DUI-DMV

DUI Crackdown Successful or a Bust

The purpose of DUI checkpoints, DUI saturation patrols and organized law enforcement Crackdowns is education and deterrence. Police presence preceded by publication is how it’s accomplished.

The newspaper shows lower numbers this year in Sacramento for both arrests and alcohol related deaths. Zero deaths this year, where five were reported in 2012. Approximately 405 arrests this year compared to 442 in a similar period last year.

Whether it’s through law enforcement’s efforts or just a wiser public, the result is the same. Good for all of you!

Everything You Need to Know About Your DUI Case

The first thing you need to understand about your DUI case is that there are two (2) parts to it. You have the criminal case portion that is handled at the Superior Court and you have the civil case portion that is handled by the DMV Driver Safety Division. They decide whether or not you get to keep your license. The information on this page is here to help you understand the difference and how to get the help you need.

 

DMV and Your License

DMV only provides you with 10 calendar days to make a request for a hearing.  Provided law enforcement confiscated your license and gave you a pink piece of paper that acts as a temporary license for 30 days, you almost always should take advantage of this right to an APS (Administrative Per Se Hearing) hearing.  Call Sacramento DUI lawyer/attorney Denis White Law Office at (916) 444-3300 for a more detailed explanation as to why.

The California Department Of Motor Vehicles has the ability to suspend a California license even where the District Attorney or Prosecutor declines to file charges.  For example, where the blood alcohol level is .08 or higher, but the District Attorney or Prosecutor doesn’t believe they could prove the case “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”, which is the standard of proof in a criminal case, they just might decide not to file a criminal complaint.  This does nothing to help you with the Suspension of your California Drivers License and the Loss of Your Privilege to Drive.  In fact, because the DMV issue is civil rather than criminal, the standard of proof is “More Likely Than Not” making it very easy for DMV to do this to you.  Call or E-Mail Denis White Law today to see how to best protect yourself from this kind of awful result.

If you just want to protect your right to hearing and want to call Denis White Law later, please call the Sacramento DMV Drivers Safety Office at (916) 227-2970.  Make sure you insist on a “stay” until after the hearing and always keep notes with the name of the person you spoke to and the date, in case there is a problem or question about the timeliness of your request later.

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DUI Court Case Information

In the State of California and probably most other states, there is a tremendous effort that goes into the prosecution of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) cases.  There have been many studies done to show the rate of recidivism and a relationship to traffic accidents and deaths.  It is easy to argue that Public Policy and Safety dictates tough punishments should be imposed for the person arrested and convicted of DUI.  How a person thinks about the treatment of Driving Under the Influence cases often changes when YOU are the one that has been arrested and charged with the offense.  Especially, in first offense cases with low blood alcohol levels.

There are enough issues that come up in the defense of DUI cases that many books have been written on them.  Denis White Law Office maintains a library that includes the best of them.

The following issues are those that come up most frequently when analyzing and defending a DUI case, although there are many more;

*  The reason for the stop or contact by law enforcement has to be justified.  If you are unsure or disagree with the reason you were given, you should bring it up when you talk with a qualified Sacramento DUI defense attorney.

*  If you submitted to the Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs), were they properly explained?  Were the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests administered or were the other less reliable tests given.  Do you think you passed them?

*  Did you submit to the Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) device?  Was it properly checked for accuracy as is suggested or required?

*  If you submitted to a Blood Test, was an alcohol swab used to clean the area, was the person doing the blood draw qualified, was an appropriate level of preservative in the vial that it has been stored in.

*  If an evidentiary Breath Test was done what type of machine was used, has it been properly maintained, checked for accuracy or had any maintenance done that might make the results of your case suspect.

*  Were you given a choice of tests?

*  Is there a valid rising blood alcohol defense in your case?

*  Were you driving the vehicle?

*  Were you involved in an accident and how much time passed from the time of the driving to the time of the Blood, Breath or Urine Test?

The maximum penalty for DUI offenses is the same throughout the State of California.  The minimum penalties and likelihood of being able to resolve cases reasonably vary from county to county.  I don’t have a crystal ball but I would be happy to share some of the possibilities with you.  Contact the Denis White Law Office at (916) 444-3300 for answers to all your questions.

I am licensed to practice throughout the State of California and the Federal Courts.  Most frequently you will find me representing clients in the Sacramento County Courthouse (for arrests in Sacramento, Folsom, Granite Bay, Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, Natomas, Citrus Heights, Carmichael, Fair Oaks, Orangevale), in Placer County ( for arrests in Auburn, Roseville, Lincoln) In Yolo County (for offenses in Woodland, Davis and West Sacramento), El Dorado County (for arrests in Placerville, South Lake Tahoe).

If you need a lawyer in a different geographical area or even a different area of law, I will gladly help you find a competent attorney to assist you.

