The consequences of DUI charges in Newport Beach are serious and can include license suspension, large fines, and jail time. Jail time means missed work, and a license suspension makes it difficult to get to work. Eventually, you can lose your job. And a criminal record can make it hard to seek a new one.
Don’t lose hope. There are legal options and your case might not be as cut-and-dry as you think. An experienced Newport Beach DUI attorney can help you. This situation can be overwhelming, even scary, but the sooner you take legal action, the better.
Will You Lose Your Driver’s License if You’re Convicted of a DUI in Newport Beach?
When you’re convicted of DUI in Newport Beach and throughout California, you’ll lose your license first, even if the DUI was a first offense. However, the details and length of time depend on your specific case. There are three main types of driver’s license suspensions:
The Initial “Administrative Suspension”
This suspension happens right after you’re arrested for a DUI and can last up to four months. The DMV will automatically suspend your license for 30 days after the arrest. You can attempt to stop this suspension if you request a hearing within 10 days of your arrest. If you miss this deadline however, there’s no way to recover and there are no appeals.
This hearing is short and can be done either in-person or over the phone. During the hearing, you’ll be asked:
- If it was reasonable for the arresting officer to believe you were driving while under the influence
- If you were lawfully arrested
- If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.08% or higher
These questions are not always easy to answer. You might not know what your BAC level was at the time (test results can take weeks). And even if you’re innocent, the officer may have had a good reason to suspect you were incoherent. A trained DUI lawyer will know what the DMV officer is seeking from your answers and will be able to help you provide the best ones.
Full License Suspension
During a full suspension, you are not allowed to drive anywhere. This takes effect if you’re convicted of a DUI. If it’s a first offense DUI, the minimum for full suspension is two months, which includes the 30 days from the DMV and an additional month from the criminal penalty.
Ideally, your lawyer will be able to fight for only the minimum suspension and nothing longer.
If you’re given a license restriction, it means you can drive only to and from work and to and from your alcohol treatment program. If your job requires you to perform work-related errands, you might also gain access for this.
If this is your first DUI, the minimum time you’ll receive a license restriction is four months. If you need driving privileges for work however, the minimum is five months. You’ll receive this on top of the minimum two months of full suspension for a first offense.
Getting Your License Back
Once your license suspension or revocation is finished, you must take steps to get it reinstated; you don’t automatically get it back. First, you’ll need to show proof that you completed all conditions from your conviction, such as:
- Completing the alcohol treatment program
- Serving the entire license suspension period
- Installing an interlock device on your car (at your own cost), if required
- Finishing traffic school, if required
Next, you’ll need to ensure you have car insurance. If you already carry car insurance, the standards will now be higher because your conviction makes you a higher-risk driver. You’ll need to provide proof to the DMV by filling out a SR-22 form to show that your insurance company knows about the changes.
Finally, to apply for license reinstatement, you’ll need to visit the DMV and complete a DL-44 form. Bring all the documentation mentioned above with you. After presenting this and paying a $150 fee, the license reinstatement will be processed.
What Can Your Newport Beach DUI Lawyer Do For You?
Your DUI lawyer in Newport Beach will work to get you the minimum penalties for your driver’s license. A longer suspension is possible even with a first-time DUI, so hiring an experienced legal professional is key to improve your chances. They can:
- Help you act quickly to stop the administrative suspension on your license with the DMV
- Advise you on the best choices for your case to reduce your suspension time
- Assist with arrangements for getting to and from work and court arrangements
- Ensure you understand what is needed to get your license reinstated as soon as possible
- Build a strong defense for you (since you don’t lose your license if you aren’t convicted)
- Negotiate with the court and prosecutor for a reduced or dropped charges
Can You Refuse to Take a Blood or Breathalyzer Test?
If you have already been arrested, it is illegal to refuse the test. When you applied for your driver’s license, you agreed in advance to take the test, so it’s not optional. Refusing the tests means an additional one to three years of license suspension and a $125 fine.
There are three tests you can be asked to take if the police officer suspects a DUI:
- The breathalyzer test, where you will be asked to blow into a machine that evaluates the alcohol on your breath. Your results are immediate.
- The blood test, where you’ll be taken to a hospital to give a small blood sample, and it’ll be sent to a lab for analysis. The results can take days or weeks.
- The urine test, which is performed in a hospital. This test is less common in California and is more likely if illegal drug use is suspected. Your results take days or weeks.
What Happens if You Have a Drug or Marijuana DUI Offense in California?
According to California Vehicle Code §23152(e), a drug DUI charge, which includes use of illegal substances, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medication, and marijuana, carries the same penalties as it does to alcohol-related cases. It is charged as a misdemeanor.
Marijuana is legal in California, but it is illegal to drive under the influence of it. The prosecutor for your case will need to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you drove your car while impaired by marijuana. Your DUI attorney can challenge the police officer’s statements and accusations since technology for drug testing has not evolved like it has for alcohol.
Evidence That Can Be Used Against You in a DUI Case
To understand how your attorney can defend you, it’s important to know the type of evidence that will be used against you. Newport Beach DUI lawyers are experts at using this evidence to seek weak spots. While law enforcement and the prosecutor will try to make this evidence seem impenetrable and unquestionable, this is rarely the truth.
The main pieces of evidence that will be used against you in your DUI case will be:
- How you were driving; examples include drifting into other lanes or going off the road or weaving back and forth
- Your body language (shaky hands, falling over, slow reflexes)
- Field sobriety tests (FSTs)
- Blood, breath, or urine test
- Incriminating statements
Speak With a Newport Beach DUI Lawyer Today
If you were arrested for DUI, don’t miss out on the chance to pursue the best outcome and move on with your life as soon as possible. A great DUI lawyer can help you do this best.
We’ve compiled a database of the best, most experienced DUI defense attorneys in the Newport Beach area. We can connect you with the most fitting lawyer for you based on your needs and their expertise. For a FREE consultation with a Newport Beach DUI attorney as soon as possible, call us today and we’ll help you get started.