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ADDRESS:
Law Offices of Areeg Akel
401 West A Street
San Deigo, CA 92101
phone: 619.325.2911
fax: 619.399.0024
Areeg@AreegAkel.com

 

 

About Law Offices of Areeg Akel

Common Questions for SAN DIEGO Driving Under the Influence and Drunk Driving DUI Cases

What should one do when they, a family member, or friend has been arrested for DUI in San Diego County?
If arrested on charges of DUI, it is crucial to obtain all facts in regards to one's arrest. It is often prudent to make notes of any communication with officers during the arrest. In addition to making a complete record of communication with any law enforcement officers, clients are often recommended to obtain information of any potential witnesses to the event. It is crucial for defendants to gather all paper work and official documents given to them by the police department and/or county and bring them to our law offices of an experienced DUI attorney who can work to ease what can be such an overwhelming situation.

Why is there a separate DUI court date and DMV notice?
Hearings with the DMV and DUI criminal court are two separate processes. Defendants must defend themselves in both cases; however, winning one case does not ensure winning the other. This is why it is so important to hire an experienced DUI attorney who can fight both cases and prevent any possible consequences.
Common Defenses in DUI cases
There are many possible defenses in approaching the complexities of DUI cases. In order to ensure the utilization of the best defense for the defendants' specific situation, it is important for defendants to hire an experienced DUI attorney. :
- Probable Cause: the officer must have probable cause to:
o (1) Stop you
o (2) Detain you (the officer must show he or she had a legitimate reason to detain you for a period of time), and
o (3) Arrest you (evidence can be suppressed if we are able to show the officer in your drunk driving case did not follow the law. Sobriety Check Points or DUI Roadblocks can present complex issues).
- Driving Issues: the prosecution must prove that the defendant was actually "driving- the vehicle, and at the time of driving, the defendant was under the influence. For example, if you were sleeping in the vehicle or if the officer comes to your residence after you already arrived home, you may have a workable defense.
- "Under the Influence- : an officer may be mistaken as to his or her observations of you while administering the field sobriety tests, and thus can be discredited in court. Often the officer is not properly trained in administering field sobriety tests or chemical tests, which can help to invalidate results.
- "BAC- or Blood-Alcohol Concentration Result: there are numerous problems associated with the testing procedures and the machines themselves. The smallest error can produce significant differences in results, giving your attorney a good argument for your defense.
- Regulation of the DUI equipment: the prosecution carries with it the burden of showing that the instruments used to test your Blood Alcohol Concentration complied with the California state regulations for DUI calibration. If they cannot prove that burden, your DUI attorney may have a good argument in your favor.
- "Rising BAC- : it is unlawful to have an excessive BAC (blood-alcohol concentration) at the TIME of DRIVING, not at the TIME of being TESTED. It takes anywhere from thirty minutes to three hours for alcohol to be absorbed into your blood and therefore potentially impair your driving. Often a test is not given for 30 minutes to 2 hours after the time of driving. You could show a BAC test result of .10 and actually only been a .07 at the time you were driving your car.
- Miranda Rights: depending on the facts, any statements made by you after the officer SHOULD have given you your Miranda warnings can be excluded from the case.
- Refusal to Test: officers often do not give proper advisements as to the consequences of refusing a chemical test. If the officer did not tell you about the consequences of refusing the BAC tests, or gave the instruction improperly, this may invalidate a DMV license suspension.

How much does it cost to hire a DUI attorney?
Depending on court experience and attorney reputation, the cost of a DUI attorney in San Diego County can vary greatly. However, when hiring an attorney, anyone charged with a DUI must understand the possible consequences of being convicted of a DUI. While hiring an attorney may seem expensive at first, the time saved in addition to the benefits obtained far outweighs the expense.

Factors which are considered in the price of a defense include:
- Whether the client is a repeat offender
- The number of motions and legal preceding necessary for the specific case
- The price of an attorney also hinges on whether their will be a trial or not
- Has the client been charged with a felony?
- Does the client need representation for DMV hearings?

Possible legal consequences of being convicted of DUI in San Diego:
Depending on whether the client is a first time offender or has been charged in the past, legal consequences can range from attending driving school, paying a fine, unsupervised probation, attending a possible work program, or possible jail time.

How does sentence enhancement affect me?
When determining the consequences of a DUI conviction, sentences often include enhancements based on the circumstances of the case and prior convictions. Reasons for enhancements often include:
- Speeding at time of arrest
- Blood Alcohol Levels .20 and higher
- The presence of children under 14 in the automobile at time of DUI
- The refusal to take a chemical test
- Car accident or personal injury to others
- A defendant under the age of 21


Information on Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
License Suspension:
It is extremely important to inform one's attorney whether you received a temporary driver's license from the arresting officer. This form states that the DMV must be contacted within 10 days of arrest to request a hearing which can stop the automatic suspension of a driver's license.
On a first offense, a person's driver's license can be automatically suspended for 4 months. On a second offense, automatic suspensions can range anywhere up to a year. While a license can be automatically suspended, defendants are often able to request a restricted driver's license. The assistance of a qualified attorney is imperative to understanding the complexities of the DUI process and ensuring the best probability of obtaining a restricted license.
Not everyone is guilty:
Unfortunately, while many people feel that they are sufficiently able to drive a motor vehicle at time of arrest, the constant reduction of the permissible BAC in the state of California from .15% to .08% has greatly increased the number of DUI arrests. A BAC of .08% may mean that, while one feels ok to drive, they are illegally driving under the influence of alcohol.
The assistance of a motivated and experienced defense attorney can mean the difference between conviction and dismissal. By understanding the intricacies of a DUI case, Law Offices of Areeg Akel can call into question anything from the functionality of the breathalyzer to whether correct the arresting officer correctly followed all necessary steps in properly arresting someone suspected of driving under the influence. At Law Offices of Areeg Akel we have successfully handled both misdemeanor and felony DUI cases, often securing case dismissals and sentence reductions for our clients.

Over the years the consequences that accompany a DUI arrest have become more severe than ever before. The following possible consequences make it vital to consult with a professional DUI attorney before approaching the situation.
- Jail Time: While many first time misdemeanor convictions are not accompanied with long prison sentences, felony convictions can range anywhere up to three years and more in a state prison depending on the circumstances of the crime.
- Probation: DUI convictions often include a five year time under supervised or unsupervised probation.
- Attendance at a Drinking Driver Alcohol program
o Ignition interlock device: This, at significant cost to the defendant, is connected to the defendant's ignition system and forces the driver to blow into a handheld device before starting the car. The court determines the length of time this device must remain connected to the vehicle, and the cost of the device and its monitoring must often be paid by the defendant.
- Significant fines, fees and penalties
- Vehicle impoundment and possible forfeiture
- Points on driving record which can drastically increase the cost of insuring one's vehicle.
- Administrative action against one's driver's license: in the form of suspension or even revocation.

 

 

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401 West A Street
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 325-2911