Law Office of James Mendez DUI FAQ

DUI: Common Questions

Answers from a Downey DUI Lawyer

If you have been arrested and charged with misdemeanor or felony DUI, you probably are very worried, and have questions and concerns. Downey DUI attorney James Mendez has provided answers to common questions about DUI laws and penalties in California. You can find out more about how to defend your specific case by contacting the firm.

How do I find the best DUI lawyer in Downey?

There are various ways to identify an attorney that can do a good job for you. One point to evaluate is the background and trial experience of the lawyer. At the firm, the lead attorney has a background serving as a prosecutor. Having a full understanding of how the "other side" operates has proven to be extremely beneficial in many DUI cases. Trial experience is a must. This is not the time to be represented by a lawyer that is nervous about going to trial, and is hoping to just be there to support you when you plead guilty. No - you need an actual trial attorney that has the ability to review the evidence, find the flaws, and build a defense case that has a better chance of success.


How is a DUI charge defended?

There are various issues that could be challenged in a DUI case. These include the police stop. Were your rights violated? There must be probable cause to pull you over, whether speeding, dangerous driving, reckless driving or another infraction. If you were safely operating your vehicle, not violating the law in any way, law enforcement does not have the right to pull you over. The one exception to this rule is at a sobriety checkpoint. The breath and blood testing procedures must be evaluated as well. If the tests were not administered correctly, the results could be inaccurate. The actual breath testing unit may not have been calibrated or maintained. Every detail could be challenged. You deserve to find out the flaws in your case that may be able to get your case dismissed, or gain an acquittal at trial.


What do I do when I go to court?

If you find yourself in court and have not yet gotten a lawyer, you can ask for time to do so. Do not admit to anything, make any statements, engage in conversations with anyone about your case - except your lawyer. The best case scenario for you is to get legal representation from a Downey DUI lawyer immediately after your arrest - and prior to appearing in court.


How much time will I have to spend in jail?

All DUI offenses include jail time in a conviction. The minimum number of days is only a few, with a long term of probation, for a first time misdemeanor. There are also fines, alcohol treatment classes and community service that are part of the penalties. For more serious offenses, such as a 2nd or more DUI on your criminal record, the penalties will be far more extreme. Some cases include permanent license revocation. Your case is unique with regard to your criminal record, the BAC (blood alcohol content) evidence, whether there was an accident, injury or death, or any property damage. These issues lead to longer sentences. For example, if another person dies, you could be charged with vehicular manslaughter and face years in state prison.


How can I avoid a suspended license in a DUI charge?

The DMV is the authority that issues, suspends and revokes driver's licenses. This is a separate matter beyond your criminal case, and must be addressed through the DMV, not the criminal justice system. When you are arrested and charged with DUI, you will be given a temporary license. If you hope to challenge the suspension of your license, you must request a DMV hearing within 10 day. The firm can schedule the DMV hearing, as well as represent you at the hearing.


What if I refuse to take the chemical sobriety test?

The following will result in a year long suspension of your license, with an additional year for each repeat offense. If a chemical test refusal was written in the complaint against you, a mandatory jail sentence will follow. In addition, the court and jury may take your refusal to be an admission of guilty. It is typically not advisable to refuse a chemical test, but if you have, a skilled defense attorney can help.


What is "sentence enhancement"?

California law requires a harsher penalty for certain factors in a DUI case. Common sentence enhancers are previous DUI convictions or a similar offense within 10 years of a new charge. Other situations include:

  • Driving 20 mph over the posted speed limit
  • Having a child present in the vehicle
  • Personal injury or property damage
  • Refusal of chemical testing
  • A blood alcohol content of more than .20%
  • Suspect was under 21 years of age

If another person suffered a personal injury as a result of another’s drunk driving, the charge can be elevated to a felony.


What if I was taking drugs prescribed by my doctor?

You can still be found guilty of a DUI if your medication inhibited your driving ability. There is no defense in saying the drugs were prescribed. You may be able to defend yourself if the drugs you took were having an unusual or unexpected effect on you. On the other hand, some prescription drugs can cause false readings on a breath test, so you should inform your attorney of what medications you were using at the time of the arrest.


May a DUI be pleaded down?

In California, it is possible for the prosecution to accept a lesser charge of “wet reckless,” which is reckless driving involving alcohol. This may be acceptable to the prosecution if the blood alcohol of the defendant is borderline illegal, there was no accident, and there is no criminal history. An experienced DUI attorney can determine if making such a plea is in your best interest.


Can I discuss my case with my family and friends?

You should refrain from talking about your arrest with anyone since they can be called upon as witnesses by the prosecution. Your attorney is the only one you should talk to about your case. Telling others about your arrest can damage your reputation and relationships with friends and family and jeopardize your job


Contact the firm at once with questions about your individual case.

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Law Office of James Mendez

5 Reasons to Choose James Mendez

  • Available 24/7!
    We provide you with unwavering support and legal counsel round-the-clock, ensuring immediate assistance and guidance whenever you need it.
  • Solid Criminal Defense Record
    We demonstrate a proven track record of successful defenses, ensuring steadfast advocacy and protection of your rights.
  • Begins Investigating Your Case Immediately
    Commencing a thorough investigation promptly to gather crucial evidence and build a robust defense strategy from the outset.
  • Familiar with Both Sides of the Courtroom
    We are equipped with comprehensive knowledge of legal strategies from both prosecution and defense perspectives to provide adept representation.
  • Former Prosecutor
    Leveraging firsthand experience as a former prosecutor to navigate your case with a deep understanding of legal intricacies.