Mark A. Gallagher
Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth herein are based upon the facts of that particular case and do not represent a promise or guarantee. Please contact a criminal attorney for a consultation on your particular legal matter. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the state of California.
Copyright © 2007 Mark A. Gallagher All right reserved. California Law Attorney serving all areas of Southern California.
The Law Offices of
I GOT STOPPED FOR A DUI, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY?
CAN I LEGALLY DRIVE?
If you have been arrested or received a citation for driving under the influence or if you have been involved in an accident with alcohol or drugs involved, you need a qualified attorney immediately. If you don't call us, call someone else, because the penalties for a DUI can be severe. Going through the process without a lawyer is almost always a major mistake. You need an experienced Orange County DUI attorney.
Every DUI case involves two major components, The DMV hearing and the Criminal Court system. Many law firms specialize in DUI law or DMV law, but you need someone that can handle both. At The Law Offices of Mark A. Gallagher we have the skill and experience to handle your DUI case with both the DMV and the Court from start to finish.
DMV HEARINGS IN A DUI CASE
The first attack on your freedom comes from the DMV which has control over your privilege to drive in the State of California. For many Californians, the privilege to drive is a necessity. With a lack of public transportation and a car based economy, no car often means no job.
Based on California's Administrative Per Se Law, most drivers will have their license taken at the time of arrest in a practice known as "stop and snatch". If you feel this law is the equivalent of guilty till proven innocent, you are 100% correct. True, you have been accused of a crime but whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?
You were likely given a piece of paper at the time your license was taken and told that the temporary license will be good for 30 days. DO NOT FALL INTO THIS TRAP. IF YOU WAIT 30 DAYS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS YOUR LICENSE WILL BE SUSPENDED AUTOMATICALLY. YOU ONLY HAVE 10 DAYS from the date of the alleged DUI to request a hearing from the DMV and put a stop to the automatic suspension. Exercise your rights now and call to put the Law Offices of Mark A. Gallagher ON YOUR SIDE!
Once you have retained our services, we will immediately request a hearing from the DMV and challenge the suspension. Even better, in almost all cases we are able to get a "stay" of the suspension which means that your license will stay valid while we prepare your defense. We will obtain copies of all the reports from the DMV and provide you with copies or access to them at your request so that you may review them with a qualified attorney and discuss the best possible defense.
Mr. Gallagher has earned his clients many "set asides" at DMV hearings. In DMV language a "set aside" is a win. This means that the automatic or admin per se suspension that goes into effect immediately after a DUI arrest has been cancelled or set aside. Remember, with the DMV you are guilty until proven innocent.
If the hearing is lost, the fight is not over. After an adverse ruling from the DMV a client or "licensee" has many options. First, a departmental review can be requested at the DMV. Second, a writ can be taken to Superior Court. Finally, the criminal case can be taken to trial. A not guilty verdict by jury on the charge of 23152(b), also known as the "B" count, will trigger an automatic reversal of any adverse DMV ruling.
If the hearing is lost and the client chooses to not pursue any further legal action, the next step is getting your license back. Depending on the facts of your case and the previous condition of your driving record, there is usually a period of suspension. Our office will help you understand the terms of the suspension and come up with the best plan of action that will get your license back in your wallet as soon as possible. In many situations, taking the right steps can lead to a restricted license almost immediately if the right steps are taken. Navigating this maze at the DMV requires experience and skill. Put us to work for you today!
CRIMINAL COURT PROCEEDINGS IN A DUI CASE
The second attack comes from the California Criminal Court system. In most counties in Southern California, the District Attorney for the county will be prosecuting your case. In some cities, DUI cases are prosecuted by the City Attorney's Office.
Under either scenario, a well funded team of highly trained lawyers, law enforcement officers, forensic scientists, and investigators will all be working AGAINST YOU. Only a fool would walk alone into a hungry lions den and this is exactly what you are doing if you plan to represent yourself in a DUI prosecution.
You need someone who is ON YOUR SIDE. Someone who knows the law, knows the players on the other team, and has the skills to protect your legal rights.
At the The Law Offices of Mark A. Gallagher, we have access to a team of professionals ON YOUR SIDE. Put us to work for you and see what a difference we can make. In many cases, you will never even have to appear in court.
MULTIPLE OFFENDER DUI CASES
If you have a previous DUI on your record, the potential penalties are increased dramatically. Under current California law a DUI charge is priorable for 10 years. This does NOT mean that your prior DUI's are erased from your record after 10 years, but it does mean that they can only be alleged in the complaint by the prosecutor for statutory enhancement for 10 years.
Every case is different and you need to speak directly to an experienced attorney to determine the exact penalties you could face and how to best avoid them.
