What is a DUI Law?
California law prohibits driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol (DUI) regardless of the reason. Anyone driving a vehicle while intoxicated is responsible for a punishable offense. A person with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.8 or greater is considered legally drunk in California and, as such, not allowed to drive. Similarly, consuming drugs before or during the drive is considered driving under the influence. The DUI regulation affects not only car drivers. The law applies to boats, scooters, bikes, and other similar vehicles.
The jail sentences for DUI offenses in California range from 96 hours to one year, depending on the previous criminal record. Fines range from $390 to $1800. Furthermore, as a consequence of a DUI offense, the law mandates license suspension for at least six months up to three years, including the so-called Interlock Ignition Device (IID) for up to two years.
Why Should You Hire a DUI Lawyer?
Considering the severe penalties for DUI offenses, hiring a DUI attorney should be the top priority for anyone charged with a DUI offense. However, most people hesitate to reach a DUI lawyer for fear they will not be able to afford a skillful attorney. Remember, the costs of hiring an experienced lawyer in DUI cases are far lesser than the financial and emotional consequences of a DUI conviction. Enjoying driving privileges is considered one of the basic needs in our fast-paced world. Getting your license suspended is a significant setback that can negatively affect various aspects of your life. If that does not seem severe enough, consider the consequences of being put in jail for a DUI offense.
An experienced DUI attorney can make a vital difference between you walking away freely and receiving a jail sentence or fine for driving while under the influence. That is because a knowledgeable attorney can effectively challenge any proof prosecution brings against you. Failing breath or blood test will not automatically lead to a sentence. Knowledgable DUI attorneys will apply various legal techniques in pointing to the inadmissibility of such proofs. The DUI defense strategy includes challenging illegal stops, inaccurate BAC readings, procedural mistakes, medical conditions, and duress or necessity. Any evidence acquired after an illegal stopping is inadmissible because the US Constitution prohibits police from stopping citizens without reasonable suspicion. Next, inaccurate BAC readings can occur due to defective testing machines, unreasonably long waiting times, untrained laboratory staff, or improper blood sample handling. Besides, failing to follow protocol or other procedural mistakes that law enforcement officers make can render any evidence inadmissible. Also, certain medical conditions can result in inaccurate BAC or field sobriety test readings. Finally, sometimes an emergency can cause us to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. An experienced DUI attorney can successfully fend off any charges against you by creating a defense strategy that fits your unique situation. That is why you should hire one as early as possible.
The Importance of Hiring a DUI Attorney Early in Case
Finding and hiring the best defense attorney immediately after an arrest takes place is crucial. Although you can wait until a court hearing to hire a DUI lawyer, you should do that as early as possible. The effectiveness of your defense depends on proper timing. Hiring an attorney early in the case allows them to create a defense strategy adjusted to the specific factual circumstances. Your DUI lawyer will start working without delay toward preserving critical evidence, such as credit card bills or receipts for alcohol purchases. Not only that – an experienced DUI attorney will contact witnesses and acquire other information to boost your defense and help you win the case. Identifying witnesses as early as possible is vital because the passage of time causes their memory to fade, resulting in inaccurate statements. A skillful DUI attorney can prevent this from happening if you hire them on time.
Tips on how to find a reputable DUI attorney in Salinas, CA
- Look Around You
Knowing current DUI laws and regulations is critical, but if you want the best attorney to represent you in court, be sure to look among experienced local lawyers. Local attorneys know local prosecutors and judges. They are familiar with local circumstances and the sentiment toward DUI offenses. Never underestimate the power of intuition that only local attorneys have, regardless of their professional background. Hiring a local attorney has the added benefit of being able to reach them whenever necessary. Not having to travel long distances for an appointment can also reduce overall costs.
- Think About the Costs
Be mindful of the costs. Remember that hefty attorney fees do not guarantee you will receive top-quality legal representation in your DUI case. Always seek to find out what you get in return. Therefore, be cautious about attorneys who cannot provide you with a detailed upfront outline of your legal costs. A reputable DUI attorney can clearly define and specify the costs throughout the process.
- Do the Necessary Research
When searching for a DUI lawyer, use online databases and go through publicly available lists of local attorneys. Look at their credentials and the impressions of their former clients. But do not forget that an online appearance can sometimes be deceiving. That is why you should always seek advice from knowledgeable people you trust about the attorney you wish to hire. After thorough research, create a narrow list of prospective candidates for an interview.
- Interview Multiple Candidates
Narrowing a list of prospective DUI attorneys will help you schedule and organize interviews with each of them. Follow the list to avoid picking the first candidate you like. It may happen that the first attorney you interview will impress you by using technical legal terminology not familiar to you. That does not mean they are skillful as DUI attorneys. Interview each candidate asking them specific questions about their experience and how they can help. Be curious about their previous DUI cases record. If your case ends up in court, you need an attorney with trial experience. Evaluating prosecution evidence and an effective cross-examination requires extensive practice in court. Next, ask each attorney about their qualifications. You want a lawyer with primary expertise in DUI law. Many attorneys rush to accept clients in DUI cases without possessing enough subject matter knowledge and experience. They often practice multiple areas of law but lack expertise in DUI offenses. Do not hire them. Instead, entrust your case to an expert who spent most of their career practicing DUI law. Your freedom is too precious to make compromises when choosing a DUI attorney.
- Hire Your DUI Attorney
Once you finish your research and in-person interviews with top candidates, decide which attorney fits your specific situation best. Choosing the right DUI lawyer is a delicate process, requiring you to be mindful of every detail along the way. However, do not wait too long because the longer you hesitate, the less effective your defense will be.
- Ask and Receive Regular Updates
Hiring a DUI attorney is the first step in a long battle for your rights. A professional lawyer will keep you regularly updated about your case, not making vital decisions without acquiring your approval. Make sure you cooperate by giving them relevant information throughout the process. Also, feel comfortable asking for updates – an ethical DUI attorney will always be available for your inquiries.
Why Choose Jose A. Velasquez?
José Velásquez is a former Superior Court Judge with over 37 years of legal experience. As a DUI defense attorney, Mr. Velásquez is unmatched in presenting evidence to defend his clients from all kinds of DUI accusations. Knowing the importance of early involvement in your case, he will use precious time to collect all available evidence and build a winning defense strategy.
In exercising defense on your behalf, Mr. Velásquez will implement the most effective defense strategies based on current California DUI laws and the latest scientific developments.
Mr. Velásquez prides himself on putting extraordinary efforts into preventing his clients from ending up in jail or suffering other legal consequences due to a DUI conviction. His former clients now enjoy the fruits of his hard labor.
To schedule your consultation, please call 831-424-5680.