a refusal to take a chemical test or if there is a former conviction for driving with a suspended license, sentencing can be even stricter with mandatory jail time and installation of an Ignition Interlock Device.
DUI Defense Strategies
As a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, I realize the seriousness of a DUI charge, and I have well developed strategies for obtaining the best possible outcome to every case. Many assume that it is hopeless to fight a DUI charge, but this is simply not the truth—I win DUI cases routinely.
Some of the most important possible DUI defenses include:
- You may have been intoxicated, but you were not driving. The arresting officer saw you in an idling car but cannot prove you operated it while impaired due to alcohol or drugs.
- The officer stopped your vehicle without reasonable suspicion for a stop and/or arrested you without probable cause. Or, he did not read you the Miranda Rights or otherwise failed to follow minimum police protocol. This can possibly lead to evidence being suppressed and the charges dropped.
- Police testimony is inconclusive. For example, poor driving skills or distress could result in "DUI driving patterns," and failure of field sobriety tests could be caused by confusion or adverse outdoor conditions.
- BAC test results may be skewed. The test may have been administered incorrectly, and are not full-proof to begin with, and they could be thrown off by medications you were taking or by a still-rising BAC.
- Plus many other defenses which Jeff Voll has used successfully in the past.
DUI and the Legal Process
Lack of knowledge about the full DUI process can make the entire situation very intimidating. Additionally, this causes those charged with DUI to waste the precious time they have to act as their case speeds along from start to finish. I have provided a simple overview of the standard timeline of occurrences to help educate you on the DUI process, including the most important step, when you should hire an attorney.
The Date of Arrest: Whether you were ordered to pull over on suspicion of DUI, caused an accident involving alcohol, drugs or marijuana, or any other reason that ultimately ended with your DUI arrest, this is where it all begins. In all cases, if the arrest process and formalities were performed correctly you will be requested by the arresting officer to perform a chemical test of your blood or breath. If the preliminary breath test (prior to arrest) or the post arrest breath test resulted in a reading of .08 or higher, the arresting officer will confiscate your California drivers license. An overnight jail stay is probable but may not happen in all cases and you will be released within 8-12 hours depending on what your chemical test level was reported as. You should have received a temporary license that will last for a month or so in order to give you time to challenge your automatic administrative suspension by the DMV.
Hiring an Attorney: This step is listed here because it should take place directly post-arrest or as soon as possible BEFORE the 10 day period to contact the DMV to request your DMV Administrative Per Se Hearing. Every single day counts with regards to winning your court and DMV case. That being said, you do not need to hire a lawyer unless you wish to truly fight the DUI charges that will be filed against you and you do not want the DMV to suspend your license without a fight. If your income precludes you from hiring a private lawyer to defend you, you may request to have a public defender represent you for free. While public defenders are more than capable of performing their duty as defense counsel, I have never met one who has gone through the International Chief's of Police and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rigorous 3-day Standardized Field Sobriety testing OR have I ever met one who attended and passed the National Patent Analytical System 3-day course in Mansfield Ohio who are the manufacturers of the Datamaster breath testing devices which are used in Los Angeles County. Few private attorneys who call themselves DUI defense attorneys, let alone public defenders, have invested the time to understand the intricacies of a solid DUI defense. Public Defenders are often over worked as they have case loads of upwards of 150 cases on their calendars. I know, I was a Los Angeles County Public Defender for 3 years. The difference with me was that I used the over burdened case load to my benefit and was successful in achieving over 100 cases completely dismissed in one 12 month period! If you want personal attention to your case and a real chance of winning, hire me as your experienced attorney immediately. My number is 424-281-3020.
Your DMV Hearing
You have 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a hearing with the DMV. For those defendants who were unaware or fail to do so, administrative suspension of your license is finalized and your driving privilege will be suspended exactly 30 calendar days after your arrest. Technically administrative suspension begins the moment you are arrested, but the DMV hearing gives you a chance to contest the pending suspension. There are no time extensions and no second chances; you must schedule the hearing within 10 calendar of your arrest to challenge it. If you have retained a lawyer's services this is a good opportunity to put them to use, as winning the DMV hearing may help your criminal case greatly.
Your court arraignment: This is the first time your case is presented in court, but it is not a trial date. The arraignment is very short; you will be required to enter your plea of not guilty or no contest to take any deals the prosecution may offer you at that time. There is no jury present and no evidence has been obtained so it is often not in your best interests to accept a plea deal at this time. Naturally, your DUI attorney will advise you of the best step which is typically entering a not guilty plea.
