Napa DUI Attorney
Defending Against Drunk Driving Charges in Napa County
Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) can be a stressful and upsetting time in your life. However, this terrible experience does not have to last any further than the short time that you or a loved one may have spent in jail. Our Napa DUI lawyer at the Law Office of Douglas Pharr can provide you with representation that will ensure that your rights are protected and you suffer no further harm. We have more than 20 years of experience defending the criminally accused in Napa, CA.
Facing DUI charges? Discuss your situation with our Napa DUI lawyer in a FREE consultation today!
What is Considered a DUI in California?
In the state of California, a person can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. “Under the influence” can include alcohol or drugs or both.
In order to be convicted of DUI in California, you must be proven to be driving and not simply being in actual physical control, unlike many other states. If convicted, you can face serious jail time, fines, license suspension, and ignition interlock device requirements.
What to Do After a DUI Arrest
Being arrested is generally a frustrating and stressful experience, and depending on the circumstances you may feel the need to calmly explain to the officers what happened, or you may want to become belligerent and argue with them. Generally speaking, neither of these will get you the outcome you are looking for.
During and after an arrest, keep the following in mind:
- Be polite, cooperative, and courteous to all officers on the scene. If you wish to decline the breathalyzer test, field sobriety test, or any other tests, you may do so, but be respectful as you do so. The officers may be looking for a reason to arrest you, and being aggressive or argumentative is not helpful.
- Do not forget what you have heard on television dozens of times: what you say can and will be used against you. Do not offer up information that could get you into trouble.
- Be observant of your surroundings. If the officers may be acting in violation of your rights, take note. This is information that may be useful to you later.
- Move quickly after your arrest, and ensure that you have a talented Napa DUI attorney on your side as quickly as possible. It is unlikely that you will be able to talk your way out of a DUI charge on the side of the road – but in a courtroom, your chances are much more secure.
DUI Chemical Testing - Breath and Blood Tests
Chemical testing made it easier for prosecutors to obtain drunk driving convictions, so state legislatures began enacting implied consent statutes to facilitate this goal. Motorists were then forced to choose between statutory compliance or constitutional defiance when consenting to a chemical test.
Although touted as conclusive proof of intoxication, the three primary chemical tests (blood, breath and urine) produce distorted results and have numerous flaws. Since most officers require a breath test, many states give defendants the right to an independent chemical test by a qualified person of their choice.
Whether submitting to a blood, breath or urine test, the ultimate goal is to determine BAC levels in the body. According to the law in most states, any chemical test administered two to four hours after the alleged driving is presumed to be the BAC level at the time of driving.
This presumption allows the defendant to present evidence that refutes the test result, such as recalculating the BAC level by factoring absorption and metabolic rates and numerous other factors that distort chemical test results.
Since alcohol continues to absorb into the bloodstream for approximately 50 minutes after the cessation of drinking, many chemical test results indicate a higher BAC level than at the time of driving. Most defendants are stopped within 15 minutes of their last consumption of alcohol, and are administered chemical tests approximately 45 minutes after the initial police stop.
A blood test for alcohol is usually more accurate than breath analyses. There are different factors that affect how quickly the blood alcohol level rises: the number of drinks per hour, the strength of alcohol in the drink, your weight, your sex, your age, food in the stomach, and other medicines or drugs. Only a qualified medical expert can draw blood because any problems in the method can alter the results.
Avoid These 4 Signs of Drunk Driving
1. Weaving or lane straddling - Drunk drivers often straddle the lane markers because it's easier to follow one line down the middle of the car than keep oneself between two lanes. To observing police officers, this is an easy indicator of a drunk driver and if you drive this way while intoxicated you'll need a Napa DUI attorney.
2. Slurred speech or bloodshot eyes - Once the cop has pulled you over, they'll ask you some questions to get a sense of your sobriety. If they suspect anything out of the ordinary they might shine their flashlight in your face and examine your eyes to see if you're intoxicated.
3. Eye jerking in field sobriety test - First and foremost, field sobriety tests are not mandatory by law, but if you decline to do one, the consequences may be severe. If the officer asks you to follow his finger left and right, what they're looking for is your eye jerking or twitching when it has reached its maximum deviation.
4. Failing the walk-and-turn test - When an officer is conducting this test, they're usually looking for anything out of the ordinary. In order to avoid needing a Napa DUI attorney, wait until the officer has instructed you to begin, touch each heel with your toe, take the proper amount of steps, and don't lose your balance.
Do You Lose Your License for Your First DUI in CA?
In California, you will have your license suspended for 6 months automatically for your first DUI. The way this suspension works is that the judge will notify the DMV and the DMV will impose the suspension. If you can get the DUI reduced to reckless driving, then there will be no automatic license suspension.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in California?
In California, a DUI will stay on your record for 10 years. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and law enforcement can see and use this information when you seek to have your license reinstated. Driving records can’t be removed before the term ends, which starts on the date of your first arrest, has expired.
Does a DUI Show Up on a Background Check in California?
A DUI will show up on a background check in California. Unless you have your DUI expunged or sealed, landlords, employers, and others can know about your DUI.
Napa DUI Expungement
You can get a DUI expunged by petitioning in court. You are eligible to apply for an expungement at the end of your probation term- there is no 'waiting period' for a DUI expungement in California. You must have fulfilled all terms of your probation (such as Cal Trans, community service, payment of fines, and alcohol school). The law allows a motion for early termination of probation in DUI cases, but that is generally a difficult task as California law provides for a minimum three year probation, and Judges and Prosecutors do not want to appear 'soft' on DUI cases.
Decades of DUI Defense Experience at Your Disposal
It is an unfortunate fact that an arrest for DUI is a common occurrence. Much less common is the quality of representation that The Law Office of Douglas Pharr provides a client charged with DUI. Our Napa DUI lawyer gives our clients’ DUI the attention it deserves. The case is scrutinized by a highly-skilled Napa DUI attorney to ensure that everything possible is done to protect you against these charges. When your case is complete you will have the luxury of knowing that every legal option was exhausted prior to the case closing. At the Law Office of Douglas Pharr, we understand the urgency of your legal matter and can provide the legal help you need.
Call our offices today at (707) 674-5868 to schedule your free consultation to speak with our attorney about your options!