San Francisco DUI Lawyer

San Francisco DUI Effects

A California DUI is usually charged differently based on whether it is your first offense. In California, you may suffer a driver’s license suspension even before you go to court. You only have 10 days to request an administrative hearing at that point if you want to keep your driving privileges so that you can continue to go to work and take care of your family while you are waiting for your case to get through the California criminal justice system. Keep the phone number of your DUI defense attorney on you at all times in case you have a question.

DUI License Suspension

If you are 21 years old and fail a chemical test by having your blood alcohol test .08 or above, California will impose an automatic suspension on your driver’s license. If you have been convicted before within the past 10 years, your minimum suspension will be 1 year. This counts DUI cases you may have gotten in other states, as they will be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles and will appear on your record. When you have a new suspension, the officer sends the information immediately to the Department of Motor Vehicles so that your suspension will go into effect. If you refuse to take the chemical test, your driving privileges will be suspended for one year for the first offense, two years for the second offense, and up to three years for the next offenses provided the driving under the influence happened with the last 10 years.

You may be able to get a restricted license even if the original license suspension for driving under the influence is found to be valid. Speak to your DUI attorney so you can start the process of getting back your ability to drive to necessary places, such as work, daycare, and the grocery.

Other DUI Punishments

The potential penalties and punishments for a DUI depend on whether or not you have been convicted of drunk driving before. However, your criminal defense attorney may be able to help you mitigate the charges, if not get the case dismissed altogether. That is why you should only speak with attorneys who understand this area of criminal law and exactly what the State has to prove to convict you. DUI lawyers should not be afraid to litigate the case when necessary.

For first-time DUI cases, defendants can expect that the punishment will be relatively mild. Even so, a California DUI can affect every area of your life. Besides driver’s license suspension, you may also be subject to fines, probation, community service, a class, and even jail time, depending on the circumstances of your case for driving under the influence. That is one of the reasons you should start working on your DUI defense as soon as possible.

A first offense DUI case where there is no bodily injury is punishable by up to a year of license suspension, $2,000 in fines, 48 hours in jail, and a 3-month class regarding alcohol education. By the time you have committed 3 DUI offenses within 10 years, that potential punishment is up to $18,000 in fines, 18 months in prison, and 30 months of treatment for alcoholism or substance abuse.

Evidence in a DUI Case

In order to prove a drunk driving case against you, the prosecutor will try to introduce evidence that you were operating a motor vehicle with certain substances in your system that caused you to be unsafe while driving. The evidence may include a combination of different kinds of factors, because the State will need to prove probable cause for the traffic stop and that you were intoxicated while driving. They are required to provide all of their evidence to you and your criminal defense attorney so that you have plenty of time to prepare your DUI defense before going to trial.

Evidence might include dangerous driving, such as speeding or crossing the middle yellow line or being in an accident. The officer who investigates the scene will look at everything, such as whether you smelled of alcohol or had open alcoholic beverages in the vehicle. Even the way you present your driver’s license may provide clues that you are intoxicated. If there is probable cause, the officer may perform field sobriety tests on you.

Any officer who gives a chemical test or performs field sobriety tests must be trained and certified, because there are strict standards as to how those tests are performed. If your Bay Area lawyer can prove there is no probable cause for the stop, none of that evidence will be admitted into court. If the officer performed the tests incorrectly, the Court may deem them invalid. An experienced DUI attorney knows that sometimes even the most professional officers make mistakes.

Before you make any decisions after you get arrested for DUI, get legal advice from a San Francisco Bay Area attorney who has the kind of experience to make a difference in your case. A DUI arrest can have repercussions on your reputation and livelihood before you are even formally charged and follow you for years. Don’t let one mistake of driving under the influence affect the rest of your life.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI, don’t wait to call a defense attorney who can immediately start working on your case. Our firm of attorneys has 20 years of experience evaluating and litigating these kinds of cases and is a Super Lawyers top-rated law firm. We are ready to do what it takes to help you get the best possible result on your case. We vigorously present your DUI defense knowing how important it may be for you and your family. Call our law office at this phone number today for a free consultation!

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 Not Guilty Verdict At trial

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a DUI a felony or a misdemeanor in California?

A first time DUI that does not involve injuries will be charged as a misdemeanor.

How long does a DUI stay on your driving record?

All criminal convictions stay on your criminal record for life. You can file a petition to expunge the record under penal code section 1203.4. This will allow you ONLY to tell an employer that the case was dismissed.

What happens when you get a DUI in California?

A DUI arrest triggers two separate actions: a criminal case filed in the superior court as well as an Administrative Per Se Hearing with the California DMV. You must request a hearing with the DMV within 10 days of your arrest.

What is the difference between DUI and DWI?

There is no difference between driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated.

What is aggravated DUI?

An aggravated DUI can mean several things including:

  • A high BAC reading (Above .15 or .20 BAC)
  • Refusal to submit to a breath or blood test
  • Driving at high speeds while driving under the influence
  • Having a minor in the vehicle while Driving Under the Influence
  • Causing an accident while Driving Under the Influence
  • Causing an injury while Driving Under the Influence
  • Prior DUI convictions within 10 years
  • A fourth DUI conviction within 10 years will be charged as a Felony

How much is bail for a DUI?

A first time DUI usually results in release without need for bail.

How much does a DUI lawyer cost?

Bay area DUI lawyers charge between $2500 and $6500 for a DUI offense.

Do you lose your license immediately after a DUI?

No. If you don’t request a DMV hearing, you will lose your license 30 days after the arrest. If you request a DMV hearing, the suspension will go into effect only if you lose the hearing.

What happens for your first DUI offense in California?

The minimum sentence for a first DUI offense in California is:

  • 3 years of court probation
  • About $2,000 in court fees (depending on jurisdiction)
  • 2 days in county jail (usually served through work alternative)
  • DUI classes ranging from 3 months to 18 months.

What happens for your second DUI offense in California?

The minimum sentence for a second DUI offense in California is:

  • 5 years of court probation
  • About $2,000 in court fees (depending on jurisdiction)
  • 10 days in county jail (usually served through work alternative)
  • DUI classes ranging from 9 months to 18 months.

What happens for your third DUI offense in California?

The minimum sentence for a third DUI offense in California is:

  • 5 years of court probation
  • About $2,000 in court fees (depending on jurisdiction)
  • 120 days in county jail (can be served through work alternative)
  • DUI classes ranging from 18 months to 36 months

Can you be charged with a DUI after the fact?

The Statute of Limitations for DUI is one year. However, it is rare for evidence of DUI to surface after the fact.

Do you go to jail for a DUI?

The minimum sentence for a first time DUI does not involve actual jail time but may involve jail alternatives. Third DUI offenses carry a minimum sentence of 120 days in county jail and may involve actual custody time.

How do I get my license back after getting a DUI?

To get a restricted license after a first time DUI suspension you must: DUI, you must:

  • Enroll in DUI class
  • install an Interlock device (some jurisdictions)
  • Pay a reissue fee.

To get your license back, you must complete the DUI class and pay an additional reissue fee.

Can you get a DWI for marijuana?

Yes. Driving under the influence of Marijuana is a violation of Vehicle code section 23152(a).

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