Ventura DUI Attorney

DUI & Driving Offenses in California

If you are facing charges for driving under the influence (DUI) in Southern California, then do not wait to align yourself with a proven Ventura DUI lawyer. Without an experienced legal professional acting on your behalf, you could find the DUI process to be not only costly but also extremely time-consuming and even embarrassing.

At the Law Office of Christopher P. Welch, our team is passionate about obtaining results that are in the best interests of our clients. With guidance from a former prosecutor, you benefit from tremendous experience and insight into your case and how the opposition will approach your charges.

You must act quickly!

After an arrest for DUI, you have a very limited amount of time to take action. Within 10 days, you must request a hearing at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Doing so can effectively place the suspension of your driver's license on hold until the conclusion of your court proceedings. Mr. Welch can attend the DMV hearing with you.

If you choose to have a public defender represent your case, please note that these lawyers are given large caseloads and are often unable to dedicate adequate attention to any individual case. A private Ventura DUI attorney, on the other hand, can give you undivided attention and can design a defense that is uniquely suited for you.

Contact the Law Office of Christopher P. Welch.
Your first case evaluation is offered completely free!

What are the DUI penalties in California?

A first-time DUI conviction could result in:

  • Driver's license suspension for 6 to 10 months
  • Fines of up to $1,000
  • Mandatory alcohol / rehabilitation classes

A second-time DUI conviction within 10 years of the first conviction could result in:

  • Minimum of 96 hours in jail
  • Minimum of 3 years of summary probation
  • Driver's license suspension
  • Mandatory traffic school
  • Fines

A third-time DUI conviction could result in:

  • Minimum of 120 days in county jail
  • Minimum of 3 years of probation
  • Driver's license revocation for up to 3 years
  • Mandatory traffic school
  • Hefty fines

If the DUI resulted in injury to a third party, then it will be charged as a felony offense and can carry a 3-year state prison sentence if you are convicted.

Myths About DUI

When it comes to DUI, there are a number of mistruths and patently false information that many people take at face value. In this blog, we’re here to set the record straight for five of the most common myths about DUI.

Myth #1: You Can’t Be Charged with DUI if You Aren’t Driving

In California, you can be arrested for DUI even if you are not actively driving, provided the officer has reason to believe that you were driving or planned to drive while intoxicated. There are countless examples of people being charged with DUI after they were found sleeping in a parked car. You can also be arrested for boating or bicycling while under the influence!

Myth #2: Breathalyzers & Blood Tests Can’t Be Beat

Many people mistakenly believe that chemical blood alcohol content tests are always accurate. In reality, this is far from the truth. In one recent example, more than 2,200 blood tests were found to be potentially inaccurate after authorities discovered an issue at the Orange County Crime Lab.

Myth #3: If You’re Drunk & Get Pulled Over, You Should Lie

Police officers regularly interact with many different people from all walks of life, most of whom have some sort of excuse or reason for their behavior. For that reason, it’s extremely unlikely that they will believe you, especially if they already suspect that you’ve been drinking. Furthermore, they can tack on additional obstruction of justice charges if you are determined to be driving under the influence.

Myth #4: A DUI Arrest Isn’t Really a Big Deal

Some people foolishly believe that a DUI charge is basically a trumped-up traffic ticket. DUI is actually a serious misdemeanor criminal charge, and is often escalated to a felony if certain circumstances exist. If you’re convicted of DUI, you will face severe penalties, including suspended driving privileges, expensive fines, and time in jail.

Myth #5: You’re Better Off Pleading Guilty

Some people, usually those with clean driving and criminal records, will plead guilty to DUI charges in the hopes that they will receive a reduced sentence. In reality, this rarely works out as planned. Even if a Ventura DUI lawyer can’t get the charges against you dropped, they may be able to negotiate a superior plea bargain on your behalf. California has a separate and much less serious violation called “wet reckless,” which is essentially designed just for DUI plea bargains.

Common Mistakes

Most people who are charged with DUI have never faced any type of real criminal charges before. As a result, they often feel overwhelmed, stressed out, and eventually make poor decisions regarding their DUI defense. For this reason, and many more, it is critical to secure tough defense from an experienced Ventura DUI lawyer, who can skillfully guide you through the process and work to protect your rights.

1. Assuming That You Can’t Beat the Charges

Accepting your fate is perhaps the single biggest mistake made by people facing DUI charges. Many people incorrectly believe that if you’ve been arrested for DUI, a conviction is essentially guaranteed. In reality, DUI is a highly complex area of law, and there are many, many factors that could completely invalidate the case against you. The impact of a DUI conviction is extremely serious, so you should always fight charges with the help of a Ventura DUI attorney.

2. Waiving Preliminary Hearings/Not Filing a Pre-Trial Motion

After an arrest, a preliminary hearing is held – this essentially requires the prosecutor to prove that there is enough evidence to take the case to trial. Waiving your right to this hearing is almost never a good idea, as it guarantees that your case will be taken to trial. To the surprise of many, a great number of DUI cases are thrown out at this stage, before trial even starts.

Sticking with the same theme, pre-trial motions should be filed for nearly every DUI case. These are essentially arguments to set the boundaries for a trial. Pre-trial motions are often filed with the goal of:

  • Dismissing all charges or certain charges
  • Excluding or suppressing certain evidence
  • Excluding specified witnesses

3. Accepting the Results of Roadside Tests

Another extremely common misconception about DUI cases is that the results of a field sobriety or breathalyzer test are always right. This is completely incorrect, as many of these tests are fundamentally flawed. The classic “walk a straight line” and horizontal gaze nystagmus tests are laughably inaccurate for determining whether or not someone is impaired – in fact, some studies, have found that the most reliable tests are only accurate about 65% of the time. Chemical tests, such as breathalyzers or blood tests, are typically much more reliable, but still have a lot of flaws that could lead to inaccurate or inadmissible results.

Facing DUI charges? Don't wait to contact Ventura DUI lawyer today for a free consultation!