Law Offices of William Ausman

DUI Defense FAQ’s


What Happens With I First Appear In Court For My DUI? Do I Need A DUI Lawyer With Me?

Your first appearance in a California criminal court is called an arraignment. On this day, the Judge will review the charges against you and you formally enter a plea on those criminal charges.

At this point you can enter a plea of “guilty”, “not guilty”, or “no contest”. Often the court will also allow you to continue the arraignment so that you can have qualified counsel represent you in the matter.

If you retain a DUI lawyer, the lawyer may appear for you, who will speak to the Judge, the Deputy District Attorney and court staff on your behalf. Under California Penal Code Section 997 this is allowed in all misdemeanor criminal matters.

If you are being charged with a Felony DUI charge, you must make the initial appearance at your arraignment. Mr. Ausman is often able to make most subsequent appearances on felony matters on his client’s behalf.

By hiring an experienced DUI lawyer, you will ensure that you will not have to make your first misdemeanor court appearance, and you will have expert help, every step of the way.

When I Was Arrested The Police Officer Did Not Read Me My Rights, Can The DUI Case I Was Arrested For Be Dismissed?

Police Officers are not required to read you your rights when you are arrested. A Miranda warning only needs to be read when an officer has taken you into custody and wants to interrogate you. Your DUI case won’t be dismissed because the Law Enforcement Officer did not read you your rights.

The Police Said I Blew 0.07%. Why Was I Still Arrested And Charged With A DUI?

An arrest for DUI in California can be made at any blood alcohol level. Some California counties routinely prosecute people with blood alcohol levels below a 0.08% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC).

Often the decision to arrest is dependent upon the performance on the field sobriety tests (balance & coordination), and the driving pattern (weaving, erratic, speeding or an accident, etc.).

In fact, an officer can arrest for simply being under the influence of alcohol or drugs with no reference to your blood alcohol level at all!

The District Attorney would then file a 23152(a) CVC charge, which is simply driving under the influence of alcohol. Again, this would likely be based on the police observations of your driving pattern and performance on the field sobriety tests.

If I Think Have A Good Case, Should I Wait To Contact The California DMV About A Hearing?

No, the criminal case and California DMV suspension of your license in DUI cases are completely separate actions. Do NOT hesitate to request a DMV hearing within ten (10) days of arrest to avoid an automatic suspension of your California driver’s license by the DMV. Our DUI lawyers can handle this for you.

I Was Charged With A DUI After They Pulled Me Over For Speeding. Is This Right?

The speeding offense provided the probable cause (valid reason) for the stop. If the law enforcement officer suspects you of driving under the influence after you are stopped (based on admissions, smell of alcohol or drugs etc.) you can be arrested for DUI in California. There is no requirement that police suspect you of driving under the influence prior to the stop in order to arrest you for DUI.

If The Officer Does Not Show Up At My Initial Court Date Will My DUI Be Dismissed?

No, a DUI charge is a misdemeanor in California not a traffic infraction. The initial court date is an arraignment and the police officer will not be present. In fact the police officer may not be present during the court proceedings until the date of trial if any.

Is It True That You Can Refuse To Take A Chemical Test In California?

No, absolutely not. You should never refuse to take a chemical test in California. A refusal to take a blood or breath test will result in the automatic 1-year suspension of your driver’s license even if the DUI charge is dismissed. And if convicted, a refusal can result in increased penalties including jail time. Also, the refusal can be introduced into evidence as “consciousness of guilt” of having too much alcohol in your system. However, this can be refuted by your DUI defense attorney.

Will Prior DUI Convictions In Other States Count Against Me?

Generally, yes. If the law in the other state is substantially similar to the law in California then a prior DUI or DWI can be used against you in California thereby increasing the penalties (jail time, greater fines and longer alcohol programs, etc.).

What Is A 'Wet Reckless' Driving Charge In California?

A “wet reckless” is essentially driving with some alcohol in your system that does not rise to the level of a DUI. This is a common plea-bargain reduction for first time DUI offenders in California.

The fines, penalties and probation are often less than that of a DUI, but a wet reckless will be considered as “priorable” offense for a seven-year period. Thus, if you get another DUI within ten years of a wet reckless the DUI will count as a second offense.

Should I Just Plead Guilty If My Test Results Were Over 0.08%?

No. There could have been an error during the testing process that can only be uncovered during the discovery process. If you simply plead guilty based on the original test results you may be giving up your opportunity for a dismissal or reduction of the charges against you. Alcohol testing is not always accurate! Procedural errors, faulty machinery, improper testing methods are always a possibility in a DUI case. Your attorney should explore all of your options and opportunities.

How Can I Win A DMV Hearing If My Test Results Are Over 0.08%?

The DMV hearing is very concerned about whether all procedures by law enforcement were properly performed before suspending a person’s driver’s license.

Testing is not always accurate, procedural errors, faulty machinery, improper testing methods are always a possibility in a DUI case. All of these could result in a set aside of your suspension. The DMV hearing is crucial in California DUI cases. In fact, during the DMV hearing, we have been very successful in having our client’s driver’s license suspension set-aside and licenses returned to our clients.

Why Should I Pay For A DUI Lawyer When I Can Get A Public Defender For Free?

In order to qualify for the services of a Public Defender you must establish to the court’s satisfaction that you are indigent (unable to afford to hire your own attorney).

A Public Defender is an attorney assigned to a specific courtroom to handle all of the cases that day for the indigents who did not retain an attorney to represent them. Public Defenders are almost always very dedicated and may be experienced in your type of case. However, your case would be just one of many. Usually, hiring your own lawyer provides you with the most experienced attorney who can provide you with the best possible investigation and defense of your case and you are the sole focus of your attorney.

If you simply plead guilty, you may wonder for years if you could have had the charges against you dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense. You must ask yourself:

“How would a conviction and having a criminal record affect me in the future?”

Don’t take the risk. Get an experienced DUI lawyer on your side.

Need an answer to a question that isn’t here? Call (805) 380-3083

Call the offices of William Ausman, Attorney and Counselor at Law in San Luis Obispo today on (805) 380-3083.

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