The Law Offices of Joohan Song has successful experience defending DUI cases and should be the first call you make if you ever find yourself accused of driving while under the influence. Mr. Song will help you understand your rights while also helping you navigate a complicated system which includes getting your driver license back, minimizing jail time or avoiding jail time altogether. Driving under the influence is always a very serious charge, but it is one that you do not have to face alone.
The best advice anyone can offer on this subject is to not ever operate a vehicle after drinking or taking drugs (even of the prescription variety). The second best advice anyone can offer is to immediately contact a qualified attorney if you have been charged with a DUI.
Frequently Asked DUI Questions
Q: Am I going to lose my license?
A; The answer to this depends on whether or not you are found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or some other controlled substance. If you are convicted of a DUI charge, you will most likely lose your license for a period of at least 90 days. But if you’ve had prior DUI convictions, this period may span a full year or more. However, if you are proven to be innocent your license will be returned to you.
Understand that, with any DUI charge, the government has two chances to take your driving privileges from you. The first chance is through the DMV as they receive a Notice of Suspension directly from the arresting officer. You have 10 days to stop this automatic suspension from taking effect and an attorney can appear at your DMV hearing with you. Even if the automatic suspension is stopped, however, the DUI matter still goes to court where a judge can order your license to be suspended. Having a knowledgeable, experienced and competent attorney help you navigate the DMV and court systems can make a difference between whether or not your license is actually suspended and, if it is, how long it is suspended for.
Q: The arresting officer took my driver license. How do I get it back?
A: An investigation must be completed before determining the fate of your driving privileges. You have 10 days from the date that the arresting officer hands a Notice of Suspension to the DMV to request a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If you do not request a hearing, your license may be automatically suspended. Emphasis on may, because if your blood alcohol level (BAC) is low, the DMV will not automatically suspend. A criminal case against you may still ensue, which will need to be addressed in court, but a DMV hearing will not take place.
While you wait for your DMV hearing, an attorney can help you obtain a temporary license. If you win the DMV hearing, your privileges will be restored and you will be able to obtain a new regular, hard plastic license. However, if you do not win your license will not be returned to you until after the suspension has expired.
Q: Can I drive to work even though my driver license is suspended?
A: Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for a restricted license which you can apply for at your local DMV. If granted, a restricted license will permit you to drive to work and back home.
Q: Do I have to let my employer know that I’ve been arrested for a DUI?
A: Unless you have been convicted of a crime, you are not legally bound to tell an employer about your arrest. However, your company policy may dictate that your employer be informed.
Q: Do I have to let prospective employers know that I’ve been arrested for a DUI before?
A: Disclosing your DUI arrest depends upon how you are questioned about your past run-ins with the law and whether the prospective employer is a government entity or an employer within the private sector. For example, in California a private employer is legally prohibited from asking if you have been arrested. A government employer, on the other hand, is allowed to ask if you’ve been arrested or charged with a crime. If asked this question by a government employer, you must answer truthfully about your DUI incident. If, however, you are asked if you were convicted of a crime but you were not, then you do not have to disclose your arrest. You also do not have to disclose your situation if are asked about being charged with a felony if your DUI was only regarded as a misdemeanor.
Q: Will I have a felony on my record?
A: Not necessarily. Some DUI charges can be argued down to misdemeanor convictions. Depending on the facts of the case, including your driving record and your past criminal records, the prosecutor may or may not charge you with a felony. But even if the case is filed as a felony, note that some DUI charges can still be argued down to misdemeanor convictions.
If your case cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor or if you have a good case that may be won at trial, then having that trial may be in your best interest. If found not guilty, you will not have a felony conviction.
It is best to immediately discuss your exact circumstances with an attorney to try to avoid a felony DUI conviction.