"Come on Vacation, Leave on Probation."       (Unofficial Napa County Motto)

 

 

 

   If you are within 10 days of your arrest, please contact the Driver's Safety Office number on your Administrative Per Se sheet, and request an in-person hearing.  This will keep your license from being automatically suspended on the 30th day after your arrest.

 

    Napa County is a great place to live, and a great place to visit.  Beautiful scenery, open spaces, hundreds of wineries, great restaurants, Bed and Breakfasts, shops and shows.  If you love food and wine, Napa Valley is almost Paradise.  There's just one problem - Napa also has a CHP office as you leave Napa heading South on Highway 29, and Patrolmen (along with Napa County Sheriffs, and Officers from Calistoga, St. Helena and Napa Police Departments) are looking for anyone who might have had just enough wine to run afoul of a couple of Vehicle Code sections.

    Vehicle Code section 23152(a): "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 and drug, to drive a vehicle.

    Vehicle Code section 23152(b): "It is unlawful for any person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle."

    "For purposes of this article and Section 34501.16, percent, by weight, of alcohol in a person's blood is based upon grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath."

    "In any prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving."

 

    If this is the 1st time you've been arrested for violating either of those sections, have heart.  No matter what happens, you're not going to be sent to prison, and you don't have an incurable and fatal condition.  A DUI arrest is embarrassing, frustrating, annoying, inconvenient, expensive - all of those and more - but you will get past it, and we can help.

    We usually handle 1st time DUIs on a flat fee basis, so you don't get a financial surprise at the end of the case.  Beware of DUI attorneys who charge by the hour (and there are several) unless you like to be unpleasantly surprised.  We think you've had enough surprises already, and don't need another one.

       Why do you need a DUI attorney?  Because there are serious penalties for a DUI, which is a Misdemeanor and becomes part of your Criminal record.  Even a first California DUI conviction can carry serious penalties including:

    -    Two or more days in Jail
    -    California driver license suspension
    -    Up to $3,500 in local fees, penalties and assessments
    -    30 hours of DUI school

    The California DMV records DUI convictions for a minimum of 10 years.  A DUI on your record can not only lead to higher auto insurance premiums, but can also jeopardize your credit rating and employment.  DUI penalties rapidly escalate if you have had prior DUI convictions, were stopped for speeding, had an accident while driving under the influence or other factors (particularly if your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) was 0.20% or greater).

    An individual faced with any serious criminal charge such as DUI has to make potentially life-altering legal decisions.  You should have the benefit of legal counsel when making those kinds of legal decisions, shouldn't you?  Because of the requirements of a DUI defense case, an experienced DUI attorney can best protect your rights, understand the evidence, negotiate strong plea bargains when appropriate, and take your case to trial.

    Often attorneys who do not specialize in DUI cases approach the defense with the idea of obtaining a “good” plea bargain.  However all criminal cases raise constitutional questions, and if any of your rights were violated, your DUI charges may be dropped.

    We know where to look for possible Fourth and Fifth Amendment violations, as well as evidentiary shortcomings in the Prosecution's case.  Our success at getting DUI cases dismissed encourages us to seek these avenues at every potential possibility.

    Understand that the California DMV has a process entirely separate from the courts to determine whether you will get to keep your license and under what conditions.  Again, if you're within 10 days of the arrest, call the Driver's Safety office and request an in-person hearing.  We can do this for you, but don't delay.  Protect your rights!

    During our intitial consultation, we'll decide whether to actively pursue an administrative hearing with DMV.  We can help you delay suspension, get a restricted license or keep your California driver license.   If you retain us to represent you with DMV, we'll guide you through the DMV process from requesting an administrative hearing to representing you at the hearing.

    The prosecution's DUI case often relies on the measured blood alcohol level (BAC).  After all it seems pretty straightforward -- if California law says .08 BAC is the limit and the accused's BAC exceeded this amount, then they were driving under the influence.  We know that BAC evidence is not always as strong as it first appears.

    Determining a person's blood alcohol level requires the use of scientific measuring instruments. Due to poor calibration, improper use, or lax laboratory procedures, these devices can prove unreliable.

    We understand the strengths and weaknesses of the various kinds of scientific instruments for measuring BAC whether in blood, breath, or urine.   For example, the Intoxilyzer 5000 has an inherent 10% inaccuracy, which can be successfully exploited.

    BAC tests might also be measuring other things than blood alcohol level.  Various types of medications, medical conditions, and even whether a person recently used mouthwash may raise questions of test validity.  For example, breath tests performed on a person with acid reflux disease can measure alcohol in the stomach rather than the blood.

    Non-DUI attorneys might also overlook the fact that blood alcohol tests measure BAC after, not while, a person was driving.  Since it can take from 45 minutes up to two hours for consumed alcohol to fully enter a person's blood, this can mean the difference between driving under the influence and merely being “tested under the influence.”  The "Rising Alcohol Defense" can be used to get DUI charges acquitted at trial, reduced, or even dismissed entirely.

    Regardless of an experienced DUI lawyer's trial success rate and getting cases dismissed, sometimes a client's best interests are served with a plea bargain.  Instead of merely obtaining a plea bargain, we negotiate plea bargains to ensure the best possible outcome for our clients.

    While the court system seems like an impersonal institution, it is ultimately made up of real people.  Prosecutors are more likely to yield in DUI plea bargains when they know the defense is knowledgeable and vigorously pursued by an experienced DUI lawyer.  We have obtained some unusually excellent pleas.

    We will not accept unfair plea bargains.

    In DUI plea bargains, we have seen amazing results including dismissals and extraordinary charge reductions.

    Even if we cannot get the charges reduced or dismissed, we can obtain the lowest possible sentence.

    Our DUI defense successes include:

        -    Changing fines to community service
        -    Having mandatory jail time converted to work alternatives
        -    DUI charges reduced to "unsafe lane change," an infraction.

    Finally, even if you think your case doesn't have a defense, having an experienced DUI attorney on your side can take away the uncertainty of the Criminal Prosecution Process.  We can take you through the process and make sure that your rights aren't violated, as well as make sure that you take care of everything that will be required of you.  If you fail to jump through all of the hoops, you could find yourself facing a Violation of Probation which carries penalties over and above those involved with the DUI.  We make all of your court appearances until entry of plea and sentencing, so that you don't have to miss work.  Sometimes the convenience and simple Peace of Mind is worth the cost of having an experienced DUI attorney working for you.

    Successfully representing a California DUI case requires a high degree of skill, experience, and understanding of the state's DUI law.  We have been successfully representing DUI clients for over 15 years in Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Contra Costa and Yolo Counties.  It's what we do.

 

     For additional information, or to schedule a confidential consultation, contact us, or call us at 707-251-3979.  Our office is open Monday through Friday, from 8 am until 5 pm, and we are available by appointment in the evenings and on weekends.  Our 1st Floor office at the corner of Coombs and Pearl is ramped and handicapped accessible.  We are across the street from free public parking, and on the diagonal from Kohl's Department Store in Downtown Napa.