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Drunk Driving Defense Law Firm in Los Angeles
Frequently Asked Questions for DUI
- What will happen on my first court date and do I have to be there if I have a lawyer?
- The police did not read me my rights, will my case be dismissed?
- The police said I blew a.07%. Why was I still arrested and charged with a DUI?
- If I have a good case, should I wait to contact the DMV about a hearing?
- How can they charge me with DUI if they pulled me over for speeding?
- Why am I being charged with DUI if I did not drink, I only smoked a little marijuana?
- Why is there no speeding charge on my ticket, only DUI?
- The police spelled my name wrong on the citation, will my charges be dismissed?
- I did not give police permission to search my vehicle. Is this a violation of my rights and an illegal search?
- If the officer does not show up at my initial court date will my DUI be dismissed?
- Is it true that you should refuse the chemical test?
- Will the court count prior DUI convictions in other states against me?
- What is a wet reckless?
- Shouldn't I just plead guilty if my test results were over.08% BAC?
- How can I win a DMV hearing if my test results were over.08%BAC?
- Why should I pay for a lawyer when I can get a Public Defender for free?
Q: What will happen on my first court date and do I have to be there if I have a lawyer?
A: The first court date is called an arraignment. On this day a plea will be entered to the charges (guilty, not guilty or no contest). Usually, the police reports and a list of charges (Complaint) are obtained. The defendant in misdemeanor cases will usually not have to be present if represented by an attorney. In felony cases the defendant must appear.
Q. The police did not read me my rights, will my case be dismissed?
A. Law enforcement personnel are required to read you your "Miranda rights" only if two criteria are met. You must be in custody (usually "arrested"), and you must be interrogated (questioned about the details of the crime). A Miranda warning violation does not automatically result in the dismissal of a case. The statements that you made after the violation would be suppressed and not admissible as evidence.
Q. The police said I blew a.07%. Why was I still arrested and charged with a DUI?
A. An arrest for DUI can be made at any blood alcohol level. Some counties routinely prosecute people with blood alcohol levels below a.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Often the decision to arrest is dependent upon the performance on the field sobriety tests (balance & coordination) and the driving pattern (weaving, speeding or an accident, etc.). An officer can arrest for simply being under the influence of alcohol or drugs with no reference to your blood alcohol level at all! The District Attorney would then file a 23152(a) CVC charge, which is simply driving under the influence of alcohol. Again, this would likely be based on the police observations of your driving pattern and performance on the field sobriety tests.
Q: If I have a good case, should I wait to contact the DMV about a hearing?
A: No, the criminal case and DMV suspension of your license in DUI cases are completely separate actions. You must request a DMV hearing within ten days of arrest to avoid the automatic suspension of your driver's license by the DMV. Our firm can handle this for you.
Q: Why am I being charged with DUI if I did not drink, I only smoked a little marijuana?
A: In California DUI includes drugs as well as alcohol. Suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs, including marijuana, may be proper grounds for a charge of DUI.
Q: How can they charge me with DUI if they pulled me over for speeding?
A: The speeding offense provided the probable cause (valid reason) for the stop. If the law enforcement officer suspects you of driving under the influence after you are stopped (based on admissions, smell of alcohol or drugs etc.) you can be arrested for DUI. There is no requirement that police suspect you of driving under the influence prior to the stop in order to arrest you for DUI.
Q: Why is there no speeding charge on my ticket, only DUI?
A: The lesser speeding charge (infraction) is usually not charged because of the more serious DUI charge (misdemeanor). The speeding will be reflected in the police report.
Q: I did not give police permission to search my vehicle. Is this a violation of my rights and an illegal search?
A: In most cases, no. Police need probable cause to suspect that the vehicle contains contraband or instrumentalities of a crime. There is a lesser expectation of privacy in vehicles and searches incident to an arrest are also allowed. Officers can search the entire passenger cabin, and in some cases may even open any containers and packages if there is probable cause that it may contain contraband. Proper probable cause is always a key issue for an attorney to explore.
Q: If the officer does not show up at my initial court date will my DUI be dismissed?
A: No, a DUI is a misdemeanor not a traffic infraction. The initial court date is an arraignment and the police officer will not be present. In fact the police officer may never be present during the court proceedings until the date of trial if any.
Q: Is it true that you should refuse the chemical test?
A: No, absolutely not. You should never refuse to take a chemical test in California. A refusal to take a blood or breath test will result in the automatic one year suspension of your driver's license even if the DUI charge is dismissed. And if convicted a refusal can result in increased penalties including jail time. Also, the refusal can be introduced into evidence as "consciousness of guilt" of having too much alcohol in your system. This can be refuted by your defense attorney.
Q: Will the court count prior DUI convictions in other states against me?
A: Generally, yes. If the law in the other state is substantially similar to the law in California then a prior DUI or DWI can be used against you in California thereby increasing the penalties (jail time, greater fines and longer alcohol programs, etc.).
Q: What is a wet reckless?
A: A wet reckless is essentially driving with some alcohol in your system that does not rise to the level of a DUI. This is a common reduction for first time DUI offenders. The fines, penalties and probation are often less than that of a DUI, but a wet reckless will be considered as "priorable" offense for a seven-year period. Thus, if you get another DUI within seven years of a wet reckless the DUI will count as a second offense.
Q: Shouldn't I just plead guilty if my test results were over.08% BAC?
A: There could have been an error during the testing process that can only be uncovered during the discovery process. If you simply plead guilty based on the original test results you may be giving up your opportunity for a dismissal or reduction of the charges against you. Alcohol testing is not always accurate. Procedural errors, faulty machinery, improper testing methods are always a possibility in a DUI case. Your attorney should explore all of your options and opportunities.
Q: How can I win a DMV hearing if my test results were over 0.08% BAC?
A: The DMV hearing is very concerned about whether all procedures by law enforcement were properly performed before suspending a person's driver's license. Testing is not always accurate, procedural errors, faulty machinery, improper testing methods are always a possibility in a DUI case. All of these could result in a set aside of your suspension. The DMV hearing is crucial in DUI cases. We are very successful in having our client's driver's license suspension set-aside and licenses returned to our clients.
Q: Why should I pay for a lawyer when I can get a Public Defender for free?
A: In order to qualify for the services of a Public Defender you must establish to the court's satisfaction that you are indigent (unable to afford to hire your own attorney). A Public Defender is an attorney assigned to a specific courtroom to handle all of the cases that day for the indigents who did not retain an attorney to represent them. Public Defenders are almost always very dedicated and may be experienced in your type of case. However, your case would be just one of many. Usually, hiring your own lawyer provides you with the most experienced attorney who can provide you with the best possible investigation and defense of your case and you are the sole focus of your attorney. And if you simply plead guilty, you may wonder for years if you could have had the charges against you dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense. You must ask yourself: "How would a conviction and having a criminal record affect me in the future?"
The legal defense information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Our law firm encourages you to seek independent counsel for legal advice regarding your individual criminal defense felony or misdemeanor legal issues. Any results portrayed here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ if based on different facts. Any reference obtained from this site to a specific service, product or process does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the firm of the service, product or process or its producer or provider. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the state of California.