Attorney for DUI Arrests

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Teen arrested and charged with DUI

Oct 2013

Any advice for parents of a 16 year old arrested for DUI in Oakland? Pulled over by HP for headlight out, officer spotted an open container. Alcohol measured at greater than 0.8. Any recommendations for an attorney? Sad and scared teen mom

Craig Pinto in El Cerrito 234-1686 is an experienced criminal defense attorney who can get you the best possible result. Be prepared to pay several thousand dollars. Hope it works out well.
call colin cooper of cooper law offices. he's the best. 558-8400
I can't give you advice on attorneys. However, I work at Playland-Not-at-the-Beach and we have many teens who volunteer here to work off their traffic violations including DUI. Most people get 48-162 hours of community service for a DUI along with many other penalties. When you are at the point you are looking to help your teen with the community service requirement I recommend Playland-Not-at-the-Beach. You can contact us at kendra [at] when you are at that point.

Need an attorney for friend's DUI arrest

July 2012

Hi, I need a recommendation for a good attorney for my freind's DUI case in Berkeley, and/or East Bay. This is her first time. She was arrensted last night and the court date isn't till August. I really appreciate any suggestions. annon

Your friend should be thankful that's all that happened and no-one was killed. Still, we all make mistakes. Consider giving Dan Pocklington a call (925) 295-1304 or I didnt use him for a DUI case, but it's one of his specialties and he does free consultations. Good luck. RDT
Regarding your friend's DUI, unless the officers who arrested her really screwed up, she's most likely not going to beat her case. She might consider asking for a public defender when she appears before the judge. A private attorney can't really do much for her only charge her a bunch of money to do the same that a public defender would do. But depending on how much your friend makes she may not qualify for one. The prosecutor will use you're friends DUI results from the breathlizer against her. If your friend has a .08 or above she will not be able to beat the rap. (She will have to pay a fine, pay for a DUI class (prices and the length of the classes vary depending on how high her blood alcohol level was.) She'll also loose her license for a good amount of time, but may be able to drive to and from work. If convicted or if she pleads no contest, the DUI will stay on her rC)cord for 10-years. And during that time, if she gets another DUI, her first DUI will count against her and her fines will double and so will the ammount of time she loses her license. Someone has seen how the system works.

Recommendations for attorney for DUI

June 2012

I need a recommendation for an attorney for a DUI. anon

Craig Pinto in El Cerrito -- Good wishes

I got a DUI! Do I need an attorney?

April 2011

I got a DUI - and I'm guilty, no argument there. I have (I think) one from about 25 yrs ago so I'm not sure that will pop up and further complicate matters. I know that I have to go before the DMV and request a provisional license - I have kids and I need my car for work (I'm in the trades so taking public transport isn't an option), plus my spouse travels out of the country for business. I got pulled over at a checkpoint, blew above the limit and had my car impounded. To me, this seems pretty cut and dried: I'm guilty, I know I'll loose my (regular) license for at least 4 months and I'll have to do community service (and probably pay a hefty fine). I'm okay will all of this, I made a bad decision and I accept the consequences. So I'm wondering if I need an attorney...? I don't want to pay someone to basically do nothing. Anyone who has been in a similar situation please advise. Thanks. Dumbass

My partner got a DUI last year, and heres what he learned: 1. unless you have tons of other issues, or many DUI's , there isn't any point in getting a lawyer. 2. the best thing to do is just admit you were wrong in court and be extra nice and sorry about it, with every clerk you have to talk to. They will sometimes let some dates etc. slide a bit, it will help soften the blow. 3. just pay your dues (and they will be high!) and try to be humble. 4. your past DUI will bite you, but if you did all the classes and fees back then, it shouldn't be too bad. But be extra nice with all the officers, judge etc, and you will see a big difference in how you are treated in the long run. been there
My husband was given a DUI citation last year. This was marijuana, not alcohol, so it may not apply because there is no definitive test you can give for pot. They test your blood and it just shows whether you have smoked in the last month or so, so a positive actually tells you nothing. Unlike alcohol, where a positive breath test is sufficient evidence, with pot they have to show impairment. He had smoked that day, but not for several hours previously, and I, who was in the car with him, did not think there was anything wrong with his driving (he crossed the center line cutting corners on a windy mountain road, but only where he could see oncoming traffic, like everyone else on the road...).

