Tag Archives: DUI Lawyer

California DUI how much does it cost?

Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “I have been charged with my first California DUI. I have heard all the advertisements about how expensive a DUI can be. I am getting a bit nervous. Can you provide information about how much this California DUI will cost me? Will I have to hire a DUI lawyer, and if so, how much will that cost?”

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Hiring A DUI Attorney For My Out-Of-State DUI

Getting arrested by police and charged with DUI is a terribly difficult situation when it happens in your home state, but when you receive a DUI in another state your problems are multiplied. You may be tempted to just plead guilty and move on, or simply drive back to your home state vowing to never again step foot in that state, thinking the penalties of the DUI will not follow you home. Be warned: A DUI conviction and its’ penalties can be effective in the state you were arrested in and your home state.

Should I hire a DUI attorney?


You will face all of the same penalties and procedures as if you were a resident of that state. Although each state has its own unique DUI laws and statutes, you will likely face two court proceedings. One is the criminal case against you and the other is the revocation of your license through an administrative license suspension. An experienced DUI attorney can look at the specifics of your DUI case and guide you through both of these procedures.

One of the main benefits for hiring an attorney is that he can appear on your behalf in court. DUI proceedings can generally take anywhere between two months and one year to resolve. It can get expensive and burdensome to travel back and forth every time you are scheduled to appear in court or at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You could recoup some of what you pay in attorneys’ fees and save yourself a lot of stress and loss of personal time by hiring a DUI attorney to assist you.

In which state should I hire my DUI attorney?


As stated previously, each state has its own DUI laws and penalties. They could vary widely. An attorney from the state where your DUI will be prosecuted will be an expert in that state’s laws and could have invaluable relationships and knowledge of the courts and how they work. These things could be vital when it comes to dealing with the Prosecutor on your behalf and working out an agreeable plea bargain. A skilled attorney can make sure any alcohol education programs or community service be performed in your home state.

One more item for consideration: an in-state DUI attorney will know about any diversion programs that could get you out of a potential conviction.

What happens if I go back to my home state and ignore the drunk driving charge?


Due to the Interstate Driver Compact, 45 of 50 states share information regarding all driving related offenses, including DUI. This means that a DUI conviction in one state will follow you to your home state. You will lose the privilege to drive in both states.

If you fail to appear in Court, a warrant for your arrest will be issued. Some states, upon finding the warrant will not allow you to renew your license or even arrest you and force you to go back and handle the issue. If you fail to follow through on the terms of your plea agreement then you could also be taken into custody.

Being charged with an out-of-state DUI is definitely a hassle. Don’t compound the problem by entering a quick guilty plea or burying your head in the sand and running back home, hoping it will all go away. Protect your rights by hiring an experienced DUI attorney in the state where you were arrested.

Drunk driving – How long does the prosecutor have to charge me?

A recent question on our forum ask if the state could charge a driver for drunk driving eight months after the drunk driving accident occurred. The statute of limitations, which is determined by each state’s legislature, is the amount of time the state or prosecutor has to initiate a criminal case against the driver. If the state does not file the charges within the prescribed statute of limitations, the state is usually not allowed to do so in the future.

Statutes of limitations for misdemeanors and felonies can vary by state. Many states allow the state to file misdemeanor charges up to a year after the offense. Talk to a drunk driving lawyer for more information about your state.

The question that should be asked, however, is not whether drunk driving charges can be filed, but whether or not the state gathered enough evidence at the time of the drunk driving accident to prove their drunk driving case.

What does the state have to prove for a drunk driving arrest?


To convict a driver a drunk driving the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver either was operating or intending to operate a motorized vehicle (which was operable) while they were either under the influence of alcohol or drugs (including narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit producing drug) or that their blood alcohol concentration was 0.08% or higher.

Obviously chemical testing is the most damning evidence. It generally provides objective, scientific evidence against the driver. If the state has gathered blood alcohol concentration information against the driver the drunk driving defense attorney may discredit the evidence if they can prove:

  • The breathalyzer equipment was not inspected according to established procedures or it was not in proper working order and may have registered an inaccurate blood alcohol concentration level.
  • The police officer did not properly perform the test which may have registered an inaccurate blood alcohol concentration reading.
  • The police officer did not follow accepted procedures or failed to give the driver accurate information prior to administering the test.

What if the driver did not take a blood alcohol content test?


Obviously, the drunk driving case becomes much more difficult for the state to prove if the driver did not take a blood alcohol concentration test, but not impossible. Drunk driving evidence can also include witness testimony, physical evidence such as a field sobriety test, slurred speech, stumbling, blood shot eyes and other physical impairments.