The mandatory minimums for multiple offenders in California are as follows
• 2nd time DUI-96 hours in custody and 18 month program
• 3rd time DUI-120 days in custody and 18 month program, IID or steering wheel breathalyzer
• 4th time DUI-FELONY
While all of California uses the same Penal Code or book of laws, depending on the location of your arrest, the actual penalties for a 2nd time DUI can vary greatly. For an example of how this plays out, see the chart below. Keep in mind that every case is different and these are merely averages based on recent cases
• Orange County - DA's are routinely seeking 60-90 days of jail on 2nd time DUI's. Orange County DA's vigorously oppose home confinement, weekends, or work furlough. Many people convicted of a 2nd DUI in Orange County are behind bars in a real jail.
• Riverside County - weekender program which allows for work on the weekends and release during the week or home confinement (electronic monitoring) is more readily available due to jail overcrowding.
• San Bernardino - weekender program generally available but the SBDA has recently begun opposing home confinement in these cases
• Los Angeles - varies greatly from courthouse to courthouse. Some jurisdictions in LA county are still offering the minimum of 96 hours while others are adopting the more punitive Orange County model. The timing and specific details of how your plea and sentencing are handled will have a huge effect on the actual time you serve in LA. It is critical that you hire a lawyer familiar with the local rules and the current status of jail overcrowding.
• San Diego - 96 hours, or two consecutive weekends is still available in many situations.
DUI CASES WITH INJURIES
In a San Diego DUI with injury case, things get serious quickly. Even a first time DUI can be charged as a felony if the case results in injuries to another party. DUI cases with injuries also carry increased penalties at the DMV, as well as civil liability issues. If someone was injured in your DUI case, please contact a lawyer immediately for assistance.
DUI CASE ENHANCEMENTS
There are many situations under the Vehicle Code which provide for enhancements or increased penalties. The theory is that these situations either represent a more serious violation of the law and/or a greater risk to public safety. Examples include speeding while DUI, having a child present in the car while DUI, DUI without a valid driver license, DUI with a suspended license, DUI with a high blood alcohol concentration, and refusal to submit to chemical testing under California's implied consent statute.
DRIVING ON A SUSPENDED LICENSE
Driving on a suspended license is one of the most over prosecuted crimes in the State of California. Many clients are often shocked to find out that you can and will receive jail time for this offense. Even worse, this offense is priorable which means that each time it happens, the penalty goes up.
There are literally thousands of inmates in the jails of Southern California who have committed no crime other than driving to work, or picking up their children from school. While many Californians believe they have a "right to drive", the courts and the DMV see it differently. Between the outrageous fines collected in these cases, the jail time served, and the point system at the DMV, many people simply give up on getting their license back and just throw the dice every time they get behind the wheel.
If you have been charged with driving on a suspended license, call our office to straighten things out now before they get worse. We can help minimize the penalties and expedite the process of getting your license back in your pocket.
HIT AND RUN CASES
Hit and run cases can often be resolved by making arrangements to take care of the damages. By making the sure the other party is made whole, it is often possible to get a reduced sentence or to have the case dismissed entirely under Penal Code 1377-1378. This is also known as a "civil compromise". Hit and run cases will also present excellent opportunities for trial. As you can imagine, identification issues are often the key to a good defense. If you have been falsely accused of a hit and run, or if you made a mistake and you want to fix it without getting thrown in jail, give us a call.
Prosecutors handling DUI & DWI cases are sometimes willing to allow an accused drunk driver make a plea bargain, or plead guilty to a lesser charge. In some cases, a skilled California drunk driving criminal defense attorney can persuade a prosecutor to reduce the charge to a mere traffic infraction.
Pleading guilty to a traffic infraction, such as speeding or an unsafe lane change, is an indisputably favorable outcome for an accused DUI / DWI driver. Pleading guilty to an infraction leaves the driver with a clean criminal record. The driver must only pay a fine and receive a point on his or her driving record. Thereís even a possibility that the point can be removed by attending traffic school.
Prosecutors typically only offer to reduce a drunk driving charge to a traffic infraction if the case is not likely to win at trial. The prosecutor may realize how weak the case is after an adept DUI lawyer points out a fatal flaw in the conduct of the arresting officer, the driverís chemical test, or another piece of evidence.
A plea bargain that reduces a drinking and driving charge to a traffic infraction is usually only available in cases where the driverís blood alcohol content (BAC) hovers near the legal limit of .08 percent. Other factors include the circumstances of the arrest, the jurisdiction where the charges are brought, and whether or not the driver has a prior conviction for drunk driving during the past 10 years.
Sometimes drunk driving charges can be reduced to infractions that leave the driver with a clean criminal record and few repercussions. The Law Offices of Mark A. Gallagher can evaluate each case to determine whether a negotiation to a traffic infraction or other reduced charge can be achieved. Call an experienced Orange County DUI Attorney today 800-797-8406.
DUI & Attorney- Orange County & Surrounding area
DUI DMV Attorney/Lawyer for Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Fullerton, Santa Ana California (CA)
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