Attorneys Who Are Problem Solvers

Riverside DUI Attorney

Riverside DUI Attorney

A DUI (“Driving Under the Influence,” i.e., of drugs or alcohol) arrest is a very serious event in Riverside, CA. The corresponding charges can represent a devastating and humiliating period in a person’s life. It is very natural to feel disappointed in your bad decision-making—or angry at the situation, depending on the particular circumstances of your arrest. However, you might take some comfort in knowing that you are not alone. DUI charges, while nothing to take lightly, are actually some of the most common criminal offenses in California.

Riverside DUI Attorney

Brown & Stedman, LLP: Your Riverside DUI Defense Attorneys

When you are facing such charges in Riverside, CA, or the surrounding areas, you have the option to hire the skilled DUI lawyers at Brown & Stedman, LLP. We can stand with you, providing aggressive criminal defense to protect your rights and secure your future. Our attorneys can put you in a position to rebuild your reputation and reclaim your life.

California DUI Laws and Definitions

Although DUIs are relatively common, it is a dire mistake to assume that they are not being taken seriously under the law. California has some of the strictest laws and penalties for drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23152, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both on any California roadway. In fact, you do not even have to make it to a roadway. In California, even the “perceived intention” to start your car under the influence can be a criminal offense. It can also be grounds for conviction if it is proven in court.

When referring to alcohol specifically, a driver can be charged with DUI if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. Roadside sobriety tests for other drugs are sometimes more subjective. These tests often give the arresting police officer broad authority to interpret behaviors as evidence of a drug-related “impairment.” It has also been known for officers to misinterpret medical conditions as signs of intoxication.

Consequences of a DUI Conviction

A DUI arrest in and of itself can lead to serious issues like missed work, social stigma, and strained relationships. When such an arrest results in a conviction, this can obviously lead to even more severe and long-lasting consequences, including:

  • Jail time
  • Fines
  • License suspension
  • Orders for recurring sobriety tests

You may even be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. This device requires you to successfully perform an electronic sobriety test any time you drive.

There are high stakes involved with DUI charges—not least among them is your very freedom. It becomes essential to take DUI charges seriously, even if you believe you have been wrongfully accused. It is critical to seek the assistance of an experienced DUI lawyer. They can help you through the complex and challenging legal process to come.

How a Riverside, CA, DUI Attorney Can Help You

Police and prosecutors are determined to enforce the law, especially when it involves serious public safety issues like drunk driving. They will bring the full force of the state to bear against you when your case goes to court. The only way to respond in kind is to hire a seasoned and knowledgeable legal team of your own.

One practical reason to hire a DUI lawyer immediately after your arrest is to protect your driver’s license. After any DUI arrest, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can initiate a license suspension process in the state of California. This process moves quickly. If you do not request a DMV hearing within ten days of your arrest, your license will be automatically suspended.

A DUI lawyer can help you navigate the DMV hearing process and potentially save your license. They can also get to work right away, reviewing and challenging the evidence against you. This includes the results of any on-site sobriety test and the police officer’s report. An experienced DUI lawyer will have an eye for legally actionable discrepancies in the state’s case. They can use them to help build a strong defense strategy. When done successfully, this can result in reduced charges, dismissal of charges, or acquittal.

These are the immediate benefits of working with a good lawyer. It is crucial to remember that a DUI conviction can also have long-lasting effects on your life, such as:

  • Potential job loss
  • Difficulty obtaining employment in the future
  • Difficulty securing financial instruments like loans

A DUI lawyer can help you mitigate these consequences. Your attorney can also help you get your life back on track as quickly as possible.

How to Find an Excellent Riverside DUI Attorney

It is important to note that not all DUI lawyers are created equal. You must remember that you are making an investment in yourself—your freedom and your future—when you hire a DUI lawyer to represent you. When choosing a Riverside DUI lawyer, you should seek out a firm that has experience in DUI defense. You should also look for an attorney with a history of success in those cases. You need a lawyer who is responsive, empathetic, and great at communicating complex legal concepts to you. You should be able to trust your attorney to keep you informed and fight for your rights throughout the legal process.

The Key to DUI Defense: Highly Personalized Legal Strategies

If you are facing DUI charges in Riverside, California, or the surrounding jurisdictions, the law firm of Brown & Stedman, LLP, can help. We know people do not deserve to be defined by their worst mistakes. Whatever your specific DUI/DWI situation or the factors behind it, we understand the potential consequences of a conviction. Our firm can work tirelessly to protect your rights and future.

We begin by conducting a thorough investigation into your case. This includes reviewing police reports, witness statements, and any other evidence against you. We can also collect any evidence on our own if need be. Our team can also examine in detail the sobriety test results and the arresting officer’s reported observations. From these, we can determine if any mistakes or constitutional violations occurred during the arrest process.

Based on what we find, we can then work to build a strong defense strategy. This may result in reduced charges, dismissal of charges, or acquittal. We can also negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf and advocate for your rights in court.

How a California DUI Attorney Works to Reduce Charges and Avoid Jail Time

For a good DUI lawyer, there are no simple solutions. Each case will necessarily be different from the next. Not only is every situation different, but a good lawyer will treat each client with the individual care they deserve. This ensures that no two cases ever look exactly the same in court.

