A San Joaquin County DUI arrest can result in at least a few days of jail or work-project, thousands of dollars in fines, increased car insurance rates, and a mandatory alcohol class that lasts for several months. Although this is harsh (especially comparing it to many felonies where NO jail time is actually required), the courts are not usually trying to destroy people's lives on a first offense San Joaquin County DUI.
The San Joaquin County misdemeanor court system is ridiculously backed up, meaning that a typical DUI case in San Joaquin County can take upwards of four months to resolve, even if the defense does not contest the case. In a contested case, unfortunately, it takes closer to six months to a year for a case to completely resolve.
A San Joaquin County DUI Attorney MIGHT JUST WIN YOUR CASE!
A good San Joaquin County DUI Attorney will know what to look for to try to win your case. Whether there was a valid reason to stop your car, whether there was sufficient cause for the officer to start a drunk driver investigation, who was actually driving the car, what the BAC was and whether it will be provable in court.
A San Joaquin County Drunk Driving Lawyer CAN HELP YOU, EVEN IF YOU WERE DRUNK
Even if you know your case is not winnable, contact me now! There are many things that a San Joaquin County Drunk Driving Lawyer can do for a client with an unwinnable case that can result in what is effectively a shorter license suspension, and sometimes shaving off several months of the mandatory alcohol class - completion of which is mandatory before getting your unrestricted license back.
Just as important to many San Joaquin County DUI clients is the confidentiality that I help you achieve - in many cases, the San Joaquin County DUI client can get through the whole situation without their employer finding out about the DUI arrest. San Joaquin County DUI Lawyer Matthew Becker helps clients stay at the office instead of having to take time off from work to be in the courtroom. So long as the charge is a misdemeanor, San Joaquin County DUI Lawyers are usually able to keep the client out of the courtroom - But Beware, some judges will not cooperate with this for multiple offenders.
DEALING WITH THE DMV
You only have 10 days after the drunk driving arrest to contact the California DMV driver safety office - or have San Joaquin County DWI Attorney Matthew Becker contact them for you. If the DMV is not contacted in time, either by you or by your San Joaquin County DWI Attorney, you will almost certainly face a suspension of your driving privileges.
The effect of this DMV suspension can frequently be worse than the effects of the criminal charge. San Joaquin County DWI Lawyer Matthew Becker will handle the DMV bureaucracy for you, in some cases saving your license entirely; and in others, maximizing the overlap between the DMV license suspension and any court ordered license suspension so that you suffer the minimum amount of time without a license.
The DMV is biased against the client in their drunk driving License Suspension Hearings. The DMV hearing officer acts as judge, jury, and prosecutor. For this reason, you really need a San Joaquin County DWI Lawyer on your side. At least in court there is a separate judge. You can read more about this on my drunk driving Resources Page. If a suspension is unavoidable, the skills of your San Joaquin County Drunk Driving Attorney can still be invaluable in terms of timing the suspension around your life and minimizing the total length of your license suspension.
FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION
Call now. (209)751-4618. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation that involves asking what you are charged with and quoting a price. I do things differently. Since I post my prices online, if you call me, we will discuss the facts of your case. I will give you a heads-up on what the maximum and minimum you are facing if convicted and will discuss with you what options might be available. Call me or check out my San Joaquin County DUI resources at the bottom of the page.
DUI Insurance - SR22
Car Insurance after a drunk driving arrest is required by law to have a high-risk designation for a number of years. Generally, SR22 drunk driving insurance is required for three years by the court. Driving without SR22 insurance during this court ordered time period is not only a violation of probation, potentially exposing you up to the remainder of your six month sentence, but you could also be guilty of driving on a license while knowing of a drunk driving suspension. This is true even if you have your unrestricted license, apparently unsuspended. On a first offense DUI, this SR22 requirement extends for three years and you can strangely be convicted of driving on a license while knowing of a DUI suspension even though you possess an unrestricted license and the suspension is over! Make sure you talk to your Stockton DWI Lawyer before you drop your SR22 designation.
