San Jose’s Top DUI Attorneys
The unthinkable just happened. You’ve just been arrested for a DUI. You may be scared and confused or even in a state of shock. Making matters worse, when you try to find answers online, you find nothing but confusing and contradictory information from questionable websites claiming to be “DUI experts.”
You probably have lots of immediate questions. Should you tell your job about your DUI arrest? What about your insurance company? How serious are the charges for driving under the influence? Will you be able to drive to work? Are you going to have to go to jail? There are actions that need to be taken immediately to address the threat of your license being suspended by the DMV.
The best way to get all the information and answers you need is to hire an experienced and aggressive DUI lawyer. Having one of Santa Clara County’s top drunk driving attorneys on your side gives you access to the expertise you need to put your mind at ease and make decisions with confidence. Our attorneys know all the proactive steps to put you in the best position possible for your first day in court.
The Real DUI Experts
VIB Law partner Pat Valencia is considered a state-wide expert on DUI cases. Pat is backed by a team of former Santa Clara County prosecutors who know firsthand how local police and district attorneys build their cases. We know their tactics and we have the experience to defend you against them.
You need a strong, experienced advocate to fight on your behalf. At VIB Law, we tell every potential DUI client, “We’ve been through this process a thousand times before. We’ll get you through this and on with the rest of your life.” If you’ve been accused of drunk driving in Santa Clara County, contact us ASAP to ensure that your legal rights are protected.
DMV Hearings: How to avoid losing your driver’s license
If you are a Santa Clara County driver arrested for a DUI, the officer will immediately confiscate your California driver’s license and give you a pink colored notice. This document is known as a Suspension/Revocation Order and temporary driver’s license. (Please bring this pink paper with you for your consult or have it handy if we do a phone consultation.)
In California, you need to act fast to avoid automatic driver’s license suspension. If you don’t request a DMV hearing within 10 days, your license will be automatically suspended.
In order to win your DMV hearing, also known as an “administrative hearing,” you should (1) immediately request the DMV hearing, and (2) hire an experienced DUI lawyer to be by your side at your hearing.
It can be hard to win a DMV hearing. The hearing is decided by a DMV employee rather than a judge and the standard of proof for the hearing officer is very low. But simply having a hearing can benefit your case. At the very least it will postpone the suspension of your driver’s license and allow us to work out a restricted license so you can travel to and from work. Most of the time we can also shorten the actual time your license will be suspended.
We take a strategic approach to DMV hearings. Sometimes the police officer will make serious mistakes in the police report which will entitle you to an “Order of Set Aside” of your license suspension. Other times, we will use the DMV hearing as a mini deposition of the officer who arrested you. We often subpoena the officer who arrested you to the DMV hearing. This allows us to prepare the best defense possible by getting a preview of the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence against you.
California DUI Penalties: 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th Offense
Wondering what happens when you get a DUI in California? DUI charges are serious and can carry heavy penalties in the State of California. It is important to understand how California classifies its DUI offenses as well as the punishments that follow.
1st DUI in California
A first offense DUI with no injuries or property damage is a misdemeanor in California. If you’re convicted of your first DUI in California, you’ll face both criminal and administrative penalties. The criminal penalties for a first offense DUI include a mandatory jail sentence of between 2 days to 6 months and a fine of $1,400 to $1,800. You’ll then have 3 to 5 years of court probation. You won’t have to report to a probation officer, but you can’t drink and drive at all during that time. The conviction will remain on your criminal record for 10 years and influence any subsequent DUI charges you may subsequently face.
Typical penalties for 1st offense DUIs in Santa Clara Co.
- Minimum fine of $1,916 plus penalty assessments for a total up to $3,000
- 3 month Santa Clara County DUI school
- Minimum 48 hours Santa Clara County Jail or 5 days work release
- 3 years of summary probation
2nd DUI in California
A second offense DUI is still a misdemeanor in California, but the criminal and administrative penalties increase if you’re convicted of a second DUI within 10 years of your first. You’ll face a mandatory jail sentence of 96 hours to 1 year and a fine from $1,800 to $2,800. You’ll also have court probation for 3 to 5 years, during which you may not drink any alcohol before driving.
