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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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San Francisco marijuana DUI defense attorneyWith California’s legalization of recreational marijuana in 2016, more people have had access to both recreational and medical marijuana. Many people have feared that legal marijuana will cause more harm than good, especially when it comes to DUI. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) marijuana DUI arrests have increased by 31 percent and injuries related to marijuana DUI have increased about 102 percent. A recent marijuana DUI case only adds more cause for concern. A California woman was convicted with gross vehicular manslaughter and a DUI for a crash that happened in 2016, which killed one person and seriously injured another.

Medical Marijuana Leads to Deadly Crash

Back in March 2016, a California woman caused a head-on collision with a vintage Porsche that had only lap seat belts and no airbags. The crash caused the death of a 43-year-old woman and the traumatic brain injury of the woman’s 49-year-old fiance. The woman’s attorney stated that the woman was “catastrophically impaired” after she purchased a potent strain of marijuana at a medical marijuana dispensary and proceeded to smoke it just moments before the crash. The woman’s lawyer claims that she could not be found guilty for the accident because she was not informed of how strong the marijuana that she purchased was.

Woman Escapes Second-Degree Murder Charge

Initially, the woman had also faced a charge for second-degree murder in addition to gross vehicular manslaughter and DUI. The San Diego jury deciding her case was deadlocked on the charge 10-2, which meant that the charge was dropped. According to the Deputy District Attorney, the jurors were in disagreement on whether or not the facts of the case lined up with the definition of “implied malice”, which is a component of second-degree murder. A second-degree murder charge would have carried a penalty of 15 years to life in prison.

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California DUI defense attorneyWhile the number of people who die in alcohol-related car crashes has been decreasing significantly since the 1980s, it still remains a large issue today. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 11,000 people in the United States died in alcohol-related car accidents in 2017. In California alone, there were 3,602 deaths. In an effort to reduce that number, a new law was passed and went into effect at the beginning of the year that requires both first-time and repeat DUI offenders to install a breath-alcohol ignition interlock device into their vehicle.

SB 1046 Requires Ignition Interlock Installation

According to the new bill, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2019, first-time DUI offenders will now have to choose between:

  1. Six months of full driving privileges with an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle, or
  2. A restricted driving permit for one year with no ignition interlock device.

If you are a first-time offender and you cause injury to another person, you have no choice but to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle for one year.

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California DUI defense attorneyCalifornia is famous for having some of the country’s most strict DUI laws. Even a simple, first-time DUI with no injuries or property damage can cost you your driving privileges, in addition to probation and exuberant fines. Committing a DUI at any time is a terrible idea, but it is an even worse one when you have a child in the vehicle with you. California courts do not take kindly to DUI offenders who endanger children and will most likely punish you to the extent the law allows. Not only will you be facing any applicable normal DUI charges, but you will also be facing an enhanced charge because of the child in the vehicle and you could also be facing child endangerment charges.

DUI With a Child in the Vehicle Calls For a Sentence Enhancement

When certain aggravating factors are present when you committed a DUI, California courts can choose to increase the penalties. In addition to any DUI charges you may be facing, you will most likely face an enhancement to your DUI charge if you had a child passenger at the time of your arrest. California VEH 23572 allows for this sentence enhancement if it is found that you committed a DUI with a child in the vehicle under the age of 14. In addition to other penalties, you will also be facing extra time in prison. These times can vary from 48 hours to 90 days of extra jail time.

Child Endangerment Charges

If you are caught with a child passenger under the age of 14 and you are found to be intoxicated while driving, you could also be charged with child endangerment. Under California’s Penal Code 273(a), you could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime for putting the child in a situation where death or great bodily injury was likely. Though you cannot be convicted of both a DUI with a child endangerment enhancement and a penal code charge for child endangerment, you can be convicted of both a normal DUI and a penal code charge for child endangerment.

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San Jose DUI defense lawyerWhen you are intoxicated and need to get home, it may seem like a good idea to put your car into autopilot mode and hop in. That did not work out so well for a California man who was pulled over by California Highway Patrol (CHP) after police observed him asleep behind the wheel. He was stopped and arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol after he failed field sobriety tests. The incident has brought up a conversation about the safety of autopilot features in vehicles and how they are able to be abused by consumers.