Pre-Trial Conference/Trial Preparation Stage: This court date is exactly what it states it is; it's a pre- or before trial conference date to speak to the prosecutor to determine the strengths or weaknesses of the prosecutors case and to discuss possible settlement. Each case could have a series of pre-trial conferences due to outstanding discovery or other legal issues. If the case cannot settle then a jury trial is the only avenue to proceed down. The Pre-Trial conference stage is the longest and most important phase of the DUI process. The evidence collected by the prosecution is now shared with your defense counsel, allowing him or her time to comb through and determine the best course of action for your case. He or she may also seek additional evidence or file any pre-trial motions that can greatly swing a case in your favor. Based on the findings and weaknesses of the evidence in your specific situation, your lawyer may be able to get your case dismissed or obtain a substantially good deal short of a DUI conviction. Most DUI cases will end here and never proceed to trial as this is the ideal negotiation stage.
Jury Trial: If your attorney has recommended proceeding to trial, or you failed to retain a lawyer this is the final stage of your criminal case. While the trial still leaves opportunity for victory, the perception the jury holds of those arrested for DUI is often grim and must be overcome by your defense lawyer. It will be up to your attorney to point out the weaknesses in the prosecution's case, the strength of your own and ultimately convince the jury of your lack of guilt. The trial will conclude with either an acquittal or a conviction and then proceed to sentencing. Any plea bargains accepted at the trial stage will also end the trial and the defendant will move on to sentencing. Your attorney can still have an impact on sentencing if you are found guilty or plead guilty, so you would do well to utilize any final advice given.
The First Step in a Successful DUI Case
A proper defense in any DUI case is very important. The penalties are steep, and can potentially impact both your current career and future career options with a DUI conviction on your record. Unfortunately, far too many people assume that their case is lost from the start and fail to get an experienced DUI attorney, resigning themselves to time behind bars, prolonged license suspension and overwhelming penalty fines and fees.
You have absolutely nothing to lose by talking with a DUI lawyer, and the consultation is free as it should be. However, you cannot wait too long. The failure to contact a lawyer promptly is a quick way to impede your chances of winning. There is a lot of work that goes into defending against DUI charges and gathering additional evidence takes time. Add to that the time it takes for a thorough analyzation to find the weaknesses in the prosecution's case and to subpoena any necessary witnesses. So take your free case review as soon as possible to understand what a DUI attorney can provide for your case. All you have to do is call me at 424-281-3020.
Conviction rates for DUI are high which could be the result of failing to obtain a hard charging DUI attorney with extensive experience. Representing yourself is your worst option but within your choice to do so. Regardless of your ultimate decision, understand that your best chance of winning your case comes only with a seasoned aggressive DUI-focused defense lawyer. As there is no fee for a case review, schedule one today to get your questions answered and to see what we can do for your case.
Simply contact us at 424-281-3020 or fill out the form to receive your free consultation promptly.
The DMV Hearing
With the exception of hiring a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney, scheduling your DMV Administrative Per Se Hearing is the most important step to complete after you are arrested for DUI. Your time is very limited as you have exactly ten days from the date you were arrested to request one. You get one shot, and failure to schedule and attend your Administrative Per Se Hearing means a lengthy automatic license suspension.
A DMV Administrative Per Se Hearing is separate and distinct from your criminal case, so do not assume it will be scheduled for you. It would be wise to use the same attorney hired for your criminal DUI case, as public defenders are not provided for hearings at the DMV as they are Civil in nature and not a criminal proceeding. While the hearing itself is concise, your lawyer will be able to do much of the groundwork to help swing the proceeding in your favor. This includes collection and analyzation of the evidence against you and subpoenaing the arresting officer for his or her testimony at the DMV Administrative Per Se Hearing. Not only can this impact your hearing, but it can also help your criminal case as the evidence obtained during questioning at the DMV Administrative Per Se Hearing can be used at your future trial to impeach the officer.
As stated, the hearing is short with few questions aimed to ensure the following took place:
- The arresting officer had reasonable suspicion to stop you for DUI
- You were placed under arrest lawfully
- The officer made you aware of the penalties for refusing breath or blood testing
- A chemical test showed your BAC 0.08% or above
All are simple questions, and yet there are complexities that can alter the outcome of any hearing. Mistakes by the arresting officer at any step in the process can win you your hearing and prevent additional license suspension. This is unlikely to near impossible to do without professional representation. An attorney will recognize any weaknesses in the evidence, and be even better prepared for the criminal trial in the process. Challenges will often focus on one of the following factors:
- Significant variations between the officer's statement, DMV report and hearing testimony
- Procedures for blood and breath tests were not followed
- You provide clear evidence the officer performed an unlawful stop
- Circumstances where inability to perform chemical testing was logged as refusal
It is very difficult to win your review hearing on your own, as the odds are weighted much further against you from the start than even your criminal case. Bear in mind that the 10-day deadline can not be extended, and the more time you give your lawyer to gather evidence the better your chances of winning at the DMV Administrative Per Se Hearing.
