DUI Attorney in Ventura

Ventura County is generally thought of as being a bad place to get a DUI. Generally, that is true. However, sometimes other counties can be more difficult to deal with.

Getting a DUI is by no means a good thing. But before you walk into court and plead guilty it is important that you consider whether or not you have a defense that would allow us to get your case dismissed. DUI law in California is complicated. But remember, just because your blood alcohol level was in excess of the legal limit does not mean that are guilty. We have won DUI cases in which our client’s blood alcohol level was as high as .40!

A DUI Has Two Parts: (1) the DMV, and (2) the Court

A DUI arrest in California triggers two separate processes. The first is your arraignment in court where the District Attorney will file criminal charges against you. No matter what happens in court, however, the DMV will have an independent administrative hearing to determine if facts exists that will allow the DMV to suspend your license.

These DMV hearings are based heavily on procedure. Often, even if you plead guilty to the DUI in court it is possible to win the DMV hearing.

Nevertheless, the worst case scenario is to be convicted of DUI, or to plead guilty to the charges. If this occurs numerous penalties will be imposed on you. Jail time may be anywhere up to one year for misdemeanor charges, and a prison commitment for felony cases.

However, in most circumstances, using sentencing alternatives that are available, it is possible to avoid spending any time in jail, even on a second or third DUI.

Protecting yourself is the most obvious reason you should hire an attorney if you are arrested for DUI. Even on a first offense DUI, the District Attorney may ask the court to impose a minimum of 48 hours in jail, and as much as 6 months in extreme cases.

However, having an attorney represent you offers many advantages, the most obvious of which is the ability to avoid jail and potentially get your case dismissed or license suspension set aside.

The DMV: Drivers License Suspension

Being arrested for DUI means you will have to fight a battle on two fronts: one in court and one with the DMV. In California, when you are arrested your driver’s license is taken. At the same time you are given a pink temporary license. This license is valid only for 30 days, after which your license will be automatically suspended. However, this suspension can be temporarily avoided if we contact the DMV within 10 days of your arrest and request a formal hearing in order to determine whether or not the DMV has the right to suspend your license.

If we request this hearing in a timely fashion, your license will continue to be valid, even after 30 days from your arrest. The license will be valid up until the time of the hearing (which is usually about 2 or 3 months away).

If we win the DMV hearing, you will get your license back immediately and will never have any suspension of your license.
If you lose the hearing, there will be a suspension, the length of which depends upon whether this is your first or subsequent offense.

The Law Office of Paul Tyler handles many such hearings every month. If there is any way for your license to be saved, we will find it and do our very best to argue the law and facts at the hearing. This may require the testimony of you, any other individuals in your vehicle, the arresting officer, or even a forensic alcohol expert.

The length of any potential suspension depends on whether or not your case is a first or subsequent offense. Here is the length of the suspension:

A FIRST OFFENSE SUSPENSION WITH THE DMV may be served in any of the following three ways:

Which option you chose is entirely up to you. To get the restricted license, you must pay a reissuance fee of approximately $125, show proof of insurance to the DMV (SR‑22 form), and show that you are enrolled in alcohol school.

On a SECOND OFFENSE SUSPENSION WITH THE DMV your license is suspended for 12 months.

A THIRD OFFENSE WITH THE DMV can result in a three year revocation of your license. However, under certain circumstances you may apply for a restricted license after only one year.

If you refused to take a breath or blood test after being arrested, the suspension will be for one or two years.

The Court: Penalties for Pleading Guilty or Being Convicted

Ventura County, California is often thought to have some of the most extreme DUI penalties in the state. In some cases this is true, but in others it is not.

Ventura County operates off of a “sentencing Matrix” which is based upon how high your blood alchohol level is. Below is a summary of a standard sentence for a first and a second offense DUI in Ventura County. Please note that these sentences assume that you are only charged with a standard first or second offense DUI and there was no accident or injury. The sentence for DUI with bodily injury is higher than for a standard DUI. Additionally, if you are charged with any other crimes, such as resisting arrest or driving on a suspended license, there may be additional fines or jail time added to your sentence.

First Offense—Basic Probation

Second Offense Within Ten Years

Third Offense Within Ten Years

The penalties for a third offense are the same as a second offense, but there is a minimum of 120 days in jail.

Fourth Offense Within Ten Years

A fourth offense is always filed as a felony, which subjects you to felony probation terms and possible prison commitment.

Where to Go from Here

Paul Tyler has appeared on thousands of DUI cases in Ventura County. As such he is totally familiar with all issues which can arise in these cases. Please call him at 805-889-9000 for a free consultation on the facts of your case.

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