A good DUI defense lawyer will help you understand the DUI process and the means by which to defend a DUI. The effects of being arrested for DUI in California are harsh and broad, they affect the accused financially, professionally, emotionally, and socially. More often than not, being arrested for DUI is the first encounter and likely last encounter people have with law enforcement. The legal fees alone are the first part of an expensive and long process.
Financially, the costs include attorneys fees and if you go through trial, fees for expert witnesses, laboratory analysis, investigations, and additional costs for expenses. First-time offenders without accidents causing injury, also face fines of about $2,000 imposed by the government. There are also costs for alcohol treatment programs (if you, and are allowed to, plea to the crime), and in all likelihood, your insurance will climb.
Professionally, you may be precluded from or face difficulty obtaining professional licenses, joining the United States Armed Forces, or getting certain jobs.
Emotionally and socially, there are significant consequences and penalties imposed by the DMV on your driving privileges, and sometimes additional restrictions imposed on your ability to attend bars, drink alcohol, and engage in other activities.
Finally, if you are not a U.S. Citizen, you may also face potential immigration consequences.
Therefore, it is incredibly important for you to hire a lawyer whom will help you understand your rights, fight for your rights, and search for the most effective and efficient resolution.
The DMV and the State, California's 2 Cases in 1
California is very harsh on DUIs, simply put, when arrested for DUI in California you face two cases in one. The first is the obvious criminal case brought by the state, and the second is the administrative case brought by the DMV. You must address the DMV in an administrative per se hearing.
When arrested for DUI, law enforcement sends the arrest report to the DMV and your license is automatically suspended after a temporary license you receive when arrested expires. You must contact the DMV within ten days of your arrest to schedule the hearing and fight the suspension of your license.
DMV hearings are complicated and can have dire consequences on your ability to drive and automobile insurance. It is important to have qualified defense counsel strategically manage, plan for, and control the DMV investigation and hearing.
DUI in California and How DUIs work
California's DUI statute allows for you to be convicted of a DUI by either driving impaired after consuming alcohol or drugs (the "A Count"), or driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level in excess of .08 (the "B Count"). Generally, the state charges both legs of the DUI statute, which are implicated when you drive under the influence of alcohol.
In order for the State to convict you of DUI, the State need only prove one leg of the DUI statute.
To prove the B Count, that you were driving with a blood alcohol concentration level of .08 or higher, the state will often use a breath sample and/or blood sample. If you are at or over a BAC of .08, you are presumptively in violation of the second leg of the DUI statute. Nonetheless, there are often inherent inconsistencies and/or flaws associated with measuring BAC. As a result, a good DUI defense lawyer finds those inconsistencies and/or cites flaws in the breath sample or blood sample and mounts a defense to the B Count.
On the other hand, to prove the A Count, that you drove while impaired by alcohol, the state uses the arresting officer's subjective interpretations of your level of impairment. In order to determine level of impairment, the police will cite your driving, initial observations when pulling you over, and your performance on the Field Sobriety Tests (FST). If the officer subjectively deems you too impaired to drive, then you can be convicted of violating the A Count. Much like the B Count, there are substantive flaws associated or problems that arise when proving the A Count. Most obviously, an officer's subjective view of your impairment can be biased or not reflective of reality or simply the Field Sobriety Tests may have been administered ineffectively or unclearly.
Because of the possibility of a substantive defense, it is important to hire a lawyer capable of addressing the flaws in the State's evidence and argument, or flat out suppress the evidence gained while the officer conducts his or her investigation.
DUI Cases in California -- A Defense Lawyer's Perspective
As defense counsel, Red Metric's attorneys will analyze the facts of your case and search for means by which to mitigate the damage of committing a DUI or fight to determine whether the police acted properly when stopping you, detaining you, and arresting you.
In order for the state's evidence to be used against you, certain requirements must be met, and it is fundamentally important to understand that only a skilled lawyer can effectively isolate those things and ensure that the police systematically adhered to their obligations when stopping you, detaining you, and arresting you. Even if one piece of evidence was improperly collected or preserved, or if one-step was skipped, you could be acquitted of all or some of the charges.