Winning Your DUI Case
Successfully winning your case is the outcome every defendant is hoping for. With proper representation and the time to research the evidence of your case, victory can be achieved. Even when the evidence is seemingly overwhelming, a good attorney can spot the one weakness that can confidently earn you an acquittal. Despite the prosecution's confidence or even chemical test results, DUI cases are still won daily for the defendant.
The mistakes made may be small, and the evidence may be difficult to find and obtain by anyone choosing to represent themselves in court. Regardless, there are multiple avenues your attorney can examine to put your case on the path to victory. Common problem areas include:
- Your rights were violated by the arresting officer
- Conflicting statements made by the officer
- Audio or video recording that differs greatly from report
- Witness testimony in your favor
- Credible reasons for failed breathalyzer testing
- Evidence the officer conducted an unlawful stop
- Faulty testing equipment or incorrect testing procedure
In some cases, multiple issues with evidence provided by the prosecution may exist. Inadequacies brought to light may result in all charges being dropped before the trial even begins. Plea deals are common and enable the defendant to only endure minimal penalties, or even result in lesser charges such as a wet or dry reckless conviction.
In the event the plea bargaining phase does not go in your favor, but you have a strong defense case, winning at trial is very possible. This is where attorney experience can make the difference between an acquittal or conviction. Ultimately your goal is to convince the jury to doubt the prosecution's argument in this case. You do not need to prove your innocence. You are innocent until proven guilty, not vice versa. Thus a tiny crack in the foundation of the prosecution's base argument can result in a nice win.
Those who practice solely in the DUI field have all the tools for your success. They will frequently already know the experts on both sides of the case, common mistakes that are made by the police and their crime lab, and even officer histories if they've developed a name for themselves through Civil Rights violations of citizens. An attorney is an invaluable part of your journey to winning your case.
DUI, the Evidence Against You, and Victory
A thorough gathering and review of the evidence in your case is the first step toward victory over your pending charges. The evidence used by the prosecution in any DUI case comes with weaknesses that a competent DUI attorney can and will exploit. If you have failed a blood or breath test, you may be inclined to believe your conviction is all but guaranteed. However, chemical testing is prone to inaccuracies that can be your saving grace. There are no cut and dry cases but if you have a skilled DUI attorney familiar with how a DUI case proceeds then this experience is invaluable when he or she moves to contest existing evidence against you.
There are multiple forms of evidence that can rear their ugly head in a DUI case, and the following is an overview of just a few of the most common:
Your behavior while driving: The original reason you were pulled over. This evidence needs to be clearly suspicious of some type of minimal criminality such as weaving, driving on the center line, driving with one's lights off at night. The prosecution will be sure to present this evidence in an attempt to secure the case against you, knowing that reasonable suspicion by a police officer for a stop is mandatory to avoid the whole case being thrown out for lack of reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle.
Behavior and evidence during the stop: Regardless of a police officers suspicion, law enforcement needs to have probable cause to detain you. The probable cause evidence, in this case, is your behavior and any other noticeable clues he discovers such as stumbling, slurred speech, the odor of alcohol and many other clues that may be present that the officer is trained to look for. There might be video evidence obtained during the stop that can help you if the officer was not entirely honest in the police he or she wrote.
Self-incriminating statements: You are never required to incriminate yourself and in EVERY situation where you have been pulled over and you have been drinking alcohol, using drugs or smoking marijuana, the best option is silence. Unfortunately, some police officers will do everything in their power to get you to incriminate yourself, particularly before arrest. Your rights do not have to be read until you are actually arrested, but officers are free to use all statements against you that you made prior to your arrest. Even seemingly harmless questions can have answers that are misconstrued or taken out of context. Always be prepared to state you have no desire to answer questions without your lawyer present. An incriminating statement is impossible to take back, but can be excluded from evidence in certain situations. So, if you have been drinking or using drugs and you are getting pulled over by the police then remember what you are about to read and say it ONCE to the officer who approaches your car - "I WILL NOT ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS AND I WILL NOT TAKE ANY TESTS, IF YOU ARREST ME THEN I DEMAND A BLOOD TEST" Say nothing else and come see me ASAP after you get out of jail because you may have just "Won" your DUI case before it is even filed!!
