DUI convictions carry many consequences, including those imposed by a court and others. You might not be aware of all of these potential consequences or how badly they can impact your life – even if it is only your first DUI.
An experienced, aggressive attorney can help you address these consequences and mitigate their impact upon you. Contact the Hedding Law Firm today to learn how we can help you manage the results of a first-time DUI.
Some Consequences You Might Not Know About
You are probably aware that a DUI conviction will leave you with a criminal record. You are also probably aware that it will result in fines, fees, community service, and other court-ordered sanctions. But did you know about the many administrative consequences of DUI?
- Driver's license suspension: Simply refusing to submit to a bodily fluid test (breath, blood, or urine) during a DUI stop can result in the rest of your driver's license. This is known as an administrative per se suspension. When you refuse to submit to such tests on the scene of a DUI stop, the officer will submit documentation to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Your license suspension will automatically take effect in ten days unless you request a hearing with the DMV to challenge the rest. Many other types of driver's license suspension occur during a DUI case. If you submit to tests on the scene which show a blood alcohol content above .08, you will also be subject to a suspension. And, of course, DUI convictions carry a host of consequences with the DMV – including lengthy suspensions. Repeat DUI convictions result in longer suspensions, but even first-time DUI convictions significantly affect the DMV.
- Employment: In general, employers have broad discretion to terminate employment based upon an employee's criminal record. Court cases and documentation are public records, and little can be done to stop your employer from finding them. More importantly: a DUI case causes you to miss a significant amount of time from work. Court appearances, community service, DMV hearings, court-ordered substance abuse screenings, and other mandatory appointments can put you in a precarious position with your employer.
- Fingerprint clearance: Many jobs require a fingerprint clearance card. This results from background checks and detailed examinations of your criminal record. A DUI conviction will inevitably make obtaining a fingerprint clearance card more difficult. Even if it is possible to appeal to the Fingerprint Clearance Board, this will require a significant amount of time and money to complete. It may even need you to hire an attorney and invest substantial attorney's fees in the project.
Defending a DUI
If you are like many people who have been arrested for DUI, you are unclear about how an attorney could help you. If you were arrested for DUI, the chances are that you had been drinking at least a little and that the officer asked you to perform a roadside sobriety test or took a breath sample that indicated that you were over the legal limit. What defenses could be available?
Well, the good news for you is that the answer to this question is “several.” Some of the more common DUI defenses raised in California include the following:
- Challenging the initial traffic stop. Police are required to have reasonable suspicion that a crime is being or recently has been committed before making a traffic stop, and sobriety checkpoints are subject to specific legal requirements. If a traffic stop is deemed invalid, any evidence gathered can likely be suppressed during that stop.
- Presenting evidence that you have a medical condition that can cause symptoms similar to intoxication. Bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and poor balance can be caused by much more than drugs or alcohol. If your attorney can introduce evidence that you have a medical condition that could be mistaken for intoxication, it may result in your case being dropped or an acquittal.
- Challenging the Breathalyzer Results – Many DUI arrests involve breathalyzer evidence. Breathalyzer results are not always accurate. Arguing that the machine was improperly calibrated or that you have a medical condition that can affect the results may call the results into question or result in them being dismissed entirely.
If you face the consequences of a DUI, contact the experienced, aggressive attorneys at the Hedding Law Firm. We have successfully represented many DUI cases.