Sonoma County DUI Lawyers
Experienced Legal Advocacy Against DUI Charges in California
If you're facing a DUI charge in Sonoma County, you need a skilled and experienced attorney to protect your rights and guide you through the legal process. At Wilber Law Offices, P.C., our dedicated professionals are here to provide you with the aggressive representation you need. As leading Sonoma County DUI lawyers, we are committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
DUI Charges We Defend Against
Many types of charges can be filed against you related to impaired driving depending on whether you have previous DUI convictions, whether you caused an accident that involved property damage, injury, or death to another, and other factors, such as driving under the influence with a minor in your vehicle. These can range from misdemeanors to serious felony charges. Our firm defends all DUI charges, such as:
- First-, second-, and third-offense DUI
- DUI with injury
- Felony DUI
- College student or under-21 DUI
- DUI as a commercially licensed driver driving a commercial vehicle
- Drug DUI
- Aggravated DUI, such as driving with a blood alcohol concentration measuring .15 percent or higher, driving with a minor in the vehicle, or speeding while driving intoxicated
California DUI Laws
Driving under the influence (DUI) in California is a serious offense. The state has stringent laws to deter individuals from operating vehicles while impaired by alcohol or drugs. It's crucial to understand these laws and the potential consequences they carry.
California has a "per se" DUI law, which means that if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, you can be arrested for DUI, regardless of whether your driving was impaired. However, it's important to note that even with a BAC below 0.08%, you can still be arrested and charged with DUI if you exhibit signs of impairment.
Additionally, California has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21. If you're under 21 and have any measurable amount of alcohol in your system while driving, you can face DUI charges.
Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in California?
In accordance with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, refusing a breathalyzer test in California is possible. However, the consequences of the refusal can be severe. If you are pulled over and are suspected of driving under the influence, refusing a breathalyzer test can lead to an automatic license suspension for up to a year and even criminal penalties if convicted of driving under the influence.
What are the Penalties for a DUI Conviction in California?
A DUI conviction in California can result in severe penalties that can impact your life. These penalties may include:
- License Suspension: Upon a DUI arrest, your driver's license will be confiscated, and you will receive a temporary license. If convicted, your license can be suspended for a period ranging from 4 months to several years, depending on the circumstances of your case.
- Fines: DUI convictions can result in substantial fines, which can be even higher if you have prior DUI convictions on your record.
- Probation: You may be placed on probation, which can include mandatory alcohol education programs, community service, or other conditions imposed by the court.
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID): In some cases, you may be required to install an IID in your vehicle, which prevents you from starting your car if it detects alcohol on your breath.
- Jail Time: Depending on your offense's severity and prior convictions, you may face jail time ranging from a few days to several years.
- Criminal Record: A DUI conviction can result in a criminal record that can affect your employment prospects, housing options, and more.
- Increased Insurance Rates: Expect a significant increase in auto insurance premiums following a DUI conviction.
How Many Points is a DUI in California?
California's DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) uses a point system to track traffic violations that can lead to a driver's license suspension or other consequences. If you are convicted of DUI, two points will be added to your driving record. If you accumulate four points in a year, six points in two years, or eight points in three years, you'll face a suspension of your driver's license. Keep in mind, though, that the court may still suspend your license regardless of how many points you have on your driving record.
DUI points cannot be removed from your license, and they will stay on your record for ten years regardless of any fines you pay, classes you take, or community service you perform. That is why taking immediate action to avoid a conviction is so important.
When is a DUI a Felony in California?
A DUI in California can be charged as a felony under certain circumstances. Generally, a DUI is considered a misdemeanor offense, but it can be elevated to a felony if certain aggravating factors are present.
Here are some situations in which a DUI can be charged as a felony in California:
- Fourth or Subsequent DUI within 10 Years: If an individual has three or more prior DUI convictions within the past ten years, a fourth or subsequent DUI offense can be charged as a felony.
