Facing a felony DUI charge in Oakland can be a daunting and terrifying experience. You need legal representation that is not only seasoned and skilled but also compassionate and empathetic to your situation. Summit Defense is here to offer you that support and representation.
At Summit Defense, our criminal defense law firm is proud to have some of the best Oakland DUI lawyers in the region. A DUI conviction can permanently stain your record, and a criminal defense attorney from our law office would be happy to help you.
Learn more about our services below, and contact us if you need an Oakland DUI lawyer.
Experienced Representation From an Oakland Felony DUI Attorney
At Summit Defense, our team of experienced Oakland DUI attorneys understands the intricacies of DUI laws in California and the harsh penalties they can impose. We use our extensive experience and deep understanding of the law to represent our clients and fight for their rights effectively and compassionately. Count on us to represent you in Oakland, CA.
Oakland DUI Laws and Penalties
California has stringent DUI laws, which can lead to severe penalties, including heavy fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges. The severity of the penalties depends largely on the circumstances of each case, including the number of prior DUI convictions, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, and whether the DUI incident caused harm to others.
Applying Felony DUI Charges in Oakland
Generally, a DUI charge in California is considered a misdemeanor. However, it can be elevated to a felony under certain circumstances, such as when it is a third offense within ten years, causes bodily injury to another person, or when the defendant has a previous felony DUI conviction.
DMV Automatic License Suspension
The California DMV has an administrative process separate from the criminal court proceedings that can lead to the automatic suspension of your driving privileges if you are arrested for a DUI. You have only 10 days from the date of arrest to request a hearing to challenge this suspension.
California DUI Penalties
The penalties you might face if you are convicted of driving under the influence in California can vary depending on your prior criminal record. A few critical penalties to note include the following:
1st Offense DUI
A first-offense DUI in California can lead to penalties including up to six months in jail, fines of $390 to $1,000, and a six to ten-month license suspension. However, the court may allow you to obtain a restricted license for work and DUI school purposes.
2nd Offense DUI
If you receive another DUI conviction within ten years, you can face penalties such as 96 hours to one year in jail, fines of $390 to $1,000, and a two-year license suspension.
3rd Offense DUI
A third DUI offense within ten years is even more severe, with potential penalties including 120 days to one year in jail, fines of $390 to $1,000, and a three-year license revocation.
DUI Cases Involving Aggravating Circumstances
Several aggravating circumstances can significantly increase the penalties someone may face for a conviction of driving under the influence. A few key points for everyone to keep in mind include:
DUI Accident-Causing Bodily Injury
A DUI resulting in bodily injury to another person is a “wobbler” offense in California, which means it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. The severity of charges and penalties largely depend on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s criminal history.
Penalty for 1st Offense DUI With Injury (Misdemeanor)
As a misdemeanor, a first DUI with an injury can lead to penalties such as 12 months in county jail, fines of $390 to $5,000, and a one to three-year license suspension.
Penalty for 1st Offense DUI With Injury (Felony)
As a felony, a first DUI with an injury can result in much stiffer penalties, including many years in prison. It could also lead to fines of $1,015 to $5,000 and a five-year license revocation.
BAC 0.15% Or Higher
If your BAC is 0.15% or higher at the time of arrest, it is considered an aggravating factor that could result in enhanced penalties. The court may order a longer DUI school term or other increased penalties.
Children in Vehicle During DUI
Having a child under 14 years of age in the vehicle during a DUI offense can lead to an additional and consecutive 48 hours in county jail for a first offense and longer for subsequent offenses.
What To Do After a Felony DUI Arrest in San Jose
Being arrested for a felony DUI can be overwhelming and confusing. But, taking the proper steps immediately after the arrest can greatly influence the outcome of your case. Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation:
- Stay Calm: After an arrest, remaining calm and composed is important. Agitation or aggressive behavior could lead to further complications or charges. Cooperate with the police officer and follow their instructions.
- Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent: You have the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment to avoid self-incrimination. Politely inform the officer that you wish to exercise this right. You are not obligated to answer questions about where you’ve been, what you’ve consumed, or other potentially incriminating information.
- Do Not Consent to Searches: Officers might ask for your consent to search your vehicle without a warrant. Politely decline any such requests. They may still perform a search based on probable cause, but it’s crucial not to voluntarily give up your Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.
- Request a DMV Hearing: If you’re arrested for DUI in California, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will automatically initiate proceedings to suspend your driver’s license. You have only ten days from the date of your arrest to request a DMV hearing to challenge this suspension.
- Retain a Qualified DUI Attorney: Hiring an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible should be a top priority. A skilled attorney can represent you at the DMV hearing, analyze the details of your case, guide you through the complex legal process, and advocate for your rights in court.