PAS and Field Sobriety Tests (SFST's): FSTs are the infamous roadside balance and coordination tests most people are generally familiar with. They vary from testing balance and reaction time to other alleged impairments common with alcohol use. These, along with preliminary alcohol screening tests can be declined safely and Legally, the latter provided you are not a minor or on probation for DUI. These are simply reinforcement for the officer before deciding to arrest you but understand that declining them may not prevent an arrest.
Chemical Testing results: The standard blood, breath or urine tests are by far the most common type of evidence presented in a DUI case. Fortunately, it is also not nearly as accurate as the prosecution would have you think. With the exception of the PAS test mentioned above, these tests are illegal to refuse.
A good DUI lawyer understands the weaknesses of each form of evidence and will gather any additional evidence that can help you in your case. For example, there are many reasons for a sudden case of erratic driving including being startled, swerving to avoid an animal on the road or other unintentional distractions. At times officers may embellish their reports or just plainly include false information that can be disproven by a hardcore defense lawyer. Written statements and testimony may conflict. Chemical testing may not have been administered or stored properly. It is up to you to retain an experienced, dedicated DUI-focused attorney as early as possible to give you the best fighting chance.
Your attorney will examine all witness accounts and evidence in order to poke holes in the prosecution's case, including potentially getting evidence excluded at trial. Protocols must be followed, and your rights must be protected from the moment you are pulled over. In most DUI cases, the Judge or jury are unlikely to be at all sympathetic to your case. It will be up to you to convince them otherwise. Obtaining the information you need by yourself will be time-consuming or nearly impossible without the assistance that DUI attorney Jeff Voll can provide.
Possibilities of Winning Your Case
Charged with a DUI and feel the evidence against you is overwhelming? Do not throw in the towel. Achieving victory in a DUI case is possible, albeit an uphill battle. Even cases where breathalyzer results are used against the accused are winnable. The best choice you can make towards the success of your case is choosing an attorney that will work diligently on your defense. General practice attorneys will often gladly take your case and your money, and then plea you guilty due to not having the necessary experience in the field to make sure your case is won.
You have three routes to victory in any DUI case, acquittal, dropped charges or successful deal negotiation that reduces both charges and the accompanying penalties. It is a fact that most DUI cases never make it to trial, either through plea deals or dismissed cases entirely. Leaving your fate in the hands of a jury without an experienced lawyer is a high-risk venture.
Getting your charges dropped or the case dismissed is typically your premier goal if at all possible. There are a variety of options your attorney can achieve towards a case dismissal or a reduction in charges. Both police misconduct and lack of reasonable suspicion or probable cause challenges can eliminate the admissible evidence to the point where the case is dismissed. Regardless of how you secure a case dismissal, your record will remain clean. Bear in mind that a dismissal and an acquittal are markedly different with regards to the DMV. You will still need to attend and win your DMV case to avoid a license suspension.
If you ultimately proceed with a trial, an acquittal is essentially a not guilty verdict. Again, the elimination or reduction of evidence eligible to be used against you in court is often the route taken to earn you that not guilty verdict. An acquittal is a huge victory for you as any license suspension will be reversed once the DMV acquires proof of acquittal. See me about this in person.
Plea negotiation is a highly popular way to reduce the potential impacts of a DUI conviction. You lawyer may be able to get your DUI reduced to a "dry or wet reckless" which will not only have far fewer penalties and consequences but can also give you a chance at avoiding a license suspension.
Hiring an attorney is the first step to helping your case go in your favor. The longer you wait to hire a lawyer the lower your chance of succeeding. You can avoid costly mistakes by seeking representation early.
DUID - DUI and Drugs
Drugs, like alcohol, can also impair an individual's ability to drive. As such, driving under the influence of any impairing substance can result in a DUI charge. Frequently people make the assumption that this is limited to the well known illegal and recreational class of drugs. However, this is incorrect as even a simple drowsiness-inducing over the counter (OTC) medication such as Benadryl can result in a charge under California DUI laws.
While alcohol has a legal limit to be considered as an impairing factor, drugs both legal and illegal are based entirely on detection and not amount. While this form of testing may ultimately seem unfavorable toward you, it leaves an appreciable opportunity to counter for your attorney. Presence-only testing opens the door to legitimate challenges based on the level of a substance being too low to impair driving.
Breathalyzer testing is normally standard testing in any suspicion of Alcohol DUI stop. As this tool will not detect drug use in its current iterations, a blood or urine testing request is likely to follow. Due to California's implied consent laws, refusal of testing is illegal and thus incurs license suspension penalties. While the penalties for refusal can appear low in comparison to DUI consequences, a refused test does not offer a guarantee from of escaping conviction of DUI.
