999 Fifth Avenue, Suite 350, San Rafael, CA 94901

Call Today for Your Free Consultation
Call Us 415-729-7300

California DUI FAQs

Mill Valley DUI Defense FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Drunk Driving Arrests and DUI Defense in Marin County

What are the potential and likely penalties associated with a California drunk driving conviction?

For DUI involving injury or death, see the following links for additional information:

First Offense

A first offense, non-injury DUI conviction in California carries a maximum punishment of six months in the county jail, a $1,000 fine plus assessments, a mandatory drinking driver program, and five years of probation. The length of the school depends on the alcohol test result level or whether or not you refused to submit to a chemical test. The first offense drinking driver schools range from 12 hours to 60 hours, with the average being a 30-hour school. A reduction to alcohol or drug-related reckless driving (commonly referred to as a "wet" reckless, although that is just a slang term) usually results in the 12-hour/six-week school being ordered by the Court. A .20 percent or higher test result, or a chemical test refusal, typically results in a 60-hour/nine-month program being ordered.

In addition to the separate administrative license suspension, a first offense conviction triggers a six-to-ten-month license suspension with immediate restricted license eligibility.

If your case is in Alameda County (which is one of the four pilot IID counties along with Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare counties), you will also be required by the DMV to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on any vehicle you own or operate for a period of five months.

Most first offenders can avoid jail time on a first offense, but this is something that needs to be negotiated with the prosecutor and often requires some form of light duty work or community service.

Second Offense

A second offense, non-injury DUI conviction in California carries a maximum punishment of one year in the county jail (with a 96-hour minimum), a $1,000 fine plus assessments, a mandatory drinking driver program of 18 to 30 months, and five years of probation. The drinking driver school most often imposed is the 18-month one, which is 72 hours in length. A reduction to alcohol or drug-related reckless driving (commonly referred to as a "wet" reckless, though that is just a slang term) mandates at least the 60-hour/nine-month school.

In addition to the separate administrative license suspension, a second offense conviction triggers a two-year license suspension with IID restricted license eligibility after 90 days in most cases, and a work-related restricted license after 12 months if you forego obtaining the IID restricted license.

If your case is in Alameda County (which is one of the four pilot IID counties along with Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare counties), you will also be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on any vehicle you own or operate for a period of 12 months.

In most Bay Area counties, actual jail time can be avoided, but trash pick-up work will be required for a specified number of days (depending on what is negotiated with the prosecutor and judge). In Marin County, however, second offense cases normally require at least 96 hours of custody time. There are ways to possibly avoid this requirement, and I am happy to discuss the potential options with you.

Third Offense

A third offense, non-injury DUI conviction in California carries a maximum punishment of one year in the county jail (with a 120-day minimum), a $1,000 fine plus assessments, a mandatory drinking driver program of 18 to 30 months (unless one was already done following the second offense), and five years of probation. The drinking driver school most often imposed is the 18-month one, which is 72 hours in length. You will also be declared a habitual traffic offender, which will result in stiffer penalties if you are later convicted of driving on a suspended license.

In addition to the separate administrative license suspension, a third offense conviction triggers a three-year license revocation with IID restricted license eligibility after six months in most cases.

If your case is in Alameda County (which is one of the four pilot IID counties along with Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare counties), you will also be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on any vehicle you own or operate for a period of two years.

In some instances, actual jail time can be avoided with electronic home confinement or residential treatment (depending on what is negotiated with the prosecutor and judge). In Marin County, however, third offense cases normally require at least 30 days of custody time. There are ways to possibly avoid this requirement, and I am happy to discuss those potential options with you.

Fourth or More Offense

A fourth offense, non-injury DUI conviction in California carries a maximum punishment of three years in state prison (to be served in county jail under current law) or one year in county jail (with a 180-day minimum), a $1,000 fine plus assessments, a mandatory drinking driver program of 18 to 30 months (unless one was already done following the second or third offense), and five years of probation. The drinking driver school most often imposed is the 18-month one, which is 72 hours in length. You will also be declared a habitual traffic offender, which will result in stiffer penalties if you are later convicted of driving on a suspended license.

