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DUI FAQ

Santa Barbara DUI Lawyer Answers Your Questions

DUI FAQ

Attorney Kenneth M. Hallum understands you are likely worried and anxious about your DUI.  To help answer some of the most common questions heard, below are a few answers to some of them, or go to our DUI page for more information.

Will I have to go to court?

This will depend upon the seriousness of your charges, as well as the chosen strategy. Generally, an attorney can appear on your behalf, if you waive your appearance.  Having DUI Attorney Kenneth M.Hallum appear on your behalf is most beneficial to you, as you can continue working and going forward with life, rather than being inconvenienced having to sit around a courthouse.

Do I need to hire a DUI Lawyer for the DMV hearing?

After a DUI / Drunk Driving arrest, regardless of the outcome of your criminal case, the Department of Motor Vehicles will act to suspend your privilege to drive automatically. In order to obtain relief from the mandated DMV suspension, a DMV hearing must be requested within 10 days of your arrest. An experienced DUI lawyer can immediately contact the DMV to protect the driver’s license. License suspension is one of the many DUI penalties you may face if convicted of drunk driving in California.

A DUI lawyer can advise you on how to avoid license suspension, as well as provide you the representation you need in court and at your DMV hearing in order to keep your driver’s license. As the issues at a DMV hearing are highly technical, a qualified DUI attorney is essential if you want to fight the suspension and save your license. However, this will vary depending upon the particular circumstances of your driving under the influence charges, so it is important to discuss this with an experienced lawyer.

Will I go to jail?
It is a definite a possibility that even a first DUI conviction will result in some jail time. In fact, most counties in California have implemented a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 48 hours. This is why it is so important to work with a DUI defense attorney you can trust; who will fight to help you avoid a conviction. An experienced skilled DUI lawyer may be able to keep you out of jail and resolve your case in a favorable manner, avoiding maximum penalties and possibly having to serve jail time at all. The specific details and penalties you will face will depend upon the charges that are brought against you, the circumstances of your DUI charges and what your blood alcohol concentration was at the time of arrest.

Can I win?
The answer is YES!!! In many cases, the reason behind the stop of your car and reliability (or lack thereof) of the test results are susceptible to challenge in and out of court. Police officers write hundreds of reports a week and often fail to include details which, when properly investigated, can result in their evidence being challenged.  Further, even if we cannot show there was a problem with the breathalyzer machine, it is often possible to show the results are not reliable and that errors and/or mistakes can be made, and therefore a reasonable doubt may exist as to the accuracy of the test result in a particular case. Fortunately for you, the officer’s subjective opinion is not necessarily an accurate statement of fact and often subject to challenge and review. Significantly, some studies have shown that even properly trained officers subjective opinions of impairment and/or intoxication levels are typically may be no better than 50/50 in determining whether a person is “under the influence” through the use of normal “field sobriety tests.”

When the evidence “seems” overwhelming, that is when you need a DUI attorney dedicated to DUI defense in order to make sure that every possible issue and defense is explored before you contemplate accepting an offer by the government. It is NOT against the law to drink and drive!  It is illegal to drive while impaired, or if your blood alcohol level (BAC) is above 0.08% and even then, the prosecution must prove that you were impaired and that your BAC was over the legal limit, beyond a reasonable doubt.

Why should I hire a DUI defense attorney?

There are many reasons to hire a defense attorney.  Foremost are the following:

  • To save your driving privileges
  • To reduce fines and financial penalties
  • To reduce the criminal charges
  • To avoid jail time or a prison sentence
  • To avoid public work service
  • Your best shot at protecting your rights.
  • Protect your reputation; freedom and future.

A DUI defense attorney has the skills and strong legal knowledge to help secure a positive outcome for a person facing a DUI charge. A true drunk driving lawyer is a member of local and national organizations dedicated to drunk driving defense and attends State and National seminars on a regular basis, thus keeping up to date on all of the current issues in the field. Failure to retain experienced drunk driving attorneys virtually guarantees court conviction/license suspension.

A DUI defense may include filing pretrial motions to suppress the evidence. These motions, when argued successfully, may result in the DUI case being dismissed.

Having the blood sample retested by a private lab, or hiring an analyst to determine if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was rising. Photographing and inspecting the scene of the arrest. This may be helpful in showing that the ground was not level when the driver was performing the field coordination tests. Effectively cross-examine the officer to expose mistakes and inaccuracies in the gathering of evidence.

The prosecutor is not your attorney and has no obligation to counsel or be fair with you. Defending yourself in the criminal-justice system is a very stressful experience in a potentially hostile environment, which may result in severe penalties. Obviously, your outcome cannot be guaranteed; but an experienced drunk driving lawyer can investigate and prepare your case for defense to minimize/avoid court penalties and protect your driving privileges.

What does it cost to hire an attorney for a DUI?

Depending on the law firm or attorney, the facts and seriousness of the case and whether the case is settled or tried, will determine costs. However, for a first offense without aggravating factors, fees could generally range from as little as $1,000-$2000, up to more than $10,000 with an extensive jury trial. The specific costs will depend upon the charges that are brought against you, and those circumstances of your DUI charges and case.

As a practitioner dedicated to the art and science of California DUI defense, consider that it is the quality – not the cost – of your legal representation that should be of greatest concern when retaining an attorney. Remember, the decision you make today in choosing DUI defense lawyers affects your rights, driving privileges and lifestyle for years to come, because convictions and DMV suspensions due to California drunk driving stay on your court and DMV records for the next 10 years.

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For answers to your DUI questions, call the Law Offices of Kenneth M. Hallum today!