Phillips Law Offices DUI Defense Overview

Is it inconvenient for you to drive to a law firm? Meet Phillips Law Offices: We started our trial and DUI law firm with a simple but radical idea. We were not interested in “the way things have always been done” in the legal profession. Instead, we care about what’s best for our clients. Now a great DUI lawyer is never more than a mouse-click away. We know our clients are busy people. Sometimes it is inconvenient to travel to a law office. Now you have an option. Work directly, one-on-one, with your DUI lawyer from the privacy of your home or office.

We leverage state of the art technology, both inside and out of the courtroom, to give our clients unparalleled DUI representation without the hassle. We bring an extraordinary client experience to clients around the region. Helping clients throughout the Gold Country and the greater Sacramento area. Meet with your attorney when it’s convenient for you by video conference. (We are still glad to meet in person at our two office locations or chat on the phone!) Access your client file 24/7 on our secure “bank grade" client portal. Call us a call at 530-265-0186 and we will be happy to show you how.


What Makes Us Different

We know our clients are busy people. Sometimes it is inconvenient to travel to a law office. Now you have an option. Work directly, one-on-one with your DUI lawyer from the privacy of your home or office. On most DUI’s you never even have to go to court.


The DUI Arrest

Most DUI arrests begin with a traffic stop for some vehicle code violation or occasionally a checkpoint. Once the officer smells alcohol on the motorist’s breath, the DUI investigation begins. The officer will ask you to perform a series of “field sobriety” tests (which are voluntary) followed by blowing into a handheld breathalyzer (which is also voluntary). If the officer feels she has “probable cause” to arrest after considering the driving witnessed, performance on the field sobriety tests, and breath test results, the driver will be arrested. After arrest, the officer will ask the driver to take a second breath or blood test (this second test is not voluntary, and refusing may result in tougher DUI penalties and a one-year drivers license suspension ).

For most misdemeanor DUI arrests, the police will release the driver within a few hours of arrest and booking. For more serious DUI arrests (such as a felony DUI or accident case) the driver may have to post bail. Upon release, you should be given two documents: a citation with a date to appear in court and a pink “temporary drivers license”, valid for 30 days. It is very important to contact the California DMV within 10 days of arrest to request a hearing and extend the temporary license suspension.


DUI Arrest and Driver’s License Suspension

When a driver is arrested for DUI in California, his or her driver's license is immediately confiscated and they are given a temporary license valid for 30 days. This confiscation starts a civil process which is separate from the criminal charges. It is critical that, in California, the driver contacts the DMV within 10 days of the arrest to request a hearing, even if the driver is from out-of-state. Failure to do so will result in an automatic suspension of the driver's license. Although the DMV process is somewhat similar to the criminal process, it is an extremely complex area of the law with its own rules and regulations. It is even more complicated for individuals with out-of-state driver’s licenses or who have a commercial truck driving license.


DUI Court Process

Most people whose blood alcohol level is higher than .08 will be charged with two misdemeanor crimes: DUI “driving while impaired” under Vehicle Code 23152(a) and Driving with Excessive blood alcohol level under Vehicle Code 23152(b). Although there are two charges, there can only be one conviction. The goal is to avoid either conviction.

In California, your DUI attorney can attend all the DUI court hearings for you unless there's a hearing where you have to testify or the case goes to trial. Most DUI cases will involve numerous court dates and will span over several months. During this time, we collect evidence regarding your case, file any necessary motions on your behalf, and negotiate with the judge and prosecutor seeking a dismissal or a reduction in the charges.

If a settlement is reached involving you pleading to a DUI or a lesser charge, this can be completed one of two ways. You may come to court and plead in person before the judge. Or, in many cases, we can have you sign documents and execute the plea on your behalf without you ever going to court.

If no settlement can be reached, your DUI case ultimately will be set for trial either before a judge or jury. It is important to remember that prosecutors and judges often give better deals after a case gets set for trial, as problems in the government’s evidence become more apparent when a trial prosecutor finally takes a hard look at the case.


Misdemeanor DUI Charges

Almost all DUI’s in California are misdemeanors. There are, of course, some exceptions where a DUI may be charged as a felony, such as a case where someone is injured or the driver has three prior convictions in the last 10 years. Generally, misdemeanors are viewed as less serious crimes and carry lower penalties than felony convictions. More importantly, with misdemeanors, most (if not all), of the jail time can be substituted for alternatives or treatment.


