The Law Offices of Sevag Nigoghosian.

101 N. Brand Blvd.
Suite 1970
Glendale, CA  91203

T. (818) 956-1111
F. (818) 956-1983

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DUI

A DUI arrest in California starts two cases - a criminal prosecution for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and an administrative proceeding by DMV to suspend your driver's license. The DUI process can be very confusing and it is very necessary to work with an attorney who is an expert in the area.

If convicted for drunk driving in the state of California, you could lose your license, spend time in jail, and end up paying a hefty fine. Additionally, your insurance premiums will likely increase and you could lose your job if your employer has a zero tolerance policy in regard to criminal convictions. For these and other reasons, it's important to work with an attorney who understands what needs to be done to reduce the charges or sentence against you.

How can we help you? For the criminal charges, The Law Offices of Sevag Nigoghosian will thoroughly investigate every aspect of your arrest, including the arresting officer's reasonable suspicion or probable cause for the traffic stop, to see if all evidence of the alleged offense can be suppressed. Our familiarity with the technical details of the breath test can also represent an advantage in disproving the results. We can show how poor calibration, improper use, or interactions with authorized medications can result in an inaccurate Intoxilyzer or Breathalyzer reading. Whatever the circumstances of your DUI arrest might be, The Law Offices of Sevag Nigoghosian has the experience and skill to make the most of your defense.

The Law Offices of Sevag Nigoghosian also understand the importance of fast action to protect your driver's license. Failure to request a DMV hearing within ten days of the arrest results in the automatic suspension of your license for four months. If your license has been suspended, The Law Offices of Sevag Nigoghosian can help with obtaining a conditional or provisional license for essential driving.
Regardless of whether this is your first DUI or if you've been convicted for drunk driving before, we can help. To find out more about how we approach your legal problems, contact us for a free case evaluation at The Law Offices of Sevag Nigoghosian

Free California Case Review – Call (818)956-1111.

DUI FAQ

Is it possible to win a California DUI case?
Yes. At The Law Offices of Sevag Nigoghosian, we have an extensive track record of fighting and winning DUI cases. It is not only possible to get DUI charges reduced, but in some cases we are able to get them dismissed entirely. A number of DUI defenses have proven successful in prior cases including arguing constitutional violations and challenging blood alcohol concentration measurements. We systematically review police reports for inconsistencies and lapses in procedure. We also request complete disclosure regarding the device used to test your blood alcohol level, the personnel involved in the maintenance and operation of the device, and the lab certification.

What are the penalties for California DUI conviction?
Possible California DUI penalties include: Incarceration from a few days in county jail to many years in state prison; Probation, either formal (with a probation officer) or informal; Monetary damages in the form of fines, penalties, and restitution; Restriction, suspension or revocation of your California Driver License; Mandatory attendance at treatment programs; Car impoundment; and Installation of ignition interlock device. The imposition and severity of these various DUI penalties varies depending on prior DUI convictions and the circumstances of the current case. In addition to state sanctions, DUI convictions almost always result in significantly higher insurance premiums, and in some cases, adverse impacts on employment.

The police said I blew a .07%. Why was I still arrested and charged with a DUI?
An arrest for DUI can be made at any blood alcohol level. Some counties routinely prosecute people with blood alcohol levels below a .08% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). Often the decision to arrest is dependent upon the performance on the field sobriety tests (balance & coordination) and the driving pattern (weaving, speeding or an accident, etc.). An officer can arrest for simply being under the influence of alcohol or drugs with no reference to your blood alcohol level at all! The District Attorney would then file a 23152(a) CVC charge, which is simply driving under the influence of alcohol. Again, this would likely be based on the police observations of your driving pattern and performance on the field sobriety tests.

What will happen at Court?
On your ticket, or somewhere else in your paperwork, the date, time and location for your first court appearance will be listed. If you haven't hired an attorney, you must attend court on that date and time.

At some point the judge will ask you to enter a plea to the charges. At this time you must plead either guilty or not guilty. Depending on your plea the judge will ask you several questions aimed at determining whether you want to waive your constitutional rights, including your right to a speedy jury trial.