Sleeping Man is Pulled Over by California Highway Patrol

In the early morning hours of Nov. 30, CHP noticed a Tesla Model S going 70 mph down U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto. Upon further inspection, CHP gathered that the driver was unconscious behind the wheel, as there was no response from him when officers activated their lights and sirens. Hoping the driver assist feature was activated on the vehicle, police closed the highway off and successfully slowed down the vehicle by driving in front of it until it came to a complete stop. When officers tapped on the window, the driver woke up and was subjected to field sobriety tests -- which he failed. The driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI.

Safety of Tesla Autopilot Feature is Questioned

Because the man was able to fall asleep at the wheel without the car realizing it, the safety of this feature is now being questioned by many. It has not yet been confirmed if the driver assist feature was actually activated during the ordeal, but because of the vehicle staying in its lane during its trip and responding to vehicles around it, it is assumed that the feature was activated. Some have pointed out that other vehicles with similar autopilot features have safety mechanisms in place to prevent situations like this.

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California DUI defense lawyerIt is never safe to drive after you have consumed any amount of alcohol, which is why all 50 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have passed laws making it illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of more than .08. While there is a limit to how much alcohol can be in your system before it becomes illegal to drive, many states have also made it possible for you to be charged with a DUI, even if your BAC is less than .08. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that, in 2016 alone, there were 2,017 people killed in alcohol-related crashes involving drivers with BAC’s that were between .01 to .07.

BAC and the Effects on Your Abilities

.02: After your first drink, your BAC will likely be around.02. You will probably begin feeling slightly warm, relaxed, and in a good mood. Your judgment will be slightly impaired, and your ability to track moving targets and multitask will be affected.

.05: The effects of the previous level will still be apparent, but more exaggerated. Your sense of alertness may be lowered, and you may experience difficulty focusing your eyes, and even more lapse in judgment abilities. Your ability to drive will also be affected by reduced coordination, difficulty steering, and a reduced response to emergency situations.

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California DUI defense lawyerDriving under the influence is dangerous, and it can be deadly if the right conditions are present; that is why California takes DUI charges so seriously. If you are convicted of a DUI charge in California, you will be required to attend a DUI program as a part of your sentencing. These programs are designed to reduce the number of repeat DUI offenders and give people the opportunity to get help for drug or alcohol problems.

If you are ordered to attend a DUI program, it must meet state requirements and be licensed by the state of California. Currently, there are around 500 licensed state programs that you can choose from, with costs ranging from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars, depending on which type of program you are required to complete. It is important to note that licensed programs are only conducted in person - no online programs will qualify.

Wet Reckless Programs

If you are convicted of a “wet reckless” you were convicted of reckless driving and law officials were able to detect an amount of alcohol in your system. If this was your first wet reckless offense, you will be ordered to attend a 12-hour DUI program, which takes place across six weeks.

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Santa Clara DUI defense lawyerWhen people drive when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, their senses are inhibited and they can cause a lot of damage to others. Driving under the influence is always dangerous, which is why it carries such harsh penalties in the state of California. When great bodily injury or death results from someone who is driving under the influence, the charges are increased and become more severe.

Man is Sentenced to Prison for DUI Deaths

A Livermore, CA man was sentenced to 30 years to life last week for the deaths of a mother and her daughter in November 2015. The 39-year-old man was convicted on two counts of second-degree murder after he lost control of his car while he was driving under the influence of alcohol. The man lost control of his car and crashed into an apartment building in Livermore, killing a 46-year-old woman and her 14-month-old baby.

Man Also Charged With DUI for Injury of Children

The death of the mother and her daughter were not the only victims in this DUI case. A 6-year-old and a 7-year-old boy were also struck by flying debris from the crash and were taken to the hospital for treatment. In addition to the second-degree murder charges, the man was also charged with a felony DUI charge for injuring the 7-year-old boy.

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California DUI defense attorneyBeing pulled over by a police officer can be scary in any situation, but it can be especially scary if you are being pulled over for suspicion of DUI. When you are pulled over because an officer suspects that you have been driving under the influence, you will more-than-likely be asked to step out of your vehicle to partake in various field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are used to determine whether or not a person’s ability to drive has been compromised because of alcohol, or whether or not there is enough evidence to perform an arrest. If you are arrested for DUI, you will be asked to submit to a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol concentration or the amount of a specific drug in your system. If you refuse a chemical test, you could be subject to serious penalties.

