Yearly Archives - 2012

Chemical DUI Testing in San Jose CA

One of the most common methods used across the country to try and prove someone was drinking and driving is a breathalyzer test. A California officer may ask you to take one after he performs a series of field sobriety tests. If the breathalyzer registers your Blood Alcohol Concentration at .08% or higher, then you are considered above the legal alcohol limit and can be charged with a DUI. What your San Jose DUI attorney might question in court is if this breathalyzer test was accurate or not.

There are several things that experts have pointed out in recent years that can call question into the accuracy of breathalyzer testing and there are some recommendations that the results should not be used alone when trying to prosecute a DUI case. Several factors based on physiology can possibly skew the results of a breathalyzer test, including the difference in how both the male and female bodies metabolize alcohol. So, what may read as a .08% or higher on a breathalyzer test may not be an actual reflection of the concentration of alcohol in the blood. Whether you were legally drunk or not is something a DUI lawyer in San Diego can use in your defense.

One might think an actual blood test may be completely accurate in projecting if someone is too intoxicated to drive, but even their accuracy have been called into question. The amount of alcohol in the blood may not reflect the amount of alcohol that has gone to the brain. And it is the alcohol in the brain that can affect someone’s capacity to drive a car. That is why field sobriety tests are also necessary to determine if someone was too impaired to be driving.

While field sobriety tests alone are not proof of drunk driving, they are indicators. The two most accurate field sobriety tests are said to be walking a straight line and then turning, and following a pencil with your eye that an officer is holding. Other tests like reciting the alphabet and touching your finger to your nose are not considered by experts to be as reliable.

Your San Jose DUI lawyer will investigate to see if everything was done according to procedure because if there was any discrepancy, this can enhance your defense. There are several methods a DUI lawyer can use when trying to win an acquittal in a DUI case. Their knowledge and experience with California DUI laws can be your best defense, so call a DUI lawyer in San Jose today for the defense you need.


Expected Consequences of a DUI

The penalties in a California DUI case can be life-changing, even if it is a first-time offense. You may be required to pay steep fines, spend time behind bars and lose your license for an extended amount of time. It can take a toll on your financial life, as well as your mental well-being and the mental well-being of your family. However, you do not have to face these charges on your own. A San Jose DUI attorney knowledgeable about the ins and outs of California driving under the influence laws can make a major difference in your case, as well as educate you on the uphill battle ahead.

If convicted of a DUI, you can pay fines that can total $1,500 after mandatory assessment fees are included. Your drivers’ license can be confiscated at the scene of your arrest, and in order to get it back you will be required to request an administrative hearing with the DMV within 10 days of losing it.

Even then, your license can still be suspended for up to six months, something you may not be able to afford if you use your car to get to and from work or even use it for work. You can also face up to up to six months in jail, and probation with the minimum jail sentence being four days. There is also a possibility that you will be placed on probation, and you want a DUI attorney in San Diego by your side to prepare the best defense to either get you acquitted or the minimum possible penalties.

In California, what are called “enhancements” can also be included in the DUI charges. For example, a minor under 14 years of age as a passenger in the car with you can lead to a higher charge and harsher penalties. Speeding of 30 MPH above the limit on the highway and 20 MPH above the limit on the streets can also lead to enhancements, as can two or more prior DUI convictions in the last 10 years. A strong case by a San Jose DUI lawyer is what you need to avoid harsher penalties in enhancement situations.

The consequences of a DUI conviction can be life-changing for you and your loved ones. You already regret the mistake of getting behind the wheel after drinking. If you do not want to regret it for years to come, call a DUI lawyer in San Jose today for a professional defense against these charges.


Typical San Jose DUI Sobriety Tests

Before you are asked to have your Blood Alcohol Concentration tested after being pulled over for a suspected DUI, you will first be asked to perform one or more field sobriety tests to see if there is evidence that more testing is even necessary. These tests must follow lawful procedure and if they are not, that can become a defense strategy that your San Jose DUI lawyer uses at your trial.

Field sobriety tests are not always the only evidence used to prove that someone was driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. But, if an officer determines you failed any of these tests he can ask you to take a Blood Alcohol Concentration test via a breathalyzer at the scene. Now, a breathalyzer test will not detect drugs in your system, but if your BAC is .08% or above, then you are driving over the legal limit and can be arrested.

