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Sonoma DUI defense attorneyThere are many facts about the California DUI process that distinguish it from other states; relative to some of those states, California’s legal proceedings are slightly different. In California, there are two legal proceedings when dealing with the aftermath of a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. They are the administrative hearing at the DMV and the actual criminal court proceeding. It is worth knowing how these two are different so that you know what to expect at every step in the process. The following is a brief summary of these two legal proceedings.

The DMV Hearing vs. the Court Proceeding for a DUI in California

These two legal proceedings are very different, and their differences take root in their ultimate goals for the alleged offender. The DMV Administrative Hearing is just that—administrative. This means it is strictly meant to handle the administration of your driver’s license (i.e., whether you will have your driver’s license suspended).If you do not request a DMV Administrative Hearing within 10 days, you will be given an automatic driver’s license suspension after 30 days.If you choose to go through with the hearing, you could choose to represent or yourself or you could hire an attorney to represent you. Note that the DMV never appoints a public defender for administrative hearings.

As for the criminal court proceeding itself, this is a lot more complicated and complex as a process. It could involve up to four or more separate courtroom appearances, including:

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San Francisco DUI defense attorneyDriving under the influence (DUI) on its own, as a one-time offense, can be a difficult and very challenging charge to face, but the circumstances and consequences concerning felony DUI are even more grave and substantial. Whereas first-time DUI, second-time DUI, and third-time DUI offenses are usually classified as misdemeanor DUIs, there are specific qualities of a felony DUI that make it much more serious. Here is a brief overview of felony DUI.  

Circumstances That Can Lead to Felony DUI in California

In general, the basic requirements for a felony DUI charge in California are at least one of the following:

  1. You already have three or more DUI convictions over the last 10 years.
  2. You have one or more felony DUI convictions over the last 10 years.
  3. This specific DUI caused injury or death to someone else.

However, these are only the basic circumstances that justify a felony DUI charge. There are also other instances, which are more specific, that can lead to a felony DUI. These include aggravated situations, such as:

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San Francisco DUI defense attorneyAbout two years ago, the state of California had its first-ever “scooter DUI” conviction. The accused pleaded no contest to one count of DUI and one count of hit-and-run. As a result, he was sentenced to 36 months of probation, a $550 fine, a three-month alcohol treatment program, and payment of restitution to the victim of the hit-and-run. In other words, in California, you can be charged with DUI from driving on a scooter under the influence. In fact, this particular DUI offense carries with it distinct legal guidelines and penalties different from most other DUI charges.

Scooter DUI Is Different from Most DUIs—and Can Be Defended More Easily

The DUI laws are slightly different for “scooting” around on scooters relative to other vehicles. While it is true that just like traditional DUI with other vehicles, you could be charged if suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both, there are some subtle differences that will alter the way the case is handled. Overall, these types of DUIs are different from other DUIs in the following ways:

  • While true that an officer can consider you “driving under the influence” if it seems as if your driving abilities are impaired by substances you have consumed, there is no prerequisite for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to be at .08% or higher in order for the driver to be considered impaired. This means if pulled over on your scooter for driving under the influence, you will not be required to submit to a BAC test, be it a breathalyzer or a lab test of some sort (blood, urine, etc.) 
  • As a result, with no scientific tests supporting the arresting officer’s assessment, he/she must rely on his/her observations when pulling over the driver. If that officer does not have strong supporting data, such as vivid and documented observations of the driver’s appearance, attitude, behavior, physical and driving abilities, etc. at the time of the arrest, or if the officer fails to administer a sobriety test, there is no blood or breath test for the prosecution to rely  on in the courtroom in order to win the case.
  • In addition, overall, the punishment for scooter DUI tends to be less severe than other typical DUI cases provided it is not compounded with other charges. A scooter DUI charge alone is considered a misdemeanor with fines in the lower hundreds of dollars and no other serious penalties, although it does result in a criminal record by virtue of the misdemeanor count.  

Contact a Richmond County DUI Defense Attorney

Whether you have been accused of a scooter DUI or any other type of DUI, you are going to need to hire a knowledgeable Napa scooter DUI defense lawyer. Contact the talented team from Burglin Law Offices, P.C. at 415-729-7300 for a free consultation. They will thoroughly study your case and figure out the best strategies to help you get the best chance at a fair trial and a positive outcome.

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San Francisco DUI Defense attorneysDriving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense that should not be taken lightly. By driving under the influence, you not only put your own life at risk but also the lives of innocent passengers, drivers, and pedestrians. In doing so, you could also cause expensive and destructive damage to roads, vehicles, and property. As such, the penalties for DUI in California are severe, including revocation or suspension of your driver’s license, hefty fines, and substantial prison time. However, one area of concern that is particularly significant yet understated is the possible loss of your professional license. A DUI conviction—even a DUI arrest—could put your entire professional career in jeopardy. Here are some ways to minimize the damage to your professional licensure when planning your DUI defense. 