But - no surprise here - they said he was impaired and failed the field test. So, it was going to be his word against the cop's. Gee, who was going to lose in that battle? He decided to fight it anyway. We paid a fair bit (3K) to an attorney who specializes in these cases and with her help got the DUI reduced to crossing the center line and driving too fast for conditions (since he was not going over the speed limit...). Both are moving violations but since it's the same incident, they treat it as one offense, so just one point on your record.

It was so worth it. A DUI was going to raise our insurance rates by a factor of three or so for 10 years (both of ours because now they use your spouse's driving record to set your rates), the fines and classes are more than we paid, my husband would be excluded from any number of jobs he might apply for, he would have to have a limited license (he too is a contractor), and have to spend a lot of time in classes. I did a lot of research into the expenses of having a DUI, and it's truly astronomical.

By fighting, we paid the $3K, but have somewhat higher rates (not nearly as high) for 3 years and no classes, and the fine was much smaller. It sounds like your case is more cut and dried, but still, you might want to consider a lawyer, just to get the charges reduced. FWIW, I had a boyfriend many years ago who also got a DUI (alcohol, blew WAY over the limit). He got a lawyer and went to court and got acquitted, so there you go - even when you're guilty as sin, you can still sometimes get off with a good lawyer. Just sayin'.... I'd say fight it

Don't get an attorney. It's a waste of money and you'll still have to pay the fine, do the community service, take the DUI classes, etc. It's just that if you add on the cost of an attorney, you'll blow a few MORE thousand dollars. And your old DUI doesn't matter because it's outside the time limit (believe it has to be within 7 years these days to make a difference).

The classes are actually a good idea for you, though, because (I hate to lecture) it's not about you accepting you got caught; it's more about the fact that you endangered your own life and others. THAT'S what's scary and very wrong here.

That said, no one should judge, because anyone who has had an alcoholic beverage and has driven and has not gotten a DUI has simply been LUCKY. It's not hard to blow .08. --Have some experience with this.

My spouse got a DUI years ago and we tried to fight it because it was clearly an illegal stop. We hired a lawyer paid him $5K (and that was 10 years ago) and it was a complete waste of money. He is a well know DUI lawyer but I thought he was one of the most disrespectful people I've ever come acrross. I also don't think the outcome would have been any different had we used no lawyer. If you are not even going to fight it I'm not sure it would be worth the money. Though maybe someone will have some advice about a decent lawyer out there. good luck
Yup, see if you can get an attorney. This is going to basically cost you a few grand, if not more with an attorney hired. You will likely be ordered to attend a class or two, possibly community service. Whatever you do, do not miss your community service--I think a niece of my friend got arrested when she showed up for her service and no one was there, so she went home, then they arrested her for being a no-show. So it's kind of like the army that way. Good luck! Know a few of those!
I have a friend who hangs out with a lot of hard partiers, and she once said that she didn't think that DUIs were that bad because everyone she knew had at least one on their record. I gave her a reality check and let her know that there is nobody in my life who has had a DUI, unless you count an old boyfriend who was in AA because he was an alcoholic. Your post concerned me because this has happened to you before. I don't have any legal advice for you, but I wanted to offer some support while you do some soul searching about why you drink and drive. I hope that you're talking to your spouse about this so that you're not so alone. If you call the local AA Central Office (510- 839-8900) they may be able to give you some advice. Many people who drink and drive have been through those doors, so there could be a lot of people who can help you with this. Good luck. anonymous, too
Please consult an attorney. Please! This is not a simple traffic ticket, This is a crime, and you would be a fool to go to court without counsel. What about this: ''If a person is convicted of a first violation of Section 23152, that person shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 96 hours, at least 48 hours of which shall be continuous, nor more than six months, and by a fine of not less than three hundred ninety dollars ($390), nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).'' That's Vehicle Code section 3536(a). Your attorney can make sure that all mitigating circumstances, including your very sincere expression of remorse and unquestioning admission of guilt, are taken into account. You should also know that the breath-testing machines are not infallible, and there are serious legal issues involved in certifying and verifying the proper functioning of a given device. I think I've stayed on the right side of not actually giving legal advice, but you really should get an attorney, and there are very reputable ones out there who specializa in DUI cases.
I am an attorney and handled a lot of DUIs in the past although I do not do those cases anymore and have not handled them in years. Please do not heed the advice that you can talk to the court clerks and they may let dates slide. That could result in the court issuing a warrant for your arrest.

