Charged with a DUI in Riverside County?
Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense. DUI laws in Riverside County are the toughest in the state, and a DUI is the most common criminal charge prosecuted in Riverside courts. If convicted, you’ll face a wide range of penalties imposed by the local criminal court and the Department of Motor Vehicles, including a suspension of your driver’s license, probation, hefty fines, DUI school, and jail/prison time.
To beat the charges against you, you’ll need a competent DUI attorney willing to fight for your rights. At Riverside Criminal Defense, we are committed to helping individuals accused of DUI preserve their driving privileges, freedom, and reputation.
Led by two veteran criminal defense attorneys with a combined 37 years of experience, our firm is well-equipped to take on any DUI case, no matter how complex.
David E. Wohl and Joshua P. Visco have extensive experience and familiarity with the Riverside court system and the laws and procedures pertaining to DUI cases. Both attorneys are well respected in the area and have established good relationships with the judges, prosecutors, and courtroom staff.
They understand how overwhelming and stressful this experience is for you and will provide the support and guidance you need to navigate the legal process. At Criminal Defense Attorney, our first priority is to get your charges dismissed or reduced so you can move forward with your life. Call us today at 909-689-4292 to schedule an initial free consultation. We’re ready to get to work to develop a winning defense strategy.
What To Do When You’ve Been Pulled Over After Drinking:
When you’ve been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, it’s hard to be anything other than nervous and worried about what might happen next and how much trouble you’re in. There are a few things you can do to protect your rights and improve your chances of a dismissal or reduction of the charges.
You have the right to remain silent: The police officer will most likely ask you questions related to whether or not you’ve been drinking when you started drinking, and how much you’ve had to drink. Your replies to these questions can be used to build a case against you; it’s basically your word against theirs. It’s best to politely tell the officer that you respectfully decline to answer any questions until you have an attorney present. You have the right to remain silent. You should, however, comply with the officer by providing certain factual information, such as your name, and handing over your driver’s license.
Refuse Field Sobriety Tests: The officer may ask you to get out of the car to perform field sobriety tests. There is no statute in California that states you have to submit to these tests. Once again, politely decline.
Refuse Preliminary Alcohol Screening Test: The police officer may ask you to blow into a small machine to register your blood alcohol content (BAC). These machines can be inaccurate, capturing alcohol molecules trapped in your mouth — not from deep in your lungs. You are under no obligation to submit to this roadside test.
You must submit to a breath or blood test at the station: When you are brought to the station, it’s important to comply with law enforcement’s request to take a breath or blood test sample. Refusal to do so results in an automatic two-year license suspension and can enhance the severity of your overall penalties.
Call Riverside Criminal Defense today! The sooner you get us involved, the better your chances are for a favorable outcome. We can protect your rights and fiercely advocate on your behalf.
Riverside County DUI Laws
A DUI charge in Riverside County is based on violating the California vehicle code, sections 23152a and 23152b.The first section states that it is unlawful to drive while under the influence of alcohol.The latter says it is unlawful to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08%.
Misdemeanor or Felony?
Most DUI charges in Riverside County are classified as misdemeanors, punishable by up to a maximum of one year in jail as well as additional penalties.
To be charged with a felony, the following circumstances must apply: someone was injured or killed in a crash you caused; this is your fourth DUI offense in 10 years; you were previously convicted of a felony DUI. Felonies are much more serious and involve prison time.
Riverside Criminal Court
A DUI case involves two legal proceedings: a criminal proceeding in court and an administrative hearing through the Department of Motor Vehicles. Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect.
- Arraignment: This is your initial court appearance. During the appearance, you will enter a plea of not guilty or guilty. If you were charged with a misdemeanor, your attorney can attend the arraignment on your behalf. This phase is also an opportunity to gather evidence and schedule a date for pre-trial.
- Pre-Trial: In the pre-trial phase of the DUI process, DUI attorney Visco or Wohl will conduct an intense investigation of your case and meticulously review all the police reports and evidence. Motions can be filed to suppress evidence that was improperly or illegally obtained which would most likely result in the charges being dropped against you. Depending on the circumstances of your case, a plea bargain may be negotiated with the prosecutor in which you would plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence. There may also be an opportunity to argue for alternative sentencing, involving alcohol treatment programs or community service in lieu of incarceration.
- Trial: If a resolution to your case cannot be reached in pre-trial, we would take your case to court and present our defense to a jury of your peers.
Avoid A License Suspension With A DMV Hearing
At the time of your arrest, the police officer confiscated your driver’s license and issued you a pink piece of paper known as a “notice of intent to suspend.” This serves as your temporary license for 30 days. On the 31st day, your license will be automatically suspended.
You have 10 days from the time of your arrest to schedule a hearing with the DMV to challenge your suspension. If you fail to request a hearing with this 10-day window, you waive your right to restore your driving privileges.
DMV Hearing Process
When you retain the services of Riverside Criminal Defense, we can arrange the DMV hearing for you, which will most likely take place at the San Bernardino County Driver Safety Office.
DUI attorney Visco or Wohl can represent you at the hearing and make a strong argument in favor of you keeping your license. They will pose the following questions: Did the police officer have probable cause to pull you over? Was your arrest lawful? Was your BAC .08% or higher?
