Driving an automobile is a privilege and not a right. However most of us depend on being able to drive to work and other engagements. In Southern California, being able to drive is almost a necessity. However if you have been charged with a driving offense, it could impact you ability to not only drive but enjoy your freedom. Driving offenses not only result in a criminal case but may also lead to administrative proceedings taken by the DMV against your license.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol (DUI)
Many people think that DUI is not a serious charge. But a DUI case is not just another traffic ticket. A DUI is a misdemeanor offense and can result in jail time and a fine. Additionally, the consequences of a DUI could include suspension of your driving privilege, employment sanctions, or significant loss of time and money. By hiring an experienced lawyer, you will be assured that your rights are protected and that you will be helped through a confusing process.
Types of Driving Offenses
- Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (DUI)
- DUI with Priors
- DUI with Injury
- DUI Refusal
- Felony DUI
- Reckless Driving/Exhibition of Speed
- Hit and Run
- License Offenses (no license, suspended license, probationary license)
It is important that an attorney review the specific facts of your case. Reading the internet explanations about “normal” cases is usually insufficient because there are numerous areas in which your individual case may differ. For instance, every case needs to be evaluated for search and seizure issues. When you are pulled over by a police officer, that officer must have a reasonable belief that you have violated the law. If the officer only has a suspicion that you may be driving under the influence because you are pulling out from an entertainment establishment or because you are driving at 2:00 a.m. he has insufficient legal cause to detain you. If you are unlawfully detained, any observation made by the officer after that detention cannot be used against you, including test results.
An attorney will also make sure that the method of measuring your blood alcohol content at the time of driving was legally accurate and reliable. Records are maintained on all of the breath machines that are used to record your blood alcohol level. If these records show that the machine has not been adequately maintained, your test results can be challenged. Blood test samples are retained and available for re-testing by an independent lab.
Driving offenses not only result in a criminal case but may also lead to administrative action being taken by the DMV against your driving privilege. Seeing an attorney immediately after your arrest is important because there are certain steps necessary to saving your driving privilege which must be taken immediately. If you do not act, your license will be suspended or you will lose your right to challenge the suspension.
Criminal cases involving alcohol are very complicated. At Bird & Bird, we take care to explain the procedure, help you avoid court appearances, and we remind you of your continuing obligations to complete court and/or DMV requirements. We will make the process much less time-consuming and confusing.
Driving Offenses Not Involving Alcohol or Drugs
While DUI is the first thing people think of under the category of driving offenses, there are numerous other offenses which may be charged. These offenses include hit and run, manslaughter, and reckless driving/exhibition of speed. When these offenses are charged as misdemeanors or felonies they are very serious and could result in jail time. It is essential that you contact an experienced attorney immediately if you are facing these charges.
Driving Offenses Regarding Licenses
If you do not have a valid driver's license when you are stopped for a traffic offense, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. Multiple offenses for driving with an invalid license can result in serious consequences both in the criminal courts and the DMV.
If you have been charged with a driving offense, contact Bird & Bird, Attorneys at Law (310) 371-7711 to schedule a free legal consultation and case review of the offense you've been charged with. As attorneys who practice criminal law exclusively, George and Karen Bird are ready to put their more than 60 years of combined legal experience to work for you to create your legal defense.