DUI drug penalties differ from alcohol DUI in one primary way; the California DMV cannot suspend your license via a DMV Administrative Per Se Action. Once again in cases where testing is refused, or if you also test above the legal BAC limit, a DMV Administrative Per Se Action Suspension will occur. Of note, a license suspension by the DMV will occur if you are convicted in Court of a DUI AND even if you won the DMV Administrative Per Se Action.
DUI and Illegal Drugs
A common misconception is that legal use of substances such as marijuana offers you some manner of protection against a DUI charge. As mentioned previously regarding prescribed medications and OTC medications, legal use has no bearing on whether or not the substance is intoxicating enough to impair driving. Therefore, legal use of marijuana will only provide a clear-cut defense against any drug possession charges but NOT necessarily the DUI charges. This applies even with the new California laws designating certain marijuana possession and use as a recreational activity.
The penalties for DUI involving illegal drugs are identical to those involving only alcohol. However, other factors such as the presence of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia in your possession open the door to additional charges. Being in one's possession includes situations where you are witnessed or caught attempting to discard drugs prior to arrest. The mere presence of drugs within your system does not automatically indicate or establish possession in a court of law.
Legal Drugs and DUI
As with all DUI charges, the primary factor is the impairment and not the legality of the medication in question. Therefore simple OTC medications can be taken for granted due to common side effects and phrases such as "may cause drowsiness." Be aware of any medications that cause:
- Slower reaction time
- Poor concentration
Both prescription and nonprescription drugs are very common in drug DUI cases. An effective DUI attorney can turn the tide in your favor.
Refusal of a Breath- Blood Test
Like most states, California has implied consent laws regarding the chemical testing for suspected DUI. Refusing the test is both illegal and a very costly mistake. Officers are required to inform you that refusing the test is illegal, but some may not do so until after you have refused it. You will not be allowed to change your mind or reconsider by the arresting officer in most cases, so it is to your advantage to be mindful of implied consent laws.
There are three methods of testing you can be asked to undergo which include:
- Breathalyzer testing
- Blood testing
- Urine testing (which is offered if the first two are unavailable)
The breathalyzer is usually the most common and is given once you are pulled over as a Preliminary Breath Testing device/Field Sobriety Test OR when you finally reach the police station and sometimes both.
For a blood test, this will be conducted at a hospital. This is nothing more than a small sample requested and sent to a lab. The results are not immediate and may take weeks to be provided depending on the circumstances. Ironically, the BEST and most defenseable cases are Blood Test cases. See me regarding more information on this.
Urine testing will also be performed at a hospital with delayed results similar to blood testing. Testing of the urine is rare and is not one of the required choices officers have to ask you when requesting a chemical test. Officers may opt for urine testing if you are suspected of driving under the influence of drugs.
Why Refusing Chemical Testing Never Ends Well
Some drivers believe their best option when they know they have been drinking is to refuse chemical testing. This is a misguided belief and does not help you win your case, in fact, it hurts it. The penalties for refusing a chemical test are added to standard DUI conviction penalties. A few reasons why a Refusal is a very poor choice are:
- Automatic driver's license suspension regardless of conviction
- $125 fine
- Up to three additional years of license suspension upon conviction
- Additional jail time upon conviction
- Test results are not needed for conviction
- Prosecution will use refusal as a consciousness of guilt
- If you are forced to take a test at a later time, your results may be higher
- Refusing a test does not prevent arrest
When considering options for chemical testing, disputing is always a better choice than refusing. The most common method of testing, the breathalyzer, is known for inaccuracies and an experienced lawyer can seize on this fact and exploit it to your benefit.
I Already Refused, What Now?
If you have already refused your chemical testing your case is not hopeless. There are multiple avenues your attorney can use to help swing the case in your favor. Primarily this can focus on the options you were or were not given. Officers are required to let you choose between breath testing and blood testing. As mentioned previously they must also inform you that to refuse is illegal. If either of these did not take place, you might have a foothold to challenge the refusal penalties. Of course, there are exceptions to the refusal charge, but they will have to be proven in court:
- Language barriers
- Hemophilia or anti-coagulant user (only applies to blood tests)
- Incapacitating head injury
Any of these reasons can result in a refusal charge being thrown out if there is sufficient evidence. The court will not take your word for it. Speak with a qualified, experienced DUI attorney to learn all your options if you have already refused chemical testing post arrest.
DUI - Will I Lose My Driver’s License?
