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Santa Clara County DUI Defense AttorneysIt is that festive time of year with the Christmas and New Year’s holiday soon to be upon us. ‘Tis the season for work parties or get-togethers with friends and relatives. Many of these gatherings involve traveling but can also involve cocktails. If people are going to partake in alcoholic beverages, they should always appoint a designated driver who remains sober. However, if a person has one or two drinks, he or she might think it is OK to drive. Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol impairs a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. This impairment can cause a car crash, resulting in severe injuries or death.  

Know Your Limit

Many states have created drinking and driving prevention programs in an effort to reduce the number of car accidents caused by intoxicated drivers. Still, drunk driving is a leading cause of vehicle crashes that result in serious injuries and even fatalities. Reports from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) show there were 1,140 DUI arrests over the 2019 New Year holiday, and at least 36 people were killed in car accidents. 

Everyone’s tolerance for drinking alcoholic beverages is different depending on body type as well as the kind of alcohol. For example, the percentage of grain alcohol in beer or wine is typically less than what is found in hard liquor like vodka, gin, bourbon, or whiskey.  

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San Jose criminal defense attorneySome marriages may include one spouse who is a U.S. citizen while the other spouse is an immigrant. In some cases, the foreign national may only use the marriage as a means to enter the United States. Unfortunately, this fraudulent union can be a scam, intended to be a way of obtaining a green card and lawful permanent residence status. The foreign spouse may falsely accuse his or her new spouse of domestic abuse, which can lead to a divorce and serious consequences for the alleged abuser. It is important to note that an immigrant who entered the United States on a marriage-based visa can request special status, which would allow him or her to stay in the country even after a divorce or separation. This can be reason enough for him or her to make false claims of abuse in order to get a divorce. 

California Penalties for Domestic Abuse 

Under the California Penal Code, there are several different types of domestic violence. Abuse can be against an intimate partner, or a family or household member. The crimes are categorized differently, depending on the severity of the incident. Below are some of the punishments that can result from such criminal offenses:

  • Corporal injury: This crime can be a slight physical injury to a person and is a felony. The penalty can include up to one year in county jail and up to four years in state prison. 
  • Domestic battery: Inflicting force or violence on an intimate partner is domestic battery. This offense is classified as a misdemeanor. Punishment can include a fine up to $2,000, and/or up to one year in county jail. 
  • Stalking: Harassing or threatening another person to make him or her fear for his or her safety is considered stalking in California. This charge can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. Misdemeanor stalking can result in up to one year in prison while a felony charge can result in three years of incarceration. 

False Accusations

Even if your foreign-born spouse is not a U.S. citizen, he or she is still entitled to certain rights. Some of these rights are similar to what a citizen would have, such as the right to a divorce, temporary restraining order, financial support, and child custody. An alleged victim can petition for legal status under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), apply to cancel deportation proceedings under VAWA, and petition for U-nonimmigrant status.

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San Jose domestic abuse defense lawyerAbuse is something that no one should have to experience. It can leave lasting damage, physically, mentally, and emotionally. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, approximately 24 people per minute are victims of physical violence, rape, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. That equates to more than 12 million men and women over a year’s time. The term “domestic abuse” sounds physical, but it actually encompasses a number of different things. In other words, if you have engaged in any of the following forms of abuse, you could face charges related to domestic abuse.

Different Forms of Abuse

There are various forms of abuse that can lead to criminal charges, even if no physical altercations occurred. Before understanding which actions can lead to charges, one should know the different types of abuse, aside from physical abuse, to identify toxic behavior:

  • Sexual Abuse - This form of abuse is often attributed to physical harm in a sexual manner, but there can be non-physical components. Aside from rape and forced sexual acts, this abuse can also include severe criticism or humiliation from a partner based on sexual performance. Tampering with birth control may also be considered sexual abuse.
  • Verbal/Emotional Abuse - Verbal abuse involves the use of words and phrases to control a partner. This may include threats or threats. This type of abuse can be equally harmful as physical abuse even though no physical harm is done. 
  • Psychological Abuse - This is similar to verbal abuse in that it often includes harmful words from one partner to another. Making a partner feel “crazy” is one of the common ways this form of abuse is done. It can undermine the individual’s sense of self and reality.

What Does California Law Say?