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What can I do to protect my California Drivers License?

There are two ways that DMV can take your license.  You need to be aware of both.  You have 10 calendar days to contact DMV with your request for an Administrative Per Se (APS) Hearing.  This hearing is to determine whether law enforcement had probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence, that the arrest was lawful and that the blood alcohol level was .08 or more at the time of the driving.  Please read the information law enforcement gave you when they took your California Drivers License or call the Denis White Law Office for assistance.  The second way DMV can take away your privilege to drive is upon receipt of an abstract, from the criminal court, of a conviction for DUI.

How do I handle the DMV process?

DMV and the ADMINISTRATIVE PER SE HEARING

DMV only provides you with 10 calendar days to make a request for a hearing.  Provided law enforcement confiscated your license and gave you a pink piece of paper that acts as a temporary license for 30 days, you almost always should take advantage of this right to an APS (Administrative Per Se Hearing) hearing.  Call Sacramento DUI lawyer/attorney Denis White Law Office at (916) 444-3300 for a more detailed explanation as to why. 



The California Department Of Motor Vehicles has the ability to suspend a California license even where the District Attorney or Prosecutor declines to files charges.  For example, where the blood alcohol level is .08 or higher, but the District Attorney or Prosecutor doesn’t believe they could prove the case “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”, which is the standard of proof in a criminal case, they just might decide not to file a criminal complaint.  This does nothing to help you with the Suspension of your California Drivers License and the Loss of Your Privilege to Drive.  In fact, because the DMV issue is civil rather than criminal, the standard of proof is “More Likely Than Not” making it very easy for DMV to do this to you.  Call or E-Mail Denis White Law today to see how to best protect yourself from this kind of awful result. 



If you just want to protect your right to hearing and want to call Denis White Law later, please call the Sacramento DMV Drivers Safety Office at (916) 227-2970.  Make sure you insist on a “stay” until after the hearing and always keep notes with the name of the person you spoke to and the date, in case there is a problem or question about the timeliness of your request later.

How do I decide which attorney will best represent me?

Talk openly and honestly with them.  If you give them bad information you will get bad advice.  Whenever possible, do it in person and in the attorney’s office so you can size each other up.  The better lawyers welcome your questions and concerns as a sign that you are interested in your case.  You might want to know how long the attorney has been licensed by the California State Bar.  You can go directly to the California State Bar Attorney Search to see how long the attorney has been licensed and if they have ever had any problems you should know about.

  • Does the attorney regularly handle DUI cases like yours?
  • Who will be handling your case?
  • Will there be any additional costs for reports, investigator or expert fees?
  • How available will the attorney be for you after you pay them?

You definitely want to make sure that the person you think you’re hiring is going to be your attorney.  Don’t settle for a firm that has a team of lawyers making court appearances.

Denis White has been representing clients charged with DUI in Sacramento and all surrounding counties since 1994.  When you leave his office you will have his cell phone number and an invitation to call as questions arise.

If an attorney makes you promises about how your case is going to turn out before having reports and going to court, you should look for another lawyer.

Can I avoid personally making court appearances?

In most misdemeanor cases yes, but there are exceptions.

What reasons can law enforcement use to make contact with me or pull me over?

The list is almost endless.  Common reasons given are speeding, weaving, expired tags, tail lamps out, cracked windshield, tinted windows, accident, failure to use turn signal, stopping over the limit line or incomplete stop at sign, missing license plate, DUI checkpoints or roadblocks, illegal turns, no seatbelt, cell phone use or texting while driving are just some of the reasons used to justify a stop.  The National Traffic Safety Administration also conducted research on what law enforcement should look for as indicators of DUI.  They list 20 indications of DUI:

  1. Turning with a wide radius
  2. Straddling center of lane marker
  3. “Appearing to be drunk”
  4. Almost striking object or vehicle
  5. Weaving
  6. Driving on other than designated highway
  7. Swerving
  8. Speed more than 10 mph below limit
  9. Stopping without cause in traffic lane
  10. Following too closely
  11. Drifting
  12. Tires on center or lane marker
  13. Braking erratically
  14. Driving into opposing or crossing traffic
  15. Signaling inconsistent with driving actions
  16. Slow response to traffic signals
  17. Stopping inappropriately (other than in lane)
  18. Turning abruptly or illegally
  19. Accelerating or decelerating rapidly
  20. Headlights off

What can I do if I don’t think law enforcement had a legitimate reason to make contact with me?

A suppression motion is the remedy, under PC§1538.5.

What should I do if I’m stopped?

You should be polite.  If you flunk the attitude test law enforcement has the ability to make the experience even more unpleasant.

Do I have to take the field sobriety tests?

No you do not.  It is a rare occasion where an officer will write in the report that you passed a field sobriety test.  You are within your rights to politely decline to take the tests.  In many cases law enforcement has already decided they are going to arrest you and they are just collecting more evidence for the prosecution.

