DUI Lawyer Oakland, CA
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Oakland DUI Attorney
If a police officer pulled you over and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was over the legal limit, you might not know where to turn or what to do.
DUI stands for driving under the influence of alcohol. Under the California DUI law (Vehicle Code 23152), driving a motor vehicle is illegal if you display symptoms of intoxication. California also prohibits driving with a BAC of .08% or higher.
Going through a DUI arrest and being convicted of drunk driving can have devastating consequences. A person can face fines, jail time, and a driver’s license suspension. In addition, if an individual causes an accident while drunk, they can be subject to civil charges, personal injury claims, and criminal charges.
However, with the help of a qualified DUI lawyer from a reputable criminal defense law firm, many DUI consequences and penalties can be minimized or even avoided. Reaching out to an attorney right after an arrest is crucial if you want to assert your rights. The Law Office of Rebecca Feigelson may be able to help.
DUI Penalties and Consequences in Oakland, CA
Oakland DUI charges involve not only criminal but also administrative consequences. While criminal charges can result in fines and jail time, administrative penalties could result in a license suspension.
Most DUI cases are prosecuted as misdemeanors. However, a drunk driving offense can be prosecuted as a felony if there is a prior felony DUI conviction and if a defendant caused an accident in which someone was injured or killed. Also, if the defendant has three or more prior wet reckless or DUI convictions within ten years, the new impaired driving offense would be treated as a felony.
Potential Penalties for Oakland DUI Convictions
DUI convictions can result in fines and jail time or prison sentences. DUI punishments also include 3 to 5 years of out-of-court probation and 3 to 9 months of DUI classes. If an offender is under 21, they also have to attend a DUI school, although significantly shorter. A wet reckless DUI offense also carries a shorter DUI school requirement.
California law also requires drivers convicted of DUI to enroll in alcohol education and prevention programs within California. Depending on the driver’s specific offense, these program lengths are often ordered by the court or mandated by the California DMV.
The typical punishment for a first DUI offense includes 2-10 days of jail time and $2,000 in fines and fees. The first-time offender has to spend at least 48 continuous hours in jail under 23536 of the Vehicle Code. However, a defendant could spend up to 6 months in county jail for a first offense.
A seasoned Oakland DUI attorney may be able to negotiate a plea deal resulting in reduced or no jail time. Instead, you may be required to enter and complete a work program and community service instead of paying fines and fees. Our firm can also help you expunge your criminal record after you’ve finished probation.
Penalties for Repeat DUI Convictions
Multiple DUI arrests that lead to successive Oakland DUI convictions carry harsher penalties. Fines are higher, mandatory jail time is longer, and DUI schools last longer. The judge can also order defendants to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IIG) in their car.
A second DUI conviction can result in up to a year in jail (no less than 96 hours). Fines could rise up to $1,000, while a suspended driver’s license may show on the driver’s record for two years.
After a third driving under the influence conviction, a driver can spend from 120 days to 12 months in jail, face fines of up to $1,000, and a mandatory IID installation for two years. The DMV will also designate a driver as a habitual traffic offender.
Bear in mind that a fourth DUI conviction within ten years will be treated as a felony. It is highly recommended that offenders with prior DUI convictions hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Handling a California DMV Hearing
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will suspend or revoke the driving privileges of an individual after a DUI arrest involving alcohol if:
- A chemical test shows a BAC level of .08% or higher, .04% for commercial drivers, or .01% if you are under 21 or on DUI probation.
- Driver refuses or fails to complete a chemical test to determine their BAC.
A license suspension occurs automatically unless you request an administrative hearing within ten days of arrest. If you request a DMV hearing, you may be allowed to keep your license.
Legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits in Oakland
In Oakland, the legal BAC limits for DUI are in line with California DUI laws. For drivers aged 21 and over, the legal limit is a BAC of 0.08%. However, for commercial drivers, the limit is lower, set at 0.04%. Oakland DUI attorneys, including those in specialized criminal defense law firms, often emphasize that a BAC exceeding these limits can lead to being arrested for a DUI.
It’s important for DUI clients to understand that these limits are strictly enforced in Alameda County and throughout the state, and any breach can result in serious legal consequences.
What Happens at a California DMV Hearing?
