Newport Beach DUI Defense Attorney
California DUI Consequences
Not only can a DUI conviction lead to criminal penalties and a driving license suspension, but it can also have professional licensing and immigration consequences. Many professions that require licensing from a state board, such as doctors, nurses, lawyers, accountants, contractors, teachers, real estate agents and stockbrokers, all require background checks. A professional who has a DUI conviction on their record risks losing their professional license, or never acquiring it in the first place.
Perhaps the most severe impact of a DUI conviction involves immigration consequences. Although most DUIs don’t have immigration consequences, there are some types of DUIs that can have drastic immigration consequences. Non-citizens who are permanent residents, with a green card, or temporary visitors with a visa, can be denied admission or naturalization or even deported, with certain DUI convictions on their record.
Fighting a DUI on your own is almost impossible but having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can be the difference between innocence and guilt. At Right Choice Law, our team of former prosecutors have handled over 10,000 DUI cases. We know how to evaluate a DUI case from top to bottom. As your Newport Beach DUI defense attorneys with more than 75 years of collective experience, we will show you the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
The DUI Process in California
When a person is arrested for a DUI, they are charged with two separate crimes – driving under the influence of alcohol, as defined by Vehicle Code Section 23152(a), and driving with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher, as defined by Vehicle Code section 23152(b). You can be charged with driving “under the influence” even if your blood alcohol level is less than a .08%! These are two separate crimes and the first thing to understand about a successful DUI defense is that your DUI defense lawyer must be able to defend against both of these charges.
Attacking the “under the influence” part requires an analysis of your driving, an explanation of your objective symptoms (i.e. bloodshot eyes or slurred speech or odor of alcoholic beverage), and an evaluation of your performance on your field sobriety exercises. Attacking the blood alcohol level requires knowledge of how alcohol is absorbed, processed and eliminated in the blood stream, and the problems of chemical tests in measuring your alcohol level. Resolving a DUI case in court can take several court appearances, which can last a few months.
If you have our DUI defense attorneys on your side, you don’t need to appear in court for most misdemeanor DUIs. In fact, most of the time our DUI defense attorneys can handle your DUI case from beginning to end without you ever having to step inside the courthouse.
In addition to defending your case in court, an experienced DUI defense lawyer will also need to fight your case with the DMV. In California, the DMV is the only agency that controls what happens to your driver’s license. Most people who arrested for a DUI have their driver’s license confiscated and are given a pink piece of paper that’s a temporary 30-day license. After that temporary license expires, a person’s driver’s license can be suspended from four months to two years, depending on the circumstances of their case.
In order to prevent this license suspension, a person has 10 days from the date of arrest to request a hearing with the DMV. It’s important to contact a reputable DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible so that this hearing can be set up.
Our DUI defense team will contact the DMV on your behalf and set up a time for your DMV hearing, which has different procedures and different standards than a criminal case. And if your DMV hearing falls outside your 30-day temporary license, we will make sure your driving privileges are extended until the time of the hearing.
No Driving DUI Defense
In order to be convicted of a DUI, the prosecution must establish that you were driving the vehicle. This is easy to do if the police saw you driving and pulled you over. However, sometimes the police never actually see you driving.
For example, the police approach you when you’re in a parked car or the police respond to the scene of an accident. In these situations, the police will look for clues to establish that you were driver of the car and that you drove the car recently. The police will ask you whether you drove the car. They will see whether you were in the driver’s side or the passenger side. If you claim someone else drove the car, they will want to know who and where that person is. They police may check the warmth of the car’s hood to determine if the car was driven recently. If you claim that you drank after the car was driven, they will look for evidence of used alcohol containers or whether there is a place nearby that you were drinking at.
However, in the right circumstances, it’s possible the prosecution will not be able to prove you were the driver. The best DUI defense attorneys are former prosecutors. A former Deputy District Attorney at Right Choice Law knows how the prosecution will evaluate a DUI case and therefore knows what clues to look for in a police report and what arguments to make in court.
Rising Blood Alcohol Defense
When a person drinks alcohol, it takes time for their body to absorb the alcohol into their blood. Depending on a person’s weight and whether they were drinking on an empty or full stomach, most people take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes for alcohol to be fully absorbed in their system. That means a chemical test result may not accurately reflect your blood alcohol level at the time of driving.
If your blood alcohol level was still rising, then you could be under the legal limit at the time of driving. There are a lot of different factors that determine whether this defense can be used properly. Only an experienced DUI defense lawyer can evaluate a case to determine whether there is a good rising blood alcohol defense.
What Not to Argue
In addition to knowing what issues to fight about with the prosecutor, our Newport Beach DUI defense lawyers also know what issues are not important in DUIs. Many DUI defense attorneys focus on the wrong issues when dealing with the prosecutors and that can lead to poor results.
For example, many DUI defense lawyers argue that lack of Miranda warnings can be a weakness in a DUI case. However, for the vast majority of DUI cases, Miranda warnings are irrelevant. The reason is that in most DUI cases, officers ask questions before a person is arrested. Miranda warnings are only given if a police officer questions someone after an arrest. Since officers usually don’t ask any questions about what happened after an arrest, they are not required to give Miranda warnings. The problem is that most attorneys who claim to be DUI defense lawyers confuse DUI cases with other types of criminal cases, where Miranda warnings are important. Choosing a criminal defense attorney who argues the wrong things will lead to the wrong results.
Legal Defenses to DUI
There is no surefire way to beat a DUI case. However, an experienced DUI defense lawyer does know the best approaches to fighting a DUI charge. Common DUI defenses include attacking the reasons for the car stop, evaluating the driving pattern and field sobriety tests, undermining the chemical test results, presenting a “no driving” defense or presenting a “rising blood alcohol” defense.
Choosing the right DUI defense lawyer will be the most important decision someone can make when facing DUI charges. Many people who face DUI charges are good people who made a mistake or exercised poor judgment. There are also some people who have been wrongfully accused of DUI, based on a misunderstanding or false evidence. Our attorneys will listen to your side of the story carefully, who will evaluate the evidence thoroughly. As former prosecutors we have the skills to negotiate with our former colleagues and the trial experience necessary to get the best results for our clients. For an example of our work, please see our case results and read our client testimonials.
Contact us today to learn more about our legal services. Get 20+ years of experience on your side!
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Our team at Right Choice Law is backed by 60 years of combined experience.
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At Right Choice Law, all of our lawyers are former Deputy District Attorneys.
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Principal Attorney Fred Thiagarajah is a member of MENSA, the international high-IQ society.
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Laws are constantly changing. Our attorneys are up to date on all the latest developments with constant research and regular attendance at seminars.