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Southwest Legal



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driving under the influence of
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Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense in California. The state has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country, and even first-time offenders can face severe penalties. If you’ve been arrested for DUI in California, it’s essential to understand your legal rights, the defenses available to you, and the potential consequences
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Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense in California. The state has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country, and even first-time offenders can face severe penalties. If you’ve been arrested for DUI in California, it’s essential to understand your legal rights, the defenses available to you, and the potential consequences. Consequences of a DUI Conviction in California The penalties for a DUI conviction depend on several factors, including whether it’s your first or subsequent offense, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and whether any aggravating factors were present, such as causing an accident or injuring someone.

The penalties for a DUI conviction depend on several factors, including whether it’s your first or subsequent offense, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and whether any aggravating factors were present, such as causing an accident or injuring someone.

For a first-time offense with no aggravating factors, the penalties can include:

Up to six months in jail
Fines up to $1,000
A license suspension of up to six months
Mandatory attendance at a DUI school
Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle

Subsequent offenses carry much harsher punishments. For example, a second DUI conviction within ten years can result in:

Up to one year in jail
Fines up to $1,000
A license suspension of up to two years
Mandatory IID installation for at least one year
Third or subsequent convictions carry even more severe penalties.

Legal Defenses Available for Those Charged with DUI
If you’ve been charged with DUI in California, several legal defenses may be available to help you fight the charges. These defenses include:

Challenging the legality of the traffic stop or arrest.
Contesting the accuracy of field sobriety tests or breathalyzer results.
Arguing that medical conditions or prescription drugs caused false BAC readings.
Challenging the reliability of blood test results.
It’s important to work with an experienced DUI defense attorney who understands these defenses and knows how to build a strong case on your behalf.

Protecting Your Driving Privileges and Employment Opportunities

A DUI conviction can have long-lasting consequences beyond just fines and jail time. It can also affect your driving privileges, employment opportunities, and personal life.

In California, if you’re arrested for DUI, you only have ten days from the date of arrest to request a DMV hearing to challenge your license suspension. If you don’t request this hearing within ten days, your license will automatically be suspended after 30 days. Additionally, some employers may not hire employees with a criminal record or may terminate current employees who are convicted of certain crimes like DUI.

What Should You Do if You’ve Been Arrested for DUI?

If you’ve been arrested for DUI in California, it’s crucial to take immediate action to protect your rights and future. Here are some steps you should take:

Contact an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Request a DMV hearing within ten days of your arrest. Avoid discussing your case with anyone except your attorney. Attend all court appearances and follow any court orders careful



A DUI conviction can have severe consequences that can impact every aspect of your life. If you’re facing charges for driving under the influence in California, it’s essential to understand all aspects of the law and work with an experienced attorney who can help protect your rights and future prospects.

How to Fight a DUI Charge

Courts are very strict about requiring an accused person to have an attorney. If you cannot afford one, you may qualify for a public defender (generally a new attorney who is handling a massive caseload to gain experience). If you can afford an attorney, the court will require that you are represented by an attorney. If you try to represent yourself, the judge will warn you that it is extremely dangerous to try to handle the case without an attorney since the judge will require that the person know the law and courtroom procedures just as an attorney would.

Judges do not want people representing themselves since they lack legal training and the court does not have time to explain or handhold. Less than 1 percent of people attempt to represent themselves due to the extreme risk. Everyone else gets an attorney to guide them through the process.

The DMV is critically time sensitive. It has to be handled quickly and correctly, otherwise, an automatic suspension will follow. It is very difficult to manage to request your own DMV hearing and conduct the hearing itself. It is highly recommended to have an attorney handle the process for you.

We handle the DMV process every step of the way for each client to make sure their rights are protected and we aggressively attack the State’s case. We conduct a formal DMV hearing where we can cross-examine police officers. We look for inconsistencies in their statements, and dashcam video that contradicts their version of events, and nail them down to answers on the record that they cannot later change when they feel it is convenient to do so. We treat the hearings like formal court proceedings and preserve a record that can be used to further attack the police officer’s testimony in court or on appeal. In many cases, the officers are not well prepared for the DMV hearings and we immediately overpower them with fact-specific questions that require fact-specific answers. We do not accept ambiguous or vague responses or “I don’t recall.” We require that the officers make a complete statement about the incident and then use it many months later in court to demonstrate inconsistencies, weaknesses, or outright fabrications by the police officers.

