Did you know that a tongue piercing can return an artificial result in a DUI breath test? That’s because the piercing itself can hold alcohol in the mouth. Knowledge like this is something the state doesn’t have to tell you, but is what a qualified California DUI Attorney can use to defend you. If you are facing a DUI in California, you are one of over 209,000 arrested for DUI each year in the state. Unlike other traffic violations, DUI is a serious matter. It is not like a speeding ticket where you pay a fine and keep on going. The law in California is very strict and law enforcement is focused on getting drunk drivers off the road. Convictions should not be unexpected unless you have proper legal representation. If you are convicted, you’ll face jail time, loss of license and very large fines.
You can be arrested two ways in California. The first is if you have a BAC (breath alcohol content) of .08 or higher. The other way you can be arrested is if the officer has reason to believe that you are driving erratically and are unable to handle the vehicle in a safe manner.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN
After you’re stopped, the officer will likely ask you to do some roadside sobriety tests, including a handheld breathalyzer. You do not have to submit to these roadside tests and there is no legal penalty for refusing, other than making the officer unhappy. Remember, it is his goal to build a case against you. After your arrest your driver’s license will be confiscated and you’ll likely be taken the police station where you’ll be booked, printed and photographed and put in a jail holding cell with a few dozen others. You’ll eventually be removed from the cell and asked to take some type of alcohol detection test, usually either breath or urine. If you do not submit to one of these sobriety tests after your arrest, you will face further penalties under the law. While you’re at the police station, you will be given a date for your first court date, your arraignment. As a rule of thumb, unless your attorney has made prior arrangements, you should always plead “not guilty”. Once you enter a not guilty plea, you will be given a trial date. It is strongly recommended that you contact a specialized California DUI attorney who knows the nuances of fighting these very complicated and strict laws before your arraignment date, even if it is only one day before.
On the other legal front, your arresting officer will automatically forward a copy of your suspension report and your actual driver’s license to the DMV, where they’ll review it and decide whether to uphold the suspension. Suspensions are almost routinely upheld unless there was something unusual about the case. Once the DMV upholds your suspension, you have 10 days to request a hearing with them or you’ll automatically lose your license for one year. At the DMV hearing, your DUI attorney will argue the case for allowing you to keep your license. It is likely that your attorney will not have you attend the hearing so as to protect you from questioning, and it is very possible that your attorney will be able to present facts strong enough to allow your suspension to be set aside. Know that the court case and the DMV case are not related and do not affect one another. So it is entirely possible that you could lose your license with the DMV and be found innocent in court, or vice versa.
The laws are complicated and difficult to understand. Don't take a chance with your freedom. It is highly recommended that you contact a local DUI lawyer as soon as possible for a free consultation regarding your case.
If you are arrested outside your home state, be sure to ask your attorney how this law will impact you.
The penalties listed below are called for by statute, are not complete, and can often be removed or reduced significantly with the assistance of a local California DUI attorney.
FIRST OFFENSE PENALTIES
• Incarceration - mandatory 96 hours to six months in jail. Probation can alter this if it is made available.
• Fines - mandatory $390 to $1,000 fine
• License Suspension - minimum four months suspension if you lose your hearing with the DMV. If you refuse to submit to sobriety tests after you are in custody, your license will automatically be suspended for one year, with no opportunity for a “limited use” license.
• Alcohol Program Attendance - if you were arrested with a BAC under .20 you’ll be required to attend a 30 hour alcohol and drug program. If your BAC is more than .20 you’ll be required to attend a state licensed 60 hour alcohol and drug program.
• Ignition Interlock Device - in some California counties you may be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for a specified period of time.
ADDITIONAL COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES
• Bail – set by the court, required for release
• Towing – tow fee $75 to $100 plus daily storage fees
• Insurance – you will be designated as a high risk driver and your insurance will increase significantly. Expect your rates to double or more.
• Record – DUI conviction will remain on driving record permanently
• Employment – offender may lose time off work and possibly even their job.
• Immigration and travel – restrictions can apply for foreign travel including Mexico and Canada
Additional offenses will bring significantly higher penalties, up to 3 years in prison and extensive fines. Don’t take a chance with your freedom. It is highly recommended that you contact a qualified OWI attorney right away for a FREE CONSULTATION on your case. It is possible your case CAN be won with the right representation.