DUI Defense Attorney in San Jose
Providing Comprehensive Legal Defense to Protect Your Rights and Interests
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious criminal offense. A conviction can have a severe impact on your life. It can affect your potential to find housing and employment in the future. Depending on the severity of your alleged crime, you may face financial penalties or even prison time. Even worse, field sobriety tests and blood tests are often faulty, which may result in a false conviction. With so much at stake, you should always contact an experienced DUI lawyer after an arrest. Our San Jose DUI attorney can scrutinize the evidence against you and help you mount a strong defense to protect your rights.
Do I Have to Take a Field Sobriety Test?
It depends on the type of test involved and other factors. There are Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, which are a combination of three tests. You do not have to take the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. In fact, it is highly recommended that you do not take these tests. It is easy to fail a Standardized Field Sobriety Test even if you are sober.
Regardless of whether you take the test, the officer may still opt to arrest you. The only difference would be that you did not provide them with additional video evidence by taking one or more of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests.
What Happens at the California DMV Hearing After a DUI Arrest?
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspends your license after an arrest. You may receive a 30-day temporary license. After your arrest, you have ten days to contact the DMV and request a hearing. At the hearing, you may fight your license suspension.
You should work with an attorney soon after your DUI arrest. This is especially true if this is not your first DUI arrest. While you can receive a license suspension for a couple of months for a first-time DUI, license suspensions for repeat DUIs can be much longer.
Is a DUI a Felony?
It can be. DUIs are wobbler charges in California, meaning they can be either a misdemeanor or felony. Depending on the circumstances, you could receive a felony conviction. There are aggravating factors, such as whether injuries or deaths occurred, that could result in a felony conviction. In addition, you may receive a felony for three DUI convictions in a 10-year period. You can learn more about when a DUI is a felony by exploring our website.
What Is the Difference Between a Felony DUI And Misdemeanor DUI?
The main difference between a felony DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and a misdemeanor DUI is the severity of the offense and the potential penalties associated with it. Here are some of the key distinctions:
Severity of the Offense
Misdemeanor DUI: A misdemeanor DUI is typically charged when a person is caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and it is their first or second offense, with no aggravating circumstances. This is considered a less serious offense.
Felony DUI: A felony DUI is charged when there are aggravating factors or previous convictions that make the DUI more severe. Common aggravating factors include multiple DUI convictions, serious injury or death caused by the DUI, driving on a suspended license, or having a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) significantly above the legal limit.
Misdemeanor DUI: Penalties for a misdemeanor DUI can include fines, probation, mandatory alcohol education programs, license suspension, and possibly a short jail sentence. The specific penalties can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the circumstances of the case. Generally, misdemeanor DUI convictions result in shorter jail sentences and smaller fines compared to felony DUIs.
Felony DUI: Felony DUI convictions carry much more severe penalties. These can include longer prison sentences, larger fines, longer license suspensions, mandatory drug or alcohol treatment programs, and the potential for a permanent revocation of the driver's license. A felony DUI can result in a prison sentence of one year or more, depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances.
Misdemeanor DUI: Typically, first and second DUI offenses are treated as misdemeanors, unless there are aggravating factors.
Felony DUI: A DUI can be charged as a felony if the driver has multiple previous DUI convictions within a certain period (usually within a 10-year period). Each state has its own laws regarding when a DUI becomes a felony based on prior convictions.
Felony DUI: Certain aggravating factors, such as causing serious injury or death while driving under the influence, can result in a DUI being charged as a felony, even for first-time offenders.
It's important to note that DUI laws can vary from state to state and even within different jurisdictions, so the specific classification of a DUI as a misdemeanor or felony may depend on local laws and regulations. The consequences for a DUI conviction can also have a significant impact on a person's life, including their employment, insurance rates, and personal record. It's crucial to seek legal counsel if you're facing a DUI charge to understand your rights and options.
There are certain factors that could lead to steeper criminal penalties for a DUI. Some of those penalties are below:
- Your blood alcohol concentration at the time of arrest;
- Having prior DUI convictions;
- Refusing a chemical test after an arrest;
- Reckless driving;
- Whether you are 21 years of age or older;
- Whether children were present in the vehicle.
In some cases, aggravating factors could lead to a felony conviction. You should not wait to contact a DUI lawyer after your arrest, especially if there were aggravating factors. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with our San Jose DUI lawyer.
What Are the Penalties for Drunk Driving in California?
Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law. A blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher constitutes “drunk driving.” The penalties for a DUI offense can be severe and can significantly affect your daily life.
Criminal and administrative consequences for a first-time DUI may include:
- License suspension. Drunk driving carries with it a driver’s license suspension. This can happen even if it is your first drunk driving offense. Additionally, you may be required to install and use an ignition interlock device (IID).
- Fines and other costs. The price tag on your ticket is just the beginning. Your insurance could be revoked, making it difficult to get your vehicle road ready. Otherwise, your insurer will almost certainly raise your premiums. If the court requires you to complete an alcohol treatment program, then expect to pay for that as well.
- Jail or community service. There is a real chance you could go to jail for a DUI conviction. Sometimes, the courts will order hours of community service instead. Either way, these penalties will encumber your life.
There are many factors that can contribute to the consequences of a DUI case. These factors can include prior history and resulting injuries.
Your defense options depend on the circumstances surrounding your case. For example, some DUI testing equipment may be faulty or not properly used by the arresting officer. Inaccurate test results could be grounds to challenge a DUI.
Certain medical conditions could cause you to fail a roadside sobriety test. If the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over, then you may be able to mount a strong defense against a conviction.
At the Law Offices of Nick Cvietkovich, we understand that good people sometimes find themselves in tough situations. A DUI charge does not have to ruin your life. Our San Jose DUI attorney can help you defend yourself against drunk driving charges.
“Some things are worth more than money. My family and I owe Mr. Cvietkovich way more than he charged which was extremely reasonable. I give 5 stars for Mr. Cvietkovich.”
After a DUI charge, you need a lawyer who will answer your questions quickly and accurately, and who can develop the best defense possible. At the Law Offices of Nick Cvietkovich, our San Jose DUI attorneys use the resources available to help you save time, money and your reputation.