California DMV also requires SR22 in order to obtain a restricted license suspension for five months on a first offense. For second-offense DUI, the DMV requires DUI insurance for 3 years even though the duration of the suspension or restriction is up to two years. Obviously, since the court requires the SR22 for longer than the DMV,you will have to obey the court. Notice, however, for those whose probationary terms have expired, if you have not completed your alcohol class, the DMV will still need the SR22 for a restricted privileges on your license suspension during that period. Talk to a Stockton DWI Attorney if you have a case this old. There are many strange things that a Stockton DWI Attorney can do in an old case situation.
Your car insurance premiums are going to rise because of this high-risk designation. Sometimes you will be dropped entirely, in which case you will have to find new basic insurance as well in order to lawfully drive. But how much extra you have to pay for the court and DMV-mandated SR22 designation depends on a number of factors. If you want to have comprehensive collision coverage with your SR22, the increase in premiums will be much greater. On the other hand, if you want only liability insurance, your increased costs might be fairly minimal with an SR22 after a first offense drunk driving conviction.
Other factors include your driving history. A 45 year old getting his first drunk driving conviction with no prior tickets for anything (speeding included) is going to hardly notice the increase in costs if liability SR22 insurance is all he wants. A 23 year old with two recent speeding tickets and a red light violation - all within the past couple of months prior to the drunk driving conviction? That will be a different story. Getting his DMV-restricted privilege on the license suspension will be quite expensive with the SR22 requirement - and the court's three-year requirement of SR22 may make it cost-prohibitive to have a driver's license for up to three years. In this above example, the threat of falling into the lifetime suspension trap is quite significant for the younger driver and he needs a Stockton DWI Attorney to see if there is any way to avoid the initial suspension.
For suggestions on where to call for SR-22 Insurance, download the DUI Survival Guide. The way this whole web-site is set up it is much easier for me to update the Survival Guide pdf file than the web page. Plus, you will find a lot more goodies in there as well, such as DUI school contact information...
Getting a Restricted Privilege on Your License Suspension
Car Insurance after a drunk driving conviction is required by law to have a high-risk designation for a number of years. Generally, SR22 drunk driving insurance is required for three years by the court. Driving without SR22 insurance during this court ordered time period is not only a violation of probation, potentially exposing you up to the remainder of your six month sentence, but you will also be guilty of driving on a license while knowing of a drunk driving suspension. This is true even if you have your unrestricted license, apparently unsuspended. On a first offense misdemeanor Stockton DUI, this SR22 requirement extends for three years and you can strangely be convicted of driving on a license while knowing of a DUI license suspension even though you possess an unrestricted license and the suspension is over! Make sure you talk to your DWI Lawyers before you drop your SR22 designation.
I know that this is what most of you are most concerned about. You need to be able to get from point A to point B - for work, for school. And the idea of doing that without access to a car is crazy. The best way to deal with the threat to your financial stability is to hire a good Stockton DUI Attorney, but if your case has already been resolved, then here is what you have to do to get back behind the wheel, after a Stockton DUI arrest:
Getting a Restricted License
First Offense DUI in Stockton
You can go to the DMV to get a restricted privilege on the license suspension, provided that you have done the following things:
Get a copy of your H-6(driving history) DMV printout (from DMV)
Take H-6 printout to a DUI school and sign up for the appropriate length class.
Get SR22 insurance.
Get an ignition-interlock device installed on your vehicle.
Take proof of 3 years of SR22, plus proof of enrollment in the DUI class, plus proof of the ignition interlock device installation plus $125 to the DMV and apply for a restricted privilege on your license suspension
This will lengthen your California DMV license suspension from being four months to six months on a first offense DUI in Stockton, but the remainder of the license suspension will be with a restricted privilege on the license suspension. The ONLY serious restriction here is that you cannot drive a car that does not have an IID installed (there are certain exceptions for employer owned vehicles). A Stockton DUI Attorney will frequently be able to make the 6 months total (including the restricted privilege on the license suspension) be the same six months that the court license suspension runs for the conviction. The court license suspension is also eligible for a restriction as soon as DMV permits, so you really will be back to driving!
