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I was arrested for DUI recently. What happens now?

Typically, in a DUI situation, there are 2 separate cases. The 1st case is with the DMV. The DMV wants to suspend your license for 4 months-3 years. You have a right to have a hearing to challenge that suspension. However, the hearing must be requested within 10 days of your arrest. You were probably given a pink document entitled “Administrative Per Se Suspension/Revocation Order and Temporary Driver License”. Read that document carefully! The 2nd case is with the court. The court case concerns criminal conviction, probation, jail, fines and other penalties. You were probably given a “Notice to Appear” which tells you when and where you must go to court. Important: the court will not decide what will happen to your driver’s license and the DMV will not decide whether you will be convicted of the charge.

I have talked to some attorneys and their fees vary. Why?

An attorney’s fee should be based on their experience in DUI defense, the amount of work that they are going to do for you and their reputation with the courts. Beware of an attorney who charges an extremely low price. That attorney may walk you into the 1st court appearance and plead you guilty without investigating the case. You can do that yourself. Our fees are competitive. We accept credit cards and in some cases payment plans can be arranged.

Who will handle my case if I hire The Law Offices of Matthew Cargal?

Matthew Cargal will personally handle all of the important aspects of your case. This includes but is not limited to: all court appearances, dealing with the prosecuting agency, representing you at the DMV hearing, representing you in jury trial and keeping you updated on the progress of your case. Although there are other attorneys working with us and a full support staff, you will always be able to immediately get in touch with Matthew Cargal to discuss your case.

I had a DUI in the past. Will that affect my current case?

A previous DUI conviction more than 10 years ago may or may not affect the current case. Some prosecutors and judges look at past history. However, a previous DUI conviction within 10 years of the current offense will likely be used to increase the penalties of the new case.

How long will a DUI stay on my record?

A DUI conviction in California can be used to enhance a future DUI charge for 10 years and therefore stays on your criminal record for at least 10 years. Additionally, the DMV will assign 2 points to your driving record for 3 years after a DUI conviction. A DUI conviction will typically affect your automobile insurance rates for at least 3 years.

Is a DUI a felony or misdemeanor?

Most 1st, 2nd and 3rd offense DUIs are misdemeanors. However, a 4th or subsequent DUI and DUIs involving bodily injury can be felonies. The penalties for a misdemeanor are usually less severe than for a felony. However, even if you are charged with a felony that doesn’t mean that you will be convicted of a felony or anything at all.

Do I have to go to court?

If you are not represented by an attorney, if your case is a felony or if the judge orders it, you must personally go to court. If your case is a misdemeanor, the attorney may be able to make all of the court appearances without you ever having to go to court! We realize our clients have many other responsibilities in their life besides the DUI case and work to minimize the burden on them. Matthew Cargal will take charge of every aspect of your case so that you may not have to miss time from work, school, family or other responsibilities.

If I just want to go to court and plead guilty, do I need an attorney?

Legally, you are not required to have an attorney represent you. However, representing yourself is very risky. You are at the mercy of the court. The judge and the prosecutor will not negotiate with you. In most cases, if you plead guilty and then don’t like the sentence you get, it’s too late to change your mind.

Can't I win the DMV hearing on my own by showing them my clean driving record and telling them how important it is for me to drive?

No. By law the DMV can not consider your past driving record except for prior DUIs. Also, the DMV can not consider your need to drive. The hearing will involve legal issues just like the court case. Look on the back of your temporary driver’s license for a list of those issues.

What could happen if I get caught driving on a suspended license?

If your license is suspended for DUI and you get caught driving, you are facing a minimum of 10 days in jail, fines, probation, installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle and your vehicle could be impounded for 30 days at your own expense. If you have prior convictions, you are facing more jail time. Don’t drive if your license is suspended!

Will a DUI affect my commercial driver’s license?

If you have a class “A” California commercial driver’s license and are convicted of DUI or lose the DMV APS hearing, the DMV will suspend your class “A” endorsement for 1 year on a first offense or for life on a 2nd offense. This applies even if you were not driving your class “A” vehicle when you were arrested for DUI. If you have a class “A” license you must fight both your DUI and DMV case or you will lose your class “A” endorsement!

