A DUI in California might lead to the loss of your driving privileges as an administrative or criminal penalty. You might lose your right to drive for as long as three years. If you are a commercial driver, you risk losing your driving privileges for life. Once you lose these privileges, you have to rely on other means of transport to get to work, school, and other appointments. The good news is you can save your license from a DUI with the help of an experienced attorney. Some of the techniques Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney applies include challenging the license suspension through a DMV hearing, aggressive defense against the DUI charges and use of an IID. The best way to save your driving privileges is by organizing an alternative means of transport if you know you will be drinking. However, in case you are arrested for a DUI and risk losing your license, these strategies might be helpful.
Requesting a DMV Hearing
The DMV suspends your driver’s license after your arrest for a DUI. The arresting officer replaces your license with a thirty-day temporary one. The temporary license serves as a notification of a pending suspension. The DMV allows every person arrested for a DUI to schedule an administrative hearing within ten days of the arrest. If you request a hearing within the required time, the DMV will stay the suspension of your license until the outcome of the hearing.
Winning the DMV hearing will help you restore your driving rights. Therefore, you must prepare adequately for the hearing. The first step in preparation involves hiring a DUI defense attorney. The attorney should be affordable, reliable, and experienced in handling DMV hearings and DUI defense. Make sure you hire a lawyer after your arrest.
The lawyer you hire will request a hearing with the DMV on your behalf, supposing your hire him before the ten-day period elapses. The hearing is similar to an informal court presided over by the hearing officer who acts as the judge. The hearing officer is a DMV employee, who most likely lacks a legal background.
Your lawyer will be allowed to review the evidence against you and obtain records from the agencies or witnesses attending the hearing. Your lawyer might choose to conduct the hearing over the phone or in-person depending on the nature of the case. Some of the considerations the hearing officer makes include:
- Whether the officer had probable cause to suspect you of a DUI
- Whether the arrest was lawful
- Your BAC level at the time
In case you refused to submit to a test, the hearing officer will determine whether:
- The arresting officer informed you about the consequences of a chemical test refusal
- You willfully refused to submit a sample
The hearing officer will decide to suspend or set aside the suspension based on the evidence presented. If you hired an experienced lawyer, the chances of recovering your driving rights through a DMV hearing are higher. He or she might present the following defenses to win a DMV hearing:
- You were not driving
- The arrest was made at an unlawful checkpoint
- The officer lacked probable cause to conduct a DUI stop or investigation
- The breath testing equipment was flawed
- Physiological causes of a high BAC level
- The officer failed to inform you clearly of the consequences of refusing a chemical test
- You did not refuse to submit a chemical test
- The arresting officer made a flawed report
When you win the DMV hearing, you will be free to drive without any restrictions or conditions. Your DUI defense lawyer can use the results of the case to negotiate a plea bargain on your behalf.
If you lose the hearing, your license is suspended. The length of the suspension depends on your criminal history and the facts of the offense:
- For a first DUI offense, you lose your driving rights for up to ten months and one year if someone was injured. You might request a restricted license after serving a one-month mandatory suspension.
- For a second DUI offense, the DMV suspends your license for two years. You can apply for a restricted license after a year. You can also avoid the suspension by driving with an IID in your car for one year.
- For a third DUI offense, you will suffer a three-year license suspension if you lose the DMV hearing and up to five years if an injury occurred. You can get a restricted license after one you. You may also install an IID for one year and continue driving with your full driving privileges.
- For fourth and subsequent offenses, the DMV will suspend your license for four years, and you will be eligible for a restricted license after one year of serving the hard suspension.
- For underage drivers, you lose your driving privileges for one year. The DMV might suspend your license for up to three years if you refused to submit a chemical test.
- For out-of-state drivers arrested for a DUI in California, the DMV will treat your license as that of a resident. Your home state might choose to take action against your driver’s license if the state is a member of the Interstate Drivers License Compact.
If you lose the DMV hearing, you can appeal the decision through the DMV departmental review or the California Superior Court. Your lawyer should guide you through the appeal process and the defense.
Aggressive DUI Defense
The DMV hearing is usually the first step in protecting your driver’s license from a DUI. However, it does not protect you from the consequences of a criminal conviction, which could include a license suspension. As mentioned earlier, you need to hire an attorney who has experience in dealing with DUI defense and has had success in DUI trials.