What do I do if I have not been charged after my drunk driving arrest?


Some drivers are stopped for drunk driving and then have to wait weeks to find out from the district attorney whether or not they have been charged for drunk driving. Keep in mind, the D.A. has months to file  their drunk driving charges and if you took a urine or blood test the D.A. may simply be waiting for the results of the blood alcohol content test to be returned to them, which could take three months or longer, before they file charges again you.

The best thing to do if you have been arrested for drunk driving is to contact a drunk driving lawyer. There are immediate steps that must be taken to stop an administrative license suspension, regardless of whether or not the state decides to charge you with a crime. A drunk driving lawyer may provide a free consultation to review your DUI case and determine the next steps. If you are arrested for drunk driving, even a first time DUI arrest, you could be facing high fines, jail time, probation and a suspended driver’s license. State laws vary, review our state DUI pages for more information about the specific penalties you might face if convicted of a DUI in your state.

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Ignition Interlock Device for Drunk Driving Convictions in Oregon

New Years, 2012, will bring a significant amount of changes in DUI laws for drunk driving or driving under the influence throughout the United States. In Oregon, beginning this Sunday, if you are one of the estimated 11,000 drivers arrested and convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or drunk driving this year, you will be forced to install an ignition interlock device in your car.

Installing an ignition interlock device has been a common DUI penalty for driving under the influence, especially for drivers with multiple DUI convictions, but Oregon now requires even first-time Oregon DUI offenders arrested for drunk driving to install and use this device.

What does the ignition interlock device do?

Ignition interlock devices are traditionally installed on the dashboard of the driver’s car, and the driver must blow into the device, which analyzes the BAC or blood alcohol concentration of the driver. If the driver’s BAC is too high the car will not start.

The ignition interlock device also will require the driver to provide additional breathing samples periodically as they drive. If the driver cannot provide a clean sample, the car will provide a warning (honking horn, lights flashing) and log the event. The “alarm” or warnings continue until the driver shuts the engine off.

Attempts to Bypass the Ignition Interlock Device

Creative drivers who are driving under the influence often attempt to mechanically bypass the system, but given the complexity of most systems, these attempts are generally unsuccessful. The ignition interlock device is made to assess all attempts to “trick” or bypass the system requirements and report these attempts immediately back to the DMV. Unfortunately, the courts do not look favorably on these efforts and most likely will simply extend the required installation period.

It is also illegal to for Oregon drivers who are driving under the influence to solicit another person to blow into their ignition interlock device. According to Oregon law, violation of the law occurs if, “a person unlawfully solicits another to blow into an ignition interlock device or start a motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device if the person has such a device as a result of an order or requirement under ORS 813.602 and the person requests or solicits another to blow into the device or start the motor vehicle so as to circumvent the device.”

Drivers who commit this offense will be charged with a Class A traffic violation [1987 c.746 §6; 1989 c.576 §3].

(Information gathered from Chapter 813 of the 2007 Edition of the Oregon Vehicle Code.)

How much does an ignition interlock device cost?

If you are arrested for drunk driving in Oregon and you must purchase an ignition interlock device you can expect to pay between $65-100 per month to rent the device plus additional fees to install it, send information to the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state and to pay for regular maintenance.

Hiring a DUI lawyer in Oregon

States continue to pass severe DUI penalties for drunk driving. Drunk driving in Oregon is a serious crime, and if you are arrested for DUI in Oregon, do not try to fight your DUI conviction alone. Even first-time DUI offenders in Oregon can face high fines, fees, increased insurance cost, potential jail time, loss of license and starting in 2012, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.

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Medical Conditions that can affect your Blood Alcohol Concentration

A breathalyzer, or breath test, is used to determine the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of a driver who has been stopped because they are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol.

The breath test is usually performed after field sobriety tests are administered. Frequently, a breath test gives inaccurate and high results due to medical conditions of the driver or his physical circumstances.

A breath machine must test ’deep lung air’ to achieve an accurate reading. To get this air, the driver must blow continuously for five seconds or more. For some people with asthma, bronchitis or emphysema this could be an impossible task because they don’t have the capacity to blow enough air to give an adequate sample.

Asthma Inhalers

Anyone who uses an asthma inhaler should think twice before they agree to submit to a breath test. Inhalers work by emitting a mist containing a significant amount of alcohol into the lungs. On average, about one-third of the mist is alcohol.

This alcohol does not get absorbed into the blood, but stays in the lining of the lungs. From there, it gets exhaled into a breath machine and the result is an artificially high reading.

