San Diego DUI Lawyer
DUI Defense Representation
Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) can be a traumatic and embarrassing experience. Having your driver’s license confiscated by a police officer is jarring and unexpected, and the penalties and fees can be substantial. A DUI conviction can also lead to higher insurance rates, a criminal record, and even possible jail time.
If you’re arrested for a DUI, the officer will notify you that your driver’s license will be suspended in 30 days. He will confiscate the license, issuing a temporary one that’s valid until the suspension goes into effect. After your DUI tests have either been refused or completed, you will be booked and released. Depending on the facts of your arrest and criminal history, you may be released on bail or on a written promise to appear in court. Once your case has been reviewed, the prosecutor will either decline to file charges, or formally charge you with a California DUI.
Two Distinct Cases For California DUIs
When you’re arrested for a DUI in San Diego, you will face two separate proceedings: a DMV case and a criminal case.
DMV Case – Last year, 35% of all California defendants arrested for DUI kept their driver’s license by requesting a DMV hearing within the allotted time period. This portion of your DUI defense involves preservation of your driving privileges. The administrative hearing concerning the suspension of your driver’s license is handled by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You must request a hearing within 10 days of your arrest, or your driver’s license will be automatically suspended 30 days after the arrest date.
Unlike California criminal court, the DMV hearing is relatively informal, and run by a Driver Safety Office (DSO) Hearing Officer, rather than a judge. If the DMV hearing officer finds in your favor, any driver’s license suspension will be set aside. While the standard of proof is lower here than in a criminal court, the odds of a person winning their case without the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney are pretty low. A public defender won’t help you at all with the DMV portion of a DUI problem. To get that help, you should hire a private attorney to represent you in both the DMV and criminal proceedings.
Criminal Case – The criminal case typically follows the DMV hearing, where you will defend yourself against a criminal prosecution in court. Based on the facts of your DUI arrest, you could face jail time, fines, community service, vehicle impoundment, and more.
You could also be subjected to enhanced penalties if any of the following apply: A previous DUI conviction within the last decade; speeding or driving recklessly; driving with a minor (under 14); excessive blood alcohol content (BAC); and refusal to submit to chemical testing.
There are some possible defenses against a DUI conviction. If the devices that calculate your BAC were improperly maintained, not functioning correctly, or if the officer didn’t conduct the BAC test properly, it may be possible to successfully argue that the results are invalid. If the police pulled you over without cause, you may have the charge dropped by the judge.
Don’t Go It Alone – Get Help From A San Diego DUI Attorney
At the Law Office of Gregory Garrison, we understand that DUI charges are serious, and we stand committed to protecting your rights and freedoms. Both DMV hearings and criminal proceedings demand the experience of skilled DUI lawyers. If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you need representation by someone with a clear understanding of the California DUI process, to secure the best possible outcome for your case.
Penalties resulting from a DUI conviction can be extremely serious, so you should contact us to discuss your case as soon as possible after your arrest. Our legal team has years of experience defending the rights and driving privileges of our clients in court and at DMV hearings. To learn more about your case and how our San Diego DUI lawyers can help, contact the Law Office of Gregory Garrison today for a free case evaluation.