Knowing your legal rights is very important when charged with any crime. It is natural to have many questions if you or someone you know has been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While the team at Sevens Legal, APC is easily accessible should you wish to speak to someone from our office, we understand that you may feel more comfortable doing research on your own first. As such, we have compiled a list of questions we often receive from our clients.
Please feel free to reach out to a member of our firm for further information regarding California’s drunk driving laws and what happens after a DUI arrest.
If arrested or charged with DUI, do I need a lawyer?
Yes. You need attorneys who specializes in DUI cases. Hiring a defense law firm that knows what they are doing can help you get your cases dismissed or charges reduced.
What is probable cause?
Probable cause is present when you act in such a way that your behavior causes a police officer to suspect you are intoxicated. Swerving in and out of lanes or speeding and then rapidly slowing down are probable causes for an officer to question your sobriety and pull you over.
Can I take an online DUI education course?
While certain exceptions are made, it is rare for California residents to obtain permission to take the course online. You must complete one of the 472 licensed programs as stipulated by California’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Program. These programs are offered in all of the state’s counties except for Alpine County.
How often do I have to have an ignition interlock device calibrated?
Your ignition interlock device (IID) should be calibrated at least once every 60 days.
Are fatalities from drunk driving accidents really all that common?
Yes. Nearly 40 percent of all traffic fatalities are directly related to the use of alcohol or drugs by those operating vehicles. Of the 3,434 people killed in traffic crashes in California in 2008, 1,355 of these deaths were the result of accidents involving alcohol and drugs.
I have a professional license. Do I have to report my DUI to anyone?
Possibly. Lawyers, doctors, dentists, physicians’ assistants, nurses, pilots, teachers and other professionals are required by many states to report any criminal convictions. You may be subject to additional penalties from the licensing boards.
How long will a DUI conviction appear on my record?
As of 2007, a DUI conviction will appear on your record for 10 years. Drivers who have been convicted of a DUI within the past 10 years are not eligible for a good driver discount even if they have not been in an accident.
Are most people who have been arrested for DUI convicted of drunk driving?
Many but not all people are convicted of drunk driving following a DUI arrest. The percentage of people varies each year, but 75 percent of those arrested in 2007 were convicted.
What are police officers on the lookout for when they are patrolling for drunken drivers?
This list of warning signs to police is taken from National Highway Traffic Administration statistics:
Making a wide-radius turn
Driving over the center of a lane marker
“Appearing to be drunk”
Almost striking object or vehicle
Driving on other than designated highway
Driving at a speed more than 10 mph below limit
Stopping without cause in traffic lane
Following too closely
Driving on the center or lane marker
Driving into opposing or crossing traffic
Making signals inconsistent with driving actions
Responding slowly to traffic signals
Stopping inappropriately (other than in lane)
Turning abruptly or illegally
Accelerating or decelerating rapidly
Driving at night with headlights off
What are the most common symptoms that officers find in drunken drivers?
This is also another list of symptoms taken from National Highway Traffic Administration statistics:
Alcohol odor on breath
Red, watery, glassy and/or bloodshot eyes
Inability to understand the officer’s questions
Staggering while getting out of the vehicle
Leaning against the vehicle for support
Inability to stand straight
Inability to walk straight
Inability to easily remove license from wallet
Defensive or argumentative attitude
Silly or laughing attitude
Fumbling with wallet trying to get license
What happens if I live in California and get a DUI in another state?
The likelihood is that the other state will contact your state and you could face charges in both states as part of the Driver’s License Compact. It is never a good idea to ignore criminal charges, even if they occur in another jurisdiction. In this case you face losing your driver’s license and having additional penalties imposed.
The best way to avoid trouble is to contact your attorney as soon as possible for experienced and accurate legal advice rather than trusting what your friends might tell you.
If I have been drinking and I’m pulled over by a police officer do I have to answer the officer’s questions?
The law protects citizens from making incriminating questions. If you wish, you may answer “Before I answer any questions I would like to speak to an attorney.” The circumstances of your drinking certainly come into play. If you have had only a glass of wine or a beer that would explain why your breath might smell of alcohol and is not an incriminating statement.
Remember that the more information that you provide an officer the more that can be used against you. Under all circumstances, however, you should also respect the officer.
Who was Driving?
The prosecution must prove that the defendant was in fact the one driving the vehicle. In most cases where there are no witnesses to an accident, intoxication is not enough.
Was there Probable cause?
There must be evidence provided that the officer had probable cause to stop, detain and arrest.
Were you read your Miranda Rights?
If the arresting office did not timely give a Miranda rights warning to the defendant, the defendant’s incriminating statements may be excluded from the evidence in court.
Were you given implied consent warnings?
In some states (including California), if a chemical test was refused or given incorrectly, and you were not advised of the consequences of this, it may be a reason to invalidate a DMV license suspension based upon your refusal to provide a breath/blood sample.
Were you assumed to be under the influence?
The officer’s observations and opinions that you failed the test can be questioned. The circumstances under which the field sobriety tests were given can be disputed, and witnesses can be called to testify that you appeared to be sober.
Faulty tests created a skewed blood-alcohol concentration?
There exists a wide range of potential problems with blood, breath or urine testing. Many different defects in analysis can be brought out in cross-examination of the state’s expert witness.
Were you tested during the absorptive phase?
The blood, breath or urine test will be unreliable if done while you are still actively absorbing alcohol. Food in the stomach slows alcohol absorption and may delay it from reaching the brain, so the blood alcohol test results will not accurately show how sober you were.
Was the protocol followed during the blood-alcohol testing?
The prosecution must prove that the blood, breath or urine test complied with state requirements.
If I am asked to take a chemical test what happens if I refuse?
If you refuse to take either a blood, breath or urine test there can be several penalties, based on what state you are arrested in. Most likely your driver’s license will be suspended even if you are not convicted of the charge and in California this would be for one year.
Some states count it as a separate crime and it can add jail time if you are convicted. A refusal also can be used by prosecutors as a consciousness of guilt in court. One factor that may be considered in deciding whether or not to refuse the test is whether the driver expects a very high blood-alcohol level to be found.
If I do take a chemical test which one should I take?
Many states, including California, no longer offer the urinalysis test. By choosing a breath test many states allow you to have a second test of either blood or urine because breath samples cannot be saved and tested by the defense.
The blood sample is in most cases the most accurate so the more confident you are that you are not drunk this would be the best choice. Breath machines can have measurement problems and urinalysis is the least accurate.
So, if you live in a state in which urinalysis tests are given and believe that you have a high-alcohol level that would probably be the best choice.
Contact A Defense Attorney Immediately For More Information and Help – Initial Consultation Is Free
If you or someone you love has been charged with any related driving under the influence offense, you need to act quickly and contact the experienced defense lawyers at Sevens Legal, APC at 619-297-2800 immediately for a no-charge, no-obligation, and confidential initial consultation. We are local and located in San Diego
If you delay, you risk putting your freedom, property, and livelihood in jeopardy. Every second you hesitate is less time for our attorneys to help protect your rights. We look forward to helping you.
¿Se habla español? Sevens Legal,APC regularly works with Spanish-speaking Criminal & DUI clients.