According to how breath machines work, a small amount of alcohol from an inhaler that is present in the lungs is multiplied many times over. In other words, a very small amount of inhaler alcohol present in the lungs may cause an unusually high reading from the breathalyzer.

Acid Reflux and Belching

As stated previously, the breath machine is designed to measure the amount of alcohol in a driver’s lung tissue.

Acid reflux, caused by several medical conditions, occurs when the valve that separates the stomach from the esophagus fails to completely close. When the driver belches, this defective valve allows liquids and gases to rise up from the stomach and into the throat and mouth where they are swallowed again.

Since these liquids and gasses may contain alcohol, when they are mixed with the driver’s breath and then blown into the Breathalyzer, the result can be disproportionately high.


A diabetic often experiences high and low blood sugar. Hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, causes the diabetic to exhibit certain symptoms such as drowsiness, slurred speech, poor motor control and disorientation. These are all symptoms that could be mistaken for drunkenness.

Hyperglycemia, elevated blood sugar, can cause Diabetic Ketoacidosis. This condition produces acetones which are present in the breath. The breath machine reads the acetones as alcohol and gives a high reading, even if you had not been drinking at all.

You probably have medical records that can back up your defense to a bogus breath test result. If you are able to show an outside influence affected the reliability of the breath test results, the State will have to rely on other types of evidence to prove that you were intoxicated which weakens their DUI case. This information can be critical to helping your DUI lawyer fight your DUI charge.

What Happens To My License After A DUI Arrest in Georgia?

When you are arrested for a Georgia DUI, if your BAC was .08% or higher, or you refused to take the chemical test, the police officer will take your license.

Most times, the officer will confiscate your license on the spot and give you a 1205 DPS Form also known as a yellow permit. This form is your temporary driver’s license. It also gives you the instructions you need to request a hearing with the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicle Safety. You must request this hearing within 10 days of your DUI arrest or your driver’s license will be automatically suspended.

Administrative License Suspension (ALS) Hearing after a DUI Arrest

As previously stated, you have 10 days to request your ALS hearing. After your request is processed, you will get a hearing date through the mail. Usually, the date of your hearing will be 60 days after the request is filed. Your temporary driver’s license (yellow permit) will be in effect until the hearing is completed.

It is important to note that the ALS hearing is a civil proceeding and totally separate from the criminal trial for your DUI charge.

The arresting officer must be present at the hearing or your DUI case could be dismissed. It is also possible that the officer could withdraw his request to have your driver’s license suspended.

Administrative License Penalties after a DUI Arrest in Georgia

If you fail to appeal the administrative suspension of your license, your license will be suspended on the 31st day following your DUI arrest. The length of the suspension is determined by your previous record.

If this is your first DUI, your length of suspension is one year. However, you will be able to get a 30 day work permit that will allow you to drive to work, school, daycare, medical appointments, etc. No leisure driving is allowed. During this period, you need to take a DUI Risk Reduction Program and pay a $200 reinstatement fee to be eligible for an early return of your license. This is achievable 120 days from your DUI arrest date.

For your second DUI within a five year period, Georgia will suspend your license for 3 years. You will not be eligible for a work permit. You could be eligible for license reinstatement after 18 months if you complete the DUI Program and pay the required fee.

If you refused to complete a breath or blood test in the state of Georgia, you will receive the same license suspension, but you will not be eligible for a work permit.

Should I Hire A Georgia DUI Attorney?

A DUI attorney has the experience and the knowledge to help you, not only with your criminal DUI charge, but also your ALS hearing. Your DUI attorney will know the procedures that police are required to follow and the DUI laws and DUI statutes. He will know the questions to ask to give you a chance to prevail at your ALS hearing.

Your DUI lawyer will also be able to cross-examine your arresting officer and get his sworn testimony. This information could be invaluable when you decide whether or not to fight your DUI charge and how to go about mounting the best DUI defense.

What Happens to My License After My DUI Arrest in California?

When you are arrested and charged with DUI in California, the police officer will take your license and give you a Form DS-367 (also referred to a ‘pink slip’). This paper serves several purposes: it is a notice of an immediate driver’s license suspension, it also functions as a 30-day temporary license for you as well as an explanation of the law and the DMV procedures that you must follow.

From the day of your DUI arrest, you or your DUI attorney have 10 days to contest the suspension of your license with the Driver Safety Office at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

You are not required to have a California DMV hearing, but if you do not request one, you will probably have your license automatically suspended for 4 months, 30 days from the day of your arrest. However, if you refused a chemical test, the suspension will be 1 year. Most (if not all) DUI attorneys will recommend that you request a DMV suspension hearing. You could win and have the suspension thrown out, or if you lose, your hearing you could have same suspension but you bought yourself another 30 days of driving.

