DUI Arrests and Attorneys
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DUI Arrests and Attorneys
Hi, I need a recommendation for a good attorney for my freind's DUI case in
Berkeley, and/or East Bay. This is her first time. She was arrensted last
night and the court date isn't till August. I really appreciate any
Your friend should be thankful that's all that happened and no-one was
Still, we all make mistakes. Consider giving Dan Pocklington a call (925)
295-1304 or www.pocklingtonlaw.com. I didnt use him for a DUI case, but
of his specialties and he does free consultations. Good luck.
Regarding your friend's DUI, unless the officers who arrested her really
screwed up, she's most likely not going to beat her case.
She might consider asking for a public defender when she appears before
the judge. A private attorney can't really do much for her only charge
her a bunch of money to do the same that a public defender would do. But
depending on how much your friend makes she may not qualify for one. The
prosecutor will use you're friends DUI results from the breathlizer
against her. If your friend has a .08 or above she will not be able to
beat the rap. (She will have to pay a fine, pay for a DUI class (prices
and the length of the classes vary depending on how high her blood
alcohol level was.) She'll also loose her license for a good amount of
time, but may be able to drive to and from work. If convicted or if she
pleads no contest, the DUI will stay on her rC)cord for 10-years. And
during that time, if she gets another DUI, her first DUI will count
against her and her fines will double and so will the ammount of time she
loses her license. Someone has seen how the system works.
I need a recommendation for an attorney for a DUI.
Craig Pinto in El Cerrito --
I got a DUI - and I'm guilty, no argument there. I have (I
think) one from about 25 yrs ago so I'm not sure that will
pop up and further complicate matters. I know that I have to
go before the DMV and request a provisional license - I have
kids and I need my car for work (I'm in the trades so taking
public transport isn't an option), plus my spouse travels
out of the country for business. I got pulled over at a
checkpoint, blew above the limit and had my car impounded.
To me, this seems pretty cut and dried: I'm guilty, I know
I'll loose my (regular) license for at least 4 months and
I'll have to do community service (and probably pay a hefty
fine). I'm okay will all of this, I made a bad decision and
I accept the consequences. So I'm wondering if I need an
attorney...? I don't want to pay someone to basically do
nothing. Anyone who has been in a similar situation please
My partner got a DUI last year, and heres what he learned:
1. unless you have tons of other issues, or many DUI's ,
there isn't any point in getting a lawyer.
2. the best thing to do is just admit you were wrong in
court and be extra nice and sorry about it, with every clerk
you have to talk to. They will sometimes let some dates etc.
slide a bit, it will help soften the blow.
3. just pay your dues (and they will be high!) and try to be
4. your past DUI will bite you, but if you did all the
classes and fees back then, it shouldn't be too bad. But be
extra nice with all the officers, judge etc, and you will
see a big difference in how you are treated in the long run.
My husband was given a DUI citation last year. This was
marijuana, not alcohol, so it may not apply because there is
no definitive test you can give for pot. They test your
blood and it just shows whether you have smoked in the last
month or so, so a positive actually tells you nothing.
Unlike alcohol, where a positive breath test is sufficient
evidence, with pot they have to show impairment. He had
smoked that day, but not for several hours previously, and
I, who was in the car with him, did not think there was
anything wrong with his driving (he crossed the center line
cutting corners on a windy mountain road, but only where he
could see oncoming traffic, like everyone else on the
But - no surprise here - they said he was impaired
and failed the field test. So, it was going to be his word
against the cop's. Gee, who was going to lose in that
battle? He decided to fight it anyway. We paid a fair bit
(3K) to an attorney who specializes in these cases and with
her help got the DUI reduced to crossing the center line and
driving too fast for conditions (since he was not going over
the speed limit...). Both are moving violations but since
it's the same incident, they treat it as one offense, so
just one point on your record.
It was so worth it. A DUI was
going to raise our insurance rates by a factor of three or
so for 10 years (both of ours because now they use your
spouse's driving record to set your rates), the fines and
classes are more than we paid, my husband would be excluded
from any number of jobs he might apply for, he would have to
have a limited license (he too is a contractor), and have to
spend a lot of time in classes. I did a lot of research into
the expenses of having a DUI, and it's truly astronomical.
