What Everyone Wants to Know About DUI
Is there anything I can do to avoid an arrest or conviction for DUI?
Remember, it is easier to stay out of trouble than to get out of trouble. Don’t let one mistake become a bigger problem. Call Denis White for help, and from now on, please take a taxi, designate a driver, call a friend, walk or get a hotel room.
What can I do to protect my California Drivers License?
There are two ways that DMV can take your license. You need to be aware of both. You have 10 calendar days to contact DMV with your request for an Administrative Per Se (APS) Hearing. This hearing is to determine whether law enforcement had probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence, that the arrest was lawful and that the blood alcohol level was .08 or more at the time of the driving. Please read the information law enforcement gave you when they took your California Drivers License or call the Denis White Law Office for assistance. The second way DMV can take away your privilege to drive is upon receipt of an abstract, from the criminal court, of a conviction for DUI.
How do I handle the DMV process?
DMV and the ADMINISTRATIVE PER SE HEARING
DMV only provides you with 10 calendar days to make a request for a hearing. Provided law enforcement confiscated your license and gave you a pink piece of paper that acts as a temporary license for 30 days, you almost always should take advantage of this right to an APS (Administrative Per Se Hearing) hearing. Call Sacramento DUI lawyer/attorney Denis White Law Office at (916) 444-3300 for a more detailed explanation as to why.
The California Department Of Motor Vehicles has the ability to suspend a California license even where the District Attorney or Prosecutor declines to files charges. For example, where the blood alcohol level is .08 or higher, but the District Attorney or Prosecutor doesn’t believe they could prove the case “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”, which is the standard of proof in a criminal case, they just might decide not to file a criminal complaint. This does nothing to help you with the Suspension of your California Drivers License and the Loss of Your Privilege to Drive. In fact, because the DMV issue is civil rather than criminal, the standard of proof is “More Likely Than Not” making it very easy for DMV to do this to you. Call or E-Mail Denis White Law today to see how to best protect yourself from this kind of awful result.
If you just want to protect your right to hearing and want to call Denis White Law later, please call the Sacramento DMV Drivers Safety Office at (916) 227-2970. Make sure you insist on a “stay” until after the hearing and always keep notes with the name of the person you spoke to and the date, in case there is a problem or question about the timeliness of your request later.
How do I decide which attorney will best represent me?
Talk openly and honestly with them. If you give them bad information you will get bad advice. Whenever possible, do it in person and in the attorney’s office so you can size each other up. The better lawyers welcome your questions and concerns as a sign that you are interested in your case. You might want to know how long the attorney has been licensed by the California State Bar. You can go directly to the California State Bar Attorney Search to see how long the attorney has been licensed and if they have ever had any problems you should know about.
- Does the attorney regularly handle DUI cases like yours?
- Who will be handling your case?
- Will there be any additional costs for reports, investigator or expert fees?
- How available will the attorney be for you after you pay them?
You definitely want to make sure that the person you think you’re hiring is going to be your attorney. Don’t settle for a firm that has a team of lawyers making court appearances.
Denis White has been representing clients charged with DUI in Sacramento and all surrounding counties since 1994. When you leave his office you will have his cell phone number and an invitation to call as questions arise.
If an attorney makes you promises about how your case is going to turn out before having reports and going to court, you should look for another lawyer.
Can I avoid personally making court appearances?
In most misdemeanor cases yes, but there are exceptions.
What reasons can law enforcement use to make contact with me or pull me over?
The list is almost endless. Common reasons given are speeding, weaving, expired tags, tail lamps out, cracked windshield, tinted windows, accident, failure to use turn signal, stopping over the limit line or incomplete stop at sign, missing license plate, DUI checkpoints or roadblocks, illegal turns, no seatbelt, cell phone use or texting while driving are just some of the reasons used to justify a stop. The National Traffic Safety Administration also conducted research on what law enforcement should look for as indicators of DUI. They list 20 indications of DUI:
- Turning with a wide radius
- Straddling center of lane marker
- “Appearing to be drunk”
- Almost striking object or vehicle
- Driving on other than designated highway
- Speed more than 10 mph below limit
- Stopping without cause in traffic lane
- Following too closely
- Tires on center or lane marker
- Braking erratically
- Driving into opposing or crossing traffic
- Signaling inconsistent with driving actions
- Slow response to traffic signals
- Stopping inappropriately (other than in lane)
- Turning abruptly or illegally
- Accelerating or decelerating rapidly
- Headlights off
What can I do if I don’t think law enforcement had a legitimate reason to make contact with me?
A suppression motion is the remedy, under PC§1538.5.
What should I do if I’m stopped?
You should be polite. If you flunk the attitude test law enforcement has the ability to make the experience even more unpleasant.
Do I have to take the field sobriety tests?
No you do not. It is a rare occasion where an officer will write in the report that you passed a field sobriety test. You are within your rights to politely decline to take the tests. In many cases law enforcement has already decided they are going to arrest you and they are just collecting more evidence for the prosecution.
What are the most common field sobriety tests given and what is the purpose?
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk and Turn, One Leg Stand are the Standardized Field Sobriety tests.
Others include Finger to Nose Touch, Hand Pat, and saying the Alphabet. They are supposed to be an indication of impairment.
Do I have to take the Preliminary Alcohol Screening Test (PAS) at the scene?
Not unless you are under 21 years of age or on probation for a DUI offense. You can politely decline to take this test as well.
What should I do if law enforcement tells me they will let me go if I pass the field sobriety tests and the PAS test?
That is a judgment call that you have to make at the time. Remember that it is law enforcement that decides if you passed the tests.
If lawfully arrested do I have to take a Blood Test, Breath Test or Urine Test?
If law enforcement has reason to believe you are Driving Under the Influence (DUI) the answer is yes.
Which is the best test to take?
If you are confident that you are sober, below .08 and have no drugs in your system (prescription or illegal) that could cause impairment then I would take the blood test. It is the most accurate, if done correctly, and can be retested by a private lab if necessary. The breath testing machines and urinalysis are less reliable.
What if I am under the influence of a prescription medication or illegal drugs?
You can still be prosecuted for DUI under VC 23152(e). Call Denis White Law for more detailed information regarding different types of drugs or medications.
What if I refuse all of the tests?
A forced Blood draw is almost certain. In short, they are going to get the evidence they want and you will likely be charged with a Refusal. The result is a longer license suspension and more jail time.
What if the officer didn’t read me my Miranda rights?
Your sole remedy is that you may be able to prevent the prosecutor from using incriminating statements that you made to law enforcement from being used against you in a trial.
What will the likely punishment be?
Denis White Law can give you an idea what the standard penalties are in most counties for most charged offenses. If there are charges in addition to the DUI case please remember to bring up that fact when you call. It can dramatically affect the potential consequences.
How long can prior convictions be used against me?
The look back period is now 10 years, measured from the date of the arrest.