I have a valid driver’s license from another state. Do I still need to do the California DMV hearing?

Yes. Although the officer probably did not take away your “out of state” driver’s license when you were arrested for DUI, the California DMV will still try to suspend your privilege to drive in California. If your privilege to drive in California is suspended, you can not legally drive in California even with your “out of state” license. Additionally, most states’ department of motor vehicles are connected through a national computer data base. Therefore, a suspension in California could be seen by your home state and that state could take its own action against you.

How does bail work?

When someone is arrested, the police can let the person go on their promise to appear in court “own recognizance” or set a monetary bail amount that must be posted before the person is released from custody. Bail can be posted by giving the entire amount to the arresting agency or court to hold or by using a bail bond company. A bail bond company will post a bond in the amount of the bail with the arresting agency or court. Most bail companies charge a non refundable fee equal to 8-10% of the bail for their services. Additionally, the bail bond company may require that you give them collateral in exchange for them posting the bond. Collateral can be the deed to a property, title to a vehicle or something else of value that you own.

My breath / blood results were over .08%. How can I win my case?

Blood and breath samples are analyzed by machinery that must be precisely calibrated. Often these machines are not properly calibrated. That causes inaccurate results. Also we must investigate everything before the breath or blood test. Did the officer have a legally sufficient reason to stop you and start the DUI investigation? Were the field sobriety tests properly administered? Were you properly advised of all of your legal rights and options by the officer? There are many issues that may help to win your case even if your results were over .08. More than 95% of the cases I successfully defend have results well over .08. The numbers do not mean your case can not be won!

How will a DUI conviction affect my job?

The answer depends on the type of job you have. If you have a professional license, special certification or credential or work for the government, a DUI conviction could have a negative impact on your job. We will confidentially research that issue and factor that into the defense of your case. We have successfully represented doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, Federal and state law enforcement personnel and others without their jobs being affected. After all, even the best resolution to the case is no good if it has an impact your job.

I wasn’t “read my rights” when I was arrested. Does that affect my case?

Generally, when a person is arrested for any crime, the police are required to advise the person of their Miranda rights if the police are going to interrogate or question the person about the crime. The Miranda rights include: the right to remain silent, anything the person says may be used against them in court, the right to consult with an attorney and have an attorney present during questioning and if the person can’t afford an attorney one will be provided at no cost. Usually, Miranda is not an issue in a DUI case because the officer does not interrogate the person after the arrest and they usually do their questioning before the arrest. However, each case is different and Miranda may be an issue in your case.

How can I be arrested for DUI if I didn’t drink alcohol but only took a prescription or non-prescription medication and then drove?

The basic DUI law in California, Vehicle Code section 23152(a), states: “It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, to drive a motor vehicle”. The “drug” can be any legal, illegal, prescription or nonprescription substance, other than alcohol, that affects the brain, nervous system or muscles. “Under the influence” means not being able to operate your vehicle with the caution characteristic of a sober person. If you take something that affects your ability to drive safely then you could be arrested for DUI. However, the prosecutor has to prove the drug affected your ability to drive safely. That is very difficult and therefore, many “dui-drug” cases are very beatable!

The officer never saw me driving. How could I be arrested for DUI?

Driving can sometimes be determined circumstantially. Were you found in the driver’s seat of the car with the keys in the ignition? Is the car registered to you? Are you the only one in or near the car? These are some of the factors the police consider. However, if it cannot be proven that you drove the vehicle then you cannot be convicted of DUI.

Do I have the right to talk with an attorney before I decide whether to take a blood or breath test?

In California, pursuant to Vehicle Code section 23612, a person arrested for DUI does not have the right to consult with an attorney or have an attorney present before deciding whether to take a blood or breath test.

If I hire you, can you guarantee that you’ll win my case?

Unfortunately, no attorney can honestly guarantee the outcome of any case. Beware of the attorney who does guarantee an outcome. However, Matthew Cargal has over 25 years of DUI defense experience in court and with the DMV and an extensive knowledge of DUI and criminal law to give you the best chance of winning your case!

Do you have additional questions? Call Pasadena DUI attorney Matthew Cargal today at (888) 717-0139 discuss your specific case.