Murrieta DUI Lawyer

Arrested for DUI in the Murrieta Area? Get the DUI Defense You Need!

Every year in the state of California alone, more than 200,000 drivers are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. A police officer in California has the right to ask you to submit to a chemical blood alcohol content (BAC) test if he or she has reason to believe you've been drinking and driving.

Because of California's implied consent laws, refusing to take this test is a punishable offense. The law stipulates that all drivers on California roads with state driver's licenses consent to DUI testing by an officer. If the blood, urine, or breath test shows that your BAC is at 0.08 percent or above, you can be arrested for driving under the influence.

At Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich, our Murrieta DUI attorneys understand that good people can sometimes find themselves in difficult circumstances. Backed by several decades of experience defending the accused, we understand the road that lies ahead and can use our knowledge to help level the playing field against the prosecution’s claims. We truly believe you are innocent until proven guilty and we are committed to exploring every available opportunity to secure a reduction or dismissal of your charges on your behalf.

Start Building Your DUI Defense Today – Call (951) 506-6654

What Are the Penalties for DUI in California?

The penalties for a DUI conviction in California are notorious for being among the toughest in the United States. If convicted of a DUI, you could face fines, license suspension, jail time, mandatory community service hours, and forced installation of a vehicle ignition interlock device.

For a first offense, you may have to pay up to $1,000 in fines, give up your driver's license for 4 months, and go to jail for up to 6 months. Subsequent offenses bring even more severe charges. For example, a second offense can mean losing your license for a year, jail time, and compulsory alcohol treatment. You will also have to pay for an expensive high-risk insurance policy.

More than one conviction within a 10-year period can cause you to be classified as a repeat DUI offender and subject you to harsh consequences. If this is your third offense, you may face jail time as well as a two-year license suspension and mandatory alcohol treatment.

When Is a DUI a Felony in California?

While most first, second, or even third drunk driving offenses are charged as misdemeanors in California, any person who is arrested for a fourth DUI within 10 years will almost always face felony charges. Additionally, any DUI offense involving a collision resulting in serious injury or death to another person can be charged as a felony.

Penalties for a felony DUI conviction in California can include:

  • 180 days to 5 years in state prison
  • Up to $18,000 in fines and penalty assessments
  • Four-year driver’s license suspension
  • Mandatory 30-month alcohol abuse treatment

Felony DUI charges are extremely serious and must be handled by a powerful legal team in order to be successfully defended against. A felony conviction can not only endanger your freedom, but it could also inflict permanent damage to your reputation and ability to find suitable employment and housing, even long after you have served your sentence.

If you are facing charges for a felony DUI it is imperative you contact our firm as soon as possible to explore the available options for your defense.

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Are All DUI Breath Tests Required?

When a person is pulled over for suspected DUI, the officer will likely ask them to step out of their vehicle and perform various roadside sobriety tests, some of which may involve a handheld breathalyzer test.

While police may lead you to believe otherwise, any and all preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) tests are completely optional and are solely for the purposes of helping the officer determine if there is enough evidence to arrest you for DUI. It is only after you have been arrested that DUI chemical tests become mandatory to determine blood alcohol levels.

Should I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

If you have already been arrested, it is generally recommended that you submit to a test. While a test refusal may deprive the prosecution of evidence of your intoxication, the additional license suspension and jail time will most often only serve to worsen your situation.

Furthermore, the prosecution does not need to be able to prove that your blood alcohol level exceeded the legal limit – only that you were intoxicated enough to be unfit to drive. Refusing a test is often used by the prosecution as evidence of guilt, thereby nullifying any benefit your refusal might have provided.

Refusing a breath, blood, or urine test can carry the following penalties:

  • For a first offense: a one-year driver's license suspension and up to 48 hours in jail
  • For a second offense: a two-year driver's license suspension and up to 96 hours in jail
  • For a third offense: a three-year driver's license suspension and up to 10 days in jail

Breath Test vs. Blood Test – Which Should I Take?

If given the choice, it is usually preferable to take a blood test over a breath test. Breath tests are less accurate and are more likely to register a false high reading than a blood test. With a blood test, two vials of blood will be drawn – one for the state, and one that you may have retested by a third-party laboratory at your own expense.

It is not uncommon for the two samples to yield different results. An attorney can use this to contest the reliability of the state’s testing methods, such as by looking for signs of tampering, determining whether or not your blood was properly stored, or investigating if your blood sample was tested by an inexperienced technician.

Can I Contest My License Suspension?

In the event that you should be arrested for DUI in California, your arresting officer will confiscate your license and issue you a 30-day temporary driving permit. When this time period expires, your license will automatically be suspended unless you successfully contest your suspension at a DMV administrative license suspension hearing. You only have 10 days after your arrest to request a DMV hearing.

Your DMV hearing will seek to address the following three questions:

  1. Did the officer have a valid reason to believe you were driving while intoxicated?
  2. Were you arrested in a lawful manner?
  3. Was your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) 0.08% or higher at the time of your arrest?

Depending on the DMV’s findings, your license suspension will either be upheld or overturned. An attorney from our firm can help you prepare for this hearing and even appear on your behalf, thereby greatly improving your chances of maintaining your driving privileges.

Murrieta DUI Attorneys – Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich

If you are facing DUI charges in the state of California, it is important that you don't try to deal with them alone. Hire a Murrieta DUI lawyer who can help you avoid the serious consequences of a conviction and represent your interests in an administrative hearing about your driving privileges with the DMV.

At Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich, we have experience in handling DUI cases in Murrieta, CA. We may be able to prove that your arresting officer pulled you over without probable cause or that there was an error in the chemical BAC test, potentially preventing a wrongful conviction. Don't wait: Get help today. Our firm is proud to serve clients throughout Murrieta, CA.

Call Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich for a free, no-obligation case evaluation and learn how our team can help you fight a DUI.

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Call (951) 506-6654 or fill out the form below to get in touch with our experienced team.

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