Driving Under the Influence/DMV Charges
Over the last ten years there has been a growing shift in policy towards legalizing recreational cannabis. However, as marijuana use becomes more widely accepted; Federal, State, and County agencies have invested millions of dollars into marijuana DUI arrests.
The problem with marijuana DUIs is there is no per se impairment level. For example, if you are driving with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08% or greater there is a presumption that you are impaired. Since there is no presumed impairment level, countless medical cannabis users, as well as recreational users, have been unfairly arrested, prosecuted, and convicted of a DUI, despite the fact the individual was not impaired at the time of driving. Such a conviction, results in years of probation, DUI classes, MADD classes, thousands of dollars in fines, loss of driving privileges/license, and in some cases having to install an interlock ignition device in your vehicle.
Unlike other states, such as Colorado and Idaho, California does not have a per se impairment level for marijuana DUIs. Therefore, determining whether a person was driving while under the influence of marijuana is based on several factors; the officer’s opinion, performance on the field sobriety tests, observed driving and level of nanograms of THC in your system.
The Law Office of Andrew Delahunt has handled hundreds of marijuana DUIs many of which have resulted in dismissals or drastically reduced charges and consequences.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
Almost everyone knows someone who has been arrested, charged, and convicted of a DUI. As such, it is no surprise that local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies invest large amounts tax payer dollars to arrest and prosecute people who operate a vehicle while being under the influence of alcohol.
Most people think that fighting a DUI charge is futile or could result in the prosecution seeking a stiffer punishment. Fortunately, this could not be further from the truth. As discussed in the DMV section, failure to take immediate action after being arrested for a DUI could result in an automatic license suspension. Then months later, when you finally finish the Court case, the Court suspends your license again, usually after you have already finished serving your DMV suspension. Therefore, hiring an attorney to contest both the DMV suspension and Court suspension could result in saving your license entirely or at the very least have each suspension run concurrently.
There are many other benefits to hiring an attorney to fight a DUI charge. An experienced DUI attorney knows how to evaluate the weaknesses and/or strengths in each DUI case. In turn an experienced DUI attorney can use these strengths to negotiate with the prosecution for a dismissal or a lesser charge. The difference between a DUI conviction and a lesser charge typically results in lower fines, little or no DUI classes, not having to install an interlock ignition device, no probation, and allowing the driver to retain his or hers driver’s license without it being suspended.
Driving on Suspended License
The California Vehicle Code allows for harsh punishments for driving without a license. However, there are three very distinct categories of driving without a license and depending on which category you fall in, it could mean the difference between a small fine or jail time.
Driving without a license, vehicle code 12500, typically occurs when someone’s driver’s license has expired or the driver never obtained a California Driver’s License. Courts discourage people from driving without a license by penalizing people with the possibility of a misdemeanor conviction and probation. However, obtaining a driver’s license while the case is pending could result in the prosecution moving to amend the charge to an infraction and a relatively small fine.
Driving on a suspended license, vehicle code 14601.1, typically occurs when the driver failed to take a care of a ticket or failed to show up for a Court appearance. When you fail to appear (FTA) for a Court appearance the Court notifies the DMV and the DMV then suspends your license. Similar to a vehicle code 12500 violation, having your license reinstated while the case is pending could result in the prosecution amending the charge to an infraction and a fine, instead of a misdemeanor conviction and probation.
Driving on a suspended license, vehicle code 14601.2, occurs when the driver’s license has been suspended as a result of a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction. Typically, the driver is unable to get a license while the case is pending because the DMV and/or the Court has ordered the suspension for a set period of time. A conviction of a 14601.2 carries a minimum of 10 days in the County Jail and typically three years of probation and various court fines.
DMV Hearings – DMV administrative hearing or NOTS hearing
DMV administrative hearing – When a driver is arrested for driving under the influence, typically the arresting officer takes the actual driver’s license from the driver and issues them a temporary license. Contacting the DMV within 10 days of your arrest is critical to retaining your license. If you fail to contact the DMV to contest your suspension, the DMV will automatically suspend your license and require you to attend DUI classes and install an interlock ignition device before you are eligible to get your license back.
At the administrative hearing the DMV has to prove that (1) you drove a vehicle (2) you were lawfully arrested, and (3) your blood alcohol content was 0.08 or greater. The administrative hearings can be in person or telephonic.
Negligent Operator Treatment System, AKA NOTS Hearing – Depending on the status of your license, receiving a set amount of points on your DMV record over a twelve month period could result in the DMV declaring you a “negligent operator.” If you receive a notice from the DMV that your driver’s license will be suspended as a result of being declared a “negligent operator” it is essential to request a hearing to contest the suspension within the time period dictated by the notice from the DMV.
At the hearing, the DMV hearing officer reviews your driving record and confirms the tickets or points you received within the last 12, 24, or 36 months. The next step in the hearing is convincing the DMV hearing officer that he or she should make an exception and allow you to keep your license and potentially place you on a probationary period.
Recently, the Law Office of Andrew Delahunt represented a commercial driver that had received a notice that he had been declared a negligent operator. He immediately retained the Office to represent him at the hearing. Had this particular client’s driver’s license been suspended he would have lost of job and his ability to provide for his wife and small child. The Law Office of Andrew Delahunt immediately requested a hearing and convinced the hearing officer to fully reinstate the client’s license.
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DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL
Getting my first DUI and thinking I had ruined the rest of my adult life, I was recommended to contact Andrew Delahunt. He made it very easy to meet, as I lost my license because I didn’t contact him within ten days of being arrested. He...
Riverside Courthouse – Marijuana DUI
Client was charged with vehicle code §23152(e), driving under the influence of marijuana. Police responded to a Jack in the Box regarding a male driver who fell asleep in the drive through line just after ordering his food. Officers...