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California license reinstatement lawyerFew penalties associated with driving under the influence (DUI) arrests hit people as hard as driver’s license suspensions because the loss of driving abilities often dramatically changes how people operate on a daily basis. Anybody who is dealing with a DUI and needs help seeking driver’s license reinstatement in California will want to be sure that they retain legal counsel for help satisfying all of the many demands placed on people seeking restoration of their driving privileges.

Those who are convicted of DUI offenses in California can be subject to a wide range of possible suspension periods, and a person is not automatically reinstated as a lawful driver once the suspension ends. There is instead a full reinstatement process a person must complete to be considered a lawful driver again.

How Reinstatement Works in California

Seeking reinstatement is not the same as challenging your suspension, which you can legally do after your DUI arrest when a police officer gives you a notice of suspension. You will have 10 days to request a California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hearing that is overseen by a DMV employee. This type of hearing only requires the DMV to prove a person was arrested for violating state DUI laws by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a much lower standard than beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Sonoma Drunk Driving LawyerIn the United States, we have important rights when it comes to our privacy. The Fourth Amendment protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. However, there are exceptions to this rule. One exception is when the police have reason to believe that a crime has been committed. It is crucial for everyone to know when police officers have the authority to conduct a traffic stop and assess a driver for signs of intoxication.

If a DUI traffic stop is conducted without justification, evidence obtained during the traffic stop may be unusable in court. This means that if an alleged drunk driver can prove that the officer who pulled him or her over had no grounds for doing so, any evidence of intoxication gathered during the stop may not be used against the driver. This could lead to the charges being dismissed entirely.

Reasonable Suspicion is Required for a Traffic Stop

To understand when police have the authority to pull someone over on suspicion of drunk driving, it is important to know what "reasonable suspicion" is. To initiate a traffic stop, police must have a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is taking place. Actual violations of the law, such as speeding or running a red light, are justifications for conducting a traffic stop. Unsafe driving or driving that makes the officer suspect criminal activity may also justify a traffic stop. For example, if an officer witnesses a driver erratically moving from lane to lane, the officer may assume that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Police must be able to specify the reason that he or she suspected someone of breaking the law. Officers are not permitted to pull someone over for no reason. Sobriety checkpoints are one exception to the reasonable belief requirement.

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Sonoma License Suspension AttorneyIn California, a number of offenses are punishable by driver's license suspension. Conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) results in a six-month suspension while a second offense is punishable by a two-year suspension. Driver's license suspension is not always due to drunk driving, however. Getting into an accident without auto insurance, having too many points on your driver's license, and even failing to pay child support can lead to a license suspension.

Penalties for Driving When Your Driver's License is Suspended

Once a person's license is suspended, driving any vehicle is prohibited. Driving with a suspended license is a criminal offense. The penalties for driving with a suspended license in California depend on the reason for the suspension and the number of prior offenses. A first offense is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A second offense is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. However, the penalties are even more severe if someone with a suspended license gets into an accident in which another person is injured.

If you are facing charges for driving with a suspended license, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney can help you understand the charges against you and the possible defenses that may be available.

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Can a DUI Threaten My Nursing License?

Posted on in DUI

Richmond County DUI Defense LawyerWhen someone is arrested for suspected drunk driving, their main concern may be jail time or driver’s license suspension. However, for licensed professionals, getting a drunk driving charge can also threaten their livelihood.

When a licensed nurse is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in California, he or she can face additional penalties through the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). If you or a loved one are a nurse who was recently arrested for DUI in the Marin County area, reach out to a lawyer for help. All hope is not lost and there may be steps you or your loved one can take to avoid losing your nursing career.

Fighting Drunk Driving Charges

DUI charges are often based on the results of a field sobriety test or breathalyzer test. These tests are not perfect and false positives have been known to happen. With help from a skilled DUI defense lawyer, a nurse arrested for DUI may be able to get the charges dropped or receive a “not guilty” verdict.