Second Offense DUI in Stockton
What to do if you were arrested for the second offense prior to July 1, 2010:
Get a copy of your H-6(driving history) DMV printout (from DMV)
Sign up for an 18 month class with a DUI school.
Get DUI insurance.
Get ignition interlock device installed.
Show DMV proof that you have done all of the above plus pay them $125.
This will allow you to get a restricted privilege for the second year of your license suspension after a second offense DUI in Stockton so that you can drive to and from and in the course of work. Your DWI Lawyers can explain the process in more detail as well as what the differences are between a restricted and an unrestricted license.
If you were arrested AFTER July 1, 2010:
Drunk Driving - The Criminal Case
WHAT PROCESS IS FOLLOWED IN A CRIMINAL CASE?
After you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI, the officer writes up a report and sends it to the District Attorney's office. If you took a blood sample, the District Attorney office will wait until they have the results before filing charges. If there was no blood (or urine) sample, then the District Attorney will have enough information to determine whether or not to file charges.
Typically, they will file both the strict-liability 0.08% charge(VC 23152(b)) and the "driving while impaired" charge (VC 23152(a)), both misdemeanors carrying nearly identical sentences. Since the penalties are essentially the same, and since both charges are for essentially the same conduct, with rare exceptions, the state can only punish for one even if they get a conviction on both. Talk to you your local Stockton Drunk Driving Lawyers or see DUI Penalties below for more information.
Because the charge is a misdemeanor, if you hire a Stockton Drunk Driving Attorney, in most counties you should not have to ever appear in court. Private Stockton DWI Attorneys can appear in court without their client present so that the client doesn't have to miss work - so long as it is a misdemeanor, and with certain exceptions that allow some tyrants-in-robes to force the client to go anyway. For first-offenders, this is rarely a problem. For repeat offenders, because bail is frequently involved, appearances by the client sometimes can be difficult to avoid. Stockton Drunk Driving Lawyer Matthew Becker will do his best to keep you from having to take time off work.
By (the end of) your first court date, your Stockton DWI Attorney should have a copy of the complaint and the police report. After the necessary initial information is obtained, the case will be categorized as one of a few types of cases. At least this Stockton Drunk Driving Lawyer always evaluates each case for each of the following five options.
What a DUI Attorney May Argue
Was the arrest legitimate? Did the officer have a valid reason to pull you over? If not, a motion to suppress evidence might win the case outright. Likewise if the DA waited too long to file charges, a Stockton Drunk Driving Attorney can file a speedy trial motion that can put the DA's case in the circular filing cabinet! A good Stockton Drunk Driving Attorney has these and a few other standard motions, some of which can win a case outright in the right circumstances. Approximately half of DUI cases will have enough evidence in favor of the defendant to support a decision to file a standard motion. They win far less than that, but because of the minimal work needed to prepare these motions, they are generally included in most contracts with most Stockton Drunk Driving Lawyers.
This can be anything under the sun. A skilled Stockton Drunk Driving Attorney can look at a case and find that one section of law that was violated by a police officer or the mistake made by the DA and turn their case upside down. These motions are often complex and extensive research and writing will be necessary. Special motions are sometimes not covered in the initial contract with some Stockton Drunk Driving Attorneys. Ask about whether all pretrial motions are covered under the contract. Special motions are infrequently available in cases - maybe ten percent of clients will hear that their Stockton Drunk Driving Attorneys have a special motion to file in their case. But when the facts support filing a special motion, the chances of winning the motion are often fairly reasonable.
