DUI FAQ’s

SAN DIEGO DUI ATTORNEY FAQ's

Aggressive and Effective DUI and DMV Representation

In San Diego a DUI arrest and case can be a frustrating and confusing experience especially if this is your first one. Let my law firm help you through the DUI labyrinth (DMV & Criminal Process) now that you have been handcuffed, arrested, and most likely booked into jail. Below please find a few questions that I have answered over and over in the last 19 years as a criminal defense and DUI lawyer.

Why am I charged with two counts of DUI?

When you were arrested the arresting officer most likely booked you into jail on two DUI charges (Vehicle sections 23152(a) and 23152(b)). This is normal, don't panic! The (b) sections applies to a blood alcohol concentration reading of .08 or more and the (a) section is a "catchall" section that states you were impaired for driving purposes as a result of alcohol or drug intoxication or a combination thereof. Although you can be charged and convicted of both counts, you can only be sentenced on one.

What if my BAC was lower than .08?

Usually, if your blood alcohol level was below .08 the District Attorneys' Office will only file the VC 23152(a) charge and not the (b) section. In addition, the arresting officer will not confiscate your drivers' license if your BAC is below .08 which will not commence a DMV administrative action against your driving privilege. However, in many instances, even though your BAC level is below .08 the prosecutor's office may still file both the (a) and (b) section relying on a theory of retrograde extrapolation (relation back doctrine) to show at the time of driving your BAC was .08 or more.

Should I perform FST's or a PAS test for the arresting officer?

Absolutely not! You do not have to engage in any field sobriety tests or roadside preliminary alcohol tests. Likewise, you do not have to answer any of the alcohol consumption questions that the officer asks. Politely inform the officer that you do not wish to take these tests but you are willing to take either a blood test or breath test at the station or jail. If you refuse to take a breath or blood test at the station, then you could be charged with a "refusal" allegation which has serious effects with the DMV administrative action and the court case.

Is the timing of the court date and DMV hearing the same?

Again, absolute not! If the officer took your drivers' license and gave you a pink 30 day temporary license you MUST call the DMV driver safety office to request a DMV hearing. If you do not call the DMV within 10 days of your arrest, then your driving privilege will be suspended. My firm will call the DMV and schedule a DMV hearing for you if you contact us within 10 days of your arrest.

The jail personnel will provide you with your first court date when you bail out of jail or the arresting officer will inform you of your court date if you are handed a citation and sign a promise to appear. DO NOT wait for the court date to take care of your DMV administrative action because if you do, then it's too late and your driving privilege will already be suspended.

Do I need a Criminal lawyer for my court case?

Absolutely yes! DUI charges can be used against you for 10 years and the sentences are extremely draconian and unforgiving not to mention costly. In addition, DUI sentences get worse the more you get- meaning the more convictions you obtain in a 10 year period the more the court punishes you including mandatory jail terms.

Likewise, In San Diego, the DUI court process in time consuming, intimidating and confusing. In most cases, I make all appearances for you in your DUI case and you will not have to go to court. I will only have you appear if you want to or if it will benefit your case. Please remember, a DUI arrest does not mean you are Guilty!

Do I need a lawyer for my DMV hearing?

Only if you want a chance to keep your drivers' license and not have your driving privilege suspended! Without a lawyer to represent your interests at the DMV hearing you will lose your drivers' license and your driving privilege will be suspended. The driving privilege suspension is 4 months on your first DUI with an allowable restriction to and from work after 30 days of actual suspension and a one year suspension on your second DUI without any allowable work restrictions. However, a competent DMV lawyer has a fighting chance to save your driving privilege! My firm is well informed on all the issues at the DMV and the defenses to these issues to help you keep your license.

What is the best test to take when arrested for DUI?

Chemical tests usually include a PAS (preliminary alcohol screening) breath test on the roadside, a breath or blood test at the jail or police station. The urine test is not given nowadays for a DUI arrest unless the arresting officer believes you're under the influence of drugs and or the breath test and blood test are unavailable.

Choosing what alcohol test to take is a very calculating decision. Never take a PAS roadside test because you have the right to refuse this test and the result will be used against you in court. Choosing between the breath or blood test at the police station or jail is a difficult decision and one that requires specific knowledge on whether you are in pre or post absorptive phase of alcohol ingestion.

What is a Wet or Dry reckless?

Both Dry and Wet reckless charges are lesser crimes than a DUI charge. A WET reckless is an alcohol related driving charge but will save you money in fines and other terms of probation.

It may also help with your employment especially if you are in the military. However, you will most likely still have to complete the alcohol awareness program and the WET can be used for prior purposes for 10 years same as a DUI. It also carries 2 points on your record towards the negligent operator status per Vehicle Code section 12810.5.

A DRY reckless is a non-alcohol related crime and cannot be used as a prior conviction for a subsequent DUI case nor does it have the same penalties or carry alcohol terms of probation that a DUI and Wet reckless do. But it is a 2 point conviction.

What's the total cost of a DUI?

Many factors are taken into the total cost equation. Costs include:

  • Attorneys fees
  • Auto insurance rates increase
  • Penalties, fines and fees
  • DUI program costs
  • Court fees and admin costs
  • Expert consultation and blood retesting costs
  • Accident reconstruction costs if needed
  • Investigation fees
  • Criminal restitution
  • Victim restitution

Likewise, the severity of your case (first, second, third time offense; property damage or bodily injury) has a direct correlation to the total cost of your case. It's best to talk to a DUI lawyer in my firm to obtain a more accurate cost analysis on the circumstances of your individual case.

What if I have a commercial drivers' license?

Retain a DUI lawyer immediately! Your commercial license will be severely affected if you are arrested and or convicted of a DUI offense. A first time DUI conviction will suspend your commercial license for one year and a second offense conviction will result in a life time revocation of your license.

Call my Law Firm to speak with a San Diego DUI attorney not a paralegal or case manager.

For a free consultation with an experienced and effective San Diego DUI lawyer, please contact my firm via email or telephone call. My firm has offices in both Carlsbad and San Diego, but we handle DUI cases in all courts in San Diego County-San Diego, Vista, El Cajon & Chula Vista.