By fighting, we paid the $3K, but have somewhat higher rates
(not nearly as high) for 3 years and no classes, and the
fine was much smaller. It sounds like your case is more cut
and dried, but still, you might want to consider a lawyer,
just to get the charges reduced. FWIW, I had a boyfriend
many years ago who also got a DUI (alcohol, blew WAY over
the limit). He got a lawyer and went to court and got
acquitted, so there you go - even when you're guilty as sin,
you can still sometimes get off with a good lawyer. Just
I'd say fight it
Don't get an attorney. It's a waste of money and you'll
still have to pay the fine, do the community service, take
the DUI classes, etc. It's just that if you add on the cost
of an attorney, you'll blow a few MORE thousand dollars. And
your old DUI doesn't matter because it's outside the time
limit (believe it has to be within 7 years these days to
make a difference).
The classes are actually a good idea for you, though,
because (I hate to lecture) it's not about you accepting you
got caught; it's more about the fact that you endangered
your own life and others. THAT'S what's scary and very wrong
That said, no one should judge, because anyone who has had
an alcoholic beverage and has driven and has not gotten a
DUI has simply been LUCKY. It's not hard to blow .08.
--Have some experience with this.
My spouse got a DUI years ago and we tried to fight it
because it was clearly an illegal stop. We hired a lawyer
paid him $5K (and that was 10 years ago)
and it was a complete waste of money. He is a well know
DUI lawyer but I thought he was one of the most
disrespectful people I've ever come acrross. I also don't
think the outcome would have been any different had we
used no lawyer. If you are not even going to fight it I'm
not sure it would be worth the money. Though maybe someone
will have some advice about a decent lawyer out there.
Yup, see if you can get an attorney. This is going to
basically cost you a few grand, if not more with an attorney
hired. You will likely be ordered to attend a class or two,
possibly community service. Whatever you do, do not miss your
community service--I think a niece of my friend got arrested
when she showed up for her service and no one was there, so
she went home, then they arrested her for being a no-show. So
it's kind of like the army that way.
Know a few of those!
I have a friend who hangs out with a lot of hard partiers,
and she once said that she didn't think that DUIs were
that bad because everyone she knew had at least one on
their record. I gave her a reality check and let her know
that there is nobody in my life who has had a DUI, unless
you count an old boyfriend who was in AA because he was an
alcoholic. Your post concerned me because this has
happened to you before. I don't have any legal advice for
you, but I wanted to offer some support while you do some
soul searching about why you drink and drive. I hope that
you're talking to your spouse about this so that you're
not so alone. If you call the local AA Central Office (510-
839-8900) they may be able to give you some advice. Many
people who drink and drive have been through those doors,
so there could be a lot of people who can help you with
this. Good luck.
Please consult an attorney. Please! This is not a simple
traffic ticket, This is a crime, and you would be a fool to
go to court without counsel. What about this: ''If a person
is convicted of a first violation of Section 23152, that
person shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail
for not less than 96 hours, at least 48 hours of which shall
be continuous, nor more than six months, and by a fine of
not less than three hundred ninety dollars ($390), nor more
than one thousand dollars ($1,000).'' That's Vehicle Code
section 3536(a). Your attorney can make sure that all
mitigating circumstances, including your very sincere
expression of remorse and unquestioning admission of guilt,
are taken into account. You should also know that the
breath-testing machines are not infallible, and there are
serious legal issues involved in certifying and verifying
the proper functioning of a given device. I think I've
stayed on the right side of not actually giving legal
advice, but you really should get an attorney, and there are
very reputable ones out there who specializa in DUI cases.
I am an attorney and handled a lot of DUIs in the past
although I do not do those cases anymore and have not
handled them in years. Please do not heed the advice that
you can talk to the court clerks and they may let dates
slide. That could result in the court issuing a warrant for
DUIs are complicated cases. You should consult with the
public defender's office in your county. You may qualify
for free services and if you don't you may qualify to pay a
partial fee. You also may be able to get a referral from
If I were in your shoes, I would obtain a copy of the police
report in your case and have the case evaluated by a lawyer
who is experienced in DUIs and who works in the courthouse
where your case is filed. Call the public defender's office
and ask if there is a duty attorney who can speak to you so
you can find out if you qualify for their services and if
not, ask for a referral.
don't do it yourself
I don't know what a historical DUI will do to the severity of your
current consequence, but if it were me, I would consult with a reputable
and vetted criminal attorney who has expertise in this area.
