Oakland DUI Lawyer
DUI Attorney in Alameda County
Getting pulled over for a DUI in California can be an intimidating and frightening experience. A person may be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in several ways, such as having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher or driving while impaired by drugs and/or alcohol.
For many people, a DUI is the first crime they face, and they do not know what to expect in the criminal justice system. Getting the help of an experienced Oakland DUI attorney after an arrest can be the most proactive and smartest action you can take. In order to save your license or delay its suspension, the DMV must be contacted within 10 days of your arrest.
Demetrius has represented clients in over 300 DUI cases in California. From misdemeanor cases that come from DUI checkpoints to more serious felonies involving accidents and injuries. As an Oakland DUI lawyer has also handled numerous DUIs where someone was killed during an accident resulting in a murder or manslaughter charges. No matter what the circumstances of your DUI case, our Alameda County DUI lawyer can help.
DUI Cases We Defend
Our Oakland DUI Attorney defends:
- First Offense DUI
- Second Offense DUI
- Multiple Offense DUI
- Vehicular Manslaughter
DUI Laws in California
Under California’s Vehicle Code, it is unlawful to drive a vehicle while impaired from alcohol or any drug, whether the drug is a street drug, prescription drug, or even an over-the-counter drug. Under the law, a DUI is often charged as a misdemeanor but may be charged as a felony if you have been convicted of 3 or more DUIs within 10 years, or if there is an accident causing injury.
If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures .08 percent or higher, you are considered legally impaired. For those under 21, the legal limit is .02 percent. An aggravated DUI is charged when your BAC measures .15 percent or more, and it will result in enhanced penalties.
What Are the Penalties for a First-Offense DUI in CA?
Penalties for a first offense DUI without bodily injury can include:
- Up to $2,000 in fines and assessments
- 48 hours up to six months in jail
- A six-month license suspension
- Mandatory completion of DUI school
- Installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device
- An increase in auto insurance premiums
Penalties will increase if you are involved in an accident causing bodily injury and for each successive DUI conviction you receive within a 10-year period. Following your arrest, you will have 10 days to request a DMV hearing to challenge your license suspension. If you engage the services of our criminal defense attorney, Demetrius Costy Law, we can request the hearing on your behalf and represent you as well before the DMV.
Call (510) 254-3945 for a free consultation with a DUI attorney in Oakland at Demetrius Costy Law.
1st Offense DUI in California
A first-time DUI offense carries harsh penalties that can severely affect a person's life for years. Often, employers, landlords, and other decision-makers are influenced by the information they find on the applicant's criminal history, including a DUI arrest and/or conviction.
If you have been charged with drunk or drugged driving, and this is your first offense, you might be worried about the potential outcome and its effects on your life. You might also be feeling overwhelmed with the legal processes involved in resolving your case.
At Demetrius Costy Law, we are aware of the challenges that can arise after a driving under the influence arrest and conviction. That is why our Oakland first-time DUI lawyer will be by your side throughout your case.
What Happens in a First-Time DUI Case?
A DUI matter begins with a traffic stop. If an officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that a driver violated a law, they can pull the individual over. While the officer is questioning the driver, they might make observations suggesting that the individual is intoxicated.
The officer may then request that the driver participates in a battery of tests to determine whether they are driving under the influence. If the evidence further enforces the officer's suspicions, they may take the driver into custody and administer a blood or breath test to determine the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. Depending on the situation, the driver may be charged with their first DUI offense.
The above is an abbreviated version of what may happen in a DUI case. But it's important to know that at any time from that initial police encounter to the criminal charge, you have rights. For instance, an officer cannot stop you on a hunch, meaning if they saw you walk out of a bar and get in your car, they cannot pull you over because they think you're drunk.
They must have some observable proof that points to your level of drunkenness. You can also refuse to take the field sobriety tests, and it's often recommended to do so, as your performance on them is used to justify the officer's decision to arrest you. Additionally, personnel must follow specific protocols when administering the chemical tests to ensure that the analysis produces accurate results.
A violation of your rights at any time during the process may be raised as a defense against the charge. At Demetrius Costy Law, we recognize that every matter is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. Our Oakland first offense DUI lawyer will ask detailed questions about your case to understand the situation and determine what defenses may be available for you.
Can I Lose My Driver's License for a First Offense DUI in California?
If you're arrested for impaired driving, two processes are at work: the administrative and the criminal. Your driver's license is at stake in either proceeding.
The administrative process begins immediately after your DUI arrest. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) handles it, and it’s concerned with whether or not your driver's license suspension should be upheld or rescinded. The agency considers several factors when making its decision.
If the DMV decides to maintain your driver's license suspension, the length of time you may lose your privileges is as follows:
- 4 months (if you're 21 or older and you took a chemical test)
- 1 year (if you're under 21 and you took a chemical test)
- 1 year (if you're any age and you refused or failed to complete a chemical test)
The criminal process is the one that progresses through the judicial system. If you're found guilty of a first-time DUI, you may lose your driving privileges for 6 months.
Can I Go to Jail for a First-Time DUI in California?
Aside from a driver's license suspension for a DUI conviction, you can also face other criminal penalties.
These include but are not limited to:
- A jail term between 96 hours and 6 months
- A fine between $390 to $1,000
Several factors will determine the exact penalties a judge will impose.
2nd DUI Offense in California
If you've been accused of driving under the influence within 10 years of a previous conviction for the crime, your current offense will be considered your second DUI. Because you are a repeat offender, you could be facing a lengthier jail or probation term and a longer driver's license suspension than a first-time DUI.
What Is a Second-Offense DUI?
California Vehicle Code § 23152 enumerates the elements of a DUI.
Six situations exist in which a person may be charged with the offense. They include driving a vehicle:
- While under the influence of alcohol (to be "under the influence" means the person's normal mental and physical faculties are impaired to the point that they cannot safely operate their vehicle;
- With a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher;
- With a blood alcohol concentration of .04 or higher (if the individual is a commercial driver's license holder or transporting a passenger for hire);
- While suffering from drug addiction;
- While under the influence of any drug, which includes prescription medications; or
- While under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
A DUI is considered a second offense if a person engages in any of the conduct listed above, and they have done so within 10 years of a separate such violation.
What Happens When You Get A 2nd DUI In California?
As mentioned earlier, the penalties for a second DUI are harsh. Although the fine remains in the same range as that of a first-time DUI ($390 to $1,000), other penalties are increased.
Upon a conviction for a second driving under the influence offense, a court may sentence the offender to:
- Incarceration for 90 days to 1 year
- Driver's license suspension for 2 years
- Ignition Interlock Device installation for up to 1 year
- California DUI school for 18 to 30 months
Additionally, a second DUI arrest can result in a lengthy administrative driver's license suspension. If the offender is 21 years of age or older and took a chemical test, they will be subject to a 1-year driver's license suspension. If they refused or failed the test, the DMV will revoke their driving privileges for 2 years.
Can a Second DUI Charge Be Challenged?
Although this may be a person's second alleged DUI offense, that does not mean they're guilty. As with any other crime, the State must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and the defendant has the right to challenge the accusations.
Possible defenses that can be raised for a second DUI offense include, but are not limited to:
- Unlawful traffic stop
- Improper chemical test analysis
- Improper handling of blood, breath, or urine sample
- External factors affecting performance on field sobriety tests
At Demetrius Costy Law, our second-offense DUI lawyer will evaluate your case, review all evidence, and develop a defense specifically for your situation.