Second only to a very strong standard motion, having a Stockton Drunk Driving Attorney tell you that you have a trial case is about the best news you can get. A trial case is any case where your Stockton DUI Attorneys believes that he can make a jury have doubt about a key aspect of the criminal case. Although a trial can be expensive - especially if you have to hire an expert in addition to the Stockton Drunk Driving Lawyers fees, there are ways of cutting down on the cost if it is unaffordable. I try to encourage clients to retain their Stockton Drunk Driving Attorneys through trial from the start. The likelihood that a case will settle before trial allows me to offer a significant discount for those who wish to retain for a trial at the outset. Think of it as like a "bad offer from the DA" insurance. If a reasonable offer is obtained, you take it. If not, your Stockton Drunk Driving Attorney's trial fees are already paid. Expert witnesses can be somewhat expensive, but are probably not as bad as you fear, (especially if your DUI Lawyer offers the re-testing of blood and expert consultations as included in the fee) but in many cases the defense theory of the case can be brought out through the state's expert, in which case there would be essentially no cost to rejecting the bad offer and taking the case to a jury trial. Oftentimes (but by no means always), this can lead to your Stockton Drunk Driving Attorneys being able to get a spectacular last-second deal.
Obviously this is not the first-choice (dismissal after motion), but ultimately many cases will resolve by plea negotiations between the DA and your Stockton DWI Attorneys. Here, although the minimum penalties are harsh, there are a number of things that your Stockton Drunk Driving Lawyer can negotiate for. If the alcohol level is low enough, sometimes it can be reduced to reckless driving, which usually (depends on the county) eliminates the mandatory jail time and cuts 30-50% off the fine. Even if a reckless-driving plea is not an available option, your Stockton Drunk Driving Attorney can frequently improve the situation by getting the DA to drop or lower some penalty enhancements such as the length of the alcohol class.
More Discovery Needed:
Sometimes the police report and blood test results will not be enough to allow your Stockton Drunk Driving Attorneys to properly evaluate the case. The most typical situations are to request calibration records for the breath test or if a blood test was done, a retesting of the blood. Another common special discovery request is the patrol car video or other A/V recordings, if they exist. Your Stockton DWI Lawyer will evaluate the case after seeing the police and lab reports and will know what else he needs to defend you. Each case is different and what additional information your Stockton DWI Attorney needs depends on the facts involved and what the client's goals are.
MINIMUM, MAXIMUM, & LIKELY DUI PENALTIES
First Offense Misdemeanor Stockton DUI Penalties
California minimum penalties for a first offense misdemeanor DUI conviction include 4 days county jail (2 days jail if probation is granted), a $390 fine plus penalty assessments (which is a total of approximately $1,800), 3 years of informal court probation, and an alcohol class of 3, 6, or 9 months.
Maximum penalties for a first offense misdemeanor Stockton DUI conviction include 6 months jail, a $1,000.00 fine plus penalty assessments (total of over $5,000), and up to 5 years of formal probation.
As long as you BAC was below 0.15%, the Stockton DA has what it calls a "standard first" offer for a first offense misdemeanor Stockton DUI conviction which is usually close to the minimum jail time, and although very few judges will impose the actual minimum fine, it will be on the lower side of the range as well. Expect the fine (and penalty assessments) to run between approximately $2,000 to $2,800. Payment plans are almost always available for the fine. In any event, a Stockton DUI Lawyer is frequently able to improve your situation. Even if the DA makes a minimum-jail offer, a Stockton DUI Lawyer can frequently improve the offer by helping you get a shorter alcohol class (which results in an effectively shorter suspension of your drivers license).
Second Offense Misdemeanor Stockton DUI Penalties
California minimum penalties for a second offense misdemeanor DUI conviction include 90 days county jail (10 days jail if probation is granted), a $390 fine plus penalty assessments (total of approximately $1,800), 3 years of informal court probation, and an alcohol class of 18 months.
Maximum penalties for a second offense misdemeanor Stockton DUI conviction include 12 months jail, a $1,000.00 fine plus penalty assessments (total of over $4,000), and up to 5 years of formal probation.