The DMV will revoke your driver’s license for 2 years for a second DUI conviction. You may be eligible for a restricted license after 12 months if you agree to install an ignition interlock device (IID) and obtain California SR-22 insurance. You’ll also have to complete 18 months of DUI classes.
Typical penalties for 2nd offense DUIs in Santa Clara Co.
- 15 to 45 days Santa Clara County Jail or a Weekend Work Program
- 18 month Santa Clara County DUI school
- 3 Years of Probation
- Fines & Penalty Assessments of approximately $3,000
3rd DUI in California
A third offense DUI within 10 years is also still generally treated as a misdemeanor in California, but the penalties for a third DUI conviction increase even further. You’ll face a mandatory jail sentence of 120 days to 1 year and a fine of $1,800 to $2,800. You’ll also have formal probation after a third DUI conviction, wherein you’ll need to report to a probation officer and abide by any probation terms the court sets.
The DMV will revoke your driver’s license for 3 years after your third DUI conviction, but you can apply for a restricted license after 1 year. You’ll also have to install an IID and complete 18 months of DUI classes.
Typical penalties for 3rd offense DUIs in Santa Clara Co.
- At least 120 days in the Santa Clara County Jail; average is 6 months
- Approximately $3,000 in fines and penalty assessments
- 3 years of informal probation
- 30 month Santa Clara County DUI school
- Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device
4th DUI in California
A fourth offense DUI within 10 years is a felony DUI in California, even if there were no injuries involved. A felony DUI conviction results in a sentence of up to 3 years in prison, along with fines ranging from $1,000 to $3,000. The DMV will revoke your driver’s license for at least 5 years for a felony DUI and may revoke it permanently. You’ll have to complete 18 months of DUI classes and install an IID if you’re lucky enough to get your driver’s license back.
Typical penalties for 4th offense DUIs in Santa Clara Co.
- At least 120 days in the Santa Clara County Jail; average is 8 to 12 months
- Approximately $3,000 in fines and penalty assessments
- 3 years of formal felony probation
- 30 month Santa Clara County DUI school
- Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device
Aggravating Factors That Can Affect Your DUI Penalties
There are facts and circumstances that will increase your DUI penalties regardless of how many DUIs you have on your record. The most common aggravating factors include:
- Having a BAC of 0.15% or higher (less in some counties)
- Refusal to submit to a chemical test
- Causing an accident
- Driving at excessive speeds
- Driving with a child under the age of 14 in the car
- Being under 21 at the time of the offense.
The increased penalty you receive for any of these aggravating factors will depend on (1) the exact circumstances of your California DUI arrest, and (2) your criminal history (with emphasis on your prior DUI history).
2019 California DUI Laws
Sections 23152(a) and 23152(b) of the California Vehicle Code specifically address driving under the influence, also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI). DUI and DWI offenders can be convicted of one or both of these misdemeanors. It is important to note that driving not only refers to driving a car, but also a motorcycle, a commercial vehicle like a truck, or even an airplane or a boat.
VC 23152(a) – Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a), sometimes called the “impairment” or “subjective” DUI, makes it unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle. The code defines the phrase “under the influence” to mean “your physical or mental abilities are impaired to such a degree that you no longer have the ability to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances.”
There is no blood alcohol limit for this charge. If the officer subjectively feels that you are under the influence (due to your driving, failed field sobriety tests, etc.) you can be arrested under this statute even if you are below a 0.08% blood alcohol level.
VC 23152(b) – Driving with BAC 0.08% or Higher
California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b), sometimes called the “per se” or “objective proof” DUI, makes it unlawful for a person to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. This section of the law presumes that you are guilty of DUI if you drive with a BAC of 0.08% or greater. A jury can convict you of this offense even if you aren’t technically “too impaired” to drive safely or “under the influence,” so long as your BAC is above the legal limit.
VC 23103.5 – Wet Reckless Driving
After being arrested for a DUI, the DA’s Office prosecuting your case may sometimes offer a reduction in the charges to California Vehicle Code Section 23103.5. In California, this DUI charge reduction is commonly referred to as a “wet reckless.”