What are the most common field sobriety tests given and what is the purpose?

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk and Turn, One Leg Stand are the Standardized Field Sobriety tests.

Others include Finger to Nose Touch, Hand Pat, and saying the Alphabet.  They are supposed to be an indication of impairment.

Do I have to take the Preliminary Alcohol Screening Test (PAS) at the scene?

Not unless you are under 21 years of age or on probation for a DUI offense.  You can politely decline to take this test as well.

What should I do if law enforcement tells me they will let me go if I pass the field sobriety tests and the PAS test?

That is a judgment call that you have to make at the time.  Remember that it is law enforcement that decides if you passed the tests.

If lawfully arrested do I have to take a Blood Test, Breath Test or Urine Test?

If law enforcement has reason to believe you are Driving Under the Influence (DUI) the answer is yes.

Which is the best test to take?

If you are confident that you are sober, below .08 and have no drugs in your system (prescription or illegal) that could cause impairment then I would take the blood test.  It is the most accurate, if done correctly, and can be retested by a private lab if necessary.  The breath testing machines and urinalysis are less reliable.

What if I am under the influence of a prescription medication or illegal drugs?

You can still be prosecuted for DUI under VC 23152(a).  Call Denis White Law for more detailed information regarding different types of drugs or medications.

What if I refuse all of the tests?

A forced Blood draw is almost certain.  In short, they are going to get the evidence they want and you will likely be charged with a Refusal.  The result is a longer license suspension and more jail time.

What if the officer didn’t read me my Miranda rights?

Your sole remedy is that you may be able to prevent the prosecutor from using incriminating statements that you made to law enforcement, from being used against you in a trial.

What will the likely punishment be?

Denis White Law can give you an idea what the standard penalties are in most counties for most charged offenses.  If there are charges in addition to the DUI case please remember to bring up that fact when you call.  It can dramatically affect the potential consequences.

How long can prior convictions be used against me?

The look back period is now 10 years, measured from the date of the actual DUI, which is not always the date of arrest and never the date of the conviction.

Is there anything I can do to avoid an arrest or conviction for DUI?

Remember, it is easier to stay out of trouble than to get out of trouble.  Don’t let one mistake become a bigger problem.  Call Denis White for help, and from now on, please take a taxi, designate a driver, call a friend, walk or get a hotel room.

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DUI Frequently Asked Questions

 

What Everyone Wants to Know About DUI

Is there anything I can do to avoid an arrest or conviction for DUI?

Remember, it is easier to stay out of trouble than to get out of trouble.  Don’t let one mistake become a bigger problem.  Call Denis White for help, and from now on, please take a taxi, designate a driver, call a friend, walk or get a hotel room.

What can I do to protect my California Drivers License?

There are two ways that DMV can take your license.  You need to be aware of both.  You have 10 calendar days to contact DMV with your request for an Administrative Per Se (APS) Hearing.  This hearing is to determine whether law enforcement had probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence, that the arrest was lawful and that the blood alcohol level was .08 or more at the time of the driving.  Please read the information law enforcement gave you when they took your California Drivers License or call the Denis White Law Office for assistance.  The second way DMV can take away your privilege to drive is upon receipt of an abstract, from the criminal court, of a conviction for DUI.

How do I handle the DMV process?

DMV and the ADMINISTRATIVE PER SE HEARING

DMV only provides you with 10 calendar days to make a request for a hearing.  Provided law enforcement confiscated your license and gave you a pink piece of paper that acts as a temporary license for 30 days, you almost always should take advantage of this right to an APS (Administrative Per Se Hearing) hearing.  Call Sacramento DUI lawyer/attorney Denis White Law Office at (916) 444-3300 for a more detailed explanation as to why.

The California Department Of Motor Vehicles has the ability to suspend a California license even where the District Attorney or Prosecutor declines to files charges.  For example, where the blood alcohol level is .08 or higher, but the District Attorney or Prosecutor doesn’t believe they could prove the case “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”, which is the standard of proof in a criminal case, they just might decide not to file a criminal complaint.  This does nothing to help you with the Suspension of your California Drivers License and the Loss of Your Privilege to Drive.  In fact, because the DMV issue is civil rather than criminal, the standard of proof is “More Likely Than Not” making it very easy for DMV to do this to you.  Call or E-Mail Denis White Law today to see how to best protect yourself from this kind of awful result.

If you just want to protect your right to hearing and want to call Denis White Law later, please call the Sacramento DMV Drivers Safety Office at (916) 227-2970.  Make sure you insist on a “stay” until after the hearing and always keep notes with the name of the person you spoke to and the date, in case there is a problem or question about the timeliness of your request later.

How do I decide which attorney will best represent me?

