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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.

Call Wilber Law Offices, P.C. today at (707) 691-3309 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our DUI attorneys in Sonoma County! 

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.

Understanding What Happens With a DUI in California

The process of dealing with a DUI charge in California can be complex and intimidating. It typically starts with the arrest, followed by the booking and then possibly a period of detention. The first crucial step after being arrested for a DUI in California is the arraignment, where you'll be formally charged and asked to enter a plea. Next comes the pre-trial phase, which may involve negotiation or plea bargaining. If no agreement is reached, the case will proceed to trial, where evidence will be presented, and a verdict determined. If convicted, sentencing will follow, with consequences varying based on the nature of the DUI charge and any prior offenses.

How an Attorney Can Help After Getting a DUI in California

Having an experienced DUI attorney by your side is critical after getting a DUI in California. An attorney can offer comprehensive legal guidance, helping you understand your charges, the potential outcomes, and the legal process ahead. They can challenge the evidence against you, negotiate for lesser charges or penalties, and represent you in court, providing a defense aimed at protecting your rights. Attorneys can also assist with administrative procedures, such as dealing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to contest a driver's license suspension. In essence, a skilled DUI attorney not only navigates the legal challenges but also supports you through the often stressful and complex DUI process, aiming to achieve the most favorable outcome possible.

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.

How Can a DUI Arrest Impact Your Insurance?

A DUI arrest can have significant implications for your insurance in Sonoma County. Following a DUI arrest, one of the most immediate and tangible impacts is the likely increase in your insurance premiums. Insurance companies view drivers with a DUI conviction as high-risk, which means you will be charged more for coverage. This increase can be substantial and may last for several years, affecting your financial situation long after the legal consequences of the DUI have been addressed.

In Sonoma County, like elsewhere in California, a DUI conviction typically results in the requirement to obtain an SR-22 certificate. An SR-22 is a form that your insurance company files with the state to prove that you have the minimum required insurance coverage. This certificate is mandatory for reinstating your driver's license after it has been suspended due to a DUI. The process of obtaining an SR-22 can be complicated and costly, as not all insurance companies offer this service. You may find yourself needing to switch providers, often at a higher cost.

Furthermore, a DUI conviction remains on your driving record for ten years in California. During this period, insurance companies can access your record and see the DUI, influencing your premiums every time you renew your policy. Some insurers might even choose to cancel your policy altogether, requiring you to find new coverage, which could be more expensive and challenging to obtain.

Additionally, a DUI can affect your ability to qualify for certain types of insurance discounts. For example, good driver discounts, which can significantly reduce your premium, will no longer be available to you. This loss further exacerbates the financial impact of a DUI on your insurance costs.

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.

Types of DUI Charges 

There are various DUI charges in Sonoma County, contingent upon factors such as prior offenses, the driver's age, and whether anyone sustained injuries or lost their life in a drunk driving incident. 

DUI charges in Sonoma County encompass:

  • 1st DUI Wet Reckless 
  • 2nd DUI 
  • 3rd DUI 
  • Felony DUI 
  • Injury DUI 
  • Under-21 DUI 
  • Commercial DUI 
  • Drug DUI 

How Long Does a DUI Case Take in Sonoma County? 

The duration of a DUI case in Sonoma County can fluctuate significantly based on the circumstances. Generally, resolving a DUI case in Sonoma County can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. The case's duration hinges on its complexity, the court's schedule, potential enhancements, and other influencing factors.

Why Is My DUI Case Taking So Long?

 DUI cases in Sonoma County might experience prolonged durations due to the intricate legal process. Depending on the jurisdiction, there could be an extensive investigation, involving gathering evidence from witnesses, law enforcement, and other sources. Additionally, the court might need ample time to scrutinize evidence and make a determination of guilt or innocence.

Contact us online or by calling (707) 691-3309 today!

How Long Can a DUI Case Stay Open in Sonoma County? 

The timeframe during which a DUI case can remain open varies by state, but typically, the statute of limitations is between two and five years. In certain instances, especially if the DUI is deemed a felony, the statute of limitations can extend up to seven years.

DUI Penalties in Sonoma County 

DUI penalties in Sonoma County hinge on the specific criminal charge, the defendant's criminal record, the presence of any enhancing factors, and the necessary steps for driver's license reinstatement. Criminal penalties encompass fines and potential jail time. Administrative penalties involve the DMV suspending a driver's license and imposing conditions before the individual can regain driving privileges.

Potential penalties and consequences of a Sonoma County DUI may include:

  • Jail time 
  • Fines 
  • License suspension 
  • Restricted license 
  • Ignition interlock devices 
  • DUI school Drug/alcohol testing 
  • Substance abuse treatment and education 
  • Community service 
  • Fees 
  • SR-22 insurance

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! 

Charges Reduced
Client charged with vehicular homicide. Ryan successfully negotiated for client to avoid a criminal conviction by being placed in a 6-month diversion plan.
  • Case Dismissed
    Facing 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 Dismissed
    Battery charge dismissed halfway through trial, and the jury hung on the resisting charge.
  • Case Dismissed
    Facing 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.

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