Because the DMV is so time sensitive, the most pressing thing to do is to find the right attorney for you. Not every attorney matches well with each possible client. The attorney-client relationship is exactly that – a relationship. And it is based upon mutual respect, trust, and a shared desire to win. Many attorneys hop on the phone, make promises about getting your case dismissed, and demand money. Some will pressure you to get money immediately from family and friends and tell you that they are your only hope to avoid jail time. Some will tell you they play golf with the DA and will get your case dismissed. Some will tell you they know the police officers on your case. These are sales tactics.

The Cost of a DUI Conviction

The cost of a DUI can vary widely. Costs can range from a couple thousand to tens of thousands depending on the severity of the case. Most cases are not particularly complex so the costs are lower. We offer flexible payment plans to accommodate people in all different financial situations.

Let's Talk About Your Case

Let's Talk About Your Case


What can We do for You

Here is our pledge. We will keep you informed after each court appearance. We return all phone calls and emails. We will give you an honest assessment of the case and what to expect. Most importantly, we pledge to do an extraordinary job on your case and to achieve the best possible result. During your time of need, we will be in your corner 100%, defending you and taking the weight off of your shoulders.

When charged with a DUI, there are a million things that can go wrong, things that can ruin your career or have a devastating impact. Choosing the right attorney is one of the most critical decisions you will make. Call us now for your free case assessment and begin your winning defense strategy now.

We will look closely if the officer observed you continuously for 15 minutes before administering a test. This is a requirement under California law. If not we can have the result of the test questioned. We also check and make sure that the device the officer used is checked for accuracy every 10 days or every 150 uses whichever comes first and it should be logged and we can obtain those logs.

DUI consequences include expensive fees, driver’s license suspension, months of DUI school, probation, and possible jail time. We must call DMV to request a DMV hearing within 10 days from the date of the arrest otherwise you will lose your right to a hearing and your license will be suspended after 30 days.

These are just some of the things we can do to help you with your case., We are here to help you! But again, we want you to Be Safe and Stay Safe! Please avoid Driving Under the Influence, Observe and follow Traffic Safety Laws. Have a great day and please take care!

Understanding DUI Process

A complete breakdown of how every step of a DUI works and what you can expect. If you have further questions, we encourage you to check out our DUI Information Center or speak with one of our attorneys.

Part 1. The Arrest/Booking, Part 2. DMV Hearing, Part 3. Pre-Trial, Part 4. Trial

Part 1. The Arrest/Booking
A Majority of DUI arrests happen after you are pulled over, or an accident occurs. From a legal perspective, two major events happen during this phase: First, you were likely given a chemical test with a choice between a blood test or a breathalyzer. Second, your license was taken from you, and you were given a pink temporary driver’s license. Unless you take action immediately, the DMV will automatically suspend your license after 30 days.

Part 2. DMV Hearing
When arrested for a DUI, you face two government entities, the court, and the DMV. The Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license automatically after your arrest by state law. This is called “administrative suspension.” However, we can fight this if we act quickly. From your arrest, you have ten days to file a request for a hearing with the DMV. Your hearing is your only chance to stop the administrative suspension of your license, and if you miss the deadline, there is no going back.

Part 3. Pre-Trial
During the pre-trial phase of a DUI case, the prosecution must disclose all evidence to the defendant’s attorney. As the top DUI attorneys in Riverside, we meticulously review this evidence, known as “discovery,” to uncover any technicalities that may benefit our client. We assess whether the defendant’s rights were respected, scrutinize the chemical test results, and consider the timing of the test relative to the time of driving. This is where most DUI cases are resolved without going to trial.

