DUI-DMV Attorney San Jose, San Francisco, San Mateo, CA

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is one of the most common charges in the criminal justice system. Each county has different ways they prosecute drunk-driving charges, but the procedure and defense of the case is almost always the same.

After being arrested for a DUI—two separate cases will open against a defendant. The first will be a DMV case, where the DMV will hold an administrative proceeding to determine whether your license will be suspended. Keep in mind, you only have ten days from the date of the arrest to challenge the suspension and demand a hearing. If you do not request the hearing within ten days, your rights to challenge the suspension will be waived and you will have your license suspended immediately.

At the same time, the county prosecutor will bring a criminal case against a defendant. After the citation or arrest, a defendant will be given an “arraignment date”, where they will be ordered to appear in court.

During the arrest, the officer is trained to ask certain questions and conduct certain tests in order to generate as much evidence as possible to justify the arrest. Each question and the sobriety test is specifically designed for a purpose, and each gives the officer wide latitude to make the conclusion that the test-subject is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. An experienced attorney will be able to identify the flaws in such methods, and expose inaccuracies in the reporting process.

In addition to field sobriety tests, DUI arrests typically include chemical tests of a person’s breath or blood. At the scene of the arrest, an officer will usually request that a suspect blow into a handheld breathalyzer test. This test is voluntary, and no matter how the officer frames the question—you aren’t required to submit to such a test. The handheld devices (commonly the AlcoSensor 4 or 5) are known as “Preliminary Alcohol Sensors” or “PAS Machines”, which have a host of accuracy issues associated with them. After a suspect is arrested, he or she is taken to the police station to submit to a chemical test (breath or blood).

It’s important to address each aspect of the case quickly. The DMV case and Criminal case are held in different arenas and are not governed by the same evidentiary rules and due process rights. The earlier you address the arrest and begin a proactive defense, the better chance you have to achieve your goals.

Whether you’ve just gotten your first charge or you have a record of criminal driving charges, being charged with a DUI is a scary experience. A reputable lawyer will be able to offer the following benefits:

  • Familiarity with the court system, judges, and prosecutors
  • Expertise with plea bargains
  • Ease in navigating complex court administration and negotiation procedures
  • Experience asserting defendant’s rights in jury trials

As you research DUI attorneys in the greater San Jose, San Francisco, and San Mateo areas, adhere to the following checklist:

  • Look for lawyers with jury trial experience in cases.
  • Schedule an initial consultation with the lawyer to gather further information on your Constitutional rights and the legal process.
  • Ask for a comprehensive estimate for the legal representation as well as payment and financing options so that there are no surprises.
  • If possible, talk to at least two attorneys before you hire someone.

Brendan Barrett offers criminal defense representation for DUI and DWI cases in San Jose, San Francisco, and San Mateo. To learn more about our services, fill out our online contact form to contact us today!

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