One of the most common and accurate field sobriety tests is being asked to walk in a straight line and turn. Another test thought to be accurate is following a pencil with your eye that an officer is holding. Other tests that experts agree are not quite as accurate include touching your nose with your finger and also reciting the alphabet. However, these tests are still used and can be admissible in court as evidence.

While there is no way to prove definitively that you are not fit to be behind the wheel, field sobriety tests can often give an indication to the officer on the scene. Your DUI attorney in San Jose will educate you on the importance and accuracy of any tests received and also ask if you were informed that you had the right to refuse. The breathalyzer device you may be asked to use is called a Preliminary Alcohol Screener and if you are under 21 you do not have the right of refusal. If you did take one and were not informed of your refusal rights, then that is something your lawyer can use in your defense.

Whether a first time offender or not, a DUI charge and conviction can change the course of your life. You may be forced to pay steep fines, can lose your license for an extended period of time and can even spend some time behind bars. Do not fight this battle alone and call a DUI lawyer in San Jose today for help.



Multiple DUI Offenses in San Jose CA

A first-time offense for a DUI can have a devastating effect on your life. Being charged with a DUI more than once can have even more of a devastating effect. Time spent behind bars is a very real possibility for a DUI arrest, whether it is your first arrest or have subsequent arrests.  Your need for a San Jose DUI attorney will be greater than ever as the penalties you face can be harsher and more severe.

The road you have ahead of you if arrested two or more times for a DUI is not an easy one. An experienced DUI attorney in San Jose can educate you on what you face and that honesty is a sign of a good lawyer with integrity. If convicted multiple times, you may face the following penalties:

  • Fines that can be as little as $390, but as much as $1,000, with mandatory penalty assessments bringing the total up to $1,500.
  • Anywhere from three months to one year behind bars
  • The loss of your drivers’ license for an extended amount of time. (A license suspension can have an effect on your professional life, as well as the cost of your insurance premiums for years to come.)
  • The possibility of a judge requiring you to attend a state-approved alcohol treatment program if convicted.

There is also a possibility of being labeled as a “habitual traffic offender” if you continually are charged with driving under the influence. By your third offense, you can lose your license for as long as three years. This can hinder you getting to and from work, and also have an effect on any future employment. If you choose to drive with a suspended license and have this label, getting caught can have a damaging effect on your life, as well as your family’s as you may face another trial and harsher penalties than ever before. Make sure whatever San Jose DUI lawyer you hire has experience in repeat-offender cases or your life can take a turn you never expected.

The first time you were charged with a DUI you learned what a hard road it could be to get your life back on track. First-time offenses can often be expunged from the record, but it is more difficult to get subsequent convictions expunged. This can affect new employment opportunities and your overall finances for a long time to come. If you face such serious charges, call a DUI lawyer in San Jose today for the assistance you need.


The State of Your License With a San Jose DUI Charge

The prospect of losing your drivers’ license is no laughing matter. However, it is a very real prospect if arrested for driving under the influence in California. It can have serious consequences that can change your future and affect you financially for years to come. If you drive to and from work or even use your vehicle for work, you can lose your income.  And in some cases, your car may even be impounded. Having a San Jose DUI attorney on your side in the fight for your drivers’ license is of the utmost importance.

Within 10 days of being charged with driving under the influence, you must request an administrative hearing with the California DMV to decide the fate of your license. You are free to do this without representation, but having a lawyer make this request for you may lessen your chance of being encouraged to accept a phone hearing. An in-person hearing may be less convenient for all involved, but can also possibly warrant you the best results. Having your DUI lawyer in San Jose representing you at this hearing is even wiser. Your attorney can get the feel for your case at this time, which may help him or her better represent you in criminal court.

If you do lose you license and you are a first-time offender, you can be without your driving privileges for up to six months. You may also find yourself taking three months’ worth of DUI educated courses that have been approved by the state and can face more serious penalties if you were driving with a minor as a passenger who was under 14 years of age at the time. Also, if you were speeding at 20 MPH above the speed limit on the streets or 30 MPH above the speed limit on the highway, you can lose your license for an even longer period of time. Aside from not being allowed to drive, you may find that your insurance premiums will soar and may stay unreasonably high for quite a few years. If you do face these possibilities, you need a San Jose DUI lawyer taking special care of your defense.