In California, there are four definitions for domestic violence, some of which do not require physical harm to occur at all. If you have done any of the following actions, you have subjected your partner to domestic violence:

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San Jose criminal defense lawyerDrunk driving is a problem throughout the country, and California is no exception. According to the most recent data provided by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, California had 1,120 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2017 and saw a 9.3% increase in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities from 2008 to 2017. Driving under the influence (DUI) is taken very seriously in California, and a recent death has prompted legislators to propose tighter restrictions on those who drive with alcohol in their system. 

Liam’s Law

On September 3, 2016, 15-month-old Liam Kowal died from traumatic brain injuries after being struck by a drunk driver. His death prompted his parents to advocate for tougher legislation on drunk drivers, including a stricter blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) standards for those on the road. Almost three years later, on February 22, 2019, California Assembly members Autumn Burke and Heath Flora proposed Assembly Bill 1713, also known as “Liam’s Law”.

If passed, the law will lower the BAC state tolerance level from 0.08 to 0.05. In other words, drivers may face DUI charges much sooner than before. This bill has resulted in different opinions from both sides. According to an ABC7 report, supporters claim that the restriction would reduce deaths by 11% yet many do not think that such a change is the right action to be taken to keep people safer on the roads. For most, this BAC reduction will put drivers over the legal limit after just two drinks.

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San Jose DUI Defense AttorneysDriving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is illegal in all 50 states. In California, if a driver has a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more, he or she is considered impaired or under the influence. Penalties for DUI can carry serious consequences. If an individual is convicted of a DUI in California, the court may order completion of an Alcohol and Drug Education and Counseling program provided by a state-licensed service provider. The duration of the program depends on whether this is a motorist’s first or subsequent DUI offense within a 10-year period.

California DUI Classes

The California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP) licenses more than 400 DUI education program services across the state. The programs are designed to provide participants with the necessary tools to reflect on attitudes and behavior, promote positive lifestyle changes, and reduce or eliminate the use of alcohol and/or drugs altogether.

For eligibility in one of these programs, a person must be referred by either the court or the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The state of California offers different levels of DUI education programs to those drivers who are ordered to attend them. In some situations, classes can be as short as 12 hours for first-time offenders with low BACs or as high as 30 months for repeat offenders.

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San Jose domestic violence defense attorneyIn some divorce cases, the hostility between the spouses can become extreme and lead to domestic violence protective orders against one or both partners. In California, these protections (also referred to as restraining orders) are court orders that protect a person from being physically or sexually abused, stalked, harassed, or threatened.

Under California law, restraining orders can be requested for various reasons. Unfortunately, not all of them are legitimate. For example, a person may falsely accuse his or her spouse of domestic abuse out of anger or revenge. In other situations, a parent may want to prevent the other parent from seeing their children for personal reasons rather than safety-related concerns. However, it is possible for a protective order to be amended or dismissed entirely if the court finds it invalid or inappropriate. 

Who Is Entitled to Orders of Protection?

The relationships that are eligible for domestic violence restraining orders include:

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San Jose criminal defense lawyerDriving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is illegal. California has some of the strictest DUI penalties in the United States. A first DUI offense can result in fines ranging from $390 to $1,000 along with driver’s license suspension. Offenders can spend days to months in jail, and they may also be ordered to do community service or attend a treatment program or DUI school. It is imperative to understand your rights if you are pulled over for drunk driving in the state of California. In addition, seeking assistance from a qualified and competent lawyer can increase your chances of possibly having the charges reduced or dropped altogether.

Steps to Take During a DUI Traffic Stop

Being pulled over by law enforcement can be scary, and although the initial reaction might be to panic, it is important that an individual remains calm throughout the traffic stop. Not complying with an officer’s order to exit the vehicle could result in a charge of resisting arrest. Another thing to note is that a person stopped for DUI can invoke his or her right to remain silent even if the police officer does not mention Miranda rights. 

It is also crucial to know the laws regarding drunk driving. Under California law, if someone is over 21, he or she does not need to submit to a field sobriety test during a DUI stop. California has an implied consent law, which means possessing a driver’s license indicates a driver has given his or her consent to submit to a chemical test in case the individual is arrested for driving under the influence. However, the motorist has the option of taking a breath or a blood test. Blood tests are typically more accurate than breath tests are. 

