How a DUI Lawyer Can Help You

Choosing the right Oakland DUI lawyer to take on your case can be nearly as stressful as the criminal charges against you. After all, the criminal defense attorney you choose to represent you could make all the difference in the outcome of your DUI case.

Here’s what Seth Morris can do for you.

Protect Your Rights

When you are arrested for a DUI in Oakland, anything you say to police could later be used against you at trial. Your DUI attorney can help you understand your rights, when to exercise them, and defend you when they have been violated during your DUI arrest.

Investigate & Gather Evidence to Support Your Case

If you hope to avoid a conviction, your DUI attorney will need to investigate your case further to gather the necessary evidence. This investigation might include uncovering flaws in chemical blood alcohol tests, challenging the legality of your stop, obtaining video footage of your stop and arrest, and even hiring experts to testify on your behalf.

Negotiate with the Prosecution

In some cases, bringing your case before a jury may not be in your best interest. Your Oakland DUI lawyer will review the details of your case to determine if negotiating with the state’s prosecutor will produce the most favorable outcome in your case. We may also be able to get your charges reduced from a DUI to a wet reckless, or another, less severe type of charge.

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Types of DUI Charges We Handle

You could face multiple types of DUI charges if you are arrested in Oakland, CA.

Felony DUI Charges

Under California Vehicle Code § 23550, a fourth DUI is a felony offense. Felony DUIs also can be charged when you are accused of causing injury or death.

Vehicular Manslaughter

Under California Penal Code § 192(c), this involves negligent driving that causes the death of another person.

First Time DUI Charges

You can face your first DUI charge if you are accused of having a 0.08% or greater blood alcohol content level.

Second-Time DUIs

This involves being arrested for a second DUI offense within ten years of your first DUI arrest.

Third-Time DUIs

This involves being arrested a third time for drunk driving within ten years of your first DUI arrest.

“Wet Reckless”

Under California Vehicle Code § 23103.5, you can face reckless driving with alcohol involved as opposed to a DUI in minimal circumstances. Here, there may be no mandatory driver’s license suspension.

Underaged DUIs

Anyone under the age of 21 can face an underage DUI under California Vehicle Code § 23136. The underage persons BAC levels can be 0.01% or higher for these charges to apply.

Penalties of a DUI Conviction in Oakland

The penalties you face for a DUI range in severity and ultimately depend on the details of your drunk driving case. Whether you’re convicted of a misdemeanor or felony DUI in Oakland, CA, you can expect the following penalties.

Misdemeanor Penalties

Under California Vehicle Code § 23153, a first-time DUI offender charged with a misdemeanor results in up to six months in county jail and fines up to $1,000.

Felony Penalties

Habitual DUI offenders charged with a felony DUI could face up to ten years in California state prisons and pay fines up to $5,000.

Additional Consequences

Whether you are a first-time or habitual offender, you will experience the following additional consequences:

  • Court-ordered drug or alcohol education classes
  • The installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
  • Summary probation, also known as informal probation
  • License suspension for a maximum of four years
  • Formal probation for up to five years
  • Restitution to any injured parties
  • Court-mandated completion of drug or alcohol treatment programs
  • Court-mandated mental health counseling
  • Designation as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) by the California department of motor vehicles for a maximum of three years
  • A possible “strike” on your criminal record under California’s “Three-Strike” law

Aggravating Factors for California DUIs

Aggravating factors intensify your penalties. The following factors that may be considered include:

  • Your criminal record
  • Whether anyone was injured
  • Your BAC levels at the time of your arrest
  • Refusing to submit to a chemical blood alcohol test
  • Whether you were speeding
  • Your age
  • Having a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle
  • Causing an accident

Collateral Fallout from Your DUI

The consequences of your DUI won’t end with a completed sentence. The fallout you may experience includes:

  • Being prohibited from consuming drugs or alcohol
  • Attending regular Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings
  • Damage to your reputation
  • Suspension or revocation of your professional licenses
  • Child custody and visitation issues
  • Trouble finding a good job
  • Difficulty finding affordable housing
  • Loss of federal student aid eligibility
  • Loss of firearm rights

Alternative Sentencing Options for DUIs

You may enter a pre-trial diversion program to avoid jail or prison time, and the fallout of a DUI conviction. Potential alternative sentencing options include:

  • Residing in a sober living house
  • Completing community service
  • House arrest
  • Agreeing to electronic monitoring
  • Cal-Trans roadside work
  • Mental health court
  • Veterans court
  • Drug court

Field Sobriety & Chemical BAC Tests in Oakland, CA

When police stop you, law enforcement may request multiple types of testing from you. These include field sobriety tests and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) chemical tests.

Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are done outside a driver's vehicle as a way of determining their level of impairment. There are several types of field sobriety test, including:

  • The nystagmus eye test
  • The walk and turn test
  • The standing on one leg test
  • The Romberg balance test
  • The finger to nose test

Many factors could result in a failed test, and they are not always accurate. People who have medical conditions, for example, may find the standing on one leg test impossible to pass. Furthermore, you are under no legal obligation to agree to a field sobriety test.

Chemical BAC Tests

Blood alcohol concentration tests are used to determine the chemical blood alcohol levels of drivers who are arrested on suspicion of drunk or drugged driving. Chemical BAC testing can be done in several ways, but the most common include:

  • Breath tests (through a breathalyzer)
  • Blood draws
  • Urine tests

Like field sobriety tests, many factors impact a chemical tests accuracy. For example, in a urine test, blood alcohol levels may be significantly higher or lower than that of the blood at any given time. This means your test results could be skewed considerably depending on whether you were given a blood draw or a urine test to determine your BAC levels.

California’s Implied Consent Laws

The state of California does have implied consent laws. Here, under California Vehicle Code § 23612, you are required to agree to blood alcohol testing as a driver.

Failing to consent to blood alcohol testing results in a mandatory license suspension and a minimum amount of time in jail. This also depends on whether you are a first-time or habitual offender.

Common Defenses to DUI Charges

A DUI lawyer like Seth Morris is experienced in the courtroom and won’t leave you at the mercy of 12 jurors. He will challenge the DUI chemical tests and whether police had probable cause for the stop.

Challenging DUI Test Results

Breathalyzers, urine tests, blood tests, and other types of chemical testing, and the equipment used to do them, are imperfect. As are the individuals administering and operating the tests. Inaccuracies, mistakes, errors, and inadequate test results are unacceptable when your future is on the line. If the DUI test results can be challenged in your case, your DUI charges could be reduced or even dismissed altogether.

Lack of Probable Cause

Police do not have the authority to stop any car for any reason. They must have a reason to believe that a crime is being committed for the stop to be lawful.

For example, if police notice you swerving, they have the right to pull you over for suspected DUI. But if police pulled you over simply because they saw you leaving a nightclub or bar, they would not have the right to stop you.

Charged with a DUI? Call Morris Law P.C. Today

A DUI charge doesn’t have to define your future if you work with an experienced lawyer. Attorney Seth Morris has years of experience representing clients like you, successfully getting charges reduced or dismissed and pursuing the best possible outcome.

Call 510-225-9955 today or contact us to schedule an initial consultation.