Driving Under the Influence

Arrested for DUI?  Call me at (650) 364-3624 for a free consultation

Why You Need Me On Your Case

  • Extensive knowledge and experience in California DUI defense
  • Unmatched personal attention and communication
  • Aggressive and professional representation
  • Proven results

A DUI arrest is one of the worst experiences you can have behind the wheel of an automobile. Dealing with the aftermath of a DUI arrest is confusing, embarrassing and extremely stressful. You face the real possibility of mandatory jail time and large fines. In addition to any criminal penalties, the Department of Motor Vehicles may take separate administrative action on your license if you fail to request a hearing within 10 days of your arrest.

The Prevalence of DUI Enforcement

Drivers are arrested for suspected DUI every day of the week, at all hours of the day and night. Many people know someone who has been arrested for DUI, and DUI is a common topic on television shows, movies, and radio. For these reasons, the general public is well aware of the prevalence of DUI cases. Law enforcement have specialized units dedicated to enforcing California laws related to impaired drivers. Officers receive specialized training used in their evaluation of suspected DUI drivers. DUI cases often receive high media visibility, especially if someone is injured or the driver is someone famous. Unfortunately, many of these cases are greatly sensationalized and have created a strong backlash against impaired drivers. At the same time, penalties for DUI convictions have steadily increased. Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Scott Newbould to represent you in any DUI case.

DUI: Alcohol, Legal and Illegal Drugs

DUI is most commonly attributed to alcohol, but not always. Both illegal and prescription drugs can impair someone’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. California law defines “drug” very liberally; these cases require extensive research and investigation. Along with drugs, certain health conditions can mimic the signs of an impaired driver, and merit a thorough defense investigation.

Suppression of Evidence

To prosecute and ultimately convict someone of DUI, there must be evidence proving the charge. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects all people from unreasonable search and seizure, which means the evidence must be obtained in a lawful manner. In the context of DUI defense, the reason and circumstances of any traffic stop or police contact must be examined. If the officer lacked sufficient probable cause to stop you, suppression of the evidence may result in the case being dismissed.  This includes all physical evidence, any police officer observations, and any statements made.

Complexity of Defending A DUI Case

Defending a DUI charge depends on the particular weaknesses of the Prosecution’s case. A few examples: ambiguity as to who was driving the vehicle, insufficient evidence of the blood alcohol content at the time of driving, and an officer’s observations and opinions as to your impairment. Science plays a large role in attacking the integrity of any evidence collected in your case. Some of the common scientific issues include:

  • Calibration records for any breath machine
  • The manner in which physical evidence was collected, preserved, and stored
  • Radio frequency interference
  • Flaws in retrograde extrapolation
  • Rising blood-alcohol

Accordingly, toxicologists and other expert witnesses might be consulted to aid in the defense. The prosecution will use their own experts, so it can be helpful to hire an independent expert for a second opinion or to refute the prosecution’s evidence. The complexity of DUI cases requires an experienced criminal defense attorney to exploit any available defense.

Negotiating a Favorable Resolution

Even if the case isn’t dismissed, the case may be reduced to what is commonly referred to as “wet reckless driving” or a “wet reckless”. This is a reduced charge, resulting in a reduced sentence. Many factors determine whether a reduced charge is offered, and whether such an offer is reasonable to accept.

In the event your case is not reduced, there are mitigating factors to consider when presenting a DUI case to the prosecutor and judge for plea bargain negotiations:

  • Lack of any serious criminal record
  • Proactive enrollment in a treatment program
  • Pleasant demeanor at the time of arrest
  • Specific instances documenting community service
  • Positive character references
  • Mitigating facts specific to the case itself

Such negotiations will determine the length of any probationary jail or prison sentence, and the possibility of jail alternatives: Sheriff’s Work Program, Work Furlough, or Electronic Monitoring. The amount and manner of payment of the fine is also negotiated, as well as any requirement to complete an alcohol education school. Even if you are found guilty of DUI, the structure of the plea agreement itself can yield beneficial results.

Criminal DUI Penalties

DUI sentences vary greatly, depending on the facts of the present case and any prior criminal convictions. First time convictions carry up to a six month jail sentence and a $1,000 fine, plus court fees and assessments. Certain special allegations, including excessive blood alcohol over .15 percent, refusing a chemical test, having a child in the vehicle, or high speed driving may result in an aggravated sentence. Having any prior DUI convictions within the past 10 years increases the maximum penalty up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, plus court fees and assessments. A person with three or more misdemeanor DUI convictions, or even a first DUI case where someone other than the driver is injured, may result in a prison sentence for up to three years. The penalties for DUI are serious.

Administrative and Collateral Consequences

In addition to the criminal consequences imposed by the court, collateral consequences of a DUI conviction can affect your driver’s license, insurance premiums, and professional licenses/certifications. Keep in mind, with any DUI case you are fighting at least two battles: DMV and Criminal consequences. To make matters worse, you can win one, both, or neither of these battles – they are generally independent of one another.

A DUI arrest is a serious charge and you should contact Criminal Defense Attorney Scott Newbould at your earliest convenience to discuss your legal rights and evaluate your case.