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San Jose domestic abuse defense attorneyAlmost everyone “goes online” these days for one reason or another. Sometimes it is to research a topic, or simply to peruse a friend’s or family member’s photos on social media sites. However, sometimes crimes can be committed over the Internet via electronic devices such as mobile phones or computers. Whether these crimes are intentional or unintentional, the consequences can be serious. Domestic violence is not limited to just crimes involving physical violence or assault; it includes a wide range of criminal acts. In California, several statutes address domestic violence crimes that are committed electronically. 

California Stalking Laws

Stalking, in its simplest form, is repeatedly following, harassing, and/or threatening another person with the intent to cause the other person to fear for his or her own safety. California stalking laws are considered some of the harshest and most inclusive in the country.

In recent years, the state’s stalking law has been broadened to include “cyberstalking.” When threats or harassment occur via the Internet, text messages, email, or any social media site, the defendant can be charged under the California Penal Code. A few examples of actions or behavior that can lead to stalking charges in California include:

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San Jose DUI defense lawyerDriving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is illegal in all 50 states. In California, a driver can face charges for a DUI when he or she operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if he or she has a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 or higher. In addition, motorists who are minors can be charged with impaired driving with 0.01 or higher BAC levels.

Evidence collection in a DUI stop can begin even before a driver is pulled over. A police officer must have a valid reason for the stop, such as a traffic violation, which can include speeding or an illegal maneuver. The evidence collected and used in a DUI case can vary but usually involves observational, testimonial, and forensic evidence.

Observational, Testimonial, and Forensic Evidence

Not all evidence will hold up in a court of law. Mistakes can and do happen during the process, from the time of the initial stop and arrest all the way through to the court proceedings. Therefore, it is best to understand how evidence gathered at your DUI might not be admissible in court, such as for the following reasons: 

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San Jose domestic violence defense attorneyAn allegation of domestic violence should be taken very seriously. Domestic violence can consist of stalking, threatening, abandoning, damaging the property of or inflicting some kind of physical injury on another person. This type of charge can result in significant criminal penalties, plus it characterizes a person as an abuser, which can stay with him or her forever regardless if the accusations are false.

Even if a person is not convicted, just being accused of domestic violence can negatively impact someone’s personal as well as his or her professional life. If you live and work in California and are facing domestic violence charges, it is imperative you understand the consequences associated with this crime so you do not lose your job or professional license and therefore your livelihood.  

Professional Licensing

Mere allegations of domestic abuse can have significant consequences on someone’s career and professional license depending on the occupation. Some occupations that typically require professional licensing include:

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San Jose criminal defense attorneyIn the state of California, it is a crime to harm, or threaten to harm, an intimate partner, such as a current or former spouse; current or former cohabitant in a residence; a parent with whom the person has a child; or a partner in a romantic relationship. Common crimes of domestic violence include domestic battery and inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner. This type of conviction can have a devastating impact on the rest of the accused person’s life, as well as penalties and jail time. However, innocent people can also be falsely accused of domestic violence. It is important to understand your rights according to California law in the event you are accused of such crimes.

Types of Domestic Violence

Under California Penal Code, domestic battery is defined as “willful and unlawful use of force or violence against the person of another.” Domestic violence also occurs when an individual's intentional acts lead to a “corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition” suffered by a person with whom the individual has a close relationship. In order to prove the accused is guilty of domestic violence as a misdemeanor according to California law, the state must prove the accused deliberately touched his or her partner in a harmful or offensive manner, the victim is the current or former roommate, or current or ex-spouse of the defendant, and the defendant had no right to self-defense, or defense of others, during the offensive or hurtful act to the victim.

Penalties for Domestic Violence

A conviction for domestic battery can lead to a fine of up to $2,000, up to one year in jail, or both. However, the state can also sentence the accused to probation and mandatory enrollment in counseling services. Depending on the degree of harm suffered by the victim of domestic violence, a battery conviction can also result in imprisonment of up to one year in jail or two to four years in a state prison plus a restraining order.

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San Francisco DUI defense attorneyIn the state of California, a driver who has been arrested for a DUI has 10 days to request a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to keep his or her driving privileges. A DMV hearing is an administrative proceeding involving the suspension of your driving privilege only. It is a completely separate matter from a criminal case for a DUI charge. If a motorist fails to request a hearing, his or her driver's license will be suspended. It is important to know you are not required to request a DMV hearing after a DUI arrest, so you may want to discuss the potential advantages with a skilled DUI lawyer.

