Drunk Driving Q&A

If you were arrested for driving while intoxicated, you are facing serious charges. The laws and legal proceedings for DUI cases can be confusing, and you likely have a number of questions. Our team has defended countless clients against drunk driving charges, and we would be proud to fight for you. If you would like to discuss your specific situation, please call our offices today. For more information, read answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about DUI charges.

My BAC was over the legal limit; why should I even try to fight my DUI?
Many drivers mistakenly believe they have to plead guilty to their DUI charges if they failed a breath or blood test. The truth, however, is that there are many factors that can negatively impact your testing and lead to invalid results. Law enforcement officers must follow strict procedures when testing a driver’s blood-alcohol level and the failure to do so can taint their evidence and move the judge to throw it out. If you were arrested based on your BAC results, do not wait to speak with a knowledgeable attorney at our firm who can help you determine your defense options.

Why do I need to work with a defense attorney?
While you are not legally obligated to work with a defense attorney of any kind (a public defender or a private attorney), failing to enlist a skilled attorney usually results in a negative outcome for your case. A dedicated and experienced lawyer can anticipate the prosecution’s strategies and determine whether your rights have been violated in any way. Your attorney can also advocate for you before the judge to seek reduced charges and penalties and fight to have any tainted evidence ruled inadmissible.

What types of cases does your firm handle?
At Okabe & Haushalter, we deal with all types of drunk driving offenses, including underage DUI, commercial vehicle DUI, multiple offenses, felony charges, DUI with injury and appeals.

How long will my license be suspended if I’m found guilty of DUI?
While this will depend upon your particular case, a standard license suspension for a first DUI offense may be 4 to 6 months. A second conviction may result in a suspension of up to 2 years, a third conviction for up to 3 years, and a fourth conviction up to 4 years. It is also important to understand that your license is not suspended by the court, but rather the Department of Motor Vehicles. At your hearing, the DMV will decide whether the officer had reasonable grounds to confiscate your license, and the length of time for which your driving privileges should be suspended.

Do I need a lawyer at my DMV hearing?
A DMV hearing is an administrative hearing and is entirely separate from the criminal court process. This means that the state will not provide a defendant with a public defender as representation. However, it is highly recommended that you work with a private attorney who can represent you at your DMV hearing. This hearing must be scheduled within 10 days of your arrest, and having an experienced attorney at your side can help to guarantee a positive outcome.

Will I go to jail if I’m found guilty of drunk driving?
Different counties throughout Southern California apply different guidelines in regards to mandatory minimum sentences for drunk driving convictions. For instance, a first time offender may face a mandatory minimum county jail sentence of 48 hours. A second conviction may result in a mandatory jail sentence of 96 hours. For this reason, it is important to work with a defense lawyer immediately – in order to have the opportunity to avoid a mandatory jail sentence.

Do I have to take a field sobriety test, blood test or breath test?
After you are stopped under the suspicion of intoxicated driving, you may be asked by law enforcement to take a field sobriety, breath or blood test. While you can refuse a test, doing so will actually result in the suspension of your driver’s license, for up to 1 year (for a first refusal). According to California’s Implied Consent law, a person who has signed for and received his/her driver’s license has agreed to submit to chemical testing to determine his/her blood alcohol level after a DUI arrest.

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