Stockton generally has the same standard fine for a DUI conviction, regardless whether there are prior convictions or not. Payment plans are almost always available for the fine. As for jail time, however, there is a huge variance between the different counties, and depending on the facts of the case. If you are lucky, and have an older prior DUI conviction, your Stockton DUI Lawyers might be able to get what that county considers its "standard second". Usually a "standard" offer on a second offense misdemeanor Stockton DUI conviction will be for 10-30 days of jail, which your Stockton DWI Lawyers will usually be able to convert to mostly work-release. But if your first offense conviction was just two weeks before the second arrest and you have violated probation then don't expect to receive the "standard" offer. Ditto if you blew a 0.23% at the side of the road and then refused to take a blood sample. You should also expect that the probation will be stricter than with the first offense misdemeanor Stockton DUI conviction. Also there is a possibility that you will get a formal probation officer to report to instead of the very loose informal probation that you got on the first offense misdemeanor Stockton DUI conviction where you basically just had to stay out of trouble.
Third Offense Misdemeanor Stockton Drunk Driving Penalties.
Third offense misdemeanor drunk driving penalties involve serious time and you definitely need a Stockton DWI Lawyer. For first and second offense misdemeanor Stockton drunk driving charges, unless there was an injury in the case, both the DA and the courts will work with your Stockton DUI Lawyer to help make sure that your life isn't destroyed by the jail time. This is no longer true. Instead of just a few weekends (any 2 consecutive days is a weekend), now you are looking at a mandatory minimum of 120 days of jail. And if that is all you get, then your two priors were probably close to the 10-year expiration period and you hired a good Stockton DWI Lawyer. If your prior convictions were more recent, then a sentence of 8-10 months should be expected - with the remainder of the one-year maximum being held over your head until the 5 years of formal supervised probation is over. A good Stockton DUI Lawyer can help you out a lot in a third offense and can sometimes help you get into a treatment program that can count for some of your sentence.
Fourth Offense Felony Drunk Driving Penalties
A fourth arrest on drunk driving within 10 years of the first such arrest will almost always be charged as a felony. State law mandates either 6 months to one year in jail, minimum - or for a term of 16, 24, or 36 months in the county jail. Yes, there is still the fine, but who cares about that. If you are convicted of a fourth offense drunk driving, your basic liberty is in serious jeopardy. Unless you have the right facts and get a Stockton DUI Lawyer on your side, you should be expect to be imprisoned - for a considerable period of time. If you have a prior felony DUI, whether the felony was caused by an injury DUI or because of the number of prior DWI cases you have had, then the 16, 24 or 36 month range of the sentencing would be in State Prison instead of in the County Jail. Of course, all of the above discussions about how a Stockton DWI Lawyer can win a case with a motion in some cases are just as applicable to felonies as to misdemeanor.
Felony Injury DUI Penalties
Any injury to someone other than the drunk driver is grounds to make the charge a felony (VC 23153), eligible for a prison term of 16, 24, or 36 months - or for jail. If you have injured someone in a DUI incident, you need a Stockton DUI Lawyer. This is one case where a good Stockton DUI Lawyer can do a lot of good. Although each county is different and each case is different, as a rule of thumb, a DUI causing minor injuries should end up receiving substantially less than the maximum sentence and a good Drunken Driving Attorney has a decent chance of helping you avoid a State Prison term. Keep in mind however, that this does not apply to all cases and that state law has provisions that allow fairly minor injuries to turn what would have been (absent an injury) an inconvenient sentence on a misdemeanor into serious prison time if the DA wants to be a $#!+. If the injury is more serious, there is a serious possibility of State Prison time.
ENHANCEMENTS TO DUI PENALTIES
0.15% BAC - On a first offense misdemeanor Stockton DUI conviction, this will trigger a 6 month alcohol class instead of only 3 months for a low BAC DUI. Since you don't get your unrestricted license back until after the class is completed, this can significantly delay your getting back behind the wheel. If this is not a first offense, the higher BAC is something that gets considered in determining the sentence, as a formal sentencing enhancement
0.20% BAC - On a first offense misdemeanor Stockton DUI conviction, this will usually trigger a 9 month alcohol class instead of the 3 month class for a low BAC DUI. Since you don't get your unrestricted license back until after the class is completed, this can significantly delay your getting back behind the wheel. If this is not a first offense DUI, the higher BAC is something that gets considered in determining the sentence, and for the 0.20% mark, is a frequent justification for imposing significantly harsher sentences. Because both the three-month classes and six-month classes can be completed within a reasonable time period of the end of the ordered court license suspension and the end of the DMV license suspension, they do not interfere at all (3 month) or significantly (6 month classes) with getting back your unrestricted license. The 9-month class is different. To get the overall license suspension length down, if your BAC was between 0.20% to 0.23%, your Stockton DWI Lawyers can try to plea-bargain down by stipulating to say that the alcohol was in the range of 0.15-0.19% and therefore allow the shorter class and therefore the effectively shorter overall drivers license suspension. Since the next shorter class length is usually 6 months, and since both the court license suspension and the mandatory DMV license suspension (extended upon assumption you want to be able to drive to work) are also both 6 months, this negotiation can effectively shorten the time until full license is returned by up to three months.