In addition to the separate administrative license suspension, a fourth or more offense conviction triggers a four-year license revocation with IID restricted license eligibility after one year.

If your case is in Alameda County (which is one of the four pilot IID counties along with Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare counties), you will also be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on any vehicle you own or operate for a period of three years.

In some instances, actual jail time can be avoided with electronic home confinement or residential treatment (depending on what is negotiated with the prosecutor and judge). In Marin County, however, third offense cases normally require at least 30 days of actual custody time. There are ways to possibly avoid this requirement, and I am happy to discuss the potential options with you.

What you most importantly want to try and avoid is a felony conviction on your fourth or more offense.

What driving cues are most frequently associated with impairment caused by alcohol or drugs?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified 24 cues associated with driving under the influence. Notably, speeding is not one of them. The identified cues are:

  1. Weaving
  2. Weaving across lane lines
  3. Straddling a lane line
  4. Swerving
  5. Turning with wide radius
  6. Drifting
  7. Almost striking an object or vehicle
  8. Stopping problems (too far, too short, too jerky)
  9. Accelerating or decelerating rapidly
  10. Varying speed
  11. Slow speed (10 MPH or more under the speed limit)
  12. Driving in opposing lanes or wrong way on a one-way street
  13. Slow response to traffic signals
  14. Slow or failure to respond to officer's signals
  15. Stopping in lane for no apparent reason
  16. Driving without headlights at night
  17. Failure to signal or signal inconsistent with action
  18. Following too closely
  19. Improper or unsafe lane change
  20. Illegal or improper turn (too fast, jerky, sharp, etc.)
  21. Driving on other than designated roadway
  22. Stopping inappropriately in response to officer
  23. Inappropriate or unusual behavior (throwing objects, arguing, etc.)
  24. Appearing to be impaired

Of course, many drivers commit one or more of these driving errors even when sober.

What types of legal defenses can be used to get me out of a DUI conviction?

Each DUI case is unique and has its own specific set of circumstances. Attorney Paul Burglin will examine the totality of the circumstances and determine the most effective defense strategy to minimize the consequences as much as possible. Some potential defenses may include:

  • Lack of probable cause
  • Unreliable field sobriety test results
  • Inaccurate chemical test results
  • No signs of impairment
  • Defendant not driving
  • Defendant driving out of legal necessity
  • Unanticipated reaction to medication taken as prescribed

Can my case be thrown out if the officer lacked a lawful basis to stop me?

If there is a question about the legality of the enforcement stop of your vehicle or your ultimate arrest, then attorney Paul Burglin can file a motion to suppress all evidence that ensued from that illegality (it is referred to as "fruit of the poisonous tree"). The procedural process in California is to file a motion pursuant to Penal Code §1538.5 and have an evidentiary hearing scheduled for the motion. If the judge agrees, then much of the evidence may be ruled inadmissible, and this usually results in the District Attorney moving to dismiss the charges against you.

Even if the motion is lost, the process enables your attorney to question witnesses about what they purportedly observed and see how they come across on the witness stand.

Was I required to submit to a breath or blood test?

In most instances, samples of your breath may be lawfully demanded by the police in connection with a DUI arrest related to alcohol. Blood draws are another matter, and in the absence of a warrant or what the law refers to as "exigent circumstances," the police may not have your blood drawn with a needle without your lawful consent. This can result in the suppression of the chemical test evidence.

What happens if I refuse to take the chemical test?

Refusing to take a mandatory chemical test can result in several consequences, such as:

  • One-year driver's license suspension for your first offense within a ten-year period. For second and multiple offenses, your license will be suspended for two or three years.
  • If the chemical test refusal was written into the complaint against you, you could face mandatory jail time.
  • You may be charged with obstruction of a peace officer in the performance of his or her duties, which is a separate misdemeanor offense.
  • If your case goes to trial, a prosecutor may argue that your refusal to take a chemical test showed a consciousness of guilt.

The officer never read me my Miranda Rights, how will this affect my case?