Due Process

In California, due process of law entitles you to a notice if the DMV intends to revoke your driver’s license and gives you an opportunity to be heard. The DMV hearing focuses on the details of your arrest and your driving privileges. It does not decide your innocence or guilt of a criminal act. Some of the issues discussed at a DMV hearing include the following:

  • Whether or not you took a blood, breath, or urine test.
  • Did the police officer have reasonable cause to pull you over if he or she believed you were in violation of the law.
  • Was your placed under lawful arrest?
  • Were you operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher in your system?
  • Whether or not you refused or failed a blood, breath, or urine test.

These issues may seem fairly straightforward, but there could be factors that made your arrest unlawful or without probable cause. For example, the arresting officer could make a mistake in the police report or fail to note an important detail.

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San Jose criminal defense attorney

Many California residents use bicycles as a primary mode of transportation due to the mild weather we enjoy throughout the year. The California Vehicle Code contains the state laws that specify where and how bikes are allowed to operate. Basically, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle operators. This holds true for operating a bike while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Similar to a DUI (Driving Under the Influence), this is called a CUI (Cycling Under the Influence).

CUI Laws and Penalties

Some people may think riding a bicycle after drinking alcohol is different or safer than driving a car after consuming those types of beverages. However, it is still illegal to do so in California.  California Vehicle Code section 21200.5 prohibits riding a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. The punishment is less severe than California's DUI penalties (a fine of $250 or less and no jail time), but a CUI is still a misdemeanor, and a conviction will remain on a person’s criminal record. Also, if you are convicted of a CUI, and you are under 21 years old, the court could suspend your driver’s license for one year.

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San Jose, CA DUI lawyer

It is illegal to drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs. In California, a blood-alcohol content of .08% is considered drunk driving. California’s drunk driving law is also a drugged driving law. If you are pulled over while driving in California, and an officer suspects you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the officer can legally require you to take a blood or urine test. The results of these tests can lead to a DUI arrest and possible conviction. 

If you face a DUI charge, it is critical to secure skilled legal representation from an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will fight for you.

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San Jose Underage DUI LawyerAcross the United States, laws require anyone drinking alcohol to be 21 years of age or older. A blood alcohol content of .08% is considered drunk driving. While minors can get into trouble for having alcohol in their system or on their person anytime, they will definitely face some strong penalties if they are caught driving under the influence. California’s “zero tolerance” law states that if an under-21 driver is found to have any alcohol at all in their system, even trace amounts, then they can be charged with DUI.

What Happens After an Underage DUI Arrest?

If you are a minor, and you are pulled over or get into an accident, and then you test positive for alcohol, then your license will likely be confiscated at the scene. The incident will be reported to the DMV, and an administrative review will follow. Generally, a first DUI offense for a minor will result in a one-year license suspension. The same is true if you refused to take a chemical test at the time of the incident.

If you are charged with a second DUI offense within 10 years, your license will probably be revoked for two years. A third DUI within 10 years will net a three-year revocation. These punishments are dealt by the DMV. You will typically face additional punishments through the court.

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Palo Alto DUI defense lawyer IID breathalyzerIn the past, a DUI often meant a suspended license. While that is still a possibility, a new law which went into effect on January 1, 2019 allows some California residents to keep their license after a drunk driving conviction, on the condition that they have a breathalyzer installed in their car. If this type of breathalyzer, known as an ignition interlock device or IID, is implemented, then the driver must blow into it before they start their car. If alcohol is detected, the car will not start. 

The driver will also have to blow into the device at random times while they are driving to check for alcohol. If there is alcohol on the driver’s breath, some breathalyzers will transmit a signal to the car, causing the horn to honk and the lights to flash, so that the driver has to pull over. The breathalyzer is also monitored, and any violations are reported to the proper authorities. 

The idea behind this is that more drivers will be stopped from drunk driving, since those whose licenses are suspended or revoked without the use of a breathalyzer often continue to drink and drive anyway. 

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Palo Alto restraining order defense attorney child custodyIf you have been accused or convicted of domestic abuse, what happens when it comes time to determine custody of your children? In California, criminal law and family law are considered separate matters. However, accusations of domestic violence or abuse can affect your parental rights. When facing allegations of abuse, an attorney can address your concerns about child custody and help you determine how to defend against these accusations.

