California DUI defense attorneysAlthough there have been national efforts in the past few decades to prevent drunk driving, it still occurs on our country’s roadways. Alcoholic beverages and controlled substances significantly impair a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Studies have shown that driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol can be deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, there were 3,602 fatalities on the state’s roads and 37 percent of those deaths were alcohol-related. 

Thousands of motorists are arrested for DUI every year in the state of California. However, some of these arrests are made erroneously due to faulty testing equipment or mistakes made by police. If you are a California driver, it is important to know the laws and your options regarding DUI in case you are ever charged with this crime.    

California Drunk Driving Laws 

In California, the legal limit is .08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). The penalties for DUI in California vary depending on if it is a driver’s first offense or if he or she has had multiple convictions. For some, the punishments can involve fines, jail time, loss of driving privileges, or mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicle.

DMV Hearing

After a DUI arrest, a motorist has 10 days to request a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to keep his or her driving privileges. The DMV will consider evidence from the traffic stop to determine if there was probable cause for your arrest. This may include test results showing your BAC at the time of the stop. The purpose of the hearing is also to review details such as if a driver was properly advised of his or her implied consent laws. A hearing officer can recommend that an individual’s license be suspended even without the driver addressing the accusations or making any objections.      

What Is a Writ of Mandate?

The state of California offers several options for those facing DUI and license suspension. A “writ of mandate” is a court order that requires the DMV (or any government agency) to reverse its decision on specific matters. In cases where mistakes may have been made during an arrest, a driver can file a writ against the DMV after a driver’s license suspension was made in violation of due process. 

A California driver has 34 days after a “notice of findings” or 94 days after a departmental review to file a writ in court. Even though filing a writ of mandate is more costly than a DMV hearing, there are advantages to it, such as asking the court to address issues that the DMV did not. In certain scenarios, an offender can ask the DMV to reimburse you for your legal fees. The writ also allows for an ex parte application and hearing for a stay of suspension while the writ is pending in court, which preserves your driving privileges during that time.

Contact a Milpitas Criminal Defense Attorney

Drinking and driving is illegal in all 50 states, and the penalties for DUI in California are strict. In some DUI cases, the police officer may have made mistakes that led to your arrest. At the Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson, we understand the impact criminal charges can have on your future. Our qualified and dedicated Santa Clara County DUI defense lawyers will review the circumstances of your case and secure a strong defense on your behalf. To schedule your free consultation, call our office today at 408-246-3004.