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A DUI conviction can have a serious impact on your life. It may cost hundreds in fines, may negatively affect your insurance rates, and may even affect the jobs at which you can work. (As an example, a DUI on your record will probably prevent you from driving for Uber or Lyft.) That’s why it is important to contest these matters vigorously. Ideally, you should take immediate action and retain a knowledgeable San Francisco DUI attorney to handle your case. Even if you didn’t, though, and you got convicted, you may still be able to benefit from the process of expungement.prisoner

Expungements may be available both for people convicted of DUI and for those convicted of “wet reckless.” The process for obtaining an expungement for DUI or wet reckless is laid out in Section 1203.4 of the California Penal Code.

In order to pursue a DUI conviction expungement, you’re going to have to meet certain eligibility requirements. You have to have completed probation successfully. In addition, you must have received a sentence that did not involve serving time in a state prison (as opposed to a county jail). Assuming you meet those requirements, you have to file a document asking the court to expunge the conviction. The court will hold a hearing. If your judge grants the expungement request, the case is dismissed, and the conviction is removed from your record.

Everyone responds to agitation in different ways, and almost anyone experiences some sort of agitation when they’re pulled over by the police for a speeding violation. Some people cry. Some become hostile. Others panic. Still others try to debate their way out of the ticket while sitting on the shoulder of the road. The reality is that the best way to handle your ticket often is simply to sign the citation and then retain knowledgeable San Francisco traffic ticket attorneys to handle your case and get you a favorable outcome.driver

Judges and journalists both love a good story, sometimes. In a recent criminal case decision, a federal appeals judge in Atlanta, while putting the “kibosh” on a novel defense argument, opined that America’s “history contains many…stories of triumph over long odds. This, however, is not one of those.” What the judge was saying was that, while the defense’s argument was creative, the judge wasn’t buying it. Closer to home, the Sacramento Bee reported on another encounter with the legal system that involved a “long shot” argument and an audience that wasn’t buying it.

According to the Bee report, a driver traveling on I-980 in Oakland was pulled over by the CHP for excessive speed. Advised of the speed the officer recorded, the driver contested that he was not going that fast. The officer showed the driver the display of his device, which read “99.” The driver theorized that the device was erroneously providing the officer with the current air temperature. There were two major problems with the driver’s effort to avoid the ticket in this manner. Besides the obvious (officers’ speed detecting devices do not sense, record, or display the temperature), the high that day in Oakland was only 81.

duiCertainly, most everyone understands the importance of refraining from drinking and driving. However, if you should err, end up behind the wheel after a few drinks and get into a fender-bender, you obviously wouldn’t want to spend years behind bars. Did you know that, even if the injuries suffered in your crash are very minor, those injuries could result in your doing years of prison time, even for a first offense? Or that you could possibly face these penalties even if no one was hurt all? A pair of recent cases, one from the East Bay and one from nearby Sonoma County, highlight the very substantial and life-changing penalties you can face and the importance of dealing with these charges in the appropriate manner to minimize the impact they will have on your life long-term. Part of dealing with your felony DUI arrest in the Bay Area is reaching out and retaining knowledgeable San Francisco DUI defense counsel.

The first of the two cases referenced above was from Alameda County. In that case, East Bay Times reported that an off-duty Oakland police officer was charged with DUI. Even though no one was hurt in the accident, the driver was still hit with a charge of felony DUI. According to the police, the off-duty officer was speeding across eastbound on Interstate 580-when he was arrested, the Times report stated.

More recently, a 65-year-old woman was driving in Sebastopol when she turned in front of another driver, according to a KPIX report. The two vehicles collided and each driver suffered minor injuries. There was no evidence that either driver was speeding. However, because the other driver was injured (even though her injuries were slight), the 65-year-old woman was charged with felony DUI.

FBI_interrogationIn certain circumstances, you have a constitutional right to remain silent and to refrain from saying anything (because anything you do say can and will be used against you in a court of law). Not enough people exercise that right to remain silent. They speak too freely and say too much, and their openness eventually comes back to haunt them. That was the situation for one man seeking to get his driving privileges back. He lost his case, in no small part, because of the statements he made to a police officer at the scene of an accident. Always know your rights and use them, including retaining skilled California DMV attorney to help you reverse your license suspension.