The Potential Impact of Abuse Charges

In California, alleged victims may seek legal protection against their accused abusers. If a person obtains a restraining order, it may make a variety of requirements that an alleged abuser must follow. These requirements may include: 

  • No-contact -- The alleged abuser may not make contact with his or her alleged victim, either physically or through calls, texts, emails, or any other means.
  • Provisional contact -- This option is sometimes used in cases involving custody, so that the alleged abuser may communicate with the victim about the children only.
  • Stay-away provision -- The alleged abuser must stay a certain distance away from the alleged victim.
  • Move-out provision -- The alleged abuser must move out of the home that he or she has lived in with the alleged victim.
  • Firearms provision -- The alleged abuser must give up any firearms and may not purchase any additional weapons.
  • Counseling provision -- The alleged abuser must attend counseling with a psychologist, social worker, or drug or alcohol abuse program.
  • Provision regarding payment of expenses -- The alleged abuser must pay bills related to the alleged abuse, such as moving expenses, medical costs, loss of earnings, etc.

Restraining orders may also extend to the alleged victim’s family members. However, even when accused of abuse, a parent will typically be allowed to have regular access to his or her child unless it is proven that the child has been abused or endangered through the abuse. In some cases, a parent accused of abuse may be required to have supervision present when spending time with their child until it can be demonstrated that the child is not in danger of harm when in their care.

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Posted on in DUI

San Francisco DUi lawyer

In almost every state across the nation, .08 is the legal limit for an individual’s blood alcohol concentration when driving. Assembly Bill 1713, proposed by two California assembly members -- Democrat Autumn Burke and Republican Heath Flora -- would lower the legal BAC to .05. They say the reasoning behind the proposal is that drivers begin to show impairment well before reaching .08. If the bill passes, California will follow in the footsteps of Utah, where the .05 BAC standard was adopted in December 2018. If passed, the new law will result in many more DUI arrests each year.

How Many Drinks to 0.05 BAC?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, women weighing 160 pounds may only need one drink before reaching .05, and a man weighing 180 pounds could get by with two drinks and still legally drive. At the current level of .08, most women can legally drive after two drinks and some men after as many as four.

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Posted on in DUI

San Jose DUI lawyer defense strategiesIn the age of technology and connectivity that we live in, the potential for drunk driving has been reduced. While getting to your destination after consuming alcohol may have previously required planning and a lot of hassle, it can now be completed with a simple order of an Uber on your cell phone. Because of this, many law enforcement officials do not take DUI charges lightly and will punish offenders to the full extent of the law. In California, even a first DUI conviction can carry possible jail time, large fines, and a driver's license suspension. A solid defense strategy can be key to getting a fair outcome in your DUI case. 

Elements of a DUI Case

Before you can begin building a solid defense, you must first understand a few things about your DUI case. When you are charged with DUI, the prosecutor has the burden of proof, meaning he or she must prove that you were in fact driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances. Knowing that the prosecutor must prove that you were impaired at the time you were driving, you and your attorney can construct a solid defense.

DUI Defense Strategies

Though there are many ways you can defense against a DUI charge, you and your lawyer should talk about your specific case and come up with a plan that is best suited for you. Here are a few strategies that may be of benefit if you are charged with a DUI:

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San Jose DUI attorney FAQsNo matter the offense, when you are in trouble with the law, it can be a scary and intimidating experience. When it comes to DUI, the state of California takes these charges very seriously and will usually prosecute offenders to the greatest extent of the law. The consequences for DUI vary greatly depending on the circumstances surrounding a specific case, and those who are facing charges should be sure to understand how the laws affect them. Here are some answers to four of the most frequently asked questions about California DUIs:

How Long Will I Lose My License For?

It depends. There are many factors that can affect how long your driver’s license suspension is in effect. If you are arrested for drunk driving, you may face an administrative per se suspension of your driver's license. If you are convicted of a DUI, you may also have to serve a criminal license suspension. However, if this was your first DUI offense, you will be able to keep your full driving privileges if an ignition interlock device (IID) is immediately installed and used for at least six months. If you do not use an IID, you will be able to drive with a restricted driver's license for 12 months.

Will a DUI Affect My Insurance?

More than likely, yes. If you are arrested or convicted for a DUI, it is not unusual to see your car insurance rates go up to double or even triple what they previously were. In California, you are required to obtain SR-22 or high risk insurance after a DUI. Your insurance provider must send proof of insurance to the California DMV.

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