At the beginning of 2022, the law regarding DUI diversion changed. DUIs are no longer eligible for diversion in California. Please contact our office with any questions. Email us at OR Call us at: (415) 523-7878

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What Should I Do If I Have Been Arrested For DUI?

If you’ve been arrested for DUI, do not volunteer any additional information. When you’ve been arrested, it’s typically after you’ve been pulled over. The cops arrived at an accident scene, asked you questions, put you through the field sobriety tests, and asked you to blow in a preliminary alcohol screening machine. If you come out at 0.08 or greater percentage, you will have the cuffs put on and you will be arrested for a DUI. You are required to take either a breath test or a blood test and if you refuse to do this, you are facing a year or more of no license.

I advise people to take a blood test because when I am defending a case, there is a lot more that can go wrong with blood testing than with breath testing. Once you have done that, they will be taking you to jail and you will wait until you get released or you’ll have to bail yourself out. In the Bay area, most counties will release you on your own recognizance, if it’s a first or a second DUI.

Once you are out, you need to contact a DUI lawyer because you only have 10 days to request a hearing with the DMV to preserve your license. You want to hire a lawyer who knows what they are doing, is experienced, and handles only DUI cases. You want to make sure that the lawyer will, in most cases, conduct a DMV hearing and that the lawyer is someone you feel comfortable with. Avoid hiring a cheap lawyer because what they are going to do is make you plead guilty as quickly as they can and move on to the next case.

Can I Lose My License If This Is My First DUI Offense?

Most people who get charged with a first DUI offense end up losing their license for some period of time. There are two different ways to lose your license. One is through the court process. If you get convicted of a DUI, the court clerk’s office will send out a conviction to the DMV. The DMV will send you a letter saying that your license is suspended. You are typically looking at a month of no driving, followed by 11 months of work restricted driving. You may be able to do an ignition interlock, if you jumped through a bunch of hoops and timed it properly, which is something that an experienced DUI lawyer can help you do.

If you do get convicted of a DUI, you are looking at a DMV license suspension. If you decide to fight it in the DMV, which everyone should do, the DMV has a different burden of proof than court. A court has to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order for you to be convicted. At the DMV, there is a civil burden, which is more likely than not, and they need to show three issues.

The three issues are whether the officer had sufficient cause to pull you over, whether they used the proper procedures in their investigation, and whether you were at or over a 0.08 while driving. If the DMV can prove those three issues and if you do not win your hearing, you are looking at a suspension from the DMV, which is a similar suspension to what you would have from court. They would run together, in most cases. An extremely important reason to get a DUI lawyer in the San Francisco Bay Area is that they are your best chance at not getting your license suspended or minimizing that suspension.

For more information on Being Arrested For A DUI In California, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.

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Aaron Bortel
With 30 years of specialized experience in DUI defense, Attorney Aaron Bortel is a dedicated advocate for those facing DUI charges in the Bay Area. Committed to helping clients avoid jail, save their driver’s licenses and jobs, and prevent permanent criminal records, he combines deep legal expertise with genuine care for his client's welfare. Trust in a lawyer who not only defends but truly supports you through challenging times.

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