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
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
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
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
- 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
- "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
- "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
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
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
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
- 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
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
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
- 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.