DUIs are complicated cases. You should consult with the public defender's office in your county. You may qualify for free services and if you don't you may qualify to pay a partial fee. You also may be able to get a referral from them.

If I were in your shoes, I would obtain a copy of the police report in your case and have the case evaluated by a lawyer who is experienced in DUIs and who works in the courthouse where your case is filed. Call the public defender's office and ask if there is a duty attorney who can speak to you so you can find out if you qualify for their services and if not, ask for a referral. don't do it yourself

I don't know what a historical DUI will do to the severity of your current consequence, but if it were me, I would consult with a reputable and vetted criminal attorney who has expertise in this area.

Not to be preachy or judgemental, but if this is not a first DUI (or there were additional times when you were driving under the influence but not caught), maybe you should consider some counseling or AA. I attended a speaker on substance at my child's school, and the speaker said that the average times someone drives drunk before getting caught was something like 7 or 9 times. Good luck to you both. Anon

17-year-old's DUI arrest

Dec 2009

I have custody of my 17 year old nephew. He was sitting in his car listening to music (ignition on) and had come from a party where he drank beer. The police stopped at his car (headed to a complaint of noise from the party), and arrested him and charged him with a DUI. We know that he will lose his license for one year and we will need to go to court on the charges. I would appreciate any feedback, suggestions, information from anyone who has gone through this process before with their minor teenager. I just don't know what to expect regarding his possible type(s) of punishment and how we go about getting car insurance again after the year has passed. Any information on what I can expect is greatly appreciated. Thank you. anon

Look online on the California DMV site to see what the penalties are for a DUI for a person under 21. Also you could Google ''California DUI under age 21'' for other sites that describe all the consequences of an underage DUI (penalties, loss of license for one year, need to attend DUI classes, etc.). The easiest way to figure out the insurance consequences is to call an insurance company and ask. Clearly,after the one-year license suspension this teen's insurance rate is going to skyrocket and your current insurance company may refuse to insure him, necessitating finding another company that will. So it doesn't hurt to find out the bad news ahead of time. Anonymous
After our teen got DUI, I learned it's considered a ''lightweight'' (not that it's OK, just that I never knew it was so common). First, you do not need to hire att'y. After a few weeks (it takes awhile to get it into the system) go to 600 Washington St (Oakland), to the 2nd Flr (don't make our mistake and go to the 1st Flr Traffic Dept windows...repeated visits, useless waiting in long lines....your case will never show up on those computers.....finally someone told us it's the Upstrs counter for 'criminal' , DUI, stuff---so frustrating, but get used to lesson for teen: what a pile of doo-doo for them to deal with), and they'll give the court date. Due to 18 yr old age, Court doesn't permit parents to accompany Teen up to the Judge, so prep your teen well about what to say (we didn't hire att'y, so weren't informed of this, did it on the fly, and our teen screwed it up, of course, so he had to go to court twice), about proper Plea. Guilty, unless police officer screwed up badly (which in our case, he did---municipality starts with ''A'', ends with ''Y''). DMV holds/suspends license for 1 year. Meanwhile, you must deal with transportation emergencies for one year, which occur with a busy 18 yr old housing an undeveloped frontal lobe: ours was good about biking and BART, but still there were headaches and frustrations, especially if BART shut down before our teen's partying did. Second big one: after one year, obtaining insurance. It's the insurance company that handles the paperwork with the DMV which gets back your teen's license. The DUI stays on the teen's record for 10 yrs, so the ''top'' insurers won't touch your teen for 10 yrs. There's good deals from those companies that advertise on TV--Geico, Progressive, etc. You can fill out a form online and 10 agents will call you back within 2 hours. Some were extremely nice and helpful. You'll need to self-educate about coverages actually needed, how much, etc, so you don't get clipped. I got estimates of $2K/yr, and after evaluating what we really needed, it came down to $1.2K/yr average. Also, your teen will obtain a discount on future premiums for each succeeding year they are a good driver/good grades. Good luck. ''This, too, shall pass''
Get yourself a good lawyer fast. If the car is not running and not moving, you may have a good case for a dispute since a theoretical ability to drive when the car is not in operation is not a basis for an arrest (e.g. pre-crime) and listening to music doesn't necessarily imply operation of a motor vehicle either since the key must be turned to operate the radio. Now there are gotchas here, so you must consult a lawyer.

