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    Know and Protect Your Rights in a Criminal Defense Matter




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      Know and Protect Your Rights in a Criminal Defense Matter







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          Possible Penalties of a DUI Conviction

          A DUI charge can be devastating for a number of different reasons, and some of these reasons are not even related to the penalties you will face from the court. An experienced DUI lawyer in Oakland can work to minimize the impact of your DUI. Some of the most common consequences of a DUI conviction include:

          • Driver’s License Suspension/Revocation
          • Probation and Drug Testing
          • A Conviction on Your Criminal Record
          • Court-Mandated Alcohol Treatment
          • Incarceration
          • Increased Insurance Rates (SR-22)
          • DUI School
          • Ignition Interlock Device

          Criminal penalties for a first DUI offense include up to six months in jail, up to 3-5 years of probation, and fines of up to $1,000. For a second offense within a ten-year period, there is a maximum term of imprisonment of one year, although in some cases any imposed sentence may be served under house arrest or through a work alternative program. If a driver is convicted of a third DUI offense within a ten-year period, the penalties increase substantially, including a minimum mandatory sentence of 120 days. Fourth-offense DUI’s can be a felony offense that results in incarceration in a state prison, making it important to consult with an Oakland DUI attorney if you’re facing DUI charges.

          Aggravating Factors in DUI Cases

          Most crimes, DUIs included, have certain details that are referred to as “aggravating factors” that can lead to harsher penalties. If you are found to have been in violation of aggravating factors, the penalties you are facing will increase dramatically. Some of the most common aggravating factors in DUI cases that can lead to more severe penalties include:

          • Elevated BAC (Over .15%)
          • Driving on a Suspended License
          • Driving Under the Influence with a Minor
          • Accident Resulting in Property Damage or Injuries
          • Reckless Driving
          • Excessive Speeding

          How is The Nieves Law Firm Different
          than Other Oakland DUI Attorneys?

          At The Nieves Law Firm, we are committed to helping our clients find a legal solution that allows them to lead a joyful and fulfilling life. In fact, one of the first things we do when you schedule a free consultation is discuss your goals when hiring our law firm. Why? This allows us to build a DUI defense strategy that takes your future plans into account.

          While the amount we charge depends on the circumstances of your DUI case, we want to be honest and up front with you. You will be able to find cheaper legal representation in California. In fact, you may be able to find cheaper DUI representation in Oakland. However, you must be cautious about the attorneys you speak with and how the price they charge often reflects the legal services they provide. Often, cheaper legal fees means less attention on your case. Some attorneys who practice primarily DUI cases only have one goal in mind, pleading down your case, regardless of how that could impact your plans for the future.

          At The Nieves Law Firm, our team is committed to providing legal representation that is tailored to you and your life. When we take on a DUI case, our primary focus isn’t on just getting your case pled down and moving on to the next one. No, we truly care about our clients and their futures. Our Oakland DUI lawyers will work to find you a legal solution that is customized to your case, your life, and your future goals. If you need a legal team that is focused on you, contact The Nieves Law Firm to schedule a free consultation.

          Our Mission

          At The Nieves Law Firm, we believe in compassion, forgiveness, and rehabilitation. That people are beautiful and change just like seasons. We believe in thoughtful communication and plans for a brighter future. We believe in restoring reputations and dreams. That we aren’t defined by our worst mistake and obstacles are meant to get over. We believe in taking the “criminal” out of criminal defense.

          Kevin S.

          “The Nieves Law Firm is the best choice for anyone with a pending criminal case or concern. In my experience referring clients to them and seeing their work, I’m impressed by the way they support and counsel their clients. Firm owner and principal attorney Jo-Anna Nieves always puts her clients’ interests first.”

          - Kevin S. Google
          Gerardo J.

          “The Nieves Law Firm assisted me in a DUI case and they were extremely helpful and positive to work with. They were very attentive and helpful with all the questions regarding my case. I highly recommend their services and because of Jo-Anna, I can now feel at ease.”

          - Gerardo J. Google
          Zuma M.

          “Thanks Nieves Law Firm! You made the process of my case simple, and easy to understand. Thanks for updating me, on my case on a regular basis. You made this ride smooth, for me. The outcome of my case was relieving, comforting and much-needed. I would definitely recommend “Nieves” to anyone”

          - Zuma M. Google

          Driving Under the Influence Charges in California

          Under California law, a DUI conviction is treated as a prior offense for ten years and penalties for a first-offense DUI are more severe than in many other jurisdictions and increase significantly for subsequent offenses. In addition to large fines, potential jail time, and license suspension, those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Oakland may be put on probation and required to complete extensive classes and install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

          Moreover, a DUI conviction creates a criminal record with a whole host of unwanted consequences. However, there are defensive strategies that could result in a less severe outcome in your case. An experienced Oakland DUI lawyer could help you protect your rights and reach the best possible resolution based on your unique circumstances. To learn more or begin building your defense, consult with a defense attorney with our firm today.

