Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson

247 N. Third Street, San Jose, CA 95112

Call Today for a Free Consultation | Se Habla Espanol

408-246-3004

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.

...

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.

...

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. 

...

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: 

...

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.

...
Back to Top