Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson

247 N. Third Street, San Jose, CA 95112

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San Jose First-Time DUI Defense Lawyer

san jose first time dui lawyer

Criminal Attorney for Drunk Driving Charges in Santa Clara County and San Francisco Bay Area

Motorists charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs for the first time face a range of life altering consequences: mandatory jail, fines and fees, license suspension or revocation, expensive alcohol classes, not to mention a criminal conviction. If you or a loved one were pulled over for suspicion of DUI, you need a skilled lawyer that can successfully defend against these charges and protect your future and career. San Jose DUI attorney Erik Johnson has over ten years of criminal law experience. He understands the details inherent in DUI prosecutions and will help you fight your case and get you your life back.

First-Time DUI or DWI Offender Defense

In proving the elements of drunk driving, a prosecutor must show the following: 1) that you drove a motor vehicle or caused some volitional movement of it; 2) that while driving you were under the influence of an alcoholic beverage and/ or drug. Proving whether you were under the influence is fact dependent and includes: bad driving, poor performance of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and the smell of alcohol coming from your person.

However, California also has a per se legal limit for prosecuting DUIs. This means that if proven, having an amount of alcohol in your blood that is at .08 percent or more at the time of driving, is per se illegal and no further proof of inebriation is required. Nevertheless, there are strong defenses to both the per se law and traditional DUI prosecution, including the rising blood alcohol defense and violations of blood collection and analysis just to name a few.

For first-time DUI offenders in California, consequences typically include:

  • 48 hours to six months in county jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fines plus penalties and assessments
  • Three to five years' probation
  • Three to nine-month court-approved alcohol education programs
  • Six or ten-month driver's license suspension (or up to a year in some cases)
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (in some cases)
  • Increased insurance premiums

Sentences can become more severe when there are aggravating circumstances or special allegations. Some of these include:

  • A blood alcohol level more than .15 percent
  • Refusing a chemical test (blood or breath)
  • Driving with excessive speed
  • Driving causing injury
  • Driving with children under the age of 14 present in the vehicle
  • Driving while under the age of 21

Ignition Interlock Device Requirement

Anyone convicted of a first DUI has two options regarding an ignition interlock device (IID) that requires them to pass a breath test prior to starting the vehicle and during operation.

First, you can agree to a six-month IID installation in your vehicle. This will allow you to retain full driving privileges and possibly avoid a no-drive administrative suspension. You will also be required to complete a three-month first-offender program, or nine months if your blood alcohol concentration registered .20 or more. A DUI that resulted in injury increases the IID period to 12 months.

Second, you can decline to install an IID, but the court may still order it. If it is not installed, your license will be restricted for 12 months, and you will only be allowed to drive to and from work. This includes a 30-day no-drive suspension and enrollment and completion of the first-offender course.

Some drug DUIs are subject to the new IID rules, but suspensions are different and licensees may not be immediately eligible for a restricted license. Contact an Attorney Erik Johnson for more information.

You Only Have Ten Days to Save Your License

You only have 10 days from your arrest to request a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Although driving in California is a privilege, you do have the right to a hearing with the DMV to maintain those privileges. Attorney Erik Johnson handles these cases personally and believes in attending the hearings in person because sometimes the loss of driving privileges is the severest consequence.

Contact a San Jose DUI Defense Lawyer

If you are arrested for a first-time DUI, it is important to obtain experienced legal representation immediately. At the Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson, our team assists clients with not only DUI-related matters but all criminal defense cases. Contact our San Jose firm today at 408-246-3004 for a free consultation. We serve clients in the communities of Campbell, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Palo Alto, and Milpitas, as well as across Santa Clara and Alameda Counties.

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