Due to the work overload at the DMV, they may not be able to grant you a hearing within the 30 day window. If that happens, you or your DUI attorney should ask for (and will receive) an extension of your temporary license. You will be able to keep the temporary license until you have your hearing and the decision is handed down.

What to expect at the California Administrative License Suspension Hearing

Your DMV hearing, also called an ALS, or Administrative License Suspension hearing, will take place in front of a DMV officer who acts as the judge and Prosecutor. This officer is an employee of the DMV and will conduct the hearing like a mini-trial with no jury and different rules of evidence.

Because the hearing is not a criminal proceeding, you cannot request a public defender. You can, however, hire a DUI attorney to represent you. This hearing looks into the intricate procedures involved in your DUI case, so it is very important to have an experienced DUI attorney by your side to look for any procedural errors made by police. Many times a bureaucratic error could allow you win your case.

Both sides can present testimony, but usually the DMV officer only reads from police reports, lab results and/or the officer’s sworn statement.

What will the DMV officer want to know?

The hearing officer will want the following questions answered:

* Did you take the chemical test, or refuse?
* Did the police officer have probable cause to arrest you?
* Was the arrest lawful?
* What was your BAC?
* How did the officer handle the chemical test?
* Did the officer tell you that if you failed or refused the chemical test, your license would be suspended?

There is no Fifth Amendment protection, so your attorney may ask you not to be there to avoid you having to be called as a witness. The biggest advantage you gain is to hear the strength of the evidence that the Prosecution has and will use against you in the criminal DUI case. This is reason enough to request the DMV hearing.

You can expect the ruling within two weeks. If the DMV officer rules against you, you can appeal his decision to the DMV in Sacramento.

Breath vs. Blood Test for DUI Stop

You are stopped by police and they suspect that you have been drinking. After the officer asks you a few questions, he then directs you to step out of your car. He plans to use some field sobriety tests to determine your level of impairment. Results from field sobriety tests are rarely conclusive. You can refuse to submit to field sobriety tests, but the police will probably assume you are impaired and will then choose to conduct one of two chemical tests: the breath or blood test.

In many states, you have some degree of choice as to how your blood alcohol content will be calculated. Some states don’t leave the choice up to the driver; they let the officer decide which test he will administer. For example, in Texas, if the officer chooses to give you a breath test and you decline and ask that he test your blood instead, you will be charged with a refusal because you did not submit to the breath test. Other states give the driver the option; which leaves an important question: Should you take the blood or breath test?

Accuracy of DUI Chemical Testing

In most instances, the blood test will be more accurate. Breath machines require regular maintenance and the police must calibrate the device properly. The accepted error range of a breath machine is .02%.

In fact, there was a study conducted in Florida recently that showed close to 40% of all results from breath test machines (Intoxilyzer) were abnormally high. These types of reports spread doubt about the accuracy of these portable devices.

Difficulties with the blood tests for DUI

There are procedures that police must follow when administering a blood alcohol test, not to mention that they must keep track of the chain of custody to ensure the sample tested is really yours. If the lab waits too long to test the sample, it could ferment and produce more alcohol within the sample. Or, if the blood coagulates, it would thicken and greater concentrate the alcohol content.

Difficulties with breath tests for DUI

As mentioned previously, the machines provide several ways to return inaccurate readings. Most breathing test procedures require the police to wait 15 minutes before beginning the test. The driver must be continuously observed during this time. The reason for the delay is to remove any mouth alcohol that may be present that could give an inaccurately high reading.

Many different substances, other than alcohol, can be read as alcohol by the machine. For example, diabetics with ketones on their breath, exposure to paint fumes, gas and/or glue can all give a false reading. Also, people who have dentures, acid reflux, or have recently vomited can also ‘fool’ the machine into giving a high reading.

So…should I take a blood or breath test?

The general consensus among DUI attorneys is that if you are confident that you BAC is below the legal limit, then you should ask to take the blood test. If you think you are above .08%, then choose the breath test. It has been proven to be unreliable, less accurate and gives a skillful DUI attorney several areas of weakness to argue before a jury

Underage DUI Arrest in California

California has a Zero Tolerance Policy when it comes to underage DUI; and they also have some of the harshest penalties. This Zero Tolerance Policy states that any driver under the age of 21 (legal drinking age) with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .01% or more will be charged with Underage DUI. If their BAC is at least .05% or higher, they may also be charged with a regular DUI and could be arrested.

For most people, drinking only one alcoholic drink (beer, shot or cocktail) will give them a BAC of .01% or higher. For some people, this ‘small’ amount of alcohol could put them close to .05%. There are no compulsory penalties for drivers who are under the age of 18. That changes if the driver is at least 18 and his BAC is .05% or higher.