Child Under 14 in Car
A DUI arrest with a child under 14 in the car at the time of the arrest effectively doubles the minimum sentences for a Stockton misdemeanor DUI conviction.
Speeding (way over the speed limit)
A speed enhancement on a Stockton DUI conviction adds an extra 60 day flat sentence, tacked on to whatever the sentence is for the DUI. This is mandatory and there is no room for flexibility on the judge's part if the DA sticks to their guns on this enhancement and is able to prove it. Fortunately, this enhancement penalty is quite difficult for a DA to prove if you hire an experienced Drunken Driving Lawyer.
Refusal to Take Chemical Test
A refusal to submit to a chemical test leads to an effective doubling of the mandatory minimum sentences for Stockton misdemeanor DUI conviction. More seriously, a similar allegation will be being brought by the DMV which will result in a one year hard license suspension - with no work restriction privilege available. This is the type of sentencing enhancement where the criminal penalties are minor, but the effect on the DMV civil proceeding is so drastic that you need to hire a Stockton DUI Lawyer. The DMV refusal case is more-than-just-occasionally winnable and if you are facing this serious accusation of refusing a chemical test, you need to hire a Stockton DUI Lawyer and you need to hire a Stockton DWI Lawyer now. A Stockton DUI Lawyer knows the issues that have to be proven by the DA to allow for a refusal enhancement to stick. The steps that a cop has to follow for a refusal case are complicated and officers don't always get it done right. But you need a Stockton DUI Lawyer to identify the steps that the officer missed so you won't face a suspension of your license.
In almost all drunk driving cases, there are two criminal charges: Driving Under the Influence, and Driving with a blood-alcohol content in excess of 0.08%. If you were arrested for the prohibited blood-alcohol content (over 0.08% BAC), the DMV will try to impose a four month minimum license suspension. This is in addition to a separate license suspension that the court will impose if you are convicted.
On a first offense misdemeanor Stockton drunk driving conviction, assuming no aggravating factors exist, the court impose a six month license suspension, but will not object to a restricted privilege on the license suspension if the DMV is okay with a restricted privilege on the license suspension as well.
On a second offense drunk driving conviction (within 10 years of a previous drunk driving arrest), the DMV license suspension will be for two years. You will be eligible for a restricted privilege on your license suspension in most cases.
A third or subsequent drunk driving conviction will lead to revocation (not suspension) of your license for several years. However, due to recent changes to the law on January 1, 2019, if your third DUI is after that date, you may still be able to get a restricted license.
Your Stockton Drunk Driving Lawyers will set up a DMV hearing and request a stay (delay) of the start of the license suspension until after the hearing is over. If this is not done by either you or your Stockton DWI Attorneys within 10 days of the arrest, you will be unable to request a hearing and the license suspension will almost always be automatically imposed starting on the 30th day after your arrest.
Yes, the DMV drunk driving license suspension hearings are biased against the driver. A single DMV employee who is not an attorney acts as judge, jury, and prosecutor, but many times, a skilled Stockton DWI Lawyer can help persuade the DMV set the license suspension aside.
Although it is a separate proceeding from the criminal charges, there are ways to get the DMV out of their comfort zone and have the courtroom control the outcome of the DMV license suspension hearing. In many counties (but not all), your Stockton Drunk Driving Attorneys can negotiate with the District Attorney on lower blood-alcohol cases down to a lesser charge with a stipulation that can force the DMV's hand.
