DUI Frequently Asked Questions

What penalties am I facing if convicted of drunk driving?

Depending on whether this is your first arrest or you are considered a repeat offender, worst case, punishments can include suspension or revocation of your California driver's license, a jail term, fines and court costs, and increases in insurance premiums. These extremely high stakes are the reason why your attorney should investigate the circumstances surrounding why you were stopped, attempt to discredit law enforcement arrest procedures and advocate for you at an administrative hearing. At the very least, you may qualify for a work restriction license option that would allow you to get to your job.

What is the immediate impact on my life, my job, and so on, after a drunk driving arrest?

The arresting officer will confiscate your driver's license and send it to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), where the license will be automatically suspended unless a DMV hearing is requested within 10 days of the arrest. So it's important that you contact the DMV and request a hearing. This will postpone the suspension of your driver's license until the outcome of the hearing is determined. This is the suspension side of things — a separate hearing from the criminal DUI charge that you face. Then you should contact an attorney.

Could police have misinterpreted their "probable cause" to pull me over in traffic?

A number of things could go wrong in the course of a DUI arrest. All kinds of factors could be misconstrued by law enforcement, including: the roles of bad weather, an engine problem with your vehicle, dangerous roads, the effects of a medicine you were taking, the strenuous nature of a field sobriety test and tendencies in breathalyzer equipment to be defective or malfunction, leading to incorrect blood alcohol readings.

Can I refuse to take the chemical test?

Refusals carry their own unique, considerable risks. For example, the court may interpret your refusal to take the test as an admission of guilt, in which case you could be looking at a one-year license suspension.

What are my chances if I tried to represent myself in these proceedings?

There are no advantages to self-representation. Your best chance of putting this crisis behind you is to have an experienced DUI defense lawyer by your side — someone who knows the system, knows the people who oversee it, knows the law and knows how to put you in the best possible legal position in case a trial is necessary.