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San Jose DUI defense attorneyThere is no question that drunk driving can be disastrous. Statistics show that alcohol-related crashes can cause serious injuries and even fatalities. That is why it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) in the United States. In 49 out of 50 states, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08. (Utah uses a 0.05 percent standard.) Anyone who is over that amount can be arrested for DUI. Many motorists believe that being charged with a DUI is not really that big of a deal. However, a DUI charge is very serious and the penalties can range from a misdemeanor to a felony depending on the circumstances. In California, offenders may face fines, probation, or imprisonment. But, does a DUI automatically mean your driver’s license will be taken away?   

Driving Privileges Under California Law

If you are stopped for suspicion of DUI and the police officer has probable cause to arrest you, it is important to understand your rights in regard to your driving privileges. The arresting officer must fill out an official police report and send a copy of the suspension or revocation form along with your confiscated driver’s license to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV will then review the documents, in addition to any blood test results that may have been taken at the time of your arrest.

Referred to as Administrative Per Se (APS), this is an immediate administrative action taken against your driving privileges only. This is separate from any court-ordered prison sentence, fine, or other penalty enforced if you are convicted for DUI.

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San Jose criminal defense attorneyAccording to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), an average of 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States every minute. Domestic violence is defined as abuse or threatening abuse between individuals who are or have been in an intimate relationship. This can include married or domestic partners, boyfriends and girlfriends (current or former), a couple who live (or lived) together, or people who have a child together. The victim and the abuser could also be related by blood or by marriage. 

Abuse is not limited to just physical acts. It can also involve verbal, psychological, or emotional behaviors or acts that harm or threaten to harm a victim. It is essential to know what constitutes domestic violence and its penalties in case you are falsely accused of this serious crime.   

Forms of Domestic Abuse

Many people mistakenly think domestic abuse is only hitting a spouse. However, it can take various forms besides just a slap or a punch. Abuse may include kicking, shoving, pulling hair, throwing objects, following, or restraining another person. It can even involve physical abuse of family pets. Other actions that constitute domestic violence include:

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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 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 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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