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Frequently Asked Questions About DUI Arrests

The flashing red lights in your rear-view mirror caused your stomach to sink, and before you knew it, you were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. This leaves most individuals with more questions than answers. Attorney Gregg S. Cohen is committed to minimizing the impact of a DUI charge by mounting an assertive defense.

With more than 30 years of criminal trial experience – 20 of those as Tehama County District Attorney – Mr. Cohen has a thorough understanding of everything that can occur during a police stop for suspected DUI and how to best defend against the ensuing charges. Each case is unique, of course, but there are similarities that result in frequently asked questions about the consequences of a DUI arrest and how best to defend against it. Here are some of those questions.

Following a DUI arrest, do I automatically lose my right to drive?

In addition to the criminal charge, police are required to confiscate your driver’s license and file a notice of suspension or revocation with the Department of Motor Vehicles. You are issued an Order of Suspension and Temporary License, which allows you to drive for 30 days from the date that the order of suspension or revocation was issued as long as your driver’s license has not been suspended or revoked for some other reason.

The most immediate concern is the 10-day window you have following an arrest to respond to the notice of an administrative hearing. Enlisting representation from Cohen Criminal Law immediately following your arrest allows Mr. Cohen to assist you in a timely fashion with the DMV hearing as well as the criminal charge.

Can I get a DUI charge dropped?

Possibly. There are several reasons why a DUI charge may be dropped. It may be shown that police did not have sufficient probable cause to stop you. There may not be sufficient evidence that you were driving the vehicle. The results of a chemical test may not provide evidence of impairment or the test may not have been administered correctly. An experienced DUI defense lawyer like Mr. Cohen will spot any weakness in the prosecution’s case.

Does it make sense to fight a DUI charge if it won’t be dismissed?

Yes. An experienced DUI defense lawyer may be able to get a charge reduced if it is not possible to have it dismissed. Working with a DUI defense attorney often can save a client money in fines and court costs, as well as preventing the DUI conviction from going on their record and resulting in increased auto insurance rates.

What information do I have to provide law enforcement officers?

If an officer suspects you of drunk or drugged driving, he or she will likely ask where you are coming from, whether you had anything to drink or consumed any drugs, when you last ate and other questions. You do not need to answer these questions, and it is in your best interest to politely decline. You may simply state that under the advice of legal counsel, you are exercising your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

Can I decline to take a roadside sobriety test?

A police officer may ask you to take a series of agility tests after stopping you on suspicion of drunk driving. These include walking heel to toe in a straight line and touching your nose while looking up and closing your eyes. There are many who believe these tests are designed to be failed. You do not have to submit to these tests. You may politely decline to submit to any roadside sobriety tests. The officer may state that refusal to take the field sobriety test will result in you being arrested.

Can I refuse to take a breath test?

If you are stopped by police and they suspect you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may be asked to take a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) breath test. You can decline such a test without penalty if you have not been arrested as long as you are over 21 and not on probation for a prior DUI conviction.

However, under California’s implied consent law, if you refuse to take a PAS breath test after being arrested for suspicion of drunk driving, you will face increased penalties and a mandatory suspension of your driver’s license. Your license can be suspended even if you are not convicted of DUI. This is why police rarely ask someone to take a breath test until after they have been arrested.

What is the law if I am underage?

Under California law, a person over 21 years old is guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08% or above. California’s “Zero Tolerance” law states that drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 cannot have any amount of alcohol in their system while driving.

A person under 21 who has a BAC of .01% or greater will lose their license for one year. A driver under 21 with a BAC under .05% will not be charged with DUI and will not face jail time. Any driver under 21 with a BAC over .05% but under .08% can be charged with underage DUI. You will not face a jail sentence, but you will lose your license for one year. A driver under 21 who has a BAC over .08% will be charged with DUI and face the same penalties as someone 21 or older.

Ready To Answer Your Questions And Defend You

Having the right lawyer in your corner to help respond to a DUI charge can prevent your life from being upended. Attorney Gregg S. Cohen at Cohen Criminal Law can answer your questions regarding a DUI charge and provide a candid assessment of your case during a free consultation. Call 530-763-1137​ or use the online contact form to schedule a meeting.

The firm represents individuals throughout Tehama County, Shasta County and surrounding Northern California communities.