Frequently Asked Questions About DUI

Question 1: When I was released the officer gave me a pink document explaining my license is suspended, what should I do?

Answer: Under California law the state will suspend your license unless you take immediate action. The document that is often handed to a person released after a DUI is known as an Administrative Per Se (APS) temporary license and notice of suspension. The significance of the document cannot be understated. Aside from its purpose as a driver's license, it serves as official notice to the driver that a hearing must be scheduled within 10 calendar days of receipt or risk loss of the driving privilege from anywhere to 4 months up to 3 years depending on whether the respondent is alleged to have excessive BAC or a refusal. A DUI attorney can assist in not only setting up the DMV hearing but also gathering and preparing legal defenses and helping to ensure the individual remains licensed and able to drive.

Question 2: The DMV paperwork states that I "Refused to Submit to a Chemical Test", what are the consequences of this to my drivers license?

Answer: The DMV treats a DUI refusal very seriously. The license ramification, if it is proven that a person legally refused, is a suspension from a minimum of 1 year up to a 3 year revocation. The refusal suspension does not permit any application to drive for employment or any other reason. Because the consequences of a refusal suspension are so severe it is extremely important to hire a DUI lawyer to fight for the client's rights at a DMV hearing. In many cases a meritorious defense can be asserted such as confusion induced by the officer, illegal arrest, medical reasons for not taking a test, and insufficient admonishment by the arresting officer. Anyone of these defenses can result in a "set aside" of the suspension and reinstatement of the driving privilege. Surprisingly, a dismissal of the DUI charges in criminal Court has no effect on the refusal suspension so a timely request for a formal DMV hearing is crucial.

Question 3: I recently has gastric bypass surgery, does this have any effect on the breath test that I took?

Answer: For many, the only effective cure for morbid obesity is the operation known as gastric bypass surgery which is a medical procedure whereby doctors significantly restrict or eliminate the stomach so a person feels more full and thereby eats less and loses weight. This surgery has become common in the United States and it is anticipated will reach many more folks by the end of the decade. In recent years many people have undergone various operations and other medical procedures for weight control problems. Examples of these include the lap band and gastric bypass surgery. How these procedures impact breath testing in DUI cases varies from person to person. Most notably, what is influenced from a scientific standpoint is the period of time it takes for the alcohol to be absorbed in the individual's bloodstream. A 2002 scientific study revealed some unusual findings pertaining to those who hasd gastric bypass surgery and were tested after consuming alcohol. The study found that bariatric surgical patients had a significantly faster rate of alcohol absorption and higher Peak BAC compared to comparable persons in the non-surgical control group. The BAC levels of the gastric bypass patients were about 50% higher, and the time to Peak BAC was rapid - about ten minutes compared to 30 minutes for the non-surgical control group. They conclude that after bariatric surgery, even relatively small amounts of alcohol produced unexpectedly high BAC levels shortly after the end of consumption of alcohol. This study can be used to show the person may not have been aware of the consequences of drinking then driving or at the very least was not acting irresponsibly when they drank and then were later artrested for DUI.

Consequently, this much more rapid period of absorption can cause a person to reach peak alcohol levels sooner than those who have not had the procedure. In addition, the condition can create a gastric reflux condition (GERD) that can cause false positives or erroneous readings on most Breathalyzers. This medical condition is something that many DUI lawyers utilize in planning defenses and it can create favorable legal arguments in Court. For example, a person who ordinarily could consume 3-4 drinks before feeling the affects of alcohol now feels very impaired after 1-2 drinks due to the faster absorption times.

Scientists in one recent study found that patients who have undergone gastric bypass can expect much quicker absorption rates than normal individuals. Also when other surgical procedures are performed on the stomach such as gastric resection and gastrectomy, a more rapid absorption of ethanol can be expected. You should make your Attorney aware of all recent medical procedures if you have been charged with DWI and believe your breath test may have falsely reported your true blood alcohol level.

Question 4: I live outside the State of California but was arrested here for DUI, what if anything, will my home state do to me?

Answer: Most states are part of something called the interstate compact. This permits states to take action or punish its citizens for getting a DUI in another state. Typically, the sanctions include license suspension and/or possible jail time if the person is on probation at home. The best way to insure that the DUI will not impact them back home is to retain the services of a qualified DUI attorney here and fight the case. In many instances, a lawyer can negotiate a resolution for some reduced charge that does not carry mandatory consequences that a DUI conviction might. As an added benefit, a local attorney can go to Court for you.

Question 5: I was arrested and charged with a DUI but had no alcohol in my system, just drugs for which I had a prescription, how can they get me on DUI?

Answer: California law allows for prosecution of DUI for either alcohol or drugs under Vehicle Code section 23152(a). Having a valid prescription is not a defense in and of itself. That being said, DUI prosecution for drugs alone is fraught with evidentiary problems that an experienced DUI lawyer can use to get the charges dismissed. Among the problems is that drug impairment is not covered by the same per se levels that alcohol is, for example if an individual has a blood alcohol concentration of .10 he is automatically considered under the influence due to the statute prohibiting driving with a .08 or more. Conversely, if the same person has 10 ng/ml of Hydrocodone or Soma he may or may not be impaired automatically because the state does not have any per se laws dealing with these substances. The same applies to drugs such as marijuana and even illegal substances like heroin and methamphetamine. The bottom line is DUI involving drugs can result in a conviction but a DUI attorney that knows the crossover between medical science and the law can often find a defense for people facing this type of case.

These questions are but a few of the litany of questions that people may have when facing a DUI in California. DUI Attorney Matthew Ruff has helped countless people with answers for any concern they may have. His experience in defending California DUI cases involving refusals, drugs and medical related cases is unrivaled. If you or a loved one is charged with driving under the influence and need reliable answers to troubling questions give him a call for a free consultation today.

Question 6: Will a DUI affect my Global Entry Trusted Traveler Program Enrollment?

Answer: The U.S. Customs and Border Protection pre-approves travelers for expedited entry through customs at most international airports. The program requires all participants to complete a rigorous background check and interview before acceptance. According to governmental sources, a conviction for any crime may exclude participation in the program. Certainly, if the offense is a felony or other serious charge the person will likely be denied acceptance, but what about a simple misdemeanor DWI? Most attorneys will tell you that if you are on probation for the charge you will likely be kicked out of the program. recently, a client we represented informed us that she was excluded when they found out she had a wet reckless on her record. We got her driving under the influence reduced to an alcohol related reckless driving and she was still denied her card for Global Entry Trusted Traveler Status. We moved quickly to get her conviction dismissed and expunged under California law PC 1203.4 and as far as we know she was permitted to re-enter the program. The takeaway is that if you are a frequent traveler who wants to maintain expedited travel through the United States Customs Trusted Traveler Program you should do whatever you can to avoid a conviction, even for a reduced charge.

Contact Matthew J. Ruff Attorney at Law Today!

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