Part 4. Trial
Sometimes your lawyer will recommend going to trial. This may be true if the prosecution refuses to bargain or if their case is flawed. A court trial is not necessarily bad, but it’s risky because the outcome is all or nothing. Your lawyer’s job is to convince the jury that there is doubt about what happened and ideally acquit you. A law firm with a reputation for winning trials is essential because if the prosecutor knows the defense council can’t take a case all the way, they may not be willing to negotiate to a lesser charge even if their case is weak.

What We Need To Do

After hiring us within 10 days of the arrest, we can request a hearing with the DMV for you. This allows us to challenge the case with the DMV in an effort to protect your license. DMV hearings, however, are very rarely successful for the driver. If you have retained us after 10 days of arrest, your license will automatically be suspended after 30 days from the arrest.

We request a hearing by sending in a notification to the driver safety branch of the DMV letting them know that we represent you and to place a “stay of suspension” on your file. This orders the DMV not to suspend your license until we have been given a chance to challenge the case in a DMV hearing. If we do not specifically request a DMV hearing (known as an Admin Per Se Hearing), the DMV will automatically suspend your license without conducting a hearing.

The hearing process can be slow. The DMV is very backed up due to budget constraints. As long as we have sent in the request within 10 days of the arrest, your rights are protected. The DMV will generally contact us to schedule a date for the hearing about two weeks after we send in the original hearing request. After we agree upon a date for the hearing, the DMV will automatically mail us the police reports for the case. Reports take another two to three weeks to arrive. The DMV hearing is often scheduled about 60 days after the arrest date. You, the driver, are automatically entitled to drive without any restrictions up until the DMV hearing date. Even though the pink temporary license given to you at the time of arrest states you can only drive for 30 days, once we have requested the hearing, you can drive until the hearing, which can be months after the arrest.

The DMV will notify us (including you) of the result of the hearing by mail only. They will not tell us at the time of the hearing what their result will be. You do not have to be present at the hearing at any time.

You will not need a restricted license until after the DMV has conducted your hearing and suspended your license. Typically you are required to wait 30 days after they suspend your license to apply for a restricted license.

Let's Talk About Your Case

Let's Talk About Your Case


Driving Under The Influence Alcohol or Drugs

Frequent Questions

A DUI refers to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of both. A DUI is a shorthand for driving while impaired, being charged with driving under the influence, or getting convicted (found guilty) of “drunk driving.” “DUI” is a generic term for anything related to court proceedings or an arrest for drinking and driving.

A blood alcohol level, also known as BAC level, is a measurement used to determine a person’s level of impairment from alcohol or drugs or a combination of both. The BAC level is used to determine whether to arrest and charge a driver with a DUI. The legal limit in California, and virtually every other state, is .08%, which means that an alcohol content of .08% or higher is considered illegal and will bring about DUI charges. The BAC level can be tested by either doing a breath test on a “breathalyzer,” or by giving a blood sample using a traditional blood draw.

Many people are often shocked to find out how high their BAC level is and are confused about how their BAC level could get so high, stating that they are small (or large) so there is no way they could get that high. The BAC level is relative to each individual and takes into consideration their total weight, body mass index, metabolism, liver function and several other factors, so the actual BAC number is a percentage of the person’s total blood content.

.08% BAC is the national standard for being impaired so any test result at or above .08% will cause a DUI charge. Interestingly, prosecutors can charge DUI even when the BAC level is below .08%. The DA can file a DUI even on .01% BAC if they feel that there is impairment shown from driving poorly (weaving, speeding, etc.) or from poor performance on field sobriety tests. Also, a person could be using alcohol and marijuana, for example, and have a BAC well below .08 yet the DA will still seek a DUI conviction.

DUIs have aspects that are extremely time-sensitive and urgent. The best thing to do is find the right lawyer ASAP who can request a DMV hearing immediately. The right attorney will make sure the DMV doesn’t suspend a person’s driver’s license until there has been a hearing to challenge the case and until all defenses have been put forth.

A driver does not need to answer questions at a checkpoint but must provide their name, driver’s license, proof of insurance, and registration upon being requested to do so by a police officer. Beyond those basic pieces of information, the driver does not need to disclose any other information. The driver does not need to disclose whether or not they had been drinking prior to the checkpoint.