Underage DUI Penalties

The first penalty for an underage DUI will be the loss of his driver’s license for at least one year. That suspension could be extended for multiple years if there are subsequent violations.

Under some conditions, the judge may seize the minor’s vehicle and even sell it at the expense of the owner. In addition to the license suspension and possible impounding of the vehicle, the underage driver charged with DUI will face fines and fees of at least $1,000. The judge may also include special driving safety classes or substance abuse treatment in the sentence.

If the underage driver refuses to submit to chemical testing, he will automatically lose his license for one year. If there is a second refusal within a ten year period, the penalties increase in severity, especially at the DMV.

As with a regular DUI, those charged with an underage DUI must face two separate hearings: the criminal court and the DMV. The criminal court will impose the fines, jail, treatment programs and driver classes. The DMV handles the suspension of the driver’s license. Both of these hearings need to have the proper paperwork filed within deadlines and court procedures followed. This is where an experienced DUI attorney could provide invaluable judgment and advice.

Other Unforeseen Consequences after an underage California DUI Conviction

Individuals who have an underage DUI conviction on their record must report it on any college applications, financial aid applications, and/or career applications. This could affect whether they gain acceptance into the University; and in some situations, the school could accept them under certain conditions that other students without a conviction are not subject to.

If you choose to not list the conviction on your applications and it is discovered later, you are subject to immediate discharge from the University and/or your job and you could be prosecuted for perjury.

Other Underage DUI Situations

* An underage driver who has been drinking and causes injury to another person could be put in prison for up to one year for each injured person.

* Any underage person who buys, tries to buy or drinks an alcoholic beverage must pay a $250 fine and perform at least 24 hours of community service. They could also have their license suspended for one year.

* A minor who possesses alcohol in public will receive a $1,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail. They will also have their license suspended for one year.

As you can see, California takes underage drinking and driving very seriously. If you find yourself charged with underage DUI, contact an experienced DUI attorney to help you minimize the penalties and effects it could have on your future.

DUI Arrests and Miranda Rights

There are many misconceptions and false information about when the police are required to read you your Miranda Rights during a DUI stop.

What if police did not Mirandize me when they arrested me? Can I get my DUI charge thrown out? When are police required to read me my Miranda Rights? The truth is: the police are NOT required, by law, to Mirandize you during your DUI arrest.

What are Miranda Rights in the DUI framework?

In 1966, the Supreme Court ruled in Miranda v. Arizona that police officers are required to read you your rights before they interrogate you. The function of the Miranda Warnings is to make sure that you are aware of your rights under the Constitution. There are two parts:

Miranda Warnings after a DUI Arreset

• You have the right to remain silent (You don’t have to answer any of the officer’s questions).
• Anything you say or do can be used against you in court.
• You have the right to consult with an attorney.
• You have the right to have your attorney present during questioning (from this point on).
• If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you (court-appointed)
• If you choose to answer questions without an attorney present, you still have the right to stop answering questions at any time.

Confirmation of your Miranda Rights

• Do you understand each of these rights as I have explained them to you?
• After hearing your rights, are you ready to answer questions without an attorney present?

Once you have been made aware of your Miranda Rights, you can choose to answer questions from the police or remain silent and request an attorney.

The point of Miranda Warnings is to give you the right to protect yourself against self-incrimination under the following conditions: you are under arrest and the police officer conducts a custodial interrogation (meaning you are in police custody). If these two conditions are not met, then the officer is not required to advise you of your rights.

The difference between ‘investigation’ and ‘interrogation’

This is the main area of confusion for people who have been charged with a DUI and not Mirandized. If a police officer legally pulls you over, he is well within his authority to ask you things like:

• Have you been drinking?
• How much have you had to drink tonight?
• What were you drinking?
• What time did you start/finish drinking?

These questions are part of the investigation that the officer is conducting. He is trying to determine if you are impaired and need to be arrested. Most people do not realize that they are not required to answer these questions.

Once you are taken into custody and arrested for DUI, if the police want to question you about the circumstances surrounding your DUI with the hopes of getting answers that incriminate you, they must read you your Miranda Rights first.

If the police fail to Mirandize you at this point and police gain incriminating responses from you, your DUI attorney will probably win a motion to get those responses excluded from evidence.

It is important to note that if your Miranda Rights were violated, then only responses made after taken into custody will be thrown out. The police can still use field sobriety tests, BAC results, and other earlier evidence gathered against you. If you believe your rights were violated in your DUI arrest, contact a qualified DUI attorney in your area.