If you are going to have to face both the DMV license suspension and the court post-conviction license suspension, your Stockton Drunk Driving Lawyers can make sure that the DMV license suspension and the court license suspension run at the same time and overlap entirely.
DMV HEARINGS: REFUSAL TO TAKE CHEMICAL TEST
This is nasty. You were told that you had a right to an attorney - you were even promised an attorney at no cost if you could not afford one. Then they tell you to give them evidence against yourself and tell you that you have NO right to an attorney - even if you pay for it! Maybe you even admitted you were DUI. Maybe their breath machine wasn't working and you are afraid of needles. For whatever reason, the police marked down on your pink sheet that you had refused to submit for chemical testing after the Stockton drunk driving arrest.
For a refusal on a first arrest misdemeanor Stockton drunk driving, you get a one year hard license suspension from the DMV, separate from any court imposed license suspension. And the DMV does not allow a restricted privilege on the license suspension to get to and from work or school. No driving. Period.
A refusal on a second offense misdemeanor Stockton drunk driving arrest leads to a two year hard license suspension.
A refusal on a third or subsequent drunk driving arrest is a revocation of the license.
A chemical test refusal charge is a nasty situation, and you need a Stockton DWI Attorney. If you were alleged to have refused the chemical testing, for whatever reason, you will need to change your lifestyle so you won't need to drive (move to walking distance from work, etc). If you do not, you can easily fall into a lifetime license suspension trap - since driving while knowing of a license suspension is two points (as is drunk driving) and since the DMV imposes an additional license suspension to people who have 4 or more points - it is a trap that can be impossible to get out of. As a Stockton DWI Attorney, I have come across a number of people who have been in this trap for 25+ years. And from then on, each minor traffic incident - or even innocent contact with the police can lead to 30+ days of jail, another lengthy license suspension, and a whole host of other undesired consequences like having your car impounded at your expense - or even sold at auction with the government keeping the proceeds of the sale.
A Stockton DWI Lawyer can do a lot of good on a refusal case. There are a number of steps that have to be taken by the police officer for the refusal to be valid, and a Stockton Drunk Driving Lawyer will know how to deal with these. And it is not infrequent for them to not follow all of these steps properly. One of the first things I look for in a refusal case is a statement that the officer explained each consequence of the refusal to the driver and got a separate acknowledgment of understanding each warning. If it is not in the police report, then there is at least a possibility of beating the DMV in the refusal hearing. There are other ways that a Stockton DWI Attorney can beat a refusal case as well. If you have been charged with refusal in a drunk driving case, you need a Stockton DWI Lawyer and you need one now.
ENDING A DUI CASE
RESOLVING A Stockton DUI CRIMINAL CASE
Your Stockton DUI Attorneys will talk to you about your specific case, but for here I want to give you some information about what outcomes are possible in a Stockton DUI case. Sometimes the DA will decline to file charges. Other times, there will be a plea "bargain". Sometimes a dismissal for lack of proof will be won. And yet still other times, the DA will make an offer that the client just cannot accept and the case will end up going to a jury trial.
FAILING TO FILE CHARGES
This happens in one of two situations: If there was a blood test and the results came back under 0.07% (yes in most counties, they do charge people with DUI even if the BAC was that low), then the DA won't charge (They will charge DUI at even lower levels if it is a minor or a commercial driver. The other situation where charges can be avoided entirely is if there was a clear flaw in the police procedure that your Stockton DUI Attorney notices from the client's initial interview and is able to point it out to the DA before they had a chance to file charges. This can come from situations such as it was clear that there was no valid reason for the stop.
Be aware, however, that this is not always the best option and in some cases you may even want to bait the District Attorney into filing DUI charges. A failure to charge still leaves the DMV with the ability to hold its license suspension hearing. And a failure to file charges leaves your DWI Lawyers without the ability to use one of his tools to eliminate the DMV license suspension (see reference to Helmandollar agreements below).
