COMMON DUI MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS
Dec. 6, 2021
If you’ve been arrested with a DUI charge, you'll likely want to know what to expect in the coming weeks and months. One of the most important things you can do for yourself is retain a skilled criminal defense lawyer who can clear up any misconceptions about your charge, work with you to prepare your best possible defense to reduce your penalties, or even seek to get your charges thrown out completely. Through my 15 years working for the District Attorney I became intimately familiar with California's criminal justice system, but in 2009 I knew I could do more to help the people in my community. That’s why I started my own firm, the Darryl A. Stallworth Law Office.
From my offices in Oakland, California, I help clients all over the Bay Area, Alameda County and Northern California get the skilled representation they need. Reach out to me today to talk about your case and we’ll work together to find a solution.
DUI CHARGES IN CALIFORNIA
Like all states, California issues DUIs to motorists driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. There are certain groups of people who are subject to stricter laws, such as commercial drivers who only need a .04% BAC or minors who can receive a DUI for any amount of alcohol over .01%. However, unlike most other states, California has a “proof of driving” requirement to warrant a DUI which differs from states who only require you to be in “actual physical control” of your vehicle.
Here are some other important facts—and misconceptions—to note about DUI charges in California.
COMMON MYTHS & FACTS ABOUT DUI CHARGES
A DUI charge isn’t worth fighting. A DUI charge is almost always worth fighting, even if you know you were under the influence when arrested. Your penalties will vary depending on past convictions, the circumstances of your specific case, and how well your attorney presents evidence to uphold your rights. Judges can decide between a range of penalties from fines to jail time to alcohol and addiction treatment.
If I’m driving perfectly, I can’t get arrested for a DUI. While it’s true that an officer needs probable cause to pull you over, you could still be stopped at a DUI checkpoint. These roadblocks—legal on both the state and federal level—allow officers to check all drivers to see if they’re driving under the influence. So, even if you think you’re a “good” driver, you could still get caught.
When arrested for a DUI, I don’t have to submit to urine/blood tests. This is both true and untrue. Under California law, you implicitly agree to a chemical test to verify whether you’re under the influence. You can refuse to take one but you’ll face a $125 fine as well as risk a one-year license suspension. Note that this implied consent law does not apply to field sobriety tests. You can refuse these without penalty, and the officer may use your refusal as a basis for arresting you, but this can be contested in court.
When stopped, I’m obligated to answer all the officer’s questions. If you’re pulled over, the most important thing is to remain calm and respectful. You should show the officer your license, registration, and insurance, and get out of the car should they request it. However, you do not have to answer any questions about where you were, where you’re going, or if you’ve been drinking. You can politely tell them you want to remain silent. You still may be arrested, but the prosecution will have less evidence to use against you if you abstain from answering questions.
A DUI will fall off my record in 7 years. In California, a DUI conviction stays on your criminal record for a full ten years. This can severely impact your ability to keep and find work.
WORK WITH AN EXPERIENCED DUI DEFENSE ATTORNEY
If you're in Oakland, California or the surrounding area, reach out to me today to talk about your particular case. I’ll listen attentively and use my years of experience to fight the best possible case for you. A drunk driving charge is a serious matter—but it doesn’t have to ruin your life for years to come.