Many people in California are arrested for Driving Under the Influence of drugs or alcohol, otherwise known as DUI offenses. The penalties one can face for a DUI charge can be severe. As a result, it is important to know what rights you have when you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol.
PAS and Breath Test
When an officer pulls you over, the officer may ask you to breathe into a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) device to detect the alcohol content from your breath. If you are 21 years old or older, you can refuse to breathe into this device. However, if you are under the age of 21 or on probation for a prior DUI conviction, you must submit to the PAS test or face suspension of driving privileges for up to one year, or revocation for up to three years. You should be aware that even though you can refuse the PAS test if you are 21 years old or older, if you do refuse the PAS test, under California Vehicle Code section 13353.1, the Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend your driving privileges for a year, or revoke your driving privileges for two years if your refusal occurred within ten years of a DUI conviction. To view the California Vehicle Code, please click on the following link: http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/vc/vctoc.htm Upon being arrested for a DUI, you will face strict consequences if you refuse to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test. In California, a person who drives a motor vehicle is deemed to have given his or her implied consent to have his or her blood, breath, or urine tested for alcohol content if lawfully arrested for a DUI. Under Vehicle Code section 23612, if a person refuses to submit to a breath test, for instance, there can be mandatory jail time depending on whether there was a prior conviction for a DUI offense. A person can also face having their driving privileges suspended or revoked. Additionally, the fact that you refused a chemical test can be used against you in trial.
Scheduling Administrative Hearing with DMV & Walnut Creek Laws
It is critical that after you are arrested for a DUI that to contact an attorney, schedule an administrative license suspension hearing immediately. The reason for this is that if you do not contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 calendar days from the date of your arrest to schedule the hearing, you forfeit your right to a hearing. If you do not request a hearing, your license will be suspended for four months for a first-time DUI offense. For more information on administrative DMV hearings, please click on the following link: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffdl35.htm
Guilty Plea Lawsuits in Walnut Creek
If you are charged with a DUI, before you plead guilty, you should consult with a Walnut Creek attorney. If you are convicted of a DUI, you may face jail time, substantial fines, probation, or driver's license suspension or revocation. There are also indirect, but devastating consequences if you are convicted. You will encounter increased car insurance rates, possible difficulty in getting hired or continuing in your chosen profession, and it may be difficult for you to obtain a commercial driver's license. A guilty plea to a DUI charge could also affect your immigration status if you are not a U.S. citizen. Because pleading guilty may result in such severe consequences on your life, you should seek the counsel of a criminal attorney before doing so. A criminal defense attorney can also explain to you the state's offer and negotiate a less severe punishment on your behalf. Moreover, an attorney can evaluate the merits of your case, including the evidence, and advise you on how you should proceed.
Seek Experienced Legal Counsel
A lawyer experienced in defending people accused of DUI can challenge the prosecutor's evidence and could have the charges reduced or dropped without having to accept a conviction. If you have been arrested for DUI, contact David Pastor, Attorney and Counselor at Law, to schedule a free consultation.