DISMISSAL FOR LACK OF PROOF
This happens most frequently for one of two reasons: either the DA has witness problems, or if the defense wins a motion to suppress evidence. In these events, sometimes the DA will try to dismiss the case for lack of proof. The problem with this is that just like if the DA fails to file charges, your Stockton DUI Attorneys loses one of his possible paths for beating the DMV. On the other hand, sometimes you can get the stipulated not-guilty to the 0.08% charge in exchange for agreeing to the dismissal of the other count. Sometimes the deal can be sweetened by agreeing to a different infraction in exchange for the Helmandollar (stipulated not-guilty) that forces the DMV to set aside the license suspension.
Technically, a dismissal for insuficiency of evidence is one of the few court outcomes that can affect the DMV. Unfortunately, while it is necessary for one of the paths of affecting the DMV from the outside, a dismissal for insuficiency of evidence is not sufficient by itself to force the DMV's hand. You also have to get a prosecutor to sign off on the DS-702 form. Unfortunately, signing the DS-702 form is utterly discretionary according to law and some persecutors are perfectly happy to abuse their discretion to make sure someone gets punished even when there is no proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
This is by far the most common outcome in a Stockton DUI criminal case. In many cases, your Stockton DUI Attorneys will get an offer from the District Attorney's office to either reduce the sentence, to eliminate enhancements such as high blood alcohol, or to reduce the charge. If there is going to be a charge reduction, it will usually be reduced to alcohol-related reckless driving, which is sort of a DUI-lite - no jail and smaller fine, but it still counts as a prior DUI for a subsequent arrest. The outcome of plea bargaining depends on both the facts of your case and what county the case is in. Low blood alcohol tests or no bad driving are factors that tend toward better settlement offers, but even when the DUI lawyer has some cards to play for the negotiations, if it is in the wrong county, there might not be any negotiation authority on the other side. I have seen more than one DA that would have their office-printed chart with them and look at it for every case to determine the offer. Especially in arraignment court (the case is not yet set for trial), the attorney for the District Attorney office in some counties (Marin County which at least occasionally uses non-attorney interns in arraignment court) will not have authority to negotiate away from the chart-guidelines.
This will result in one of three outcomes for each charged crime (usually two charges in a DUI case): guilty, not guilty, or mistrial. If the jury hangs, the prosecuting attorney gets one more try at it. If the jury hangs twice - the Stockton DWI Attorney, the judge, and the DA have a heart-to-heart about the viability of the prosecution. Jury trials rarely take place in time to avoid the DMV license suspension. Because of this, unless the hung juries were breaking 10-2 or better in favor of acquittal (making it reasonable to take one more shot at the not-guilty verdict), the calculation of incentives and odds shifts in favor of taking the dismissal that is frequently available after a multiple-hung-jury, as opposed to an earlier dismissal.
The Supreme Court has said that it is unconstitutional to punish someone for exercising their constitutional rights. Since there is a constitutional right to a jury trial, it is unconstitutional for the court to give a harsher sentence to someone because the right to a jury trial was invoked. Unfortunately, life does not always work out as it is supposed to in theory.
Although this binding Supreme Court statement is recognized by some counties, in other counties, the District Attorney's offices have a policy of substantially increasing the time they request as the case advances. Judges don't always go along with the District Attorney requests however, but you should consult with your Stockton Drunk Driving Lawyer about the risks involved with a DUI jury trial.
Other counties do respect the Supreme Court rulings. Some counties start off with high (bad) offers to begin with - but then stick with that offer and doesn't ask for extra just because of a trial.
DUI FAQ and Frequently Requested Contacts
Who do I go to for SR-22 Insurance?
Ask me and I might provide a couple of company names. Due to a recent scandal that broke out in the SR-22 business world, I am hesitant to provide names of companies at this time. You can always Google SR-22 and you will find several options. You can talk to me about their rates and what they are offering and I can help you to evaluate whether that company seems to be fair in their offerings.
Where do I get a list of DUI programs?
Here is a list of ALL LICENSED DUI PROGRAMS IN CALIFORNIA, SORTED BY COUNTY.
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