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bay-area-criminal-defense-lawyer.jpgPolice interrogations are often intense. Officers ask individuals a series of questions aimed at gathering information about an alleged crime. Police may interrogate someone they think committed a crime or someone who may have evidence or information relevant to a criminal case. It is important for everyone to understand their rights regarding police interrogations – and even more importantly, to assert these rights effectively.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

Most people have heard the phrase “you have the right to remain silent,” but few truly understand just how powerful this statement is. In the United States, we have a right to avoid self-incrimination that is protected by the U.S. Constitution. You cannot be forced to testify against yourself.  If you are ever arrested for a crime or brought into police custody for questioning, you do not have to answer the officers’ questions. Often, the police will imply or even outright insist that you will be better off cooperating with the interrogation. They may say something like, “We cannot help you if you do not talk to us.” Sometimes, police imply that the suspect will get a lowered sentence or reduced penalties if he or she confesses. Do not fall victim to these tactics.  

You Have the Right to Be Represented by an Attorney

If you were accused of a crime, the first person you should share any information with is your attorney. A skilled criminal defense attorney will understand how best to defend you against whatever charges you are facing. He or she will ensure that you do not worsen your situation by revealing information. Before you talk to police, talk to your lawyer.

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sonoma-county-dui-defense-attorney.jpgDrunk driving is a criminal offense punished by fees, license revocation, and even jail time. The severity of the penalties associated with drunk driving charges depends on several factors including the person’s past criminal history.

If you were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) and you have two prior DUI convictions on your record, the penalties you face are especially harsh. It is important to contact a DUI defense lawyer right away.  Your lawyer can help you understand your options, protect your rights as a criminal defendant, and determine the best way to defend yourself against the DUI charges.

Criminal Penalties for a Third Drunk Driving Conviction

Penalties for driving under the influence increase with each subsequent offense. Conviction for a third-time DUI offense in California is punishable by:

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marin-county-cdl-lawyer.jpgWhen we think of driver’s license suspensions and revocations, we usually assume that the person has lost his or her license because of drunk driving or another criminal offense. However, sometimes, commercial driver’s license holders lose their licenses due to no fault of their own. California has the authority to revoke a person’s driver’s license due to concerns about how a health condition affects their ability to drive safely.  

Mental and Physical Health Problems Can Lead to License Revocation

California law authorizes the DMV to revoke a person’s driver’s license if they have a medical condition that makes them unable to drive safely. Commercial driver’s license holders need their CDL to earn a living. Consequently, the risk of losing their license due to a mental or physical health condition is a very real concern.

Drivers may face license revocation or suspension due to:

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san-francisco-dui-attorney.jpgAlcoholic beverages are an everyday part of our culture, so it is easy to forget just how profoundly they impact our bodies and minds. Alcohol decreases our reaction time, our impulse control, and impairs memory and concentration. Driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol can be extremely dangerous for the driver and everyone else on the road. Consequently, drunk driving is penalized harshly in California – especially if there is an accident resulting in injury.

If you or a loved one were charged with DUI resulting in injury, it is important to know what you are up against.

DUI Resulting in Injury to Another Person

In California, DUI with injury is a “wobbler” offense meaning it can be a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances. The offender’s criminal history and the circumstances of the DUI accident impact the type of charge the person faces. Often, DUI resulting in injury to another person is a felony due to the nature of the offense. However, a skilled DUI defense lawyer may be able to get the charges reduced to a misdemeanor.

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Sonoma DUI LawyerCharges for driving under the influence can lead to heavy fines, loss of driving privileges, and in some cases, jail time. However, there are many reasons that DUI charges can be dismissed or reduced. Often, the evidence police use to arrest someone for DUI is flawed. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help defendants find inconsistencies and weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against them. DUI tests including breath tests, blood tests, and field sobriety tests can be inaccurate for many different reasons.