Implied Consent Law

In the state of California, any person who drives a vehicle is deemed to have given their consent for chemical testing of their blood, breath or, when applicable, urine to determine the amount of alcohol in their system. This implied consent law can be found in California’s vehicle code, VEH 23612. The law also states that a police officer needs to have reasonable cause to order a chemical test, which is what field sobriety tests are used for. You get to choose if you would like to have your blood or breath tested and must be advised of that right. If either of those tests cannot be performed, or you state that they cannot be performed, you must submit to a urine test.

Consequences for Refusing a Chemical Test

Laws for refusing to submit to a chemical test are much more strict for repeat offenders than they are for first-time offenders. Refusing to submit results in a fine, a mandatory prison sentence if you are convicted of driving under the influence and an administrative suspension of your driver’s license for one year. If this is your second time refusing to submit to chemical testing, you will be subject to a fine, mandatory prison time if you are convicted and a two-year administrative suspension.

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San Jose marijuana drug crimes defense attorneySince marijuana was legalized for recreational use in California in 2016, the legal marijuana industry has been booming. The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration reported that tax revenue from the cannabis industry totaled $74.2 million in the second quarter of 2018. While recreational marijuana is legal statewide, nearly 85 percent of cities and counties in the state have made it illegal to sell marijuana. To combat this, the state is considering allowing licensed marijuana businesses to deliver marijuana in communities that do not allow pot sales. California police are against the idea, however, stating that it is a cause for concern.

Police Say Marijuana Deliveries Will Increase Crime

Though many people say there is no link between the legalization of marijuana and an increase in crime, California police worry that allowing marijuana businesses to deliver pot to residential communities would allow for more opportunities for crime to happen. The president of the California Police Chiefs Association stated that robberies were only one of the concerns, but that deliveries could also lead to crimes such as aggravated assault and homicide.

Police Are Not the Only Ones Opposed to Marijuana Deliveries

The League of California Cities represents the state’s 428 municipalities and joined the California Police Chiefs Association to try to prevent marijuana deliveries from happening. Currently, the Bureau of Cannabis Control has interpreted Proposition 64 to allow marijuana deliveries. While the law states that local governments can ban non-medical marijuana businesses, it also states that “a local jurisdiction shall not prevent delivery of cannabis or cannabis products on public roads,” as long as the deliverer is a state-licensed business.

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San Francisco DUI defense lawyerThough the United States is one country, there are 50 states that make up the country - and each can make their own laws. Because of this, many DUI laws differ from state to state, and that can cause confusion over what kinds of penalties will be given for a DUI conviction. Whether you are a new resident to California, a new driver on the road, or just are not clear on what the laws are surrounding DUI license suspensions in California, everyone can use a refresher on current laws and punishments for driving under the influence.

Can I Still Drive While DUI Charges Are Pending?

Yes, but only if you request a DMV hearing within 10 days after your arrest. If you do so, you will be able to retain your driving privileges until your case has been resolved.

In California, the state has put into place what is called an “admin per se” license suspension, which is carried out by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and is an action that is independent of any criminal DUI charges you may be facing in court. If you were pulled over for a DUI and the officer asked you to complete a chemical test, you face an admin per se license suspension if:

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conviction expungement, San Francisco marijuana crime expungement attorney, marijuana-related crimes, decriminalization process, marijuana decriminalizedAs of June 2018, 30 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. Additionally, nine states, plus D.C., have legalized recreational use.

While the legalization of marijuana is becoming more widespread, it leaves states with the task of determining how to deal with criminals who were charged with marijuana-related crimes in the past.

A proposed bill, recently passed in the California Senate, would allow for the expungement of convictions or a reduction for sentences for marijuana-related crimes, many of which date back years, if not decades.

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San Jose marijuana DUI defense lawyer, recreational marijuana, drugged driving, THC breath testing device, DUI trialThe legalization of both medicinal and recreational marijuana has been growing immensely in recent years. As of 2018, nine states and the District of Columbia has legalized recreational marijuana, and 30 states — including D.C. -— have legalized medicinal marijuana. One of the concerns that lawmakers and police have had about this widespread legalization is the potential increase for those who are under the influence of marijuana to be out driving.

