DUI QUESTIONS ANSWERED
1. What type of driving indicates DUI to police officers patrolling the roads?
The symptoms of a driver under the influence vary depending on the person’s reaction to alcohol, but often include:
- Making wide turns
- Driving more than 10 mph below the speed limit
- Erratic braking
- Near accidents
- Slow response to traffic lights and signs
- Turning abruptly
- Straddling the center line
- Stopping without cause
- Following too closely
- Driving off the designated road
- Looking intoxicated
- Using the wrong turn signal
2. What should I say to the police officer that stops me and asks me if I have been drinking?
The police cannot force you to answer any incriminating questions. Therefore you may feel free to tell them that you would prefer to speak to a drunk driving defense attorney before answering any questions. Since telling the officer that you had one beer is not incriminating, you may wish to explain the odor of alcohol on your breath this way.
3. Do you have the right to speak to an attorney before submitting to a field sobriety test?
In California, you do not have the right to consult an attorney before deciding whether to submit to a field sobriety test.
4. Should I agree to perform field sobriety tests (FSTs)?
Field sobriety tests can include a variety of physical tests including: heel-to-toe, finger-to-nose, one leg stand, alphabet recitations, fingers to thumb, etc. You are not legally required to perform any of these tests. Whether you pass or not is a very subjective determination and the officer may deem you to have failed even if you felt you did very well. This evidence can then be used to help convict you of DUI. It is often a good idea to politely decline these tests.
5. Should I submit to a chemical test? Can I refuse?
The police officer cannot force you to submit to a chemical test. However, if it is found that you refused the test, your California Driver’s License will be suspended for a one-year period by the Department of Motor Vehicles no matter what the outcome of the court case is. You have the right to a hearing to contest this suspension and must request this hearing within ten (10) days from the date of you arrest.
6. What type of chemical test should I take?
You are often given a choice of Blood or Breathe tests. Blood tests are the most accurate of the tests. If you give a blood sample, the sample must be preserved according to specific rules so that it is available to your attorney for independent testing and analysis later. Breath tests are fairly reliable, but the results can be unreliable for a variety of reasons. No breath sample can be preserved for later analysis. Urine tests are no longer valid in California because it is generally the least accurate of the three tests. In summary, a blood test is the most accurate and should be chosen if you are confident that your blood alcohol content is below the legal limit. If you are concerned that your blood alcohol level may be high, you may consider taking a breath test so that there is a possibility of impeaching the results later.
7. Should my case be dismissed if the officer never read me my Miranda Rights?
While officers are supposed give you a warning about your 5th Amendment rights, failure to do so usually does not merit a dismissal. However, if an officer fails to inform you of these rights, the prosecution is not allowed to use your answers to their post arrest questions as evidence of your DUI.
8. Why do I have two (2) charges against me?
You are being charged with two separate crimes. In most DUI situations you are charged with  driving with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher, and  driving while under the influence of alcohol. You can be convicted of either one or both, but you are only punished once.
9. Why was my driver’s license not returned to me when I was released?
Your license was taken away by the police and you were issued a notice of suspension. This form is your temporary driver’s license for 30 days following your arrest. After those 30 days, your California Driver’s License is suspended unless you request a hearing disputing this suspension with the DMV. WARNING: YOU HAVE ONLY 10 DAYS FROM THE DATE OF YOUR ARREST TO CONTACT THE DMV AND REQUEST THIS HEARING. A knowledgeable Wallin & Klarich attorney will be able to contact the DMV for you and represent you at this hearing.
10. What can be done to reinstate my driving privilege if I lost or failed to request a DMV hearing?
After 30 days of actual suspension, Wallin & Klarich attorney can contact the DMV for you and request a restricted license allowing you to drive to and from work and any classes you may be attending.
11. It’s only a DUI; can’t I just represent myself?
While you are legally allowed to represent yourself, you are likely to get a much more favorable result if you retain a knowledgeable DUI attorney to represent you. In many cases hiring an attorney can result in the charges being reduced or dismissed. In addition, the need for jail time can often be eliminated.