If a police officer persisted in questioning you about the incident after you were arrested and you responded, your responses will most likely be deemed inadmissible if you were not given a Miranda warning or did not waive your Miranda rights.

What is this 10-Day rule I keep reading about?

In most circumstances, someone who gets arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol is simultaneously served with an Order of Suspension regarding their privilege to drive in California. The suspension goes into effect 31 days following service of the Order, unless you request an administrative hearing with the California DMV to challenge the suspension within 10 days of your DUI arrest.

I am from out of state and was arrested for DUI in California. Will my home state suspend my driver's license?

Out-of-state residents who are arrested for drunk driving in California automatically have their California driving privileges suspended in California after 30 days unless a hearing request is submitted within 10 days of the incident. The DUI arrest might also get reported to your home state. Your home state may take immediate action against you, or they may wait to see if there is any license suspension or conviction in California. Most often, it is in the best interests of out-of-state drivers to request an administrative hearing with the California DMV before the 10-day window has expired. You may or may not win your hearing, but it will at least buy you several weeks (or possibly months) to resolve your case.

How do I select a DUI defense attorney?

Getting a truly experienced and qualified DUI Defense attorney can be challenging with the amount of embellished resumes and "pay-to-play" badges and certificates displayed on websites today. There are lawyers who make false and misleading claims about their success rate (one of the more misleading ones is "we get thousands of DUI charges dismissed every year" or "99% success rate"– since defendants are typically charged with two DUI offenses in the same case, driving under the influence and driving with a .08 percent or higher alcohol level, one of the two charges almost always gets dismissed when a plea of guilty is entered on the other charge).

There are predatory lawyers who engage in the direct mail of glossy magazines and letters promising strong advocacy on your behalf and claiming decades of experience. In reality, many of them have inexperienced associate attorneys working for them and/or do little or nothing in the way of standing up for your rights.

The best way to measure the quality of a DUI lawyer is by their actual credentials and reputation. Ask attorneys in your local area who they believe is a highly qualified DUI defense lawyer. Ask the same question of courthouse officials and others in a position to know the answer. Beware of client reviews on sites such as Avvo, Yelp, and Google. Many reviews (good and bad) are written by non-clients with the sole purpose of either making the attorney look good or trying to damage a competitor.

Attorney Paul Burglin is one of only five attorneys in California that is Board-Certified by the National College of DUI Defense (as approved by the American Bar Association) – this is the highest recognition a DUI attorney can receive, and it demonstrates an exceptionally high level of skill, knowledge, and experience. Attorney Burglin also co-authors California Drunk Driving Law, a two-volume legal guide commonly referred to as "the Bible of DUI Defense." Because of his depth of experience and proven track record, Mr. Burglin is frequently sought out by DMV hearing officers, judges, and prosecutors when someone close to them is facing a DUI charge.

How much will a DUI defense attorney cost me?

DUI defense attorney rates vary depending on the circumstances of the case and the experience, reputation, and track record of the attorney. Beware of inexperienced attorneys who charge low rates. DUI defense cases require time and attention to investigate the case, identify potential defenses, and negotiate with the prosecution. Your attorney must understand this area of the law and the best arguments to make to effectively minimize negative consequences.

Have additional questions?

Attorney Paul Burglin has successfully defended thousands of clients charged with DUI in California. Paul co-authors California Drunk Driving Law, a two-volume legal guide that is commonly referred to as "the Bible of DUI defense." His depth of knowledge and proven track record make him the "go to" attorney for DMV hearing officers, judges, and prosecutors when someone close to them is in trouble for DUI.

For answers to all your California DUI questions and/or to schedule a personalized consultation with attorney Burglin, contact us today at 415-729-7300. We serve clients throughout the Bay Area, including Marin County, Tiburon, Sausalito, Mill Valley, Larkspur, San Rafael, Novato, San Anselmo, and Fairfax. We handle locals and tourists cited in the wine country, Sonoma and Napa, as well as those cited in San Francisco, Oakland, and Martinez.

VISIT OUR OTHER WEBSITES SONOMA NAPA SAN FRANCISCO MARIN
Back to Top