Not to be preachy or judgemental, but if this is not a first DUI (or there were
additional times when you were driving under the influence but not
caught), maybe you should consider some counseling or AA. I attended a speaker
on substance at my child's school, and the speaker said that the average times
someone drives drunk before getting caught was something like 7 or 9 times.
Good luck to you both.
I have custody of my 17 year old nephew. He was sitting in his car
listening to music (ignition on) and had come from a party where he
drank beer. The police stopped at his car (headed to a complaint of
noise from the party), and arrested him and charged him with a DUI.
We know that he will lose his license for one year and we will need
to go to court on the charges. I would appreciate any feedback,
suggestions, information from anyone who has gone through this
process before with their minor teenager. I just don't know what to
expect regarding his possible type(s) of punishment and how we go
about getting car insurance again after the year has passed. Any
information on what I can expect is greatly appreciated.
Look online on the California DMV site to see what the penalties are
for a DUI for a person under 21. Also you could Google ''California
DUI under age 21'' for other sites that describe all the consequences
of an underage DUI (penalties, loss of license for one year, need to
attend DUI classes, etc.). The easiest way to figure out the
insurance consequences is to call an insurance company and ask.
Clearly,after the one-year license suspension this teen's insurance
rate is going to skyrocket and your current insurance company may
refuse to insure him, necessitating finding another company that
will. So it doesn't hurt to find out the bad news ahead of time.
After our teen got DUI, I learned it's considered a ''lightweight''
(not that it's OK, just that I never knew it was so common). First,
you do not need to hire att'y. After a few weeks (it takes awhile to
get it into the system) go to 600 Washington St (Oakland), to the 2nd
Flr (don't make our mistake and go to the 1st Flr Traffic Dept
windows...repeated visits, useless waiting in long lines....your case
will never show up on those computers.....finally someone told us it's
the Upstrs counter for 'criminal' , DUI, stuff---so frustrating, but
get used to it....best lesson for teen: what a pile of doo-doo for
them to deal with), and they'll give the court date. Due to 18 yr old
age, Court doesn't permit parents to accompany Teen up to the Judge,
so prep your teen well about what to say (we didn't hire att'y, so
weren't informed of this, did it on the fly, and our teen screwed it
up, of course, so he had to go to court twice), about proper Plea.
Guilty, unless police officer screwed up badly (which in our case, he
did---municipality starts with ''A'', ends with ''Y''). DMV
holds/suspends license for 1 year. Meanwhile, you must deal with
transportation emergencies for one year, which occur with a busy 18 yr
old housing an undeveloped frontal lobe: ours was good about biking
and BART, but still there were headaches and frustrations, especially
if BART shut down before our teen's partying did. Second big one:
after one year, obtaining insurance. It's the insurance company that
handles the paperwork with the DMV which gets back your teen's
license. The DUI stays on the teen's record for 10 yrs, so the
''top'' insurers won't touch your teen for 10 yrs. There's good deals
from those companies that advertise on TV--Geico, Progressive,
etc. You can fill out a form online and 10 agents will call you back
within 2 hours. Some were extremely nice and helpful. You'll need to
self-educate about coverages actually needed, how much, etc, so you
don't get clipped. I got estimates of $2K/yr, and after evaluating
what we really needed, it came down to $1.2K/yr average. Also, your
teen will obtain a discount on future premiums for each succeeding
year they are a good driver/good grades. Good luck.
''This, too, shall pass''
Get yourself a good lawyer fast. If the car is not running and not
moving, you may have a good case for a dispute since a theoretical
ability to drive when the car is not in operation is not a basis for
an arrest (e.g. pre-crime) and listening to music doesn't necessarily
imply operation of a motor vehicle either since the key must be turned
to operate the radio. Now there are gotchas here, so you must consult
A cop may arrest on the basis of a violation but not on the theory
(like he *may* drive) of operation, and it is not the cop who
determines whether he is guilty or innocent or whether a violation has
truly occurred - it is the province of the Courts. Your nephew
deserves proper representation in this matter.