If you plead guilty, the judge will likely pass sentence immediately. Depending on the charges you face, the county you are charged in, and the specific judge, this sentence will vary. Most DUI crimes entail, at minimum, some time in jail or a program that counts as jail, a drinking driver program, a substantial fine, and probation.

How can they charge me with DUI if they pulled me over for speeding?
The speeding offense provided the probable cause (valid reason) for the stop. If the law enforcement officer suspects you of driving under the influence after you are stopped (based on admissions, smell of alcohol or drugs etc.) you can be arrested for DUI. There is no requirement that police suspect you of driving under the influence prior to the stop in order to arrest you for DUI.

Why is there no speeding charge on my ticket, only DUI?
The lesser speeding charge (infraction) is usually not charged because of the more serious DUI charge (misdemeanor). The speeding will be reflected in the police report.

If the officer does not show up at my initial court date will my DUI be dismissed?
No, a DUI is a misdemeanor not a traffic infraction. The initial court date is an arraignment and the police officer will not be present. In fact the police officer may never be present during the court proceedings until the date of trial if any.

Is it true that you should refuse the chemical test?
No, absolutely not. You should never refuse to take a chemical test in California.  A refusal to take a blood or breath test will result in the automatic 1-year suspension of your driver's license even if the DUI charge is dismissed. And if convicted a refusal can result in increased penalties including jail time. Also, the refusal can be introduced into evidence as "consciousness of guilt" of having too much alcohol in your system. This can be refuted by your defense lawyer.

Will the court count prior DUI convictions in other states against me?
Generally, yes. If the law in the other state is substantially similar to the law in California then a prior DUI or DWI can be used against you in California thereby increasing the penalties (jail time, greater fines and longer alcohol programs, etc.).

What is a wet reckless?
A wet reckless is essentially driving with some alcohol in your system that does not rise to the level of a DUI. This is a common reduction for first time DUI offenders. The fines, penalties and probation are often less than that of a DUI, but a wet reckless will be considered as "priorable" offense for a seven-year period. Thus, if you get another DUI within seven years of a wet reckless the DUI will count as a second offense.

Shouldn't I just plead guilty if my test results were over .08% BAC?
There could have been an error during the testing process that can only be uncovered during the discovery process. If you simply plead guilty based on the original test results you may be giving up your opportunity for a dismissal or reduction of the charges against you. Alcohol testing is not always accurate. Procedural errors, faulty machinery, improper testing methods are always a possibility in a DUI case. Your defense attorney should explore all of your options and opportunities.

Why do I need to contact the California DMV within 10 days of my arrest?
After being arrested for a California DUI, you are facing two different proceedings - the courts and the DMV. You must contact the California DMV to request an Administrative Hearing within 10 days to protect your driving privileges. Temporary driver licenses issued to DUI defendants expire after 30 days, but driving privileges will be extended until a DMV hearing has been held and decision rendered.

If you win the California DMV hearing, your driving privileges will be protected until the courts render a decision (which also can be favorable).

Can California DMV administrative hearings be won?
Yes. At The Law Offices of Sevag Nigoghosian, we have a great deal of experience defending and winning California DMV Administrative Hearings. In order to restrict your California driving privilege, the DMV Hearing Officer must make three determinations:

  • Who was driving the vehicle
  • Whether the police officer had "reasonable cause" to pull over and arrest the driver (a complicated legal question)
  • Whether the driver had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or above (which is open to many challenges)

A vigorous and knowledgeable defense possibly including expert witnesses can raise serious questions about one or more of these criteria.

How long will all this take?
Unless you are willing to plead guilty at your first court hearing, a DUI defense will take a minimum of several months. More complicated DUI cases can easily last six months to a year as they wind their way through the court and DMV systems. Felony DUI cases (ones involving accidents) or cases with multiple priors may well endure for several years. At The Law Offices of Sevag Nigoghosian upon reviewing the individual circumstances of each case during a Free DUI Defense Consultation, we will provide you with a time estimate.

At The Law Offices of Sevag Nigoghosian, we offer all of our clients a flat fee that varies depending on the circumstances of the case. We review these circumstances during a Free DUI Defense Consultation, which allows you to know exactly what your attorney fees will be before retaining us.

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