FAQ: Driving Under the Influence

Get Answers from an Experienced Criminal Attorney in Ventura

1) Ventura County has a reputation of being very tough on individuals arrested for DUI. How does Ventura County differ from Santa Barbara and Los Angeles?

The Ventura County District Attorney's Office prides itself on being one of the toughest prosecutors of DUI violations in California. The Ventura County Courts have unique policies and procedures for DUI cases that many attorneys, particularly those from other counties, are not familiar with. It is to your benefit to hire an attorney familiar with the courts who practices primarily in DUI defense and has worked with the Ventura District Attorney's Office.

If you call The Law Offices of Jarrod M. Wilfert at (805) 994-0560, you will receive a free consultation with a Ventura DUI attorney with years of experience investigating and defending DUIs.

2) What is absolutely the first thing I should do after being arrested for DUI?

When arrested for a DUI, an individual actually has two cases pending against them. The first case is with the DMV and is related to their suspension of that individual's license. If arrested you have ten (10) days to contact the DMV and request a hearing to stay your suspension. By requesting this hearing, the DMV will appoint a hearing officer to evaluate your arrest and the investigation and provide you or your attorney an opportunity to present evidence. If you contact and retain our office, we will set this hearing immediately. We are professionals at handling this particular type of hearing and can obtain the best possible results. You will not even need to be present for the administrative hearing.

The second case pending against you stemming from your DUI arrest is the criminal prosecution by the District Attorney's Office. It is imperative that you hire your attorney as soon as possible to allow him the opportunity to provide you with the best defense throughout this matter. You must also take steps to preserve any evidence left over from the night of the arrest (receipts, voicemails, etc.).

3) What should I expect regarding the prosecution?

The first thing that happens following a DUI arrest is as follows. First, you must schedule your DMV hearing within ten days of your arrest.
Second, your attorney would appear on your behalf at the first appearance known as the arraignment. If charged with a misdemeanor DUI offense, you will not need to miss work and your attorney can appear for you. Your attorney will obtain discovery (police reports) and should follow up by obtaining critical documents (machine records, blood draw paperwork) related to your chemical test which are not usually provided during the initial appearance. Your case may be continued again in the arraignment court or set for trial or motion if necessary. Your DMV hearing will typically occur two to three months after you were arrested. As long as a request for a hearing was made within the ten day limit, the suspension of your license will be stayed pending the outcome of your hearing.

4) Do I have to appear in court?

One of the benefits of hiring an attorney in a misdemeanor DUI case is that your attorney steps into your shoes and exercises your rights. He can and should relieve you of the stress of dealing with it to some degree and be able to appear for you so that you do not miss work.

By picking up the phone and calling us, you can turn your case over to professionals experienced in every aspect of DUI investigation and litigation and have the peace of mind of knowing that the best possible result will be obtained on your behalf. Call us now for a free consultation at (805) 994-0560.

5) What are the penalties for DUI in California?

The penalties for a DUI in California all depend on the severity of the offense and your prior convictions. For a first offense, you may be fined $1,000 and incarcerated up to 6 months. Your license could be suspended for a few months and you will probably be required to complete an alcohol awareness program. In addition, your insurance may heavily increase because you will have to maintain SR22 insurance, which is a policy for high risk drivers.

For a second offense, penalties are increased to incarceration for a minimum of 96 hours and up to a year. Your license can be suspended for up to 2 years, and the same restrictions for license suspension and increased insurance apply. In addition, you will probably have to install an interlock ignition device. This machine will not allow you to start your car until you blow into it and the machine confirms that you are not under the influence.

On a third offense, you must be incarcerated for at least 120 days. Fines could increase and your license may be suspended for 3 years. Installation of the IID, SR22 insurance, and alcohol awareness programs will also be enforced. If anybody was injured or killed in an accident because of your DUI, then you may be punished much more harshly.

6) Is DUI a misdemeanor?

Most DUIs will be classified as a misdemeanor; however, there are still many strict penalties that can be imposed. This is especially true for repeat offenders. In determining the DUI charges, the prosecutor will consider your any prior convictions and the situation surrounding your DUI.

7) Is DUI a felony?

A DUI charge may be classified as a felony in circumstances that are especially serious. These include the following situations:

  • Someone was seriously injured or killed in the DUI accident
  • The suspect has more than three prior convictions
  • The suspect showed excessive recklessness by driving 20 mph over the speed limit
  • The suspect showed excessive recklessness by driving with a minor under the age of 14
  • The suspect's blood alcohol content was extremely high (over .20%)

If you have questions about your DUI charge, then a Ventura DUI attorney at our office will be happy to assist you. The Law Offices of Jarrod M. Wilfert has a unique understanding of DUI law in California.

Schedule an Appointment with a Criminal Defense Attorney

Charged with a DUI in Ventura County? Get help by contacting The Law Offices of Jarrod M. Wilfert. We can guide you through the DUI process and defend your rights in front of a judge or jury. Submit a free online case evaluation or call our office to begin working with an experienced Ventura DUI lawyer.

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