Finally, while you may be annoyed with your nephew now please be aware
that this matter will not go away - Court records are public and may
impact his ability to make a living many years down the line when he's
long past that annoying age. Believe me, it is worthwhile to pay the
money and let a well-recommended professional attorney assist you in
navigating this problem. And please don't hunt through the phone book
and randomly pick out someone because they have a big ad - attorneys
are expensive and you can't afford a mistake any more than you'd pick
a random guy to redo your home's foundation - do your homework. Good luck
OMG - DO NOT HIRE A LAWYER unless you are prepared to pay $60,000-
$80,000. (And the odds are you still not win.) The Public Defender
will do a better job then a private attorney. This is a huge money
maker for attorneys and all they will do is plead the case for you.
(Something you could do on you own.)
Go to court and plead "Not Guilty" and ask for a PD.
Correction to the person who stated "If the car is not running and
moving, you may have a good case for a dispute since a theoretical
ability to drive when the car is not in operation is not a basis for
This is NOT true in California. A minor with any BA level is guilty
(period) there is no defense. By law it's illegal for a teen to
have any BA level, doesn't mater if he was in the car or standing in
a parking lot or there wasn't a car even close. In CA it's a
mandatory license suspension.
The courts and DAs are very, very hard on teenagers with any BA
level. Remember the family that was just killed in Novato? And
don't let anyone try the cough medicine or mouth wash defense unless
you child drank 5 gallons just before he was arrested. (You can find
the calculation on-line.)
The arrest is going to be on your child's record rest of his life
and it can not be erased, (it's already in the computer systems). If
he applies for a job they will find it. As for the convection work
with the PD, if your son can demonstrate he's a good kid you can get
the record sealed and years from now possibly expunged.
Be glad your child did not kill anyone or get killed. If you son
took driving training in CA he would have seen the video of the
interview of the teen who is serving 25 years for killing another
teen in Sacramento. (It's almost a repeat of the accident in
Then consider the politics. Do you think a judge will let your son
off on a technicality because the keys weren't in the car or he was
in the back seat. If he does and your son gets into another
accident that judge is not going to look good.
Look on the bright side and use this as a learning lesson for your
son. Remind your son no one was killed, injured and there was no
property damage and he should be all he got was a ticket. If he
still doesn't get it arrange to have your son meet the young man in
Vacaville that caused the Sacramento accident, he'll be there for
another has 20 years.
Best of luck to you and your family.
Someone who has been there
I am a Public Defender. I am not recommending that you retain, but
I would like to correct the response in the 1/8/10 newsletter. It
doesn't cost $80,000 to retain a private lawyer for a Teen DUI. The
fees should not even come close to that amount. It is good to have
someone who handles these types of cases on a regular basis, who is
familiar with the courts and the DMV, take a look at your case.
While it is true that teens can have no measurable amount of alcohol
in their system, that does not mean that fighting their DUI charge
is pointless. There may be issues that need to be addressed and not
actually driving is an issue that should be dealt with. Look at it
as two separate things, the DMV which deals with the license and the
courts which deals with the consequences of the DUI arrest. Yes he
may have an entry on his record of the arrest, but this is not a
death sentence on his/her life. Get some legal counsel, PD or
private. Just my two cents.
My step son got DUI and he is 18 years old (under age drinking). Has
anyone been through this with their kids. Should we hire a lawyer or
go it alone? Does anyone know a good DUI lawyer?
There are now gadgets called Ignition Interlock Devices which are
attached to the car. They are essentially breathilizers -- the engine
will not start if the driver has been drinking. There are different
models, made by different companies, but there are ways to be sure
that the passenger cannot be the one whose breath is being tested.
There's a new state law which will mandate use of IIDs after the
first DUI conviction but this is a pilot program, being used in a few
counties. (AB 91)
In any case, perhaps such a gadget would be useful to parents who are
worried about their kids driving after drinking.
this page was last updated: Jan 17, 2013
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