While it is a common offense, DUI, more formally known as Driving under the Influence is a serious offense, and it increases in seriousness based on whether individuals have been injured or killed as a result. California law has become increasingly geared towards providing harsh penalties for dui offences in large part with the hopes of deterring the crime. Penalties for being convicted of the crime can include fines, imprisonment, license suspension or revocation, community service, etc.
You can be charged with DUI if you take a breath test (Breathalyzer) or blood test (in a hospital settin as opposed to at the scene of the arrest) and your blood alcohol concentration level is .08% or greater. Additionally, you can be charged with DUI even if you refuse such testing but are nevertheless believed to have impaired abilities due to alcohol and/or drug consumption. Impaired ability is often deduced by law enforcement based upon evaluating the behavior of the driver. Behaviors and physical presentations such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, inability to walk straight, etc. can both arouse suspicion of impaired ability as well as confirm suspicion to be used to justify an arrest.
Upon being arrested for DUI, your arrest will be disclosed to the Department of Motor Vehicles, resulting in the immediate suspension of your license. You may wonder, “How can the DMV suspend my license when I have yet to be found guilty of the crime for which I have been charged?” Well the answer to that is quite simple: per the United States Supreme Court, driving is a privilege and not a constitutionally protected right. Consequently, if individuals meet the bare minimum requirements of having misused this privilege, such as posing a threat to other drivers and non-drivers by driving under the influence, one’s license can be suspended because there is not the same right to due process. However, this does not mean that you cannot contest such a suspension. In fact, you can, and this reality makes it even more important that you contact our office for a complimentary consultation to discuss not only the legal ramifications of the charge but also the transportation effects. You have ten days to contact the California DMV to request an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension of your license. Even if you ultimately prevail in court, if you do not deal with the DMV, administratively, you can still lose by having your license suspended.
Having a skilled DUI defense attorney can only help you in such matters. For one, we can bring certain things, and potentially deficiencies to light such as the fact that many breath tests have been found to have been administered using outdated and therefore scientifically unreliable equipment. While modern technologies such as breath tests can, in fact, be used to prove intoxication, they provide little value, and can actually harm the legitimacy of the criminal process if they are used improperly or are insufficient to provide credible scientific information. We are qualified to look into such possibilities and if needed, find breath test experts to testify on your behalf in court.
Therefore, call our office to see how we can make what often seems to be a nightmare, a more manageable challenge.