Are Field Sobriety Tests Good Indicators of Intoxication?

If police suspect that someone is driving while intoxicated, they may ask the driver to perform a series of physical actions called field sobriety tests. The most common field sobriety tests include:

  • Walk and turn – The driver is asked to walk toe to heel in a straight line.

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Richmond Counties Drunk Driving Defense LawyerAlcohol breath tests or “breathalyzers” as they are often called, test the amount of alcohol on a person’s breath. This information can be used to determine the test taker’s blood alcohol content (BAC). The results of breathalyzer tests are frequently used to prosecute drivers for driving under the influence (DUI). However, these tests are not infallible.

Testing devices that are not properly cleaned, regularly maintained, and administered correctly can yield inaccurate results. Even something as innocuous as a person’s diet may lead to inaccurate breathalyzer results. Recently, many people have questioned whether the increasingly popular keto diet could lead to false-positive breath test results and, consequently, charges for drunk driving.

Can Being Keto Really Affect Breathalyzer Tests?

The keto diet requires dieters to abstain from foods containing significant amounts of sugar or carbohydrates. This forces the body to use fat as an energy source. When fat is metabolized by the body, chemicals called ketones are produced. Ketones are chemically similar to isopropyl alcohol. If a breathalyzer test is not sophisticated enough to distinguish between isopropyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol, the alcohol found in alcoholic beverages like wine and beer, it is possible that ketones in the breath will cause the breath test to yield an artificially inflated BAC. However, advanced testing devices are able to differentiate between ketones and the ethyl alcohol found in alcoholic drinks.

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Sonoma DUI Arrest LawyerIndividuals in the United States have important rights protected by the Constitution and other legislation. One of these rights is the right to be free from “unreasonable search and seizure.” The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution ensures that police and other government officials may not search a person’s property or take property without a legitimate reason. In many cases, police must get a search warrant signed by a judge before they can search a person’s property. However, there are many exceptions to search and seizure laws and our right to privacy varies depending on the type of property in question.

Arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) can escalate into much greater issues when police search the car and find evidence of another crime. Whether you have been charged with a criminal offense after a police search or you simply want to know your rights, understanding when police can and cannot search without a search warrant is crucial.

When Can Police Conduct a Warrantless Search of a Residence?

Criminal charges often hinge upon evidence collected on personal property. Many people are confused about when police have the right to enter their home and search for evidence of criminal activity. In most cases, police must obtain a search warrant before they can search a person’s home. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, police may enter a home without a search warrant if there is illegal contraband or evidence of a crime in plain sight or if they are pursuing a fugitive. Police may also conduct a warrantless search if there is a reasonable belief that someone is in immediate danger or that evidence is being destroyed. Lastly, police may search a home without a warrant if a resident gives them permission to do so.

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Sonoma DUI Defense AttorneyBeing charged with driving under the influence (DUI) can lead to a number of difficulties that will affect a person’s life, including restrictions on their ability to drive. One issue that people may not be aware of is the requirement to use a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID). Drivers who are arrested for DUI will want to be sure to understand when these requirements will apply and the restrictions that they may face when using these devices.

IID Requirements in California

An ignition interlock device or IID is a breathalyzer that will be installed in a person’s vehicle. Before starting the vehicle and at certain intervals while driving, a person will be required to give a breath sample. The vehicle will not start if the IID registers alcohol in the driver’s breath. In addition, any readings that show that a driver has attempted to drive with alcohol in their system will be reported to the authorities, and the driver may face additional criminal charges or restrictions to their driver’s license.

Since 2019, California has required all drivers convicted of DUI to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. However, by having an IID installed immediately after a conviction, a driver will be able to avoid any suspension or revocation of their driver’s license. When using an IID, a driver will not have any restrictions on where or when they can drive. In addition to the installation of an IID, a driver may also be required to participate in a DUI education program, and they will need to provide proof that they have completed this program. 