The driving consequences of a DUI conviction can stay on your record in California for up to 10 years. This is something you can ill-afford, both financially and in your personal life. For the excellent defense that you need, call a DUI lawyer in San Jose today.


Zero Tolerance For Minors Under 21 in DUI Cases

California has a zero tolerance law for people under 21 who are caught drinking and driving. It is illegal to drink at all in the United States if you are under the age of 21. It is illegal for people of any age to get behind the wheel of the car if their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is .08% or more. However, if you are a minor the threshold is even lower. If you are found with preliminary tests to have a BAC of .01% of higher, then the consequences can be severe. It is always best to have a knowledgeable and experienced San Jose DUI attorney on your side for help.

The case against you can be much worse if your BAC was .05% or higher. This would then turn into a criminal offense and you may be tried as an adult. Otherwise, your DUI is considered a civil offense and you would be tried as a minor in that case. A criminal record is something that can change the course of your entire life if not expunged and your DUI attorney in San Jose can explain to you the consequences of your actions in depth. Your entire life is ahead of you as a teenager and you do not want one fateful mistake to change the entire course of it. As a minor, if you are asked to submit to BAC testing at the scene, then you are required to comply. This is unlike an adult who has the right to refuse these types of tests.

The refusal of a BAC test can result in your license being confiscated on the spot and a suspension of that license for a full year, on top of any suspensions as part of a sentencing if convicted. Even if you were not driving, but caught drinking, you can still have your license taken away. And, if you are not yet a licensed driver, the age when you could become licensed may delayed for up to one year. The circumstances and penalties are different for minors, so make sure any San Jose DUI lawyer you choose to represent you has experience with cases where the defendant was under 21.

It is always a mistake to get behind the wheel of a car while drunk, or even under the influence of mind-altering drugs—whether legal drugs or not. Do not let this mistake change everything and call a DUI lawyer today for help.


Following Procedure at a DUI Checkpoint

A great deal of DUI arrests are made at specified checkpoints that are used both in California and all over the United States. Checkpoints are often set up on busy social nights when large amounts of people are expected to be in bars—typically a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night. Officers know many people will get behind the wheel when they may have had a little too much to drink and checkpoints act as both a safety precaution and a way of cracking down on drunk driving. However, checkpoints must be used in accordance with the law and if they are not your San Jose DUI attorney can use any discrepancies as part of your defense.

There are no set guidelines on how DUI checkpoints need to be handled in order to not violate fourth amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. The Supreme Court has ruled that checkpoints do not violate those rights if handled correctly, but nothing that takes place at a DUI checkpoint can violate those constitutional rights. How that is done is left up to interpretation and a good DUI attorney in San Jose will go over everything that happened at that checkpoint with you when building your case. The most important thing you can do is to be open and honest with your lawyer from the start so there are no surprises from the prosecution.

When you start telling your story to your San Jose DUI lawyer, he will want to start at the beginning including what led to the officer thinking you were driving under the influence. He will want to know what field sobriety tests were performed, as well as any Blood Alcohol Concentration tests were given and if they were even warranted after the sobriety tests. If anything did not go according to procedure, there is a chance that your lawyer can get the case dismissed or at the least, help see to it that you receive the minimum penalties that the law permits.

The consequences you face if convicted on DUI charges can be devastating. You may have to pay steep fines, lose your license for an extended period of time and even spend time behind bars. This can have long term effects on your overall life, as well as the life of your family. But, you do not have to go it alone. For the assistance you need, call a knowledgeable and experienced DUI lawyer in San Diego today.


San Jose DUI Expungement Procedures

A DUI conviction does not have to be a mark on your permanent record. There is a possibility you are eligible for an expungement, which is something you want for when you look for future employment, apply for professional licenses and just generally lead the rest of your life. A criminal record is something you can ill-afford for both personal and financial reasons, but an experienced San Jose DUI attorney can apply for an expungement on your behalf, something that can essentially wipe the slate clean.

The expungement process can take about six weeks, but not everyone who is convicted of a DUI qualifies for one. If you were sentenced to any jailtime, then you do not meet the expungement eligibility requirements. However, any time you may have spent behind bars after the arrest and prior to the conviction will not count and you may still qualify. There can also be no other court cases or criminal charges pending or an expungement will not be given. If you were put on probation, then the probation period has to be over and completed successful before an expungement can be applied for. Your DUI lawyer in San Jose will review your case and decide if you are eligible before filing.