A cop may arrest on the basis of a violation but not on the theory (like he *may* drive) of operation, and it is not the cop who determines whether he is guilty or innocent or whether a violation has truly occurred - it is the province of the Courts. Your nephew deserves proper representation in this matter.

Finally, while you may be annoyed with your nephew now please be aware that this matter will not go away - Court records are public and may impact his ability to make a living many years down the line when he's long past that annoying age. Believe me, it is worthwhile to pay the money and let a well-recommended professional attorney assist you in navigating this problem. And please don't hunt through the phone book and randomly pick out someone because they have a big ad - attorneys are expensive and you can't afford a mistake any more than you'd pick a random guy to redo your home's foundation - do your homework. Good luck Anonymous

OMG - DO NOT HIRE A LAWYER unless you are prepared to pay $60,000- $80,000. (And the odds are you still not win.) The Public Defender will do a better job then a private attorney. This is a huge money maker for attorneys and all they will do is plead the case for you. (Something you could do on you own.)

Go to court and plead Not Guilty and ask for a PD.

Correction to the person who stated If the car is not running and not moving, you may have a good case for a dispute since a theoretical ability to drive when the car is not in operation is not a basis for an arrest.

This is NOT true in California. A minor with any BA level is guilty (period) there is no defense. By law it's illegal for a teen to have any BA level, doesn't mater if he was in the car or standing in a parking lot or there wasn't a car even close. In CA it's a mandatory license suspension.

The courts and DAs are very, very hard on teenagers with any BA level. Remember the family that was just killed in Novato? And don't let anyone try the cough medicine or mouth wash defense unless you child drank 5 gallons just before he was arrested. (You can find the calculation on-line.)

The arrest is going to be on your child's record rest of his life and it can not be erased, (it's already in the computer systems). If he applies for a job they will find it. As for the convection work with the PD, if your son can demonstrate he's a good kid you can get the record sealed and years from now possibly expunged.

Be glad your child did not kill anyone or get killed. If you son took driving training in CA he would have seen the video of the interview of the teen who is serving 25 years for killing another teen in Sacramento. (It's almost a repeat of the accident in Novato.)

Then consider the politics. Do you think a judge will let your son off on a technicality because the keys weren't in the car or he was in the back seat. If he does and your son gets into another accident that judge is not going to look good.

Look on the bright side and use this as a learning lesson for your son. Remind your son no one was killed, injured and there was no property damage and he should be all he got was a ticket. If he still doesn't get it arrange to have your son meet the young man in Vacaville that caused the Sacramento accident, he'll be there for another has 20 years.

Best of luck to you and your family. Someone who has been there

I am a Public Defender. I am not recommending that you retain, but I would like to correct the response in the 1/8/10 newsletter. It doesn't cost $80,000 to retain a private lawyer for a Teen DUI. The fees should not even come close to that amount. It is good to have someone who handles these types of cases on a regular basis, who is familiar with the courts and the DMV, take a look at your case. While it is true that teens can have no measurable amount of alcohol in their system, that does not mean that fighting their DUI charge is pointless. There may be issues that need to be addressed and not actually driving is an issue that should be dealt with. Look at it as two separate things, the DMV which deals with the license and the courts which deals with the consequences of the DUI arrest. Yes he may have an entry on his record of the arrest, but this is not a death sentence on his/her life. Get some legal counsel, PD or private. Just my two cents. Jody

DUI arrest for 18-year-old

Dec 2009

My step son got DUI and he is 18 years old (under age drinking). Has anyone been through this with their kids. Should we hire a lawyer or go it alone? Does anyone know a good DUI lawyer?

Preventing DUIs

There are now gadgets called Ignition Interlock Devices which are attached to the car. They are essentially breathilizers -- the engine will not start if the driver has been drinking. There are different models, made by different companies, but there are ways to be sure that the passenger cannot be the one whose breath is being tested.

There's a new state law which will mandate use of IIDs after the first DUI conviction but this is a pilot program, being used in a few counties. (AB 91)

In any case, perhaps such a gadget would be useful to parents who are worried about their kids driving after drinking. Patty