Bay Area DUI & DWI Defense Lawyers

Accused of a DUI in the San Francisco Bay Area?




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


Those accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs realize that the evidence is stacked against them. Most likely, you submitted to and allegedly failed a field sobriety test. On top of that, you completed either a breath or blood test and were told that your 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 truth is that while not all DUIs are beatable, many are.

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

Please review this page as well as the various pages dedicated to DUI offenses  and contact us for a FREE CONSULTATION should you have any further questions.


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. Summit’s Bruce Kapsack is a leading authority on California DUI defense, having practiced exclusively as a criminal defense attorney for the last 30 years.



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.



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.



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.



CHARGESFirst time DUI in San Jose facing license suspension, fine and probation.
RESULTAfter expert discovered police lab errors, Case Dismissed.

CHARGESSecond offense DUI in Fremont, client facing jail and 1 year license suspension.
RESULTSummit attorney’s Motion to Supress granted based on lack of probable cause to stop client.  Case Dismissed.

CHARGESClient arrested for second DUI in San Francisco with injury accident facing prison time.
RESULTNot Guilty Verdict At trial

CHARGESUnderage DUI in Solano County, 19 year old client with .06 BAC (blood alcohol content) facing 1 year suspension and criminal conviction.
RESULTCharge reduced through negotiation with DA’s office.  DMV granted hardship license to allow driving to school and work.

CHARGESDoctor charged with Felony DUI in Napa County with great bodily injury.
RESULTPrison avoided, great bodily injury enhancement dropped. Three years probation.

CHARGESFirst offense .09 DUI in Santa Clara county.
RESULTIndependent 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.