Our San Jose DUI Lawyer Answers Your Questions

A drunk driving conviction in California can lead to major legal consequences. You could face fines, professional license suspension or even incarceration. However, there are possible defense options that can help fight DUI charges. There are also actions you can take during a DUI stop or while in police custody to reduce the chances of a conviction. Below, our San Jose DUI lawyer answers common questions about DUI laws in California. 

Do I Have to Take a Field Sobriety Test?

There are different types of field sobriety tests an officer may conduct during a DUI stop. The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFT) is a series of tests designed to determine whether a person is inebriated. During an SFT, the officer may ask you to walk in a straight line and turn or stand on one leg and count to 30.

Fortunately, you do not have to take these tests, nor should you take these tests. You could very easily fail an SFT even if you are sober. Worse, the officer’s dashboard camera will likely record a failed SFT, and the footage could be used against you in court. 

There are roadside DUI tests you may have to take, such as the preliminary alcohol screening (PAS). During this test, you may have to blow into a breathalyzer. However, you only have to take a PAS if you are on probation for a prior DUI or are a minor suspected of violating California’s Zero Tolerance Law. You can refuse a PAS if neither applies to your situation. However, it is possible the officer will arrest you and require you to take a chemical test.

There are DUI chemical tests that you must take while in police custody. Refusing to take this test could result in additional penalties. 

What Are the Penalties for a California DUI?

The penalties for DUI conviction depend on the circumstances. Factors that can influence the penalties include: 

  • Minors under the age of 14 were in the vehicle
  • Multiple prior DUI arrests
  • Injuries or deaths that occurred during a DUI-related crash
  • Your BAC (blood alcohol concentration/content) 
  • Refusing a chemical test after an arrest
  • Speeding or driving recklessly
  • Whether you are over the age of 21

As you can see, there are a number of possible aggravating factors that can worsen the outcome of a DUI case. Penalties can include fines, license suspension, professional license suspension, probation and incarceration. You may also have to take a substance abuse course and may have to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. 

Can I Avoid a DUI Checkpoint in California?

There are no penalties for avoiding a DUI checkpoint in California. However, avoiding a checkpoint may arouse suspicion. An officer cannot pull you over and arrest you for avoiding the checkpoint if you are not breaking any laws. 

Police may temporarily detain you if they have reasonable suspicion that you committed a crime. Additionally, police may pull you over for traffic violations, such as an illegal U-turn or a broken taillight. 

Can Police Take My License During a DUI Stop?

If police place you under arrest during a DUI stop, then they may confiscate your California driver’s license. You may receive a temporary or restricted license.

If the DMV upholds the decision to suspend your license, then you have the opportunity to request a hearing to contest the license suspension. Our San Jose DUI attorney can represent you during a DMV license suspension hearing. 

Are There Defense Options for a DUI?

There are ways to potentially fight a DUI charge in California. Scenarios that may help with a DUI defense include: 

  • Faulty sobriety test equipment, such as a breathalyzer
  • Medical conditions or medication that caused you to fail a sobriety test
  • The officer lacked reasonable suspicion to pull you over
  • The officer conducted a faulty field sobriety test
  • Improper administration of a PAS or chemical test
  • Improper police conduct

These are only a few examples of situations where a DUI lawyer may be able to fight against a conviction. However, it is extremely important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. 

Should I Talk to the Police While in Custody? 

There are a number of mistakes you could make while in police custody that may increase the chances of a conviction. Talking to the police while in custody is one of the worst mistakes you could make. You should request to have a lawyer present and say nothing else. 

Additionally, after your release from custody, you should avoid talking about your arrest on social media. Keep in mind, anything you say to the police or on Facebook may be used by a prosecutor. It is better to play it safe and allow your attorney to do the talking. 

Do I Need a San Jose DUI Attorney? 

There are multiple advantages to having a criminal defense attorney, some of which we discussed above. An attorney may be able to gather and protect evidence that proves your innocence. If necessary, an attorney can represent you during a DMV license suspension hearing or before a judge. Additionally, a DUI attorney may be able to work with the prosecutor to reduce your penalties. 

