A CA DUI lawyer is an attorney, barred in the State of California, who represents clients who have been charged with Driving under the Influence of alcohol. DUI is a serious offense and although it is not categorized as a criminal offense it can have long standing ramifications to your employment, driving, finances, and education far into the future.
A DUI in California is a driving offense where an individual has (1) been behind the wheel of a motor vehicle; and (2) has registered 0.08% blood alcohol content. You can still be arrested if your blood alcohol level is below 0.08% due to observations by police of impairment or failing a field sobriety test. Depending on your weight and gender it could take as little as 1 alcoholic beverage to put you over the 0.08 threshold. It is often the case that someone who just goes out to dinner and has a glass of wine, or two, will be pulled over and arrested for a DUI. In the State of California, when you are arrested for DUI you will not only be charged with DUI but also California’s “per se” law. In addition to the standard DUI laws in California, if an individual under the age of 21 is found to have a blood alcohol level above 0.01% alcohol and has been behind the wheel of a motor vehicle that individual will also be arrested for DUI. This essentially equates to a zero tolerance policy for those under 21.
When this happens you will definitely need the help of a CA DUI Lawyer. CA DUI lawyers know how to represent you in a DUI case, the strategies involved, what questions to ask, how to investigate the matter thoroughly, the loopholes, and probably most importantly, the judges and prosecutors in the district, so that you will stay out of prison and maintain your driving privileges.
The penalties associated with a DUI in California include:
1st offense: probation or between 4 days and 6 months imprisonment; suspension of driver’s license for 4 months; and a 30 hour alcohol and drug rehab program. Some counties in California require mandatory jail time where others will often give probation for a first offense.
2nd offense: $390 to $1,000 fine; 10 days up to 1 year imprisonment; suspension of driver’s license for up to 2 years. Many counties require a minimum of 10 days imprisonment and do not offer probation of any kind.
3rd offense: 120 days up to one years imprisonment; fines of between $390 and $1,000 ; suspension of driver’s license for up to 3 years; Some counties require a minimum of 210 days to be served in a State Penitentiary.
4th Offense: a fourth offense is considered a felony DUI and will include up to 3 years imprisonment; permanent suspension of driver’s license; and extreme fines.
The fines included in these charges do not consider court costs and other financial penalties that will often exceed the cost of the fines themselves.
Why do I need a CA DUI lawyer?
If you, or someone you know, has been arrested for Driving under the Influence then it is almost required that they contact a CA DUI lawyer immediately. Driving under the Influence of alcohol has a stigma attached to it unlike most any other violation, even some felonies. Hiring CA DUI lawyers will not only keep you out of jail and keep your driving privileges but a California DUI lawyer can make it so you don’t have to be shamed by a DUI charge, pay higher insurance premiums or risk losing employment or education opportunities.
There are many different ways that a California DUI lawyer can help you in attacking your DUI charge. The California DUI lawyer will be able to get the records for calibration of the machine, argue the invalidity of testing, illegal searches and stops, studies proving the invalidity of breathalyzers, and arguing the disciplinary record of the police officer who conducted the arrest. CA DUI lawyers will also be familiar with the judges that handle these matters in the courts. A good CA DUI lawyer will notice if the judge you are presenting your case to is harsh on sentencing or is lenient for first time, low violation offenders. In this way the CA DUI lawyer may be able to get your case postponed until a later date with a more forgiving judge. Every little thing in a DUI case matters and a CA DUI lawyer should be competent and experienced enough to take advantage of these opportunities to help your case.
Some CA DUI lawyers will tell you that you should always refuse a breathalyzer test. Although this is something that you will want to discuss with a California DUI lawyer; refusing to take a breathalyzer test is considered an assumption of DUI and you will be arrested. On the other hand, if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test then there will be no evidence of your intoxication other than police reports, video from the police department, results of field sobriety and the testimony of the police officers. A good CA DUI lawyer should be able to explain away these forms of circumstantial evidence. A negative breathalyzer result, however, is often found conclusive of the violation. Refusal to take a breathalyzer or field sobriety test cannot be used against you in court by law; it is deemed to be a violation of your 5th amendment right against self-incrimination and the prosecution may not use your failure to perform the test as a showing of guilt in the same way that he, or she, may not deem your failure to testify in your own trial as an assumption of guilt. Your CA DUI lawyer will know have the best answers to determine what the best route is.
If you are, in fact, driving under the influence of alcohol an CA DUI lawyer will be in the best position to help you plead down your penalties. The penalties associated with fines, imprisonment, and revocations of licenses are a “not more than” standard. This means that you can not be penalized for more than the designated period of time but the penalty can be anywhere below that. The CA DUI lawyer “earns his money” in these situations. Where a suspended license will be mandatory for a specific violation the CA DUI lawyer will be in the best position to make it so that your suspension is minimal and even get it so you can drive to and from work.
Where do I find CA DUI lawyers?
If you live in California, or your offense has taken place in California, and you need a CA DUI lawyer there are many routes you can take. Almost all law firms have websites that can be easily accessed through a rudimentary internet search. These websites will often give detailed descriptions of the CA DUI lawyer’s education, certificates, areas of practice, and results that they have attained through representing clients charged with DUI. However, these websites are “advertisements” in that they are designed to best represent the lawyer and should not be taken completely by their word.
If you feel that the search for an CA DUI lawyer is overwhelming, or you don’t have the time to make a detailed search then you may want to take advantage of a referral service. The California Bar Association can help you. From there you will be able to contact the California Bar Association at 415-538-2250 or you can search for one of the many referral services in California by doing a county search.
Laws.com also has a valuable referral service. By going to the top of this page and clicking on the “find a lawyer” link you will be able to access the laws.com referral service. By inputting your name, location, contact information, and a brief description of your legal problem laws.com will be able to put you in touch with CA DUI lawyers in you area that will help you fight your DUI charge.