There is no mandatory jail time for pleading to a wet and reckless driving charge, and probation time, DUI school, and fines are generally reduced. There is also no mandatory driver’s license suspension. However, it is important to remember that a wet reckless counts as prior DUI if you are arrested for another DUI within 10 years.
[IMPORTANT] New IID Laws in 2019
As of January 1, 2019, California has expanded the ignition interlock device (IID) program for most DUI offenses. In order to get your driving privileges reinstated after a DUI conviction, California now requires an IID (a device like a breathalyzer that you must blow in to start your car) to get a license and be able to drive.
The length of time that the IID remains installed depends on your DUI history:
- First offense = 6 months
- Second offense = 12 months
- Third offense = 24 months
- Fourth or subsequent offense = 36 months
The good news it that the new IID program may make it easier to get your license back and driving. For drivers who can get an IID installed, this new law means that most first-time DUI offenders will be able to get their driving privileges back quickly, without having to wait for a mandatory suspension period. By driving with an IID on the vehicle, drivers can get to work, school, or anywhere else as long as they have the equipment installed in the vehicle.
The best chance to avoid having to drive with an IID on the vehicle is to avoid a DUI conviction. Before you plead guilty to California DUI charges, talk to one of our experienced DUI defense lawyers about your case.
Safeguard your future. Hire San Jose’s Best DUI attorneys.
Why choose VIB Law?
- Aggressive – We take a fierce, client-centered approach to each of our DUI cases.
- Proactive – We will review your case with you in our first consultation and give you simple steps to follow to put you in the best possible position for your first court date. For example, we may recommend you attend AA meetings or get into an outpatient treatment program before court. Or we may encourage you to use our private investigator to get witness statements taken to preserve possible defenses for trial.
- Experienced – Our team of talented defense attorneys has more than 70 years of combined criminal law experience. There are numerous motions that we can use (for example a Motion to Suppress Evidence due to an illegal stop) to get our clients the best results.
- Stay Out Of Jail – We completely dedicate ourselves to protecting the future and freedom of our clients. We look for alternatives for jail for all of our clients. These options include electronic monitoring, weekend work or community service, residential treatment, or other innovative sentencing ideas.
- Award Winning – We are one of the Bay Area’s top rated DUI law firms.
What our DUI clients are saying…
I have referred numerous DUI cases to Pat Valencia and my clients have always responded that they received caring and capable service. Obviously, criminal defense situations are quite sensitive, and the team at VIB Law performed magnificently. I refer cases to them regularly and always receive very positive responses.
I contacted Pat on a Sunday via email and within (2) hours he called me to talk to me about my situation. Immediately, I felt comfortable and knew that he was the right attorney for me. I didn’t even meet Pat in person before I decided to go ahead and hire him. Not only is he a great attorney, but, his pricing is extremely competitive. Pat was able to keep me out of jail which in turn saved my job and saved my life! I am very thankful and grateful and would definitely recommend him to anyone that faces a DUI charge in the bay area.
Riccardo saved me with a DUI I received that let me keep my ability to stay employed without a misdemeanor being on my record. Without his help I would not have the job I do right now.
Pat is a great DUI attorney. Professional at all times. Effective at getting the job done. Would refer him to anyone. Willing to work on my case that was out of county. The results were positive for me. He believes in helping the client when you are trying to help yourself in a positive manner. Thanks again!
Riccardo Ippolito, I want to thank you for getting my second DUI dismissed. Thank you so much. You saved my life! I recommend anyone who needs a criminal defense lawyer to Riccardo. He is responsive and does what he says he’ll do.
I highly recommend Cameron when looking for a DUI defense lawyer for representation in court. I was referred to Cameron by a friend as I was needing an experienced and savvy DUI attorney to fight for me in court as I believed my arrest to be unlawful. Cameron was able to not only win my APS hearing with the DMV but successfully demonstrated to the judge that my arrest was unlawful due to an illegal stop by the officer. The DA did not oppose our motion to suppress and dismissed the charges against me. I can not thank Cameron enough for believing in me and fighting for my rights in court.