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Richmond County DUI Defense LawyerIn California, marijuana has been legal for both recreational and medical use since 2016. The state’s laws treat this drug similarly to alcohol, and people over the age of 21 are allowed to purchase marijuana from licensed dispensaries for their own personal use. Because marijuana use can affect a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, people are restricted from “driving while high.” The state’s DUI laws apply to marijuana as well as alcohol, and drivers may face consequences if they are arrested for driving while they are intoxicated by marijuana or a combination of substances.

Legal Issues Affecting Marijuana DUI Cases

Marijuana can affect a driver in many ways, and a person may experience delayed reaction times, a lack of coordination, impairments to judgment, and difficulty perceiving factors such as time and speed. However, it is not always easy to determine a person’s level of intoxication. Unlike alcohol, which enters and leaves a person’s body quickly, the chemicals in marijuana can remain in a person’s system for a great deal of time. Since different people absorb and react to marijuana differently, it can be impossible to determine a specific amount of the drug that will cause a person to be intoxicated.

While there is a legal limit for blood alcohol content when a person is driving, California law does not recognize any limits for marijuana. There is no breathalyzer test that can be used to determine whether a driver is intoxicated due to marijuana in their system. While some law enforcement agencies in the state have been testing the use of saliva swabs in DUI traffic stops, these tests may detect the presence of marijuana in a person’s system without being able to determine whether a driver is impaired, and they are not legally-admissible evidence in a DUI case.

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New DUI Diversion Law Causes Controversy

Posted on in DUI

california defense lawyerA new law that allows judges to grant diversion to those convicted of misdemeanor driving under the influence (DUI) has been causing confusion in the California court system, according to The Press-Enterprise. Critics of the measure say judges are applying it inconsistently, often granting diversion to defendants with means while poorer defendants are punished with criminal penalties. 

Assembly Bill 3234

Assemblyman Phil Ting, a Democrat from San Francisco, introduced Assembly Bill 3234 as part of a criminal justice reform package designed to, among other things, give judges the discretion to place first-time DUI offenders into a diversion program instead of jail. 

Ting said the measure was modeled off of a program that proved successful in Los Angeles County. Since judges could grant diversion, he explained the county court system had 2,000 fewer jury trials, which saved some $12,000 per day. Also, according to Ting, those who completed a diversion program were less likely to re-offend. 

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california dui lawyerAhead of Labor Day weekend, a multinational alcohol company launched a virtual campaign to warn Californians who plan on partying over the weekend about the dangers of drinking and driving. Diageo North American partnered with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research to launch the “Wrong Side of the Road.” 

Wrong Side of the Road

The educational project includes a website that hosts a series of videos in which people who have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) share their experiences. Many of the individuals describe the social stigma they feel as a result of their DUI conviction.

Diageo, which owns Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Guinness, and dozens of other beverage brands, explained they wanted to show how catastrophic it could be not just for you, but the people in your life if you decide to drink and drive. 

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san Francisco dui lawyerMost people are honest, especially when they talk to a police officer, but that police officer might not be as forthright about his or her intentions. When a police officer suspects that a driver is driving under the influence (DUI), he or she may ask questions to find evidence or clues of drunk driving. DUIs and traffic infractions result in more injuries and death than any violent crime, but also DUIs are incredibly hard to prove. 

When a police officer pulls you over and suspects that you are under the influence of alcohol, they will ask you what seems like common, getting-to-know-you questions, but in reality, what they are doing is phishing for information. The police officer may be gathering details and building the foundation of a DUI case. 

While it seems logical to stay silent during this exchange, the honest person might feel like they are trying to hide something. It begs the question: When should you answer questions and when should you stay quiet during a DUI stop?

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california defense lawyerIn a DUI case, the reason why a police officer pulls you over plays an important role. Identifying a traffic violation gives the officer probable cause to stop you in the first place. The officer can gather further evidence of drunk driving. How do police officers determine that there is probable cause for a DUI stop?