Felony DUI Charges

When arrested for a DUI, one of the first questions people often ask is, “Is a DUI a felony?” In most cases, people arrested for driving under the influence are not charged with a felony DUI. Most DUI's, even though they are traffic offenses, are considered misdemeanors. However, in California, there are three main situations in which the district attorney might choose to charge someone with a felony DUI:

1. There was bodily injury to a person other than the person being charged.

2. The person being charged is on their 4th DUI (or more) within a period of 10 years.

3. The person being charged has at least one prior felony DUI charge on their record.

If you have been charged or think there is any possibility that you might be charged with a felony DUI, time is critical and you should probably stop searching around on the Internet for information and contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. At the Phillips Law Offices, we try not to unduly scare people, but if you are convicted in California for felony driving under the influence, you face the possibility of prison time and significant fines. For many careers, a felony DUI on your record will create lifelong difficulties. We have successfully handled countless felony DUI cases including DUI murder and manslaughter.


Drug DUI Charges

Also referred to as DUI drugs, drugged driving, or DUID, driving under the influence of drugs (or both alcohol and drugs) is a crime. In California, it is an offense that often has the same consequences as driving while intoxicated. Vehicle Code section 23152(f) and 23152(g) the specific law that discusses driving under the influence of drugs, states:

(f ) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.

(g) It is unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle.

The legal definition for the phrase "under the influence" is actually identical to driving under the influence of alcohol:

“...affecting the nervous system, brain, or muscles of a person as to impair, to an appreciable degree, his ability to drive a vehicle in the manner that any ordinarily prudent and cautious man, in full possession of his faculties, using reasonable care, would drive a similar vehicle under like conditions.”


Boating DUI

Also known as boating under the influence, boating DUI, BUI, DUI boating, or drunk boating. Boating under the influence can happen in a lake, a river, or on the ocean. In Nevada County, Placer County, Butte County and the Gold Country, we are blessed with some of the best lakes for boating and recreation in the Sierra Nevada. With that, comes DUI Boating enforcement.

Operating a boat or any watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (at or above a blood-alcohol concentration, or BAC, of .08%) is much like driving a vehicle while under the influence: it is a criminal offense in the state of California.


DUI and Frequently Asked Questions

These frequently asked questions are intended to provide basic information about common issues that arise in many DUI cases. If you have specific questions or would like to speak with an experienced DUI attorney about your case, we invite you to give us a call today for a free consultation at 530-265-0186


California DUI Penalties

The penalties for a DUI in California vary based on the circumstances of the case. However, the law provides ranges of allowable penalties that are for the most part, based upon the specific facts of the case either in aggravation or mitigation and if the defendant has any prior convictions. Here are what the possible sentences look like for a first, second, and third DUI.


DUI Charges and Out of State Residents

Drivers arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in California including Nevada County or Placer County with out-of-state driver's licenses should be aware of specific rules and pitfalls that may complicate their cases.

A California DUI arrest may jeopardize the driver's privileges in the state that issued the license. An experienced California DUI attorney who concentrates on drunk-driving defense will work to protect an individual's driving privileges both here in California and in the state that issued the license.


DUI Charges and Commercial Truck Drivers

Commercial truck drivers face both civil license suspension and criminal charges if arrested for DUI in California including Nevada County or Placer County. DMV Ad Min Per Se suspensions are a 1-year suspension of the commercial license for a first offense, in addition to the other DUI penalties. The hazardous materials transport commercial license suspension is 3 years. For second or subsequent offenses, there is a LIFETIME BAN on each type of commercial license. Such license holders may be able to obtain basic drivers licenses within the shorter period applicable to other drivers license holders.


DUI Charges and Pilots License

Being stopped for DUI can have serious repercussions if you also hold a pilot's license. Here is information that you need to know if you are an airman and you have a DUI or alcohol issue facing you. First, let's look at the specific regulations that govern the actions taken against airmen who are arrested for suspicion of drunk driving.


DUI Charges and DMV Administrative Hearings

Thousands of California motorists have their driver’s licenses suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles every year for a variety of reasons. These reasons range from DUI arrests, too many "points", being a negligent operator, failure to pay traffic tickets or child support, fatal and serious injury accidents, or suspensions for medical conditions. Although the DMV can’t suspend a driver’s license without a hearing, and the driver has certain rights, the process can be difficult for those not familiar with the procedure. The Phillips Law Offices have conducted thousands of DMV Administrative Per Se (APS) hearings and can help with yours.