A DMV hearing is typically conducted before a Driver Safety Hearing Officer from the DMV. At the hearing, the driver has the right to:
Review the DMV evidence
Cross-examine any witnesses
Present their own evidence and witnesses
Testify on their own behalf
The driver isn’t required to be represented by an Oakland DUI lawyer, but that is strongly recommended. An experienced Oakland DUI lawyer will know how to challenge the DMV evidence as well as request the DMV to conduct an administrative review of the decision if it’s not in your favor.
How does Oakland law treat DUI cases for drivers under 21?
Underage DUI, or DUI cases for drivers under 21, are treated with zero tolerance in Oakland and the entire state of California. This means that any detectable amount of alcohol in the system (BAC above 0.01%) can lead to a DUI charge for an underage driver.
Experienced DUI attorneys understand that even a single DUI conviction for underage drivers can have significant impacts, including mandatory DUI programs, license suspension, and other penalties.
Given the strict nature of these laws, seeking legal counsel from a knowledgeable DUI and DWI lawyer is crucial for underage DUI clients.
Can a DUI Conviction be Expunged?
In Oakland, California, it is possible to have a DUI conviction expunged under certain conditions. To qualify for expungement, the convicted individual must have completed probation, not currently be charged with a criminal offense, nor be serving a sentence for a criminal offense.
An experienced DUI attorney can guide clients through the legal process of expungement. The Nieves Law Firm, along with other defense attorneys in Oakland and federal courts, can provide the necessary legal assistance and protection to help navigate the complex criminal justice system.
It’s noteworthy that while expungement can remove a conviction from one’s record, certain DUI offenses involving great bodily injury or those prosecuted as a felony may have different considerations. Therefore, consulting with an experienced attorney is crucial to understand the expungement eligibility for a DUI in Oakland.
How Can Oakland DUI Lawyers Help?
By building a strong case in your defense, Oakland DUI and DWI lawyers from a criminal defense law firm can help you ensure a favorable outcome for your case. A DUI defense lawyer can guide you through the process and help you build a strong case in your defense to help you minimize the punishment you face.
DUI attorneys are extremely knowledgeable about the local courts and Oakland DUI laws. Their experience in criminal court procedures can prove to be an asset for you if you are arrested for DUI. A DUI lawyer can also assist you with DMV administrative hearings.
Don’t let a failure to act result in a license suspension! Your DUI defense attorney can still assist you in obtaining a restricted license after a 30-day suspension.
Oakland DUI Lawyers at the Law Office of Rebecca Feigelson
DUI offenses carry serious consequences and should be taken very seriously. But, like with any crime, the State of California must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, like most crimes, DUI is also defendable.
Contact us at (415) 484-0894 and schedule a free consultation so we can discuss your DUI charge and prepare an adequate defense.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Have to Be Present in Court During my DUI Case?
Most DUI charges in California are prosecuted as misdemeanors. The client may have the right to a 977 waiver in court. A 977 waiver allows the proceedings to occur without the defendant being present. In other words, I will be in court, so you wouldn’t have to be there. Most DUI defendants are not hardened criminals, and being in the defendant section of a Courthouse can be less than comfortable.
How Long Can My Driving Privileges Be Suspended?
If you are 21 or older and had a .08 BAC or higher with no prior offenses, you will suffer a 4-month suspension. You are immediately eligible for a restricted license with the installation of an interlock device if the arrest happened after January 1, 2019.
If you were under 21 and had a .01% BAC or higher, you will receive a 1-year suspension. You have the option to apply for a hardship license through the DMV.
If you were driving a commercial vehicle, you must downgrade to a class B driver’s license before being eligible for a restricted license. You will lose your commercial driving privileges for a year.
How Long Would a DUI Stay On Your Record?
A conviction for drunk driving will stay on an individual’s driving record for ten years and can’t be removed. However, when it comes to criminal cases, a DUI conviction will stay on the defendant’s criminal history record forever unless it is expunged.
In California, people convicted of drunk or drugged driving can pursue a DUI expungement if they have successfully completed DUI probation and haven’t served time in state prison for the offense.
What Are the Immigration Consequences of a DUI?
In most DUI cases, a first offense will most likely not result in any immigration consequences of a DUI or disqualify you from getting a green card. Contacting an attorney immediately after a DUI arrest and obtaining legal representation can help reduce the charges, thus avoiding immigration consequences.
However, if a DUI includes some reckless endangerment or you have more than one drunk driving offense on your record, USCIS can, for example, deny your application for a green card. DUI arrests should always be addressed by a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney with experience in dealing with immigration law issues.