The man in the case, M.C., was involved in a traffic accident in Bakersfield. M.C. had been drinking prior to the crash. A Bakersfield officer approached M.C. and started asking him some questions.

If you are a driver who is in a situation like M.C.’s, there are several things that you know for sure. You know you’ve been in an accident. You know that the person in uniform who is asking you questions is a law enforcement officer whose job includes, among other things, investigating the scene of the accident for possible criminal activity. Additionally, you know that you have consumed some quantity of alcohol, thereby raising at least some degree of possibility that the police will investigate you for, and possible charge you with, driving under the influence.

beerRidesharing services have been very successful in recent years, and many times these businesses provide a valuable service to the communities they serve. They can also provide a valuable source of income for the drivers with whom the companies contract. As of Jul 1, 2018, the law has changed and the rules are tougher for Uber and Lyft drivers when it comes to providing the service after having had alcohol. It is now much easier to be charged with driving under the influence as a rideshare driver than it is as a regular private driver. Obviously, a DUI conviction can be extremely harmful to you as a rideshare driver so, if you’re facing such an arrest, be sure to act without delay to retain a knowledgeable San Francisco DUI attorney to handle your case.

Some estimates indicate that Uber has more than 100,000 drivers in California and that Lyft’s numbers are similar. Both companies have policies in place to forbid drivers with drunk-driving histories of being hired on as drivers. Uber bars drivers with any DUIs in the last decade. Lyft bars drivers with DUIs on their records for at least seven years.

However, what happens if you are already a Lyft or Uber driver and you drive after having had a drink or two? The answer to that question is different than it used to be. Through June 2018, Uber and Lyft drivers had the same obligations as any non-commercial drivers: driving with a BAC of .08 or more was illegal; below .08 was permissible, California Penal Code Section 23152 now says that, if you have a “passenger for hire” in your vehicle, it is illegal to drive if you BAC is .04 percent or higher. This is an important change as, depending on the driver’s weight and the potency of the beverage, it’s possible that even a single alcoholic drink may give a driver a BAC of .04.

drinking and drivingWith all the talk today about “fake news” and the quality of journalistic reporting, some have come to question the value of what they read or hear from news sources. One thing news sources do unquestionably well, though, is highlight cases that serve as “what not to do” warnings for others. By learning about the strategic errors others made in handling their legal affairs, you can hopefully learn from those mistakes and avoid the downfalls that occurred to the subjects of the articles. For example, one San Diego man faces jail time in Nevada, in part, because he spent several years trying avoid drunk driving charges. Don’t be like that driver. Instead, if you are facing DUI charges in California, reach out to an experienced San Francisco DUI attorney to handle your case on time, thereby allowing you to obtain closure and move on with your life.

The San Diego man was R., who had experienced several encounters with law enforcement related to drunk driving. While working at a Lake Tahoe ski resort in 2011 and 2012, he was arrested several times for DUI. He made bail and then promptly left Nevada, according to a Record-Courier report.

R. headed to San Diego and was able to avoid punishment for his drunk driving arrests for several years. Just because you can do something does mean that you should do it, however. That’s not just true on an ethical or moral level, it can be true on a beneficial self-interest level, too. At the time, R. probably thought that his effort to avoid punishment for those DUI charges was a successful move. It was not.

California_Drivers_LicenseWhether you are facing a potential suspension of your driver’s license or have already had your license suspended, you may have options available to you to get your driving privileges back. The keys to success are to make sure you take all of the proper steps and do them within the appropriate timeframe. To ensure that you are availing yourself to all the avenues out there for you, retain the services of a knowledgeable San Francisco DMV attorney.

While it primarily focused upon the legal action pursued by a motorcyclist injured in an accident with an elderly driver, a recent case originating in Sonoma County also offers a real-life illustration of the license suspension and reinstatement process.

