DUI Attorney in Rocklin-Roseville, California
Anyone can commit a DUI. Maybe you had that one more glass of wine at the company party and you came to a California rolling stop. Maybe you knew you should sober up, but you waited two hours when it turns out you needed to wait three or four. Maybe did what you thought was right and stopped after just a couple of beers, but you didn’t consider that the pitcher your friend ordered was a double IPA. Maybe it just hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.
Regardless, you made a mistake, and you spent the night in jail, and now you’re in the system, and the government is going to come at you from all sides, and you need someone who’ll be there for you. You are facing a license suspension, classes, fines, and more jail time. You might be worried about the effect on your family, or what’s going to happen at your job. You’re suddenly getting all sorts of solicitations in the mail from breathalyzer companies and low-rent ambulance-chaser types, and maybe you’re going out of the way to get the mail before your roommate finds one and figures out what you did. You’re probably looking at yourself wondering how you got here.
When it seems everything is coming at you, don’t sit back and take what’s coming. It’s important to have someone on your team who can put you back in the driver’s seat.
Get Ahead of the Prosecution
After your initial DUI arrest, the government comes at you in two separate but closely related ways. The first way is through a process of suspending your license independently of what happens in court. When you got arrested, the cops probably took your driver’s license and gave you a pink sheet of paper to use in its place. The fine print on that pink sheet says your license is automatically suspended 30 days after your DUI, unless you take action within ten days to prevent that automatic suspension. Taking the action to prevent the automatic suspension is the first step a good lawyer will take in defending your DUI.
This simple step puts the ball back in your court, slows the case down, and makes it so time is on your side. You and your lawyer will now be able to come up with a plan of action, and will be able to see police reports and other evidence against you before any consequences are handed down. If you slow it down, you can find your defense if there is one. It may be that you were pulled over or arrested unlawfully. It may be that the equipment used to measure your blood alcohol was not properly calibrated or maintained. If your blood alcohol level was measured at right around the legal limit, the government may not be able to prove that you were actually above the limit at the time you were driving. If your DUI is based on an allegation you were under the influence of cannabis or drugs, the prosecution may have a difficult time proving that you were truly too impaired to drive safely.
Or, it might be that you don’t have much of a defense. Lots of people don’t. But even if you can’t beat the DUI charge, a good lawyer can help you eliminate or reduce jail time, lower fines, potentially reduce charges, and shorten the amount of time of any license suspension or requirement to have a breathalyzer in your car. A good lawyer will make sure you can skip most court appearances and go to work instead. A good lawyer can work with you on a plan that would minimize the interruptions in your life.
How Bad is it, Really?
If it’s your first DUI, it’s probably not as bad as you think. While a DUI is a misdemeanor criminal offense and the penalty for a first time DUI can include up to six months in jail, most people don’t find themselves back in a jail cell after their initial arrest. You’ll probably be placed on probation, but it’s usually the type where you don’t check in with anyone and only get violated if you get in more trouble. There is a license suspension, but if you enroll in the right class, put a breathalyzer in your car, and get the proper insurance rider, you can drive during the suspension. But there is still a wide range of what might happen if convicted – how much time on work project, amount of fines, other consequences, all can change depending on the facts of your case and your own efforts. The penalties for a first DUI are designed to scare you and inconvenience you and cost you into never doing it again; never do it again, but you and your lawyer will have a real ability to influence what the consequences are.
If you’ve had DUIs before, or caused an injury, the consequences get worse. A second DUI carries a longer suspension, a longer class, and often some actual jail time and supervised probation. A third DUI carries even more potential for jail time and a longer probation period. Fourth and subsequent DUIs, and DUIs where someone was injured, can be felonies that carry significant penalties including prison. The higher the potential maximum consequences, though, the more a good lawyer can help you move the needle, and the more those consequences can be reduced if you have the right lawyer and put in the right work.
What You Can Do
The most important thing to do when you get a DUI is to get some semblance of control, and having a good lawyer is the best way to do that. In some cases, you can avoid punishment altogether. In other cases, a lawyer will help you minimize the consequences and prepare for them, so that your life is interrupted as little as possible.
You can also take steps to address the issues that may have led to the DUI. Even if you don’t get the shakes and don’t get cravings, or even if you never drink except that this was a wedding, you now have a drinking problem – that is, a problem that was caused at least in part because you were drinking. Own that. If you were thinking of going to a meeting, or starting therapy, or attending rehab, or trying to not drink for a week to see how you like it – now’s the time to do it and document it. It will help your lawyer negotiate your case, and it might help you out too.
Anyone can commit a DUI. It’s not the end of the world. A good lawyer can help you take control and turn it into a new beginning. And Sam Berns is the best lawyer in town, three years running.