How To Beat A DUI Case Without A Lawyer
One of the most asked questions a DUI Lawyer gets is ..how do I beat my DUI case or can I get the DUI case dismissed?
Getting a DUI case dismissed or beating a DUI case is not the easiest thing to do and can get complicated.
If you were arrested for an alcohol-related DUI, the first chance that your case will be dismissed depends on what your chemical test results are. If a breath or blood test result comes back under a .08, the district attorney’s office might not file a criminal case. If the blood alcohol level is .08 or higher, a criminal case will likely be filed.
If you were arrested for a drug or combination of drugs and alcohol DUI, then it is more complicated. Even when the drug or alcohol levels are low, if there appears to be impairment due to bad driving or bad field sobriety and drug impairment tests, a criminal case will likely be filed.
Some Things You Can Do To Help Your DUI Case
If you are reading this, then you have probably already have been arrested so I’m not going to go into what you might have done after being stopped or contacted by police.
Write Down What You Remember About Your DUI Arrest
First off, once you are home, write down what you remember happening before you forget details. Think through all that happened before, during, and after being arrested. Things like where you were, what you ate, what you drank, when you drank, what medications you were taking and any passengers or witnesses you had with you. Details can help especially if what the police say was the reason for the stop can be shown to be wrong, proper procedures were not followed, or other facts you might not think is important that turns out to be.
Second, if it was an alcohol related DUI, make sure that a call is made to DMV Drivers Safety to request a hearing. If you decide to hire a DUI lawyer, let him or her make the call since experienced DUI lawyers know where to call and how things work with DMV.
Setting a DMV hearing is a great way to obtain discovery such as patrol car videos, body camera videos, maintenance and calibration records for chemical test devices, and know more about your case even before the first court date in the criminal case.
Beating The DMV Administrative Per Se License Suspension
DMV is only looking at three things when considering a suspension for an alcohol related DUI. If the arrest was for drug only or a combination of drugs and alcohol where the alcohol level was under a .08 BAC, there is no administrative per se action.
First, was the licensee driving? Second, was the blood alcohol level .08 or higher at the time of driving? Third, was the arrest lawful?
If you were pulled over, then it is probably a no brainer that you were driving. On the other hand, if you were not seen driving by the arresting officer, then it really turns to what evidence of driving is there? Even if there is, when was the driving? Is there a witness that can say what time the driving was? Did you admit to driving at a specific time? All of this can make a difference.
On an alcohol related DUI, if your blood alcohol level was under a .08, then DMV will set aside the administrative suspension. If it was .08 or higher, then it gets more complicated. There may be a way to show that the alcohol level was rising so at the time of driving, your blood alcohol was less than a .08. There may also be a way to show that the time of driving cannot be established because the officer responded to an accident scene or didn’t see the driving.
Issues relating to an unlawful arrest gets even more complicated at a DMV hearing but can include whether there was reasonable suspicion to pull the car over or to make an arrest.
Reasons Your DUI Court Case Can Get Dismissed
Protecting Your 4th Amendment Rights
In some cases, the evidence obtained by law enforcement may not have been constitutional and violated an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. Maybe it was an illegal stop or the arrest was made even though the driver did not exhibit signs of impairment.
Maybe the officer thought someone was impaired and the blood test results came up negative.
Maybe the blood alcohol level results were borderline and at the time of driving, the blood alcohol level was less than a .08 BAC.
It isn’t always easy to get a DUI case thrown out and you have to know what to look for to have a chance at getting your DUI case dismissed.
If You Win Your DUI Case Is It Over?
Not necessarily. If DMV suspended your license administratively due to an alcohol related DUI arrest, your privilege to drive is still suspended and as far as DMV is concerned, you have a DUI on your driving record. If you had a DMV administrative hearing and you lost, even if a criminal case is not filed, you have a suspension. If a criminal case was filed and it was dismissed, there may be a way to get your privilege to drive back from DMV depending on why it was dismissed.
Also, if a case was not filed or a criminal case was filed but dismissed, there is a way of sealing the arrest records and changing the label of “arrest” to “detention only” so that is something that should be done. Starting July 1, 2022, this is supposed to happen automatically pursuant to Penal Code section 851.93.
California DUI Frequently Asked Questions
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Can You Beat A DUI With A Public Defender?
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How to Beat a DUI refusal?
Beating a DUI refusal can be tough. You must show that you did not refuse to provide a chemical test of breath or blood after being arrested.
One way is to somehow show that you did not refuse but the officer checked the wrong box on the DMV DS-367 form and wrote things down wrong the police report. This would be an uphill battle unless there is a witness or video that shows that you were asked to provide breath or blood and after the request, you provided a sample without saying you would not do it.
The other way is to show that you were not properly advised of the requirement and the consequences for refusing to provide a chemical sample. Unless it is clear from the police report that there was a deficiency in the advisement or there is a witness or video contradicting the arresting officer’s assertion, it will be tough.
Although it might be tough to beat, reviewing all available evidence can be crucial and sometimes the key to beating a refusal allegation.
What Happens When You Get A DUI In CA?
If you get convicted of a DUI in California a number of things can happen to you. Jail time, fines, probation conditions, the requirement to do a DUI program, license suspensions, SR-22, and in many cases a requirement to get an ignition interlock device on your automobile.
The length of time for the things listed above differs based on whether the conviction is for a first offense, multiple DUI convictions within a 10-year period, whether there was a refusal, under 21 years old, and whether it was an alcohol-related or drug only conviction. Also, a DUI conviction will result in 2 points on your driving record.
What's The DUI Limit in California?
Like in most states, if your blood alcohol level is .08 or above, it is illegal to drive even if you are not impaired. That does not mean you cannot be arrested and convicted of driving with less than .08 because there are people who get loopy and impaired at levels under .08. Also, it is illegal for anyone who is under 21 years old to drive with just a 01 BAC and they can lose their privilege to drive for 1 year.
For medications and other drugs, there is no set limit, but if you are impaired due to taking medication or other drugs, then it is unlawful to drive.
A combination of alcohol and medication or other drugs can be problematic because there are no baseline limits, and it all comes down to whether you are impaired due to the combination.
How Long Does A DUI Stay On Your Record?
The short answer is that a DUI remains on your driving record for 10 years. The conviction stays on a criminal record for life.
The further away your conviction gets in years, the less impact it has on your auto insurance rates. Some employers only ask about convictions going back a certain number of years. If you get your conviction set-aside pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4, for most private employment applications you would be able to answer that you did not have a DUI conviction. Driving jobs are different because there is no way to get a DUI record cleared from your DMV record and can be a problem for many years.
For commercial licenses, two convictions will ban the ability to get a commercial license for life.