Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or DUI, is a serious offense that comes with severe penalties.
If you are charged with DUI, you should consider hiring a skilled DUI attorney to help you navigate the criminal justice system. A DUI lawyer can negotiate reduction of your charges and keep you out of jail, or even have your charges entirely dismissed.
Based in San Francisco, San Mateo & Alameda Counties, DUI Attorney Mike Silveira has successfully handled over 1000 DUI cases of all types throughout the Bay Area and Northern California, including:
- DUI when under 21 years old, driving with %.01 or more blood alcohol concentration [VC 23136]
- DUI when under 21 years old, driving with %.05 or more blood alcohol concentration [VC 23140]
- Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs [VC 23152(a)]
- Driving with a blood alcohol concentration of %.08 or higher [VC 23152(b)]
- DUI causing injury to another person [VC 23153]
You may also be facing the following enhancements that make your DUI punishment harsher:
- Blood alcohol concentration over %.15 [VC 23578]
- Blood alcohol concentration over %.20 [VC 23578]
- Refusing to complete a chemical test to determine blood alcohol concentration [VC 23577; VC 13353]
- DUI while speeding 30 mph over the posted speed limit [VC 23582]
A skilled DUI lawyer will aggressively attack all enhancements and allegations against you.
There are many potential defenses to DUI charges, which include the following:
FERMENTATION OF THE BLOOD SAMPLE
Quite often, law enforcement will not use the correct amount of preservative in the vial of blood they draw from you. If an inadequate amount of preservative is mixed with your blood sample, your blood may ferment during storage, causing a much higher blood alcohol concentration (bac) when tested.
INCORRECT CALIBRATION OF THE PAS DEVICE OR BREATHALYZER
If you were tested with a breath alcohol machine that was incorrectly calibrated, your true blood alcohol concentration could be much lower than reported.
You may have a different partition ratio than the average person – this can dramatically affect the reading of your blood alcohol concentration when you take a breath alcohol test. Breath alcohol concentration tests are really an estimate of your actual blood alcohol concentration. Alcohol in your blood gets you drunk, not alcohol in your breath. For example, after drinking three beers, two people may both have a true blood alcohol concentration of %.07. However, because the two people have different partition ratios, one person’s breath test may show an incorrect %.10 bac reading, and the other person’s breath test may show a true %.07 bac reading.
IMPROPERLY INSTRUCTED FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS
Law enforcement officers often give incomplete or incorrect instructions prior to field sobriety testing. If you were instructed incorrectly, the results of the test are highly unreliable.
IMPROPER TRAFFIC STOP
Law enforcement officers may pull you over thinking that you violated a traffic law, when in fact, you did not. If you were improperly pulled over, all evidence obtained after the stop must be suppressed and cannot be used against you in court.
Here are some of the penalties for conviction of DUI in California
Court Probation from 3 to 5 Years
There is no probation officer, but no drinking and driving during this time.
Suspended California Drivers License for 6 months
While driving on a suspended license is forbidden, your DUI lawyer can help you obtain a restricted license which will permit you to drive to and from school and/or work.
Driving Under the Influence School
Usually your Blood Alcohol Level will determine how many hours of DUI School you must attend. The required hours can range from 12 to 45. Your attorney can assist you in trying to decrease the number of hours you have to spend at DUI School.
These fines will also include your court fees and costs. The amount varies, but generally ranges from $1,400 to $1,800. Usually, the court requires that the fines be paid in their entirety within 45 days; however, for an additional charge, the court allows these monies to be paid over time. Some courts do allow you to work off a portion of your fine by completing community service.
Mandatory Jail Time of 48 Hours
You will be facing jail time, but your attorney will negotiate with the court to allow your jail time to be converted to a work program. You may also be entitled to credit for time already served.
Ignition Interlock Device (Depending on County of Conviction)
Individuals convicted of a first offense DUI in the counties of: Los Angeles, Alameda, Sacramento or Tulare, will be ordered to have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed on all of their vehicles. These IIDs will remain on the vehicles for 5 months. If you caused an injury to another person during the offense, the IID may be required for 12 months.
All First DUI Offense penalties/punishments apply with the following changes
- The fine is increased to between $1,800 and $2,800.
- You will lose your driver license for up to 2 years. Your attorney may be able to request a restricted driver’s license for you after one year of your suspension has been completed. At that time, you may also be required to install an IID on your vehicles.
- You will be required to attend a Driving Under the Influence program for a period of 18 months.
- Jail time often ranges from 10 days to 60 days depending on the county of conviction.
You will be facing a minimum of 120 days in jail to maximum of one year. A DUI Lawyer can help you avoid serving your time in custody; a treatment program and/or house arrest (ankle bracelet) are possible alternatives to jail.
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