- Document the Details of Your Arrest: Write down everything you can remember about your arrest as soon as you can. Include details about what you consumed, where you were, the traffic stop, your interaction with the officer, and any tests you were asked to perform. These details can be crucial for your defense.
- Prepare for Your First Court Appearance: Your attorney will help you prepare for your first court appearance or arraignment. You’ll learn about the charges against you and enter a plea. It’s essential to consult your attorney before this appearance to understand the charges and potential consequences.
- Stay in Compliance with All Court Requirements: After your arrest, the court may impose certain requirements, such as attending DUI school or installing an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. Ensure you understand and comply with all these requirements to avoid further legal trouble.
Remember, every DUI case is unique, and this guide may not cover all aspects of your situation. It’s crucial to consult with a knowledgeable DUI attorney who can provide advice tailored to your specific circumstances.
Types of Evidence Used in DUI Cases
The prosecution must present compelling evidence that the defendant was driving under the influence to obtain a conviction in a DUI case. Several types of evidence can be used in DUI cases, each with strengths and limitations. A few examples include:
- Breath, Blood, or Urine Tests: These are biological tests used to determine the amount of alcohol or drugs in a person’s system. The most common is the breath test, often administered at the roadside. However, breath tests can be unreliable and are subject to many factors leading to inaccuracies. Blood tests are considered more accurate but must be conducted under particular conditions to maintain reliability. Urine tests are less common and are typically used when drugs are suspected.
- Field Sobriety Tests: These are physical tests administered by police officers at the scene to determine impairment. They might include the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg stand test. However, their results can be subjective and influenced by various factors such as the individual’s physical condition, nervousness, or even the type of shoes they wear.
- Officer Observations: The arresting officer’s observations and opinions often form a significant part of the prosecution’s evidence. The officer might note the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, glazed eyes, or unstable balance. The officer’s report may also detail the individual’s driving pattern or reckless behavior. However, these observations can be subjective and may not always accurately reflect the driver’s level of impairment.
- Dashcam or Surveillance Footage: Videos from police officers’ dashcams, security cameras, or eyewitnesses can provide valuable evidence in a DUI case. They can demonstrate erratic driving, the conduct of field sobriety tests, and the driver’s behavior and interactions with the police. This type of evidence can be powerful but also subject to interpretation.
- Witness Testimony: Witnesses, including passengers, other drivers, or bystanders, may be called upon to testify about the driver’s behavior, driving pattern, and any events leading up to the arrest. Like any testimony, the credibility of these witnesses can be a significant factor.
Statute of Limitations for California DUI
The statute of limitations for misdemeanor DUI in California is one year, and for felony DUI it is three years.
Common Legal Defenses Against DUI Charges in Oakland
The unique circumstances of your case will dictate the most effective defense strategy. An experienced DUI attorney in Oakland will scrutinize every detail to identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and develop a compelling defense. Some common legal defenses against DUI charges include:
- Challenging the Accuracy of BAC Tests: BAC test results can be crucial evidence in a DUI case, but they’re not infallible. Various factors can affect the accuracy of these tests, from the calibration and maintenance of testing equipment to the timing and manner of the test’s administration. An experienced DUI attorney can scrutinize these tests and potentially challenge their accuracy.
- Questioning the Legality of the Traffic Stop: For a traffic stop to be legal, the officer must have reasonable suspicion that a violation has occurred. If the initial traffic stop can be shown to be unlawful, all evidence obtained as a result may be excluded from the case. Your attorney can examine the circumstances of your stop to identify any potential violations of your constitutional rights.
- Disputing the Reliability of Field Sobriety Tests: Field sobriety tests are designed to assess your physical and cognitive function, but they can be influenced by numerous factors unrelated to alcohol or drug consumption. This might include nervousness, physical impairments, or even adverse weather conditions. A strong defense may challenge these tests’ administration, interpretation, and overall reliability.
- Arguing No Proof of Driving: The prosecution must prove you were driving the vehicle while under the influence. If there’s no direct evidence of you driving (e.g., a police officer didn’t witness it), this could form the basis of your defense.
- Medical Conditions or Other Factors: Certain medical conditions, diets, or even the use of some over-the-counter medicines can influence the results of a breath test or mimic signs of intoxication. These factors can form part of a defense if they can explain your alleged symptoms of impairment or the results of a breath test.
Remember, these are just potential defenses. The best approach will depend on your individual case. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced Oakland DUI defense lawyer who can evaluate your situation and advise on the best course of action.
Contact Our Oakland DUI Attorney at Summit Defense if You’re Wrongfully Charged With a DUI in Oakland
If you or a loved one are facing a DUI charge in Oakland, don’t hesitate to contact Summit Defense. Our experienced Oakland DUI attorneys are ready to provide the strong, compassionate representation you need during this challenging time.
You don’t have to face this alone. Reach out to us today for a free consultation.