Your lawyer starts preparing his or her defense strategies as soon as you contact him or her. This includes building upon the evidence used at the DMV hearing. Some of the defenses used in fighting DUI charges include:
- Physiological causes of a false BAC reading: medication, food, and hygiene products such as mouthwash can result in elevated BAC readings, even when you have not consumed alcohol. Being on a keto diet or suffering from medical conditions such as GERD also increases the presence of mouth alcohol that is not based on an alcoholic beverage. The breath testing equipment used by law enforcement officials cannot separate alcohol from an alcoholic beverage and that from other sources. Therefore, you might face charges when you were not drinking.
- Unlawful DUI checkpoint: the law requires that DUI checkpoints meet the legal standards set in place. These standards could include informing the public about its presence, set criteria for stopping cars, and retaining a driver for a reasonable period. The law also provides additional requirements with which DUI checkpoints should comply. If any of these requirements were violated, then the arrest was unlawful, as well as the evidence collected.
- No probable cause: the officer who stops you should have probable cause for doing so. This means that there should be suspicion and evidence that you are committing a traffic violation or are about to commit one. Some of the probable causes include running lights, excessive speed, reckless driving, broken headlights, weaving between lanes, and a problem with your car. Before investigating a DUI (after the lawful stop), the officer should have probable cause for conducting the DUI investigation. This could include signs of intoxication such as a flushed face, slurred speech, and an alcoholic odor on the driver. If the officer does not have probable cause to investigate the offense, then the evidence collected will be unlawful and cannot be used in a court.
- Rising blood alcohol: alcohol takes time before it is absorbed into your system. If the chemical test results at the station are different from those of the DUI checkpoint, then you can use the rising alcohol defense. Instances where you can successfully use this defense include
- The officer delayed testing your BAC after he or she pulled you over
- The limit at the time of testing was close to the legal limit
- You did not exhibit signs of intoxication
- You were near your destination when you were pulled over.
- Police misconduct: police misconduct involves negative and unlawful actions that an officer might engage in during a DUI stop and investigation. These include failure to follow procedure, manipulated evidence, inaccuracies or misrepresentations in the report, and false testimony in court. If a police officer engages in such misconduct, then the evidence gathered is unlawful and cannot be used in court. This will result in the dismissal of your charges.
- Inaccuracy from the breath testing equipment: Breath-testing equipment is prone to errors that arise from poor maintenance or use. In addition, the equipment does not take into account the physical differences among drivers. Such standardization of results could result in elevated BAC levels when the actual level is lower. When using such a defense, your lawyer will call in an expert witness to testify on your behalf. Errors can also arise if the officer fails to use the device accurately. In addition, Breathalyzer tests are not 100% accurate; they have a margin of error, which could place your result above the actual level. You can use the margin of error defense where your BAC is very close to the 0.08% legal limit.
- Title 17 violations: title 17 regulations establish standards and guidelines that authorized technicians should adhere to when drawing, testing, and storing a sample. When any of these regulations are ignored, then the results are likely to be flawed.
DUI defense is crucial in avoiding or reducing the consequences of a DUI in California, including license suspension.
Get a Restricted License
In case you lose the DMV hearing (or did not request one), you can apply for a restricted license, which allows you restricted driving privileges. You can also get the restricted license after a DUI conviction and are on probation. With such a license, you can drive to work, work-related activities, and DUI School.
You get a restricted license after first spending thirty days on a suspended license. You will then have to meet the following conditions:
- Show proof of enrollment into a court-approved DUI program
- Provide evidence of financial responsibility
- Pay a $125 fee for the license
If you need to drive more often and beyond the limits of the license, then it is advisable to request an IID restricted license.
Install an IID
An IID is a miniature Breathalyzer device that connects to the ignition system of your car. The device sends signals for the engine to start upon the submission of a clean breath sample. Unlike a restricted license, an IID restores your full driving privileges.
The requirements for installing an IID depend on the nature of the offense. However, for all offenses, you have to meet several basic requirements, such as:
- Presenting an SR-22 certificate that serves as proof of financial responsibility
- Show proof of enrollment or a certificate of completion of a DUI program
- Pay the required fees
- Find a court-approved installer
- Provide the order allowing you to install an IID
After meeting these conditions, you will install an IID for between four months to three years, depending on the offense and your criminal history.
Attempting to bypass or tamper with the IID could result in jail time, revocation of your license, and fines.
Find a DUI Defense Attorney Near Me
Saving your driver’s license after a DUI is crucial to restoring your driving privileges. A DUI defense law firm such as the Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney has spent years handling DUI related defenses for clients facing various DUI charges. He and his team understand the necessity of a driver’s license while you are in California and dedicate his services and resources to defending your driving privileges. He will also provide you with the available options to restore your license and the advantages of each so that you can make an informed decision. If you are arrested for a DUI or your license has been suspended, contact us at 323-464-6700 for a free consultation and review of your case.