Q: I was just arrested for DUI. What happens next?
A: Time is of the essence due to the action that DMV may take against your driver's license. If the cops took your license at the time of arrest you must request a DMV hearing within 10 days or your license will automatically be suspended. Berglund Law Office, P.C. will do this for you once we are hired. You were also given a court date, either on a citation or on your bail bond paperwork. Save this date (either you and/or an attorney will need to appear in court). Call us at (877) 667-1205 or submit our CONTACT form to schedule a free consultation.
Q: Is getting a DUI like a traffic ticket?
A: No. DUI is a criminal offense. Traffic tickets are infractions. You cannot go to jail if you are convicted of an infraction. You only pay a fine. Conviction for a criminal offense can result in jail time. A DUI conviction will show up on a background check as a criminal conviction.
Q: Will I go to jail if I'm convicted of a DUI?
A: It depends on whether you have any prior offenses and whether or not another person was injured or killed in your current DUI case. Our website provides specific information regarding the possible consequences for a 1st time DUI offenses, 2nd offenses, 3rd offenses, and DUI with injury cases.
Q: I know that I was drinking and driving. The breath test that I took is over the .08 legal limit. What's the point of getting a lawyer?
A: The prosecution needs to be able to prove its case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. There are countless potential defenses to DUI charges. No technology is perfect, including the breath test machines that are used at the police station. Hiring a good DUI lawyer can potentially result in reduced penalties and reduced or dismissed charges.
Q: I have a full time job. Will I have to go to court?
A: It depends. In misdemeanor cases, an attorney can appear on behalf of a client at most court hearings. You may have to personally appear at the arraignment if the prosecutor is seeking to set or increase bail. There are frequently multiple "pre-trial" hearings in which an attorney can appear on your behalf. Some judges will order you present if you are going to enter a plea and be sentenced. You would also need to be present if your case goes to trial. In a felony case, you are required to attend every court hearing.
Q: If I hire an attorney, does that mean I have to go to trial?
A: No. Most cases do not go to trial. We work to get charges reduced or dismissed entirely, and to minimize the penalties. We do this by finding every weakness in the prosecutor's case against you. We will get the best possible plea bargain agreement, or "deal," on the table for you to consider. The attorney will make a recommendation on whether or not the agreement is fair and whether you should accept it or not. But ultimately, the final decision on whether to go to trial is made by you.
Q: Can I beat a drunk driving charge in Los Angeles?
It is possible to beat a DUI charge, although it is not typically an easy process. It will require a thorough understanding of the law and a thorough understanding of the technical nature of field sobriety tests, breath tests, blood tests, and urine tests. Understanding the latter tests is critical to identifying errors (technical or human-made errors) to highlight the unreliability of the results.
Aside from errors or unreliable test results, an alleged DUI offender may have had their constitutional rights violated. This happens more often than you might imagine. A violation can lead to the inadmissibility of some or all evidence. Without sufficient evidence, the case will be dismissed, or a jury may return with an acquittal.
You will need a good DUI defense attorney to help you beat a DUI charge. These cases can be highly technical, as much as legally complex.
Q: I received a letter in the mail telling me that I need to immediately install an ignition interlock device (IID) or my license will be suspended. Do I need to do this?
A: No. There are several unscrupulous IID providers and insurance companies telling persons arrested for DUI that they need to immediately take this action. This is not correct. You may do so if you like, however you will be giving up your right to the DMV administrative hearing. The "forfeiture" of this right automatically results in a DMV loss. This will have devastating consequences for some individuals, particularly commercial drivers. If you request a timely DMV administrative hearing, a "stay" will be placed on the potential suspension action.
Q: If my driver's license is suspended, can I get a restricted license?
A: If you were arrested for a DUI involving alcohol only, and it occurred after January 1, 2019, in most situations you are eligible to immediately obtain a restricted driver's license following a DUI conviction as long as you install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. There are exceptions. For example, if you refused to submit to a breath or blood test following your arrest; if your case involved drugs; or if you have a prior DUI and now your new case involves injury to another person you will not be eligible to immediately get a restricted driver's license.
Q: This is my first DUI offense. Do I really need to install an IID in my vehicle?
A: Maybe not. If your case involves alcohol only, not drugs, you did not cause an injury to another person, and you did not refuse to submit to a breath or blood test following your arrest, you have two other options. First, you may serve a 30 day "hard" suspension (meaning no driving allowed at all) followed by a 12 month restricted license in which you will be allowed to drive to/from work and to/from alcohol program activities. For both the IID and work restricted license, you will need to file proof of enrollment in the alcohol program and proof of insurance with the DMV. You also have the option of serving a 6 month "hard" suspension and then applying for your driver's license to be re-issued (you will also need to file proof of completion of the alcohol program and proof of insurance with the DMV).
Q: How long will a DUI stay on my record?
A: It depends on which context. It remains on your criminal record for 10 years for purposes of being used against you in a future DUI case. For example, if you receive your 2nd DUI within 10 years of the date you received your 1st DUI then you will be subject to the penalties for a 2nd DUI offense. You may still be eligible to have the conviction expunged upon successful completion of the probationary period (visit our DUI Expungements page for more information), however it can still be used against you as a "prior" DUI during the 10-year period. The conviction remains on your DMV driving record for at least 10 years as well, however you only need to file the SR22 proof of insurance for 3 years. How long your insurance premium rates are impacted is within the discretion of your insurance company.
If you have been arrested for DUI, the most important thing you can do is to consult with an experienced DUI attorney TODAY. CONTACT Berglund Law Office, P.C. today for a free and confidential consultation.