License suspension is another penalty most individuals charged with DUI worry about. Much like jail time, license suspension of some form is a mandatory punishment for every DUI conviction and cannot be removed as a penalty. Due to the complexities of additional penalties for DUI convictions, the total time your license is suspended can vary quite widely. First, it is important to understand that you will face a license suspension from only the DMV.
Admin Per Se Suspension: Also known as an Administrative license suspension, it refers to the penalty handed down by the DMV for your DUI arrest. It is additive to any potential license suspension the court hands down and is not served concurrently. If you do not call the DMV within 10 days of your arrest to schedule your DMV Administrative Per Se Hearing, then the penalty begins exactly 30 days from the date of your arrest if you do not request a DMV hearing to contest the suspension. You only have ten days from the date of your arrest in order to request a hearing with the DMV. Your request will pause/stay your automatic administrative suspension from kicking in until the outcome of your hearing. It is helpful to have your DUI criminal case lawyer assist and represent you in your DMV hearing as well.
Minimum 1st DUI suspension: 4 months, OR 1 month with DUI school enrollment, SR-22 purchase and a $125 re-issue fee.
License suspension as a criminal penalty: Any license suspension that is the result of your conviction is a criminal penalty, and separate from DMV administrative suspension. For the duration of this full license suspension driving is disallowed entirely. Courts do NOT hand down license suspension except in 3rd offenses or higher.
The restriction of your license to drive instead of a full suspension is also a possibility and frequent outcome for 1st time DUI offenders. A restricted license allows you to drive to DUI school, to work and possibly to school. Applying for and receiving a restricted license can reduce the total time you have to endure a full license suspension. Remember that for a 1st time DUI, the minimum amount of time will be 30 days with DUI school enrollment, SR-22 purchase and a $125 re-issue fee.
Being knowledgeable of each factor that contributes to the length of your driver's license suspension or restriction can go a long way towards making your time without one as short and painless as possible. The priority will be to win your case as well as your DMV hearing to eliminate penalties in the first place. Here is what you should focus on:
- Immediately scheduling your DMV hearing as soon as possible
- Hiring an experienced aggressive DUI Attorney.
And if convicted:
- Exploring your options for the minimum suspension time
- Preparing for any license reinstatement and SR-22 fees
- Applying for a restricted license as soon as eligible
- Not making your situation worse by driving with a suspended license
Getting your license reinstated after a DUI conviction is an involved, but not overly complicated procedure. There is no automatic reinstatement for DUI related suspensions, so prepare for a moderate amount of effort on your part getting everything required to proceed with reactivation.
Simply walking to the DMV will not enable you to reinstate your license, proper documentation will be required. Your first order of business should be to review each piece of documentation needed for your case in order to file the DL-44. Not all of these documents will apply to every individual, so only bring what relates to and was required by your case. Your preparation checklist can include:
- Proof of completion for court-ordered traffic school
- Proof of completion for court-ordered drug/alcohol treatment program
- SR-22 Form filed with your insurance company
- Evidence of interlock device installation
- Proof of car insurance
- Completed DL-44 Form
- Money for necessary fees
It goes without saying that any court mandated programs will need to be completed, in addition to the full length of your suspension being completed. Pay any required fines to the court. Your completion certificates will typically be provided to the DMV and/or the court if they are not mailed to you. Contact the necessary school or program if this has not happened.
With regards to insurance, you will need to file an SR-22 form with your insurance company. This will cost a small fee, but it simply proves to the DMV that your insurance company knows you are essentially a risky driver. SR-22s are not at all uncommon, so your insurer will know what needs to be done. Be sure you purchase the required coverage and expect to pay a significantly higher premium based on your high-risk status. You must not go without being insured for at least the first three years, or you risk losing your SR-22's validity and subsequently having your license re-suspended. Your insurer will transmit proof of SR-22 to the DMV electronically, but the proof of insurance you will need to have in your possession.
Providing this is a required condition by the DMV which in L.A. County means you have been convicted of a DUI. Ignition interlock device installation proof will need to be provided by the authorized installation company. There should be no hoops to jump through and an installation certificate should be provided at the time of original installation.
The final step is actually going to the DMV to fill out form DL-44. All DL-44 forms have a unique barcode and thus cannot be printed or filled out online. You may have one mailed to you to save time or retrieve and complete out the form once you get to the DMV. Do not forget to bring all necessary documentation as mentioned above as well as the $150 fee required for reinstatement.