Although public defenders provide an extremely valuable public service, you should strongly consider hiring an attorney that focuses his or her practice on DUI defense in California

Contact Our San Jose DUI Lawyer for More Information 

Have additional questions about DUI charges? We encourage you to reach out to our San Jose DUI lawyer for assistance. Nick Cvietkovich has extensive experience with DUI cases in California. You can schedule a free initial consultation with Nick by dialing (408) 898-9653 or by using the contact form on our site.


Nick is an excellent attorney who really cares for his clients and knows what he is doing. His experience can be easily noticed. He works tirelessly to achieve the best end results in every case. He is very straightforward and lets you know what to expect from beginning to end, it is a relief to speak to an attorney like him that is not just trying to retain your business, but genuinely cares for the people he works with. He has a great team of people working for him that are always willing to update you on your case and answer any questions you might have. If you want a great attorney who will not overcharge you and will get you the best results, call his office.

-Mari, Yelp

There’s not enough words to explain how grateful I am with Nick. He defended my husband in a 25 to life case. No matter how difficult it seemed Nick never gave up. He is very humble, respectful, honest and professional! He was always keeping us updated and letting us know of the status of the case. He would always return our calls and txt messages. Not like others lawyers that all they want is money. Thank you Nick for representing my husband and giving him a new opportunity to start all over with us. God bless you. Thanks to you the case was dismissed!!!

-Anna, Google

Nick is an incredible lawyer. I worked with Nick for about 2 years to have my case resolved. I selected him from conducting 7 interviews with a couple of other lawyers but I knew that he was the man for the job when I talked to him. I selected him after 2 interviews after I knew that he was an experienced lawyer and handled numerous cases within my charge. Nick is very thorough, professional, and always goes above and beyond for his clients. He is very exceptional and I would recommend Nick again in the future for any client that wants to either win, dismiss, or reduce any charges. I highly recommend Nick Cvietkovich.

-Ron, Yelp

When I got my second DUI, a friend of mine told me about Nick and how he is a great defense lawyer and would do whatever it took to get me the best deal. Upon meeting him, I already that I was in good hands. Throughout my case, he would keep me updated with any new information that would help my case and always be ready to answer my questions. He was very understanding with everything and helped me every way possible. Then when I got in trouble with driving without a license, I went back to him and he quickly took my case and did such a wonderful job. I was worried about what would have happened with me but Nick kept me calm and would make sure that I would be taken care. He is a great lawyer with great staff and is someone I recommend to anyone that is looking for a top notch defense lawyer. Thank you for everything Nick.

-Carlos, Yelp

I was pulled over by the police in San Jose about 4 months ago with a .09 blood alcohol level. I knew I had to get some help. This was my first time ever needing legal help. When I spoke with Nick he sounded like a nice guy. He was knowledgeable and offered a very reasonable price. So I went with him and hoped for the best. Little did I know I had just hired an excellent lawyer. He went to work right away. He made me feel comfortable and was always quick to get back to my questions and concerns and always kept me informed with the case. Four months later his strategy worked great. I had prepared myself for a DUI sentence but was hoping to get at least a wet reckless. I ended up walking away with a dry reckless and a small fine. My license was not affected either. I can’t thank him enough. Nick is a very intelligent, personable and clever lawyer. He knows the system well and was able to get me the lightest possible sentence. If I ever have any legal questions or need any legal help in the future, he will be my first call.

-Kelly, Avvo

I give 5 stars for Mr. Cvietkovich. My family was going through a terrible tragedy and on top of that had a legal issue that was time sensitive. I contacted Nick Cvietkovich and in just a few hours Mr. Cvietkovich got all the parties together and resolved the issues. Some things are worth more than money. My family and I owe Mr. Cvietkovich way more than he charged which was extremely reasonable. Everyone needs a lawyer that not only gets things done but gets things done quickly. Thank you Nick Cvietkovich – words cannot express my gratitude.

-Justin, Yelp

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