The short answer is nobody knows you are driving drunk — not even police officers — just by the traffic violation. However, police are trained to look for specific behaviors to single out possible drunk drivers and follow them until they see a traffic violation to build a DUI case. 

A Vehicle in Motion

One of the first lessons in DUI training is called “Vehicle in Motion.” The lesson is used to train police officers how to identify driving behaviors that could lead to DUI stop, and how to observe and document the behaviors for a DUI case. The training is provided by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency managed by the federal Department of Transportation. 

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CA defense lawyerIn an effort to keep unsafe drivers off the road, California law typically requires a driver’s license suspension for a person who is arrested or convicted for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. However, in a world that frequently relies on personal vehicles for transportation, the loss of driving privileges can be a major inconvenience and even a cause of financial hardship. If your license has been suspended for DUI-related reasons, you may be able to mitigate some of the consequences by applying for a restricted license.

Restricted Licenses for California DUI Arrest Suspensions

In California, a DUI conviction is not necessary for a driver’s license suspension to go into effect. Rather, you could find your license suspended for four months if a chemical test shows that you had a BAC of at least 0.08. You may be able to contest your suspension with the help of an attorney at an administrative DMV hearing, but if the suspension goes into effect, you will be unable to legally drive under any circumstances unless you obtain a restricted driver’s license.

The California DMV offers two options for obtaining a restricted license under these circumstances. The first is to agree to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in your vehicle, in which case you would be able to drive for any reason as long as the device does not register alcohol in your breath. The second option is to serve at least 30 days of the suspension and then agree to drive only for the purposes of employment and attending a DUI program. For either option, you must apply through the DMV, pay a fee, and provide proof of insurance. These restrictions typically last for the duration of the suspension or slightly longer.

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CA DUI lawyerA DUI conviction can have lasting consequences for anyone, but it can be especially hard for drivers under the age of 21 who are just beginning their adult lives. If you or your child has been charged with an underage drinking offense in California, it is understandable that you would be concerned about the outcome of your case. An attorney can inform you of the possible consequences and prepare a defense that may help you avoid them.

Penalties for Underage DUI

In California, drivers under the age of 21 who are convicted of an alcohol-related offense can face both administrative and criminal penalties, depending on the circumstances. The severity of the consequences depends in large part on the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as measured by a preliminary breath test or chemical test.

For example, underage drivers with a BAC of at least 0.01 are subject to a one-year suspension of their driver’s license according to California’s zero-tolerance law, but this is likely to be the only penalty they face. With a BAC of at least 0.05, the driver can also be assessed a fine, and if they are at least 18 years old, they can be ordered to complete a DUI education program before having their license reinstated. Notably, neither of these charges will result in jail time.

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california dui defense lawyerIf you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in California, you face many serious penalties in the short term. Your sentence could include fines, jail time, probation, driver’s license suspension, court-ordered community service, DUI school, and attendance at AA meetings. However, you may also be concerned about the long-term effects of a conviction, including a criminal record that can impact future sentencing and employment and housing opportunities. It is important to understand how your criminal record can affect you, as well as whether you have any options to remove a DUI conviction from your record.

Expunging a DUI Conviction in California

A DUI conviction is likely to remain on your record in some form for the rest of your life. However, under some circumstances, it is possible to have a DUI conviction dismissed, preventing it from affecting certain aspects of your life.

The most important requirement for dismissing a DUI conviction is that you have completed any term of probation that was included in your sentence. In California, DUI sentences often include a probationary period of between three and five years, during which time you must refrain from committing any additional criminal offenses. Probation also typically includes conditions such as attending DUI school, completing community service, and driving with restricted privileges. Once the probation period ends, you can petition the court for dismissal, provided that you have abided by all of the conditions of probation and you are not currently serving another sentence or facing pending criminal charges.

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