In general, a person suspected of DUI will be given a choice between a blood test or a breath test. If the driver chooses the breath test but is unable to give a large enough breath sample (or the machine isn’t working properly), then the driver is required to give a blood test, even if they don’t want to. A driver is allowed to decline all tests except for the blood test. If the blood test is unavailable, the driver will be required to submit to any of the remaining options for testing – either breath or urine (rarely used anymore).

A driver can usually choose between a blood or a breath test, except when officers suspect drugs are involved, in which case they will require a blood test. If officers believe the driver is impaired with drugs, the driver has no option other than the blood test, and refusing to consent to a blood draw has severe consequences.

Mouth alcohol refers to any alcohol in your mouth that may be expelled by blowing into a breath machine. Mouth alcohol can come from just taking a sip of alcohol, from GERD (acid reflux) bringing up stomach contents that contain alcohol into the mouth, from dental work that causes excess fluids to remain in the mouth, etc. If someone gargled with alcohol and then blew into a breath machine, we would anticipate an elevated BAC result because of the mouth alcohol that is going into the breath machine.

Mouth alcohol is not an accurate indicator of impairment since it is not related to your actual BAC, since the alcohol is in your mouth and not being measured in your blood. Mouth alcohol is why police are required to observe a suspected DUI driver for 15 minutes prior to taking the breath test, to make sure they do not burp or regurgitate, causing excess alcohol to go from the stomach to the mouth, and then into the breath machine.

Expect to be held in jail during the booking process from anywhere from 2 hours to 24 hours, the average being about 12 hours until release. Upon release, the jail will give the driver important paperwork outlining the date for the upcoming court case and urgent DMV requirements that need to be handled. In the first 24 hours after an arrest, most people are stunned and don’t know what to do or who to turn to. We handle every aspect of the case and explain the entire process to each client so they can feel comfortable knowing that everything is being properly handled by an expert.

A DUI typically will not ruin your life. In most cases, DUIs are misdemeanors that can be negotiated so that the punishment is very minimal (or nothing at all), and a DUI record can be expunged fairly quickly. A felony DUI carries much more risk for one’s future as job prospects, applying for housing, credit, etc, can be impacted if someone is declared a felon.

Yes. A DUI typically carries two points with the DMV which can raise the cost of insurance or lead to additional suspension time. A DUI with an accident carries three points instead of two.

No. Some DUIs can be dismissed and never appear on the record. DUIs that lead to criminal convictions can be erased or expunged through the expungement process, typically after 3 years of law-abiding conduct.

DUIs carry a wide range of penalties which depend greatly on how the court negotiation process goes. The most severe penalties include jail time or prison time. Most DUIs don’t require jail but do require DUI classes, fines, community service, labor, probation, AA meetings, MADD meetings, working at the hospital and morgue, license suspension, the requirement of a breathalyzer in your vehicle (Ignition interlock device), etc.

The cost of a DUI can vary widely. Costs can range from a couple thousand to tens of thousands depending on the severity of the case. Most cases are not particularly complex so the costs are lower. We offer flexible payment plans to accommodate people in all different financial situations.

Getting charged with a DUI means that the state is accusing you of driving under the influence, which can either be a misdemeanor or felony on your record. Having a misdemeanor or felony on your record is technically considered to be a crime on your record. Most DUI are misdemeanors, which carry the possibility of jail time. Felony DUI is much more serious and carries the possibility of state prison time.

There are two types of under-21 DUIs. The first is when the BAC level is under .05. In that case the prosecutor will usually not file a misdemeanor, but will file the case as an infraction. The consequences of an under-21 DUI in these types of cases are severe since the DMV will automatically suspend your license for one full year, without the ability to drive to work or school.

And then when the court case settles, it will restart the one-year suspension. The other type of under-21 DUI is when the driver is .08 BAC or above, in which case it is treated as a misdemeanor with significant punishment and a one-year driver’s license suspension. Learn more about underage DUIs.