Talk openly and honestly with them.  If you give them bad information you will get bad advice.  Whenever possible, do it in person and in the attorney’s office so you can size each other up.  The better lawyers welcome your questions and concerns as a sign that you are interested in your case.  You might want to know how long the attorney has been licensed by the California State Bar.  You can go directly to the California State Bar Attorney Search to see how long the attorney has been licensed and if they have ever had any problems you should know about.

  • Does the attorney regularly handle DUI cases like yours?
  • Who will be handling your case?
  • Will there be any additional costs for reports, investigator or expert fees?
  • How available will the attorney be for you after you pay them?

You definitely want to make sure that the person you think you’re hiring is going to be your attorney.  Don’t settle for a firm that has a team of lawyers making court appearances.

Denis White has been representing clients charged with DUI in Sacramento and all surrounding counties since 1994.  When you leave his office you will have his cell phone number and an invitation to call as questions arise.

If an attorney makes you promises about how your case is going to turn out before having reports and going to court, you should look for another lawyer.

Can I avoid personally making court appearances?

In most misdemeanor cases yes, but there are exceptions.

What reasons can law enforcement use to make contact with me or pull me over?

The list is almost endless.  Common reasons given are speeding, weaving, expired tags, tail lamps out, cracked windshield, tinted windows, accident, failure to use turn signal, stopping over the limit line or incomplete stop at sign, missing license plate, DUI checkpoints or roadblocks, illegal turns, no seatbelt, cell phone use or texting while driving are just some of the reasons used to justify a stop.  The National Traffic Safety Administration also conducted research on what law enforcement should look for as indicators of DUI.  They list 20 indications of DUI:

  1. Turning with a wide radius
  2. Straddling center of lane marker
  3. “Appearing to be drunk”
  4. Almost striking object or vehicle
  5. Weaving
  6. Driving on other than designated highway
  7. Swerving
  8. Speed more than 10 mph below limit
  9. Stopping without cause in traffic lane
  10. Following too closely
  11. Drifting
  12. Tires on center or lane marker
  13. Braking erratically
  14. Driving into opposing or crossing traffic
  15. Signaling inconsistent with driving actions
  16. Slow response to traffic signals
  17. Stopping inappropriately (other than in lane)
  18. Turning abruptly or illegally
  19. Accelerating or decelerating rapidly
  20. Headlights off

What can I do if I don’t think law enforcement had a legitimate reason to make contact with me?

A suppression motion is the remedy, under PC§1538.5.

What should I do if I’m stopped?

You should be polite.  If you flunk the attitude test law enforcement has the ability to make the experience even more unpleasant.

Do I have to take the field sobriety tests?

No you do not.  It is a rare occasion where an officer will write in the report that you passed a field sobriety test.  You are within your rights to politely decline to take the tests.  In many cases law enforcement has already decided they are going to arrest you and they are just collecting more evidence for the prosecution.

What are the most common field sobriety tests given and what is the purpose?

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk and Turn, One Leg Stand are the Standardized Field Sobriety tests.

Others include Finger to Nose Touch, Hand Pat, and saying the Alphabet.  They are supposed to be an indication of impairment.

Do I have to take the Preliminary Alcohol Screening Test (PAS) at the scene?

Not unless you are under 21 years of age or on probation for a DUI offense.  You can politely decline to take this test as well.

What should I do if law enforcement tells me they will let me go if I pass the field sobriety tests and the PAS test?

That is a judgment call that you have to make at the time.  Remember that it is law enforcement that decides if you passed the tests.

If lawfully arrested do I have to take a Blood Test, Breath Test or Urine Test?

If law enforcement has reason to believe you are Driving Under the Influence (DUI) the answer is yes.

Which is the best test to take?

If you are confident that you are sober, below .08 and have no drugs in your system (prescription or illegal) that could cause impairment then I would take the blood test.  It is the most accurate, if done correctly, and can be retested by a private lab if necessary.  The breath testing machines and urinalysis are less reliable.

What if I am under the influence of a prescription medication or illegal drugs?

You can still be prosecuted for DUI under VC 23152(a).  Call Denis White Law for more detailed information regarding different types of drugs or medications.

What if I refuse all of the tests?

A forced Blood draw is almost certain.  In short, they are going to get the evidence they want and you will likely be charged with a Refusal.  The result is a longer license suspension and more jail time.

What if the officer didn’t read me my Miranda rights?

Your sole remedy is that you may be able to prevent the prosecutor from using incriminating statements that you made to law enforcement from being used against you in a trial.

What will the likely punishment be?

Denis White Law can give you an idea what the standard penalties are in most counties for most charged offenses.  If there are charges in addition to the DUI case please remember to bring up that fact when you call.  It can dramatically affect the potential consequences.

How long can prior convictions be used against me?

The look back period is now 10 years, measured from the date of the arrest.