The plaintiff was Alan, whose motorcycle was struck by Elsie in 2013. Elsie was 89 when she was issued a driver’s license in 2009. In March 2011, Elsie had an accident in which she hit a parked car several times. Based upon that incident, the local police recommended that Elsie undergo regular reexamination by the DMV. In Elsie’s case, that meant that she was required to take a written test, a road test and have her vision screened. She passed the written test and doctors concluded that, other than some macular degeneration that affected her night driving, she could see well enough to drive.

headlights and grillePlea agreements can be a very helpful way to resolve your criminal case, including a case that involves domestic violence charges. A plea deal can help you maintain a degree of control and avoid the unpredictability of leaving your punishment up to the judge. A plea agreement may allow you to avoid jail and get a sentence that includes only probation. When that happens, you may potentially be entitled later to ask the court to terminate your probation early. All of these techniques work best when you have experienced California criminal defense counsel on your side, who are very familiar with both the law and the system.

The case of a woman named Reyna serves as a real-life example of how these processes work. Reyna was involved in a domestic dispute that eventually escalated to the point that Reyna used a weapon:  her car. The state eventually charged her with felony domestic violence in violation of Section 273.5 of the Penal Code and assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm. These charges were very serious and could have had a very serious impact on Reyna’s life, including a substantial period of incarceration.

Reyna and her legal counsel worked out a plea deal, however. In exchange for Reyna’s plea of guilty, the prosecution lowered the charges to assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm. As part of that plea arrangement, Reyna was sentenced to three years on probation.

speed limit signA year ago this month, the governor signed into law Assembly Bill 103, which served to end the state’s practice of suspending drivers’ licenses solely because they had unpaid traffic fines. The new law is a major boost for many California drivers, especially low-income individuals. However, just because you cannot lose your license from not paying a traffic ticket doesn’t mean that a traffic ticket will no longer have any major negative consequences on your personal finances and your life. There are still ways in which unpaid tickets can seriously harm your life. That is why it is important not to ignore your ticket, to take it seriously, and to contact a California traffic ticket attorney to discuss your options.

The new legislation ended the practice of suspending licenses through a procedural means. The law brought a stop to the process of California courts notifying the Department of Motor Vehicles about drivers’ unpaid traffic fines. With that notification process ended, the law also ended the DMV’s requirement to suspend licenses for that reason, according to the Porterville Recorder.

The state ended the practice because it was ineffective and potentially unfair, according to a Los Angeles Times report. The governor stated that the suspensions did not serve their actual purpose (to help the state increase its collection of unpaid traffic fines) and could potentially serve to “send low-income people into a cycle of job losses and more poverty.” An East Bay Express article highlighted the case of one Northern California man who received a traffic ticket but was unable to pay his fine. Since he did not pay, the state suspended his driver’s license. Needing to drive from Richmond to San Leandro for work, the man eventually ended up with four holds on his license and between $5,000 and $6,000 in fines owed.

soldiersIf you’ve just been charged with misdemeanor drunk driving, you may think that this type of charge doesn’t really require you to retain legal counsel. After all, it’s just a misdemeanor, so it won’t affect your life that much, right? Furthermore, you might think that you can “get out of it” without an attorney, or will end up being convicted even with an attorney, so why spend the money? The reality is that even misdemeanor DUI convictions can have substantial effects on your life. However, with the aid of a skilled San Francisco DUI defense attorney, you may have more options than you think, including having the charge never appear on your record, even if you actually were driving drunk at the time.

Imagine it:  the police pulled you over. The officer conducts a breathalyzer test, and your result is above a .08. There was nothing wrong with the test, and there was nothing wrong with your consent to it. Your case has no hope, right? Wrong. There may be many various methods through which a skilled defense attorney can assist you and reduce or eliminate the impact of this arrest.

For some veterans, they may have an extra option:  military diversion. California has a statute, Penal Code Section 1001.80, that recognizes that there are often mitigating circumstances when it comes to veterans and violations of the law. This diversion program may, in the end, leave you with a result that’s as if the arrest never happened at all.