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Accused of a DUI in the
San Francisco Bay Area?

Police Make Mistakes: Affordable DUI Defense
to Protect Your Record and License


  • Improper choice of sobriety tests
  • Failure to read Miranda rights
  • Invalid tests due to medical conditions such as acid reflux and diabetes
  • Mis-calibrated breathalyzers
  • Improper seizures of blood sample
  • Police misconduct investigated
  • Retest of blood samples by private lab
  • Hardship licenses negotiated


Can You Beat a DUI in the San Francisco Bay Area?

Summit Defense attorneys often receive calls from prospective clients asking whether it makes sense to defend a drunk driving case also known as a DUI or DWI.


Those accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs realize that the evidence is stacked against them. Most likely, they submitted to and failed a field sobriety test. On top of that, they completed either a breath or blood test and were told that their BAC (blood alcohol content) was over the legal limit of .08%.


Consequently, people are often resigned to giving up with out a fight. Sometimes, they incorrectly believe that a DUI has a fixed penalty like a speeding ticket which falls off of a record after a number of years. Other times, they understand that the repercussions are serious, but reluctantly accept their license suspension, fines, increased insurance rates and criminal charges without contest.


The simple answer is that while not all DUIs are beatable, many are.

- James T. Reilly, Senior Trial Attorney at Summit Defense


DUIs are always worth fighting because criminal convictions are serious: they remain on one's record for life and can affect one's life in areas such as job applications, professional licensing and insurance rates. The reality is those who don't contest DUI charges receive the standard outcome, while those who do stand the chance of outright dismissal or receiving a less serious offense.

There are many defenses that come into play when our attorneys defend a DUI case in the San Francisco Bay Area. We work closely with our clients to examine the evidence and police report before deciding which approach is most appropriate.  Keep in mind that DUI law is a specialized area of criminal defense and some defense attorneys have developed tried and true techniques used to defend these cases.

DUI Defenses Involving Police Errors

Many defenses are based on errors made by the police during the arrest and the subsequent activities of the police crime lab following the arrest. The police are charged with clearly documenting everything they do during a DUI arrest. Likewise, the crime labs must follow a rigid procedure when handling and testing the blood samples. DUI defense attorneys review these records and make challenges.


In one example of police error, Summit Defense attorneys found that the Police Department did not properly document the time of arrest. Because the time could not be proved, there was no way for the prosecution to show that the blood alcohol reading was relevant to the arrest.


In another DUI case, a Summit Defense attorney got a DUI case dismissed by showing that the police did not have justification to pull over the driver in the first place. The driver was not weaving or driving recklessly and there was no indication that there was any illegal activity taking place. Therefore the arrest was improper and the case was thrown out.


In yet another DUI case, Summit Defense attorneys showed that the police, in allowing the suspect to leave the scene and go to the bathroom in the midst of the arrest, did not maintain the required fifteen minute continuous watch over the suspect.

DUI Defenses Involving Police Lab Errors - Mishandling of Blood Evidence

Sometimes a DUI defense involves lab errors in the testing of blood samples. Clients may be surprised to learn that mistakes are made in blood testing and DUI cases are dropped when these mistakes are exposed to the court. In a recent case, after reviewing the police report, a Summit Defense attorney discovered that a San Jose police lab result indicated the wrong blood type for a the client. The prosecutor was forced to dismiss the case, when the attorney brought this error to his attention.


If our client was driving well and tested not far above the legal limit, we will order a blood split from the court and submit the sample to our independent lab for re-testing. Likewise, if our client submitted to a breathalyzer test, we may order the calibration records to show whether the equipment was properly serviced as required by the law.

DMV Hearing to Preserve Driver's License

When we are first contacted, many of our clients are surprised to hear that they are entitled to a DMV hearing in addition to their day in court. Summit Defense attorneys always include the DMV hearing as part of the defense. Our goal in the DMV Administrative Per Se hearing is to preserve our client's driving privilege and we consider our job to be well done when our client can both keep his license and have his case dismissed.


While we don't condone drunk driving, we understand our job as defense attorneys is to assert our clients' rights in court and during the DMV hearing. We strongly believe that those accused of crimes should keep the system honest by challenging accusations and preventing police misconduct. As DUI attorneys, we take our job seriously and are proud that our clients often have their charges dropped or reduced to lesser offenses that don't carry the consequences of a DUI conviction.


DUI Case Results


CHARGES First time DUI in San Jose facing license suspension, fine and probation.
RESULT After expert discovered police lab errors, Case Dismissed.
CHARGES Second offense DUI in Fremont, client facing jail and 1 year license suspension.
RESULT Summit attorney's Motion to Supress granted based on lack of probable cause to stop client.  Case Dismissed.
CHARGES Client arrested for second DUI in San Francisco with injury accident facing prison time.
RESULT All felony charges were dismissed. Plead to one misdemeanor. Sentenced to home detention.
CHARGES Underage DUI in Solano County, 19 year old client with .06 BAC (blood alcohol content) facing 1 year suspension and criminal conviction.
RESULT Charge reduced through negotiation with DA's office.  DMV granted hardship license to allow driving to school and work.
CHARGES Doctor charged with Felony DUI in Napa County with great bodily injury.
RESULT Prison avoided, great bodily injury enhancement dropped. Three years probation.
CHARGES First offense .09 DUI in Santa Clara county.
RESULT Independent lab blood retest showed .07 BAC, charges subsequently dropped.


Call us day or night for a free and confidential case review to discuss your options.

Attorneys On Call, Days and Evenings

Summit Defense Attorneys

Criminal Defense Attorneys in San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento and Surrounding Communities

Summit Defense Attorneys – San Jose
map and directions
2570 N 1st Street, 2nd Floor
San Jose, CA 95131
Phone: 408-333-9622
Summit Defense Attorneys – San Francisco
map & directions
580 California Street, 12th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: 415-666-2316
Summit Defense Attorneys – Pleasanton
map & directions
6200 Stoneridge Mall Road, Suite 300
Pleasanton, CA 94588
Phone: 925-218-4730
Summit Defense Attorneys – Burlingame
map & directions
533 Airport Blvd, Suite 400
Burlingame, CA 94010
Phone: 650-763-8766
Summit Defense Attorneys – Marin
map & directions
4040 Civic Center Drive, Suite 200
San Rafael, CA 94903
Phone: 415-524-7717
Summit Defense Attorneys – Oakland
map & directions
1970 Broadway, Suite 1145
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510-352-1450
Summit Defense Attorneys – Richmond
map & directions
146 Washington Avenue, Suite D
Richmond, CA 94801
Phone: 510-412-8900
Summit Defense Attorneys – Sacramento
map & directions
770 L St #950
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-830-0061