4 Tips for Developing Your Professional License DUI Defense

Despite California’s AB-2138 Law, passed earlier this year, making it more difficult for licensing organizations to revoke or withhold licenses from professionals, there are still plenty of situations when a DUI arrest or conviction could be a calamity for your career. If that is the case, consider these tips: 

  1. Respond with the appropriate attitude. The licensing board will know of the DUI almost as soon as anyone else does. Once they find out, they will probably issue inquiries and other requests of you to help them further understand the situation. While different California Business & Professions Codes allow revocation and suspension of licenses for DUIs, there are limitations, so you are not entirely out of luck, especially when given the opportunity to respond to the licensing agency’s questions. But you must have the proper attitude about it all: You cannot be unresponsive, but you also do not want to be so accommodating that you incriminate yourself with a wealth of information. If you refuse to be forthright or, at the least, cooperate, maybe even suggesting that you do not regret or even entirely understand the ramifications of the DUI, the licensing body will be less willing to fairly consider your side of the story.
  2. Be honest and straightforward in communication. Do not get caught in a lie. You are all professionals there (literally), so attempting to evade questions by being unprofessional is most unwise. It might even be a good idea to openly and swiftly alert the licensing agency of your DUI in advance so that they know you are being proactive and conscientious enough to care about the outcome.
  3. Compile and provide convincing evidence. You do not want to go into too much  detail, but you should provide convincing evidence surrounding the case to suggest that the circumstances made it such that your DUI did not show an utter lack of responsible behavior on your part as it would potentially pertain to your profession. This awareness will go a long way with a discerning licensing board.
  4. Hire a lawyer. An attorney will not just help you with the small things like initiating correspondence with the licensing board and responding to their preemptive inquiries; an attorney will also handle even more substantial challenges of your case, such as coaching you if asked to respond to questions from the licensing agency and developing a comprehensive, winning strategy to make sure you get to keep your license and continue doing what you love for a living.

Contact a San Francisco Professional License DUI Defense Lawyer

If you are worried about losing your professional license due to DUI, reach out to a Sonoma DUI defense attorney. It is no coincidence that Attorney Paul Burglin finds himself in court winning cases to help professionals get their career licenses back or prevent them from losing those professional licenses in the first place: he is an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer who has literally written the book on California Drunk Driving Law. His three decades of experience helping professionals recover from the legal repercussions of licensure defense will be a great benefit to you if you are faced with such a difficult time in your career. Call Burglin Law Offices, P.C. at 415-729-7300 for a free consultation.

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Napa DUI defense lawyerYour goal after being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is to prevent a conviction, but there are DUI cases where the evidence against you makes a conviction seem unavoidable. Sometimes, you must decide whether you will continue to fight the charge or take a plea deal if one is offered. Plea bargaining can reduce the punishment of a DUI conviction or reduce the charge, and a skilled DUI defense attorney can help

Common Plea Bargain Scenarios

Most defendants prefer to not have a DUI conviction on their record, even if it means accepting a lesser charge. There are three common plea deals that prosecutors may offer in a DUI case:

  1. Wet Reckless: A “wet reckless” plea deal means you are accepting a reckless driving conviction while admitting that alcohol or drugs were involved in the incident. The conviction on your record will indicate that you may have had alcohol or drugs in your system but does not say that those substances legally impaired you. The biggest advantage of a “wet reckless” plea is that the court might not suspend your driver’s license. However, the conviction will be treated as if it was a prior DUI offense if you are ever convicted of DUI.
  2. Dry Reckless: A “dry reckless” plea deal is a standard reckless driving conviction without mentioning alcohol or drugs as part of the incident. A reckless driving conviction is still a misdemeanor offense, but there are lower penalties and less stigma with having the conviction on your record. Unlike a wet reckless conviction, a dry reckless conviction would not count as a prior DUI offense if you are convicted of DUI.
  3. Exhibition of Speed: If you were pulled over for speeding before your DUI arrest, you may be able to negotiate an “exhibition of speed” plea deal. While also a misdemeanor offense, a speeding conviction is highly preferable to a DUI conviction.

Should You Accept a Plea Deal?

Taking a plea deal helps you avoid the risk of receiving the harshest DUI penalties if you allow your case to go to trial. However, you should be careful before accepting a plea deal. The first plea deal you receive may not be the best deal that the prosecution will offer. Also, getting your charge dismissed or a not-guilty verdict is still the best possible outcome. If the prosecution comes to you with a plea deal, it may be because they are not confident that they can win a DUI case at trial.

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Sonoma DUI defense attorneyBeing pulled over by a police officer can leave you at a loss for words. Before the officer reaches your vehicle, your mind is probably trying to figure out what you might have done to catch the officer’s attention. Driving under the influence (DUI) may come to mind if it is at night or you had a drink before getting behind the wheel. You have only seconds before you must talk to the officer, so what should you say?

The right answer during any traffic stop is the bare minimum. This may be difficult if you are the type of person who rambles or over-explains when you are nervous. If you are eventually charged with DUI, what you say to the officer can be used as evidence as the case proceeds.. The more you talk, the more likely it is that you will say something that draws suspicion or incriminates yourself. There are several questions that you can expect an officer to ask:

“Do You Know Why I Pulled You Over?”

Your answer to this classic question should always be “no.” Let the officer present their suspicions on their own. Trying to guess what they are thinking will suggest that you know you did something wrong.

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