Nevertheless, we can give you a generic step-by-step outline of what it might look like when a DUI attorney goes to work to defend your case:

  • Reviewing the Facts and Evidence: The first step an attorney can take is to talk to you about your side of the story. They can then review the facts of the case and all available evidence. This includes police reports, witness statements, and any physical evidence such as breathalyzer results or blood tests.
  • Conducting an Independent Investigation: The attorney may next conduct or hire out some level of independent investigation into the case. This can gather additional evidence or identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. From there, they can build the strongest possible strategy to defend the accused.
  • Evaluating the Legality of the Arrest: The attorney can extensively review the record of their client’s arrest. They can determine if any constitutional violations, law-breaking, or procedural errors occurred during the arrest. If so, the attorney may file a motion to suppress evidence. They may even be able to have the charges dismissed entirely.
  • Challenging Evidence: A DUI attorney can also analyze the prosecution’s evidence and testimony to identify any weaknesses or inconsistencies. They may challenge the validity of any tests conducted, such as sobriety tests or blood tests. They can also question the accuracy of the equipment or methods used to conduct such tests.
  • Negotiating With Officials: In some cases, a DUI attorney may engage in plea negotiations with the prosecutor. Sometimes, they can reach a deal that can reduce the charges or avoid jail time. This could include “pleading down” to a lesser charge (often reckless driving) or negotiating for a reduced sentence. A reduced sentence will be based on specific parameters, such as the defendant’s agreement to attend substance abuse counseling.
  • Preparing for Trial: If the case goes to trial, the attorney can prepare their client for trial. They can do this by engaging in the jury selection process, challenging any improper evidence submitted by the prosecution, and preparing opening and closing statements. If necessary, they may also prepare firsthand witnesses or expert witnesses to testify on behalf of the defendant.
  • Representing the Client in Court: Of course, an attorney is also there to represent their client in court. They can present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, argue on behalf of the client, and perform all the important work a lawyer traditionally does in a trial setting.
  • Appealing the Decision: If the client is convicted despite the lawyer’s efforts at mounting a defense, it may not yet be over. If a DUI case does not reach an appropriate outcome, an attorney can still file an appeal. This can challenge the conviction and possibly reduce the sentence.

This list is only intended to provide a general overview of the process. These steps will vary significantly from case to case. The exact process will depend on the specific circumstances of each DUI. A DUI attorney can use a variety of techniques when defending a client to reduce charges or avoid jail time. When facing DUI charges, it is always useful to better understand the general process. Knowing this can give you a better idea of the necessary skills you need when you start looking for a well-qualified attorney.

Understanding DUI and DWI Laws in California

Drunk driving is a very serious offense in California. It is also treated as such by law enforcement and the criminal justice system. Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are serious crimes that carry significant penalties. These include hefty fines, license suspensions, and even jail time. Understanding the laws and consequences of DUI and DWI in California is essential for all drivers, whether they have been charged with an offense or not.

Here are some key facts:

  • In California, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% for drivers over the age of 21. It is 0.04% for commercial drivers. The BAC limit is only 0.01% for drivers under the age of 21.
  • A driver found to be operating a vehicle with a BAC equal to or exceeding the legal limits above can be charged with a DUI. A driver found to be operating a vehicle while under the influence of any amount of drugs can also be charged with a DUI. In some cases, a driver may be charged with a DWI if their BAC is at or above 0.15%.
  • There is no legal distinction between DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated) in California. Both terms could be used interchangeably to refer to the same offense, as defined in California Vehicle Code Section 23152.
  • The penalties for a DUI conviction in California will vary depending on several factors. These include the number of previous convictions, the severity of the offense, and whether there was any property damage or injuries involved.
  • First-time offenders can face a license suspension of up to six months, fines of up to $1,000, and up to six months in jail. However, penalties for a typical first-time DUI are not usually meted out at the maximum level. Under California driving laws updated in 2022, first-time DUI offenders are also subject to a mandatory 30-hour alcohol education course. These changes also mandate that attendees pay a steep tuition of $500.
  • Under these same updated codes, a person convicted of a second DUI offense within three years of their first is now punishable by a fine of at least $390 and up to $1,200. In addition to these mandatory penalty assessments, you may spend at least 90 hours in jail (with up to a year possible). There is also a requirement for the court-ordered installation of an ignition interlock device. This is for those who retain any driving privileges at all.
  • There is no hard mandatory minimum sentence for most types of DUI convictions in California. Therefore, judges have a fair bit of discretion when handing down punishments for DUI/DWI cases. This means that the penalties for a DUI conviction can vary widely. The exact penalties you face will depend on the circumstances of the case. These include your city, your previous criminal history, how much damage was done, whether injuries were sustained, and the quality of your legal defense team.
  • DUI cases in California do not always go to court. Like other types of cases, DUIs can routinely be settled in a quieter, more expedited fashion through plea bargaining. It is even possible that you may get the charges dismissed on a technicality in certain cases. In fact, most DUI cases in California are resolved through plea bargaining. In this process, the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for reduced penalties. While going to trial for a DUI is less common, it can sometimes be necessary if the defendant believes that they have a strong case. The defendant may also feel the need to challenge the constitutionality of the charges.
  • It is important to note that in California, DUI cases can involve both criminal charges and administrative penalties. In addition to facing fines and potential jail time, drivers who are arrested for DUI may also face administrative penalties from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). These include license suspension, more fines, and mandatory substance education programs. In most cases, a DMV hearing will be automatically scheduled within ten days of the DUI arrest. This process will run parallel to your criminal proceedings. During the DMV hearing, the defendant can challenge the suspension of their driver’s license. They are also allowed to be represented by an attorney at these hearings. Their DUI attorney can present evidence and argue on their behalf, much as they will do in the criminal proceedings. It is recommended that the same attorney represent you through both processes.

Brown & Stedman, LLP: Your Trusted Partners for Facing DUI Charges

At Brown & Stedman, LLP, we believe that every person is entitled to a strong defense and, if necessary, a fair trial. If you are facing DUI charges in Riverside, California, we are here to listen and help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and begin building your defense.

Learn More About What We Can Do To Help

We invite you to call us at 949-459-5900 to schedule your free initial consultation. You can also reach our firm by contacting us online.

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