Long Beach criminal attorney Matthew Kaestner has over 30 years experience handling DUI cases as both a prosecutor and defense attorney. Over those years, he has successfully helped clients keep their license, keep their job, and avoid the time and embarrassment of going to Court to defend DUI charges. He has won at trial and before the DMV.
California Law makes it a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to six months to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs or to drive with more than .08 percent of alcohol in the blood. A second offense within ten years can be punished by up to one year in jail. Although most persons refer to the charge as "drunk driving," many persons arrested are not drunk.
California Law allows for a person arrested for driving under the influence to be charged in a criminal law court and also suffer an administrative action by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). After an arrest, the arrested person has only ten days to contact the DMV and request a hearing to challenge the suspension by the DMV. An accused has the right to have an attorney present at the DMV hearing to raise any legal challenges that may exist to the DMV action.
On a first offense the DMV will suspend a driver’s license for 4 months. If they allege a refusal to give a breath or blood test at the time of arrest, a license can be suspended for one year.
In addition to DMV consequences, most DUI arrests will result in prosecution in a criminal court. If convicted of DUI, as a first offender, California law requires a mandatory minimum sentence. That minimum sentence is 3 years of informal probation, fines of approximately $2000, and completion of a 90 day alcohol program. There are increased minimum penalties for second and third offenses within a 10 year period. A fourth offense within ten years is a felony.
An experienced criminal law attorney can determine if you have a defense to the charge of DUI and defend you before both the DMV and the criminal court. The defenses to the charge include challenges to the accuracy of a blood or breath test, whether driving occurred, and whether the police lawfully stopped the vehicle.
There are cases where the police contact a sleeping motorist on the side of the road and arrest for DUI even if the officer saw no driving. Most prosecutors will file a charge of DUI even if there was a breath reading of .08, despite the fact that a properly functioning breath testing machine has an error rate of plus or minus ten percent. Prosecutors will almost always file criminal charges even if the officer illegally stopped the motorist.
A criminal law specialist can identify and challenge an illegal arrest, or any flaws with the prosecution’s case. Also, an attorney can make all court appearances for you so that you can avoid the embarrassment and missed work time involved in going to Court.
The Department of Motor Vehicles web site has additional information regarding DUI/DWI cases and the DMV consequences of an arrest for DUI.
For information regarding DUI arrests go to: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/dl/driversafety/dsalcohol.htm
For information regarding DMV Administrative Hearings go to: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/?1dmy&urile=wcm:path:/dmv_content_en/dmv/dl/driversafety/dsadminhearing
For information regarding DMV Administrative Hearings vs. Criminal Court Trials go to: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/dl/driversafety/dsadminvscriminal.htm
Matt Kaestner Attorney. This website is designed for informational use only and the information presented on this website should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney/client relationship.
For more information about the Law Office of Matthew Kaestner visit his site at www.lbcrimlaw.com.