DUI Defense / Traffic Law
In California, a conviction for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) carries stiff penalties & punishments. The California DUI penalties & punishments listed below are based on a non-enhanced DUI conviction. If there are any "aggravating" factors, then the penalties & punishments are significantly increased. Those factors can include a child in the car (under 14), speeding, driving on a suspended or restricted license, accidents, high blood alcohol content (over .20), etc.
With that in mind, here is an outline of what penalties to expect for a California DUI conviction. Again, these are the minimal DUI penalties & punishments the court can impose. In order to receive such penalty & punishment, you probably will need someone to advocate on your behalf.
As of 2005 the “look back” period for prior DUI offenses is 10 years. Regardless of when a prior DUI offense occurred, and what the DUI law was at the time, if it is within ten years of your current offense, it will count as a prior DUI offense.
California driving cases require drunk driving defense counsel to have an understanding of both the scientific and legal processes. Issues involving search and seizure, due process, interrogations, denial of counsel, and evidence require legal expertise. In addition, the scientific aspects of a DUI in California (such as alcohol and/or drugs, field sobriety testing, and breath machines) require and additional expertise and knowledge of biology, chemistry, physiology and toxicology. Mitch Taylor has become highly skilled in these areas.
Mitch will evaluate your DUI or arrest and identify the issues in order to plan an effective strategy for obtaining the best possible outcome in your case. If you have been charged with a DUI anywhere in California specifically Central Coast and Central Valley, contact Mr. Taylor today to arrange a free consultation.
Mitch helps people protect their license if they have been accused of driving under the influence in California. He will aggressively defend you against the DUI charges and do all he can to ensure your driving privileges are preserved.
THE CALIFORNIA STATE LEGISLATURE empowered police officers to act in the place of a judge and administer state law, not only enforce it. Without going to traffic court, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and police officers can take the driver’s license of the accused, and issue a temporary 30-day license. Do not confuse this temporary driver’s license with the amount of time to challenge your license suspension. After the DUI arrest, the officer takes away the suspect's driver's license and gives him/her a pink colored form entitled "Suspension Order and Temporary License." This form serves as a (1) temporary license and (2) notice that this temporary license will automatically go into suspension in 30 days unless a hearing on the matter is requested.
YOU HAVE ONLY 10 DAYS TO CONTACT THE DMV AND REQUEST A HEARING. It is recommended you request and “in-person” hearing.
The DMV hearing takes place in an office at one of the local DMV Driver Safety Offices. A DMV hearing officer acts as the judge in your hearing. You are entitled to be present, along with your lawyer, and any witnesses that may be called by either side. The hearing officer must decide three things, all of which must be true before the license can be suspended:
In the appropriate case, Mitch Taylor may subpoena the arresting officer to testify, and/or have the client, or an expert criminalist or toxicologist for the defense testify. All hearings are recorded and questioning the officer at the DMV hearing will generate a transcript of sworn testimony that can be used to later to negotiate the case with the prosecutor, and/or to prepare the case for a possible trial.
THE FOLLOWING IS FOR REFERENCE ONLY. EACH COUNTY DOES VARY IN THEIR SENTENCING AND THELAWS REGARDING DUI PUNISHMENT CHANGE OFTEN. CRIMINAL SENTENCING FOR DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCHOHOL AND/OR DRUGS (VEHICLE CODE SECTION 23152)
ADMINISTRATIVE (ADMIN PER SE) DMV PENALTIES FOR DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL AND/OR DRUGS
FIRST OFFENSE .08 or greater (4 mo. Suspension) Refusal (1 year suspension)
SECOND OFFENSE Within 10 years .08 or greater (1 yr. suspension) Refusal (2 yr. revocation)
THIRD OFFENSE Within 10 years .08 or greater (1 yr. suspension) Refusal (3 yr. revocation)
FOURTH OFFENSE Within 10 years .08 or greater (1 yr. suspension) Refusal (3 yr. revocation)
At the bottom of your citation is a date to appear in court. This is an arraignment. If the charge is misdemeanor DUI, your attorney can appear for you (meaning you don't have to be present) at this court date. The same is usually true for most future court dates.
At the arraignment, your attorney (1) enters a plea of "not guilty" on your behalf, (2) receives the initial set of police and scientific reports, and (3) sets the case for future pre-trial court dates several weeks later.
"Pre-trials" are court dates in which we (1) collect further DUI reports and information from the prosecutor, (2) argue appropriate DUI motions to the court and (3) negotiate the case with the prosecutor and the judge. If we reach a settlement of the case that everyone is happy with (such as a reduction to a lesser charge), we can enter your plea to the court.
There may be several pre-trials before the DUI case is resolved or brought to trial. The process may take anywhere from a couple weeks to several months. It is during this period that the DUI attorney prepares the case with an eye on securing a reduced charge or preparing a persuasive case for jury trial.
If a plea agreement is reached, we can either (1) bring you to court to enter the plea, or (2) have you sign the relevant documents in our office and bring the documents to court. Some judges may now require you to be there for a plea and sentencing, however, in most cases, you won’t have to be in court.
Everyone has a right to a trial. That is, to force the prosecution to prove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” You may decide, after we discuss your case and possible defenses, to have a trial. Mitch Taylor, the DUI lawyer cross-examines the prosecution's witnesses and may call his own witnesses and experts to testify. All jurors must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty before he/she can be convicted.
The decision as to whether to go to trial is entirely up to the client. Mitch Taylor will discuss with you all the advantages and disadvantages, risks and benefits.
THE FOLLOWING MAY VARY IN THEIR SENTENCING AND THELAWS REGARDING DUI PUNISHMENT CHANGE OFTEN. CRIMINAL SENTENCING FOR DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCHOHOL AND/OR DRUGS (VEHICLE CODE SECTION 23152)
MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM SENTENCES WHEN PROBATION IS GRANTED (3 TO 5 YEARS PROBATION TERM) 48 hours to 1 year in jail, $390 to $1000 fine, and completion of a 3 – 30 month alcohol/drug treatment program (9 months if blood alcohol content is .20% or higher or if you refused a chemical test). Upon a conviction, the DMV will impose a 6 mo. to 1 year license suspension. If convicted with several DUI’s the DMV will revoke your license for 4 years, but a restricted license may be available after the first year of suspension unless the court orders otherwise
MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM SENTENCES WITHOUT PROBATION(depending how many previous DUI’s) 96 hours to 6 months in jail to 3 years in state prison, or 180 to 1 year in county jail; $390 to $1000 fine and a 6 month license suspension to 4 year license revocation.
"I can and do win DUI cases. Do not give in to despair and believe that you are destined to lose. The job of the defense is to find the good, make the state prove their case, and represent the accused and win." Mitch Taylor