- DUI Causing Injury (DUI with Injury): If a DUI results in bodily injury to another person, the DUI can be charged as a felony. The injury can be to a passenger in the same vehicle or someone in another.
- DUI Causing Great Bodily Injury (DUI with Great Bodily Injury): If the DUI results in serious bodily harm or "great bodily injury" to another person, it can be charged as a felony. Great bodily injury is defined as significant or substantial physical injury.
- Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated: If a person is driving under the influence and their actions result in the death of another person, they can be charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, which is a felony offense.
Defenses Against DUI Charges
While facing a DUI charge can be intimidating, it's essential to remember that there are several defenses that an experienced Sonoma County DUI lawyer can employ to help protect your rights and mitigate the consequences. Some potential defenses include:
- Improper Stop or Arrest: If law enforcement did not have a valid reason to stop your vehicle or lacked probable cause for your arrest, your charges may be dismissed.
- Faulty Breathalyzer or Blood Test: Breathalyzer and blood tests can be inaccurate if not administered correctly or if the equipment is not properly maintained. Challenging the reliability of these tests can be a strong defense strategy.
- Rising BAC: It can take time for alcohol to absorb into your bloodstream. If your BAC was below the legal limit when driving but rose above it by the time you were tested, this can be used as a defense.
- Field Sobriety Tests: The accuracy of field sobriety tests can be challenged, as they are subjective and can be affected by various factors, such as weather conditions or physical disabilities.
- Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions or medications can produce false positives on DUI tests. This can be used as a defense if you have a legitimate medical reason for your test results.
- Violation of Miranda Rights: If law enforcement failed to read you your Miranda rights during the arrest process, it could lead to the suppression of evidence.
How to Get a DUI Off Your Record in California
Getting a DUI off your record in C.A. can be very complex. Some of the possible options include:
- Expungement: If you've completed all the requirements of your DUI sentence, including probation, and haven't been convicted of any other crimes since then, you may be eligible for expungement. Once the DUI conviction is expunged, it will be removed from the criminal record. However, it may be visible to law enforcement.
- DUI Rehabilitation: You may be able to participate in a DUI rehabilitation program in California, which can help to reduce the impact of your DUI conviction. Completing this may result in a reduced sentence or probation.
- Governor's Pardon: You can apply for a Governor's Pardon in California, an official forgiveness of your DUI conviction. This is usually for those who have demonstrated exemplary behavior and rehabilitation efforts after their conviction.
- Record Sealing: You may be able to have your DUI conviction sealed or hidden from public view. This is typically only an option if you were convicted of a misdemeanor DUI and have completed your sentence and probation.
Contact Our Sonoma County DUI Attorneys Today
Facing a DUI charge in Sonoma County is a serious matter, but you don't have to navigate it alone. At Wilber Law Offices, P.C., we are dedicated to providing you with expert legal representation and fighting for your rights. Our team of experienced Sonoma County DUI lawyers will work tirelessly to build a strong defense and strive for the best possible outcome in your case.
Contact Wilber Law Offices, P.C. today to schedule a FREE consultation with one of our DUI lawyers in Sonoma county!
Case DismissedFacing a three year prison term. Acquitted of the felony charge at jury trial, and granted informal probation for the misdemeanor charge with no jail time to serve.
Case DismissedBattery charge dismissed halfway through trial, and the jury hung on the resisting charge.
Case DismissedFacing up to a year in jail. This case went to jury trial twice. The first time around, a mistrial was granted based on inadmissible evidence being introduced by the prosecution. We did not give up and tried the case a second time. When it came to light that video evidence ...
“I just went through the painstaking process of getting a DUI in Sonoma County. Ryan Wilber and his team did an amazing job in making this process go as smooth as possible.” - Beau K.
“If you need legal help I fully recommend them! If your looking for an experienced trial lawyer this is the team you want to hire.” - William H.
“He helped my life become easier and more manageable after I messed up by making reckless decisions.” - E. D.