If you did not agree to a chemical breath or blood test during your arrest, we will shift our focus to asking: Did the officer inform you that refusing to submit to a blood or breath test would result in a one-year license suspension or a revocation for two or three years? Did you, in fact, willfully refuse to submit to a chemical test after the officer asked you to provide a sample?
During the hearing, DUI attorney Visco or Wohl will have the opportunity to subpoena the arresting officer and cross-examine his/her account of what happened.
The Hearing Officer will take the arguments under consideration and render a decision. If you win, the suspension will be lifted pending the outcome of your criminal case. If you lose your hearing, your California DUI license suspension will go into effect.
If Convicted of a DUI, How Long Will My License be Suspended?
- First DUI offense = 4 months suspension
- If this is your first DUI offense, you may apply for a temporary restricted license when the 30 days are up. However, you will have to pay a $125 fee to the DMV and show proof that you are enrolled in a court-ordered alcohol program. The restricted license can only be used to drive to your home, your work and to alcohol classes. If you don’t abide by these rules or drive with a suspended license, the penalties are severe and include 10 days to six months in jail plus a fine between $300-$1,000.
- Second DUI offense = 1 year (2 years if you refused chemical test)
- Refusal to submit to a chemical test is an automatic 1-year suspension
Riverside DUI Penalties
In Riverside County, DUI offenses are considered “priorable” offenses, which means the penalties for a DUI increase if you have prior DUI’s on your record within the previous 10 years.
First DUI Offense
- 6 to 10 days of jail time or work release/house arrest maximum of 6 months
- Fines between $390 and $2,300
- 6 months license suspension
- 3 years of summary or informal probation
- Completion of a 3-month Drug/Alcohol program
- The charge remains on your record for 10 years and will influence any subsequent DUI arrests
Second DUI Offense
- 30-120 days county jail or work release, maximum one year
- 3-5 years informal probation
- Excess of $2,500 in court fines and fees
- Completion of an 18-month alcohol education program SB38; $1,600 to attend
- Up to a 2-year suspension of your driver’s license (may apply for a restricted license after 90 days)
Third DUI Offense
- Minimum 120 days in jail; maximum one full year
- 3-year license suspension (harder to get a restricted license, try after 18 months)
- Minimum of 120 days in jail
- Upwards of $3,000 in fines
- 30-month alcohol program
- 3-5 years summary probation
- Designated as habitual traffic offender by DMV
Fourth DUI Offense
- Classified as a felony
- 16 months to 4 years in state prison
- License revoked for up to 4 years
- Designated as habitual traffic offender by DMV
Aggravating Factors that Enhance Penalties
- BAC higher than .15%
- Having a prior conviction within ten years
- Resisted arrest, fled the scene
- Refused to submit to a chemical test
- Having a child under 14 in the car
- Causing property damage, injury, or death
Alternative Sentencing Options
Depending on the specifics of your case, DUI Attorney Visco or Wohl may pursue alternative sentencing options in lieu of going to jail or prison. Some of these alternative sentences may include:
- Community service in Riverside County
- CalTrans Freeway Work Program
- Riverside County Banning Work Program
- Sober Living Program
- House Arrest
- Private jail or work furlough
DUI Defense Strategies
No matter how hopeless your case may seem, there are a number of effective DUI defense strategies that can be employed.
Illegal Traffic Stop: If an officer did not have probable cause to stop your car, detain you, or arrest you for drunk driving, then you may be able to suppress any evidence that was gathered. Your DUI attorney can review the police report to see if probable cause was documented.
Non-Credible Field Sobriety Tests Results: Poor performance on a field sobriety test can be refuted. Certain factors can be cited that affected your ability to “pass” the test, some of which may include a medical condition, bad weather or road conditions, or the flow of traffic.
Inaccurate Breath Test Results: Breathalyzer machines are not foolproof and often generate false readings. Here are a few reasons a breathalyzer may produce a high BAC level: certain medical conditions such as GERD or heartburn; improper calibration of the device; or machine malfunction.
Improper Police Procedures: Law enforcement must follow certain protocol during the arrest and investigation processes. If they didn’t follow the proper procedures, the evidence against you may be thrown out.
Rising Blood Alcohol Content: In order for a DUI conviction in Riverside, the District Attorney needs to prove that your BAC was .08% at the time you were driving. To make the argument that you were not legally drunk at the time of your arrest, it’s important to understand how alcohol is absorbed in the body.
When you consume alcohol, it is absorbed into your bloodstream over time. Your BAC continues to rise until it reaches its peak absorption rate. This could be anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours after you’ve stopped drinking. Additionally, a number of factors may have influenced your body’s absorption ability — you drank on an empty stomach, you ate too slowly or quickly, or you had a specific type of alcohol. If your BAC was still rising at the time you blew into the breathalyzer or had your blood drawn, that would indicate that your BAC at the time you were driving was lower than what was recorded.
Riverside County DUI Alcohol Programs
The High Road Program
3579 Arlington Ave., Suite 200
Riverside, CA 92506
Riverside Recovery Resources
3757 Elizabeth Street
Riverside, CA 92506
Community Settlement Association of Riverside
4366 Bermuda Avenue
Riverside, CA 92507
Get Help For Your Riverside DUI Charges By Contacting Our Office Today!
If you or a loved one were charged with a DUI in Riverside County, it’s critical to consult with a skilled DUI attorney who can advise you of your rights and legal options. Riverside Criminal Defense is pleased to offer free initial case evaluations. Call today at 909-689-4292 to schedule an appointment.