Minimum Penalties for Each Level of DUI Charge in California
This is an overview of the minimum and maximum penalties associated with a DUI in the state of California. Due to the variance of penalties when a DUI involves the injury or death of a 3rd party, this section will only focus on non-injurious DUI cases. Additionally, any felony DUI will have far stiffer penalties than those listed here. Please see the appropriate page on this website for more information regarding Felony DUI penalties
First DUI Minimum and Maximum Consequences
- A minimum of $1,800 in criminal fines and court assessment fees.
- A maximum of $3,600 in criminal fines and court assessment fees.
- A minimum of 0-48 hours in jail with the possibility of waiver in exchange for prolonged license suspension
- A maximum of six months in jail
License Suspension Penalties
- A minimum of 30 days of license suspension
- A maximum of 6 months license suspension
- A minimum of three months in an alcohol treatment program at your cost
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
- Car impounding for up to 30 days
Second DUI Minimum and Maximum Consequences
- A minimum of $1,800 in criminal fines and court assessment fees.
- A maximum of $4,000 in criminal fines and court assessment fees.
- A minimum of 96 hours in jail.
- A maximum of one year in jail.
License Suspension Penalties
- A minimum of one year of license suspension
- A maximum of two years of license suspension
- A minimum of 18 months and a maximum of 30 months in an alcohol treatment program at your cost
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
- Car impounding for up to 30 days
Third and Subsequent DUI Minimum and Maximum Consequences
- A minimum of $1,800 in criminal fines and court assessment fees.
- A maximum of $3,600 in criminal fines and court assessment fees.
- A minimum of 120 days in jail for 3rd offense.
- A maximum of one year in jail for a 3rd offense or 16 months in a state penitentiary for 4th or subsequent offenses.
License Suspension Penalties
- A minimum of three years of license suspension, upgraded to four years for additional offenses.
- A maximum of 10 years of license suspension
- A minimum of 18 months in an alcohol treatment program at your cost
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
- Car impounding for up to 90 days or full loss of vehicle to state seizure.
There are several factors which can reduce, increase or eliminate some consequences at all levels of DUI offenses. These factors include
- Refusing testing at time of arrest
- Being under the age of 21
- Excessively high blood alcohol levels
- Causing death or bodily harm
- Multiple DUI or wet reckless offenses in a 10 year period
An experienced DUI lawyer may succeed in achieving either a plea deal or alternative sentencing options for you that significantly reduce the standard penalties for a DUI conviction. Many other factors, including the 10 year look back, can drastically increase your penalties by raising your DUI to felony level. Sentencing penalties in these cases will vary.
The Cost of a DUI Cost in California
For what is almost always a misdemeanor charge, a DUI in California ends up being a very costly situation. Costs can be split into fines, court fees you will be expected to pay if you are ultimately convicted, and a variety of costs related to sentencing. All the miscellaneous fees that may seem minute alone, quickly add up, easily reaching thousands of dollars.
Court penalty assessments, are expensive but only apply if you end up being convicted. The maximum penalty assessment fee for a first-time misdemeanor DUI is $2,600, more than double your actual fine. While they add a considerable amount to the expense of a DUI conviction, you won't need to pay if you win your case.
Fines are the primary source of wiggle-room with regards to expenses. While there are clear minimums, a competent lawyer can aid you in potentially lowering your fines significantly. Be aware that fines can skyrocket into the thousands when you have had previous DUI offenses.
Be prepared for all costs related to your sentencing. Expect to pay for every non-monetary punishment the judge bestows on you. First up will be the cost of any alcohol or drug treatment program you are required to attend with first offender programs running about $400.00. Second and subsequent convictions require an extended alcohol program which are more expensive running about $750.00 or higher. Additionally, installation and use of an ignition interlock device cost on average $100 plus around $75 per month of use for a minimum of 5 months of use.
Of course, there are always additional costs that people don't usually factor into the total price of a DUI conviction. Insurance premium increases that persist for years will probably be the largest expense by far if you are convicted of a DUI. At a bare minimum expect to pay no less than $5,000 over the course of time your SR-22 is active, and perhaps even more than that. Such additional costs may include:
- Bail costs
- License reinstatement fees
- Costs of transportation during license suspension
- Towing and impound fees
- Cost of an attorney
- Insurance increases
Clearly, not all will apply in every situation, but they certainly give a clear view of exactly what is at risk and why a lawyer is important. A good DUI attorney can reduce thousands of dollars in fees and help keep your jail time minimal. Your DUI attorney, if you choose to hire one, may offer you a payment plan when cost is a concern. Consultations should always be free. Make sure you know exactly which services you will receive before agreeing to their representation of you.
Will I Go to Jail on a DUI Charge?