An experienced attorney will review your case and the police reports. Your attorney will also analyze the results of the chemical tests, compel discovery of the pertinent maintenance records and arrange for blood samples to be tested by an independent lab. An experienced DUI attorney will be able to file Motions on your behalf with the court and attempt to negotiate a favorable conclusion with the District Attorney.
12. Is it important that my attorney have experience in the court where my case is pending?
No matter how you find your attorney, it is very important that they are experienced in handling DUI matters, DMV matters and are very familiar with the court where your case is pending. An attorney who handles many cases in your court will be familiar with the personnel in that court and will know about their particular sentencing policies. This familiarity often leads to a more favorable outcome. The attorney that is assigned to your case will have substantial experience in the court where your case is pending.
13. How much will it cost to hire a lawyer?
Attorney’s fees vary depending on the attorney’s travel time and experience in handling DUI matters. Often attorneys who have a local office near the court where your case is pending have the most reasonable fees. These local attorneys are also more familiar with the people and procedures of the court where your case is pending.
A highly qualified DUI attorney will normally charge between $1,500 to $7,500 to handle the case up to trial. Fees for a jury trial often range from $1,000 to $2,500 per day. Representation at the DMV hearing to try to save your driving privilege can range from $500 to $1,500.
Wallin & Klarich fees are very reasonable. Call for a free consultation which will include a fee quote.
14. What is the “rising blood alcohol defense”?
This is a defense technique that may be available to you depending on the amount of time that has elapsed between the time you consumed alcohol and the time of your chemical test. Alcohol that you drink is not absorbed into your blood stream immediately. It can take as little as 30 minutes to as long as several hours for alcohol that you consume to enter into your blood stream.
During the time that elapses while your are stopped, transported to the station, and waiting for your chemical test you may still be absorbing the alcohol in your stomach. In other words, your BAC is higher at the time of the test is higher than it was when you were actually driving.
15. Are there any defenses available in a DUI case?
While there is no limit to the types of defenses that may be available depending on the facts of any particular case, the following defenses are common in the field of DUI defense.
-Lack of probable cause. If the officer did not have probable cause to stop, detain, test or arrest you, evidence against you may be excluded.
-Lack of proof you were driving the vehicle. In addition to proving you were under the influence of alcohol, the prosecution must also prove that the defendant was driving the vehicle. If there are no witnesses, this may difficult.
-Lack of warnings. If the officer failed to give you Miranda warnings at the required time, incriminating statements made by the defendant may be excluded. Additionally, if you refused to submit to a chemical test and the officer did not appropriately advise you of the consequences of a refusal, evidence of the refusal may be excluded.
-Lack of reliable chemical test results. The reliability of the results of your chemical test may be impeached if the machine was not properly maintained, calibrated and operated.
-Lack of properly preserved blood sample. If you submitted to a blood test, your blood sample must be preserved and available to you and your lawyer for independent testing.
-Lack of reliable observations by the officer. The officer’s observations that a defendant “appeared” to be under the influence or that he/she “failed” a field sobriety test can sometimes be impeached. Your attorney can expose the officer’s bias or use witness to contradict his observations.
16. Will I miss much time from work because I have to appear in court on my DUI matter?
Because a DUI is usually classified as a misdemeanor, an experienced DUI attorney can use a Penal Code 977, which is a Waiver of Personal Presence. In the vast majority of cases, this allows your attorney to appear in court on your behalf without you having to be present. This means that the impact on your life is minimized and you are free to go to work and handle the other aspects of your life.
17. I have more questions about my DUI/DMV matter, where else can I go to get information and help?
Please call our DUI/DMV Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich toll free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL – (877) 466-5245. You will receive a free consultation about your case with an attorney who is very familiar with DUI/DMV matters and knows about the specific court where your case is pending.
At Wallin & Klarich, we approach every case with the belief that the person we’re defending could easily be one of our own family members. We’ve seen firsthand how stressful legal matters can be for our clients and their loved ones. We are committed to being available to our clients at all times — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If you or someone you love is facing drunk driving charges in Southern California, you should call Wallin & Klarich today for a free evaluation of your case.
Call (877) 466-5245 or fill out our online consultation form to get in contact with a legal professional today. We will be there when you call.