Marijuana Impairment Test Functions Like A Breathalyzer

Hound Labs Inc., which is based out of Oakland, claims that they have created the world’s first reliable breath testing device that can detect THC, which is the psychoactive and intoxicating ingredient in marijuana. The company states that THC is only detectable in a person’s breath during a window of time when impairment is at its peak — about one or two hours after a person has ingested marijuana. The company also said that their research showed that the level of THC in a person’s breath dropped to zero after about three hours.

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Santa Clara County DUI defense lawyer, DUI, DUI stories, DUI statistics, DUI chargesDUI is a serious subject. Driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any other mind-altering substance is extremely dangerous and can even be deadly. Though DUI should not be taken lightly, there are stories you may hear about and will make you think, “Wait ... what?” Many people think you can only be arrested for DUI if you are driving a car; however, as some of these stories will tell, that is not always the case.

Here are some of the strangest DUI tales that have taken place around the world:

  • A Kentucky man was arrested for having a blood alcohol level of over twice the legal limit, which is .08. This would not be as strange of a tale, except police say he was riding a horse when they found him in possession of marijuana, a couple of beers, and a mason jar full of moonshine.

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Posted on in DUI

DMV hearing, San Jose DUI defense attorney, DUI arrests, California DUI law, drivers license suspensionCalifornia has some of the toughest and most strict DUI laws in the country, including a provision that allows the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to suspend or revoke a person’s driving privileges after he or she is arrested for a DUI under certain conditions. In California, this license suspension program is called Admin Per Se (APS) and is independent of any other fines, jail time, or other criminal penalty administered by the courts if you are convicted of a DUI.

Admin Per Se License Suspensions

The DMV is required to revoke or suspend the driving privileges of any person who is arrested for DUI and:

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San Jose boating under the influence attorneyWith California’s year-round mild weather, it is no surprise that nearly four million people enjoy recreational boating in the state each year. Unfortunately, dangerous boating accidents can occur, and nearly 25 percent of all motorboat-related fatalities involve alcohol in some way. California has laws governing alcohol use and consumption while you are aboard boats, much like the laws governing motor vehicles. Charges of boating under the influence (BUI) are similar to DUI charges, and an arrest can affect your driver’s license privileges, which is why it is important to respond to BUI charges as soon as possible.

Harbors & Navigation Code 655

California law states that no person shall operate a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This means that not only are you prohibited from using motor boats while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, but you are also prohibited from using:

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Santa Clara County restraining order defense attorneyOften, an order of protection, or restraining order, is issued as a result of a domestic violence allegation. In California, domestic violence is defined as abuse or threats of abuse when the abuser and the abused are in an intimate relationship, or are closely related by blood or marriage. If you have been served with a restraining order, it is important that you fully understand the things that the order can and cannot do and how it will affect you.

Who Can Ask For a Restraining Order?

In California, a person can ask for a domestic violence restraining order if they and their alleged abuser are:

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DUI conviction, DUI charges, first-offense DUI, Santa Clara County DUI defense attorney, DUI penaltiesCalifornia has relatively strict punishments for those caught driving under the influence (DUI). In the state of California, anyone who is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will automatically have his or her license suspended, a process called admin per se suspension, which is conducted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In addition to automatic license suspension, California poses serious penalties on those who are convicted of DUI. The penalties get more strict with the increasing number of convictions. If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important for you to understand the penalties that a DUI charge carries.

Basic Penalties

In the state of California, all DUI convictions carry certain base penalties. These base penalties include:

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underage DUI, San Jose DUI lawyer, adult DUI, drinking and driving, underage drinking consequencesThe number of underage adults who drink and then drive has fallen in recent years, but the issue still remains prevalent. In 2016, 15 percent of drivers aged 16-20 who were involved in fatal accidents were reported to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In California, the laws for underage drivers who choose to drink before they get behind the wheel are strict. Knowing these laws and what punishments they carry can play an important role in your defense if you are charged with an underage DUI.

The Laws

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San Jose domestic violence defense attorney, types of domestic violence, domestic violence restraining order, domestic violence crime, restraining order defenseMore than 12 million people — both men and women — are affected by domestic violence each year. In the state of California, domestic violence is defined as abuse or threats of abuse to children, people in an intimate relationship, people who are closely related by blood or marriage, or people who live together. 

Types of Domestic Violence 

Domestic violence can manifest in several different forms, all of which are detrimental to a person's physical and/or mental health. Consider the following examples of domestic violence:

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