Spending any amount of time in jail is a penalty that most people charged with a DUI wish to avoid the most. Defendants often research the maximum jail times for their DUI charge and panic over the possibility of losing their job and even screwing up their living situation. 1st Time DUI charges do NOT carry mandatory jail time providing there was no injury involved, but the costs and expense associated with a DUI conviction can be astronomical.
Generally, your jail time on the day of your arrest is just a mere overnight stay. Most arrestees, provided they had a valid driver's license at the time of the arrest, will be released the following morning on their own recognizance. This requires little more than signing a form agreeing to show up for all your scheduled court dates as well as promising to commit no additional crimes while released. The violation of any of the stipulations could prompt a warrant being issued for your arrest again.
In more involved cases, bail can be necessary before your release. Taking out a bail bond that fulfills the requirements can have you out almost as speedily as a personal recognizance release which is usually within a 8 hours. As this low amount of jail time is unlikely to significantly interfere with your career and responsibilities, it is the post-conviction sentencing that worries the majority of defendants.
Sentencing Upon Conviction
As mentioned previously, if you are convicted of a 1st DUI you will NOT face jail time as a mandatory part of your sentence. Plea deals are extremely common with regard to DUI convictions, and most lawyers will attempt to achieve the lowest possible jail time for you. The maximum amount of jail time for a first offense conviction where there was no injury is six months. Other plea deals may even lessen your charge so that fines, informal probation and length of alcohol programs are reduced . Even in cases where unfavorable plea deals are rejected by the defendant, there is still the chance for acquittal at Trial which ultimately means no jail, no fines, no probation, etc...
If convicted of any misdemeanor level DUI offense which requires jail, the sentence will be served in county jail. Felony DUI offenses can have the mandatory jail time served in county jail as opposed to State Prison depending on the circumstances. However, even in this case an experienced attorney can help you achieve the shortest jail time possible.
Being placed on probation is mandatory for any DUI conviction where the defendant does not want to automatically go to jail. DUI probation is typically informal probation, removing the requirement to regularly report to a probation officer. If one does not wish to be placed on probation, then a sentence of 96 hours to 6 months in jail and a fine of around $2,000.00 will be imposed.
As with all types of probation, any subsequent criminal offense will result in a probation violation of the original case. Traffic tickets and non-moving violations do not count as criminal offenses and thus will not trigger a violation.
The length of probation will last a minimum of three years for your first offense for a DUI conviction. This time can increase to five years for further offenses. The standard requirements of an informal probation due to a DUI conviction are as follows:
- You may not drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in your system.
- You must submit to blood, breath or urine testing if arrested for DUI. Refusing will result in an automatic violation due to California's zero tolerance laws.
- You must not commit any further criminal offenses
- Installation of an ignition interlock device may be a condition of your probation
Driving while your license is suspended for a DUI conviction will result in not only a probation violation but also mandatory penalties and jail time associated with the crime.
Accidents, Injuries, and Death
The complexity of any DUI case increases significantly when any incidence of injury or death occurs as the result of the accident. This escalation of the situation carries with it the possibility of stiff penalties as well as leaving you vulnerable to civil proceedings. Be aware that the existence of injury or death as the result of a DUI brings additional challenges to your criminal case.
To begin with, DUI's involving an injury or death could be filed as felonies by law instead of misdemeanors. With this change the potential penalties increase to up to five years in a state correctional facility based on the seriousness of your offense. The challenges and restrictions faced by convicted felons in the state of California further enhance the gravity of what is at stake. Potential impacts include:
- A lifetime ban from owning firearms
- Voting restrictions
- Difficulties obtaining employment
- Possible restrictions on business or professional licenses
- Restriction on enlisting in the Armed Forces
Of equal importance is the fact that while a skilled lawyer may manage to get your felony DUI charge reduced to a misdemeanor, one can generally expect harsh penalties due to the serious nature of the crime. Juries and judges are seldom lenient in DUI injury cases.
Furthermore, the end of the criminal case may not be the end of your legal battle. Due to their interwoven nature, some liability in future civil cases can hinge on the success or failure of the criminal conviction. While beating the conviction does not prevent a civil case, it does give you far better footing in the event of one. You are ultimately responsible for all damages and medical costs of the injuries that occurred from your DUI. If your insurance is unable to cover the full costs, the likelihood of a civil suit to obtain the remainder is high.
Contact Us for Help
I will fight with wisdom and tenacity from day one to win your DUI case. We have the experience to know how to handle each specific type of DUI scenario that arises, and we will not let you down.
Contact us 24/7 at 424-281-3020 for a free DUI consultation and immediate attention to your case.