There are many benefits to having a DUI conviction expunged from your record. It can essentially give you a whole new lease on life with a fresh start. If you are filling out a job application, you can check off the box that says no criminal record with ease and confidence. Even if you do check that box, a potential employer can still choose to do a criminal background check and with an expungement, nothing will be found. However, there are some situations where you will have to reveal that you have had a criminal conviction expunged, which your San Jose DUI lawyer will inform you of. If you plan to run for public office or are applying for any type of government license or permit, then an expungement must be disclosed. However, it should not legally prohibit you from pursuing this office or license.

Once a judge has granted an expungement, you will receive a court notice informing you. And, while the application process is relatively simple, legal proceedings do go more smoothly if you hire a professional. If you think you are eligible to have a DUI conviction erased from your record, call a DUI lawyer in San Jose today.


Choosing The Right San Jose DUI Lawyer for Your Situation

A conviction for a DUI in California can have various serious consequences. You can lose your license for an extended period of time, face steep and heavy fines that you and ill-afford and also face the possibility of jail time. This can change the entire course of your life, as well as your family’s life, even if you are a first time offender. When you have your day in court you do not want to go it alone and should look for knowledge and experience when choosing a San Jose DUI attorney.

When you search for the right attorney to defend you, what you need are choices. There are several resources you can use and in today’s world of Internet technology gathering information and doing research has become easier. You can look for testimonials and descriptions of how a DUI attorney in San Jose may try to defend you, as well as get a feel for whose specific experience may suit your specific case. You can also use the California bar association as a source, as they can provide you with a list of lawyers in the San Jose area who specialize in DUI cases. Finally, ask friends of family. They may have been through such an experience before or know a criminal attorney who can help.

Once you have gathered together a short list of several choices, call each San Jose DUI lawyer one by one and briefly explain your case. Make sure to tell the absolute truth because anybody who defends you needs to know exactly what happened to lead to your arrest. You can often get a feel for someone’s attitude and also professionalism from one phone call. Make arrangements to meet with one or two people you felt comfortable with on the phone. When you do meet, you want to ask about their experience and success rate with DUI cases, but you also want to look for integrity. Honesty often equals integrity and a lawyer who will be blunt with you about what you are up against may be the best choice.

Do not let a mistake you already regret change the course of your life. Know that there are options and various defenses an attorney can use so you don’t end up with a criminal record or don’t receive the maximum possible penalty. If you are facing serious DUI charges, call a DUI lawyer in San Jose today for the help you need.


Understanding Alcohol’s Effects on Driving

A lot of people are ignorant of alcohol’s effects of driving and are completely unaware that even small amounts of alcohol can cause impairment.

At a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.01% to 0.03%, there are hardly any noticeable effects. Impairment is not even noticeable except with special tests that detect subtle effects. Once you start going over 0.03%, that is when you begin to feel the effects. The most common effects at that blood alcohol content are mild euphoria and relaxation. There may also be some loss of inhibitions. Impairment is only limited to concentration. Once your blood alcohol content gets up to around 0.06% to 0.09%, this is when you start seeing serious impairment. Depth perception suffers, which means drivers cannot properly perceive what they’re seeing on the road in three dimensions, such as the distance of an object, vehicle, or pedestrian. Peripheral vision is decreased as well, limiting what the driver can see off to the sides. Another serious impairment is the increased duration of glare recovery. This is especially noticeable at night when facing bright street lights or headlights of oncoming traffic.

Because of this, there are almost no jurisdictions in the world which allow people to legally drive with a BAC above 0.08%, and many set the limit even lower. The only notable exception is the Cayman Islands, which sets the BAC limit to 0.1%. In the State of California, the BAC limit is 0.08%.

Does drinking coffee help combat the effects of alcohol? In a word: no. While caffeine’s stimulating effect may appear to stem the effects of alcohol, it only makes you more awake, not more alert. With a BAC of 0.08% or higher, you will still be impaired even after drinking a cup or two of coffee. The dangerous thing about mixing caffeine with alcohol is that people end up feeling like they are fine to drive because they don’t feel alcohol’s drowsy effects. But in reality, they are still impaired and are still a danger on the road.