          Understanding Oakland DUI Laws

          Many of the basic prohibitions against impaired driving in California are set forth in California Vehicle Code §23152. The first provision in this section simply states that “[i]t is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.” The second provision specifically prohibits driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more.

          Therefore, someone may be found to be driving illegally in one of two ways— either based on a chemical test measuring blood alcohol, or based on conduct showing that they are substantially affected by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. One key element of both provisions is that the individual charged must have “driven” a vehicle while impaired in order for a violation to occur. So, in certain cases, this caveat could provide grounds for a defense by an Oakland DUI lawyer.

          Real Cases. Real Results.

          Two Drunk Driving DUIS
          Not Guilty on One Count & Other Count Dismissed
          Client charged with two drunk driving DUIs. We conducted a bench trial on one count and were able to secure a not guilty finding and submit the order of acquittal to the DMV to prevent license suspension for the client. The other count was successfully transferred to Veteran's Court and, after successful participation by the client, the case was dismissed completely.
          Third-Offense DUI
          Favorable Plea Agreement
          Client facing third-offense DUI with multiple sentence enhancements for a high BAC (Over .15%) and a violation of probation. This is typically punishable by a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 120 days. We were able to obtain a plea deal that resulted in an ankle monitor rather than jail time, allowing the client to stay out of custody and keep his job.
          Aggravated DUI
          Pled Down to "Wet Reckless"
          Client charged with DUI after falling asleep in her vehicle. As a mother, the client could not afford to lose her job or spend any time in jail. We were able to secure a favorable plea agreement of "Wet Reckless" despite her high BAC (Over .15%). Client did not have to spend time in custody, faced reduced fines and fees, and avoided potential professional consequences she was facing.
          Hit & Run DUI
          Favorable Plea Agreement
          Client accused of a hit and run and DUI after being involved in an accident with a .14% BAC. We negotiated a "Dry Reckless" disposition, meaning this resulted in a reckless driving misdemeanor that does not count as a DUI prior. This means the client did not face a license suspension, did not have to attend DUI school or face other DUI consequences, and was fined only $240.

          Driving License Suspensions & Revocation

          In most cases, if you are charged with a DUI, you will face a driver’s license suspension. The length of your suspension, however, depends on a number of different things. For example, if you refused chemical testing of your blood, breath, or urine, you may face a more severe driver’s license suspension than if you didn’t. Also, prior DUI convictions within the past 10 years play a role in the length of your driver’s license suspension.

          Typically, first offense DUIs with no other aggravating factors will result in a 4-month administrative suspension and a 6-month suspension from the court. However, if you refused to take a chemical test for any reason, you will face a license suspension of up to one year.

          A second-offense DUI that occurred within a 10-year timeframe from your prior conviction will result in a two-year license suspension from criminal court and a twelve-month suspension from the DMV if you took the chemical test. If you refused the chemical test, then you can face a two-year revocation from the DMV. A third-offense DUI could result in a suspension of up to three years if you take the chemical test or a three-year revocation if you refuse. Whether or not you will face a suspension will be determined at an APS Hearing.

          APS Hearings for DUI Charges in Oakland

          APS stands for “Administrative Per Se,” and an APS hearing is the result of a DUI charge handled by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Unlike a criminal hearing or trial which takes place at court and may result in potential jail time or fines, the consequences of an APS hearing are strictly related driving and are conducted by the California DMV. Specifically, these hearings take place to determine whether or not you should be allowed to continue to operate a motor vehicle or have your license suspended. They may also allow you to operate a motor vehicle under specific conditions, such as with an ignition interlock device. It is important to note that an Oakland DUI lawyer can represent you during this phase of the DUI process, even though it is held by the DMV and not the California courts.

          There is a strict timeline for APS hearings that all individuals must abide by, and you must request an APS hearing if you want to contest your license suspension. For an APS hearing, the driver has 10 days (from the date of his/her arrest) to request a hearing. Failing to request a hearing within that timeframe will result in an automatic suspension of their license.

          At this hearing, drivers have the ability to challenge any evidence against them, present witnesses, and testify. An experienced DUI attorney in Oakland could help you work through your DMV hearing to protect your rights and work to ensure you do not lose your ability to operate a motor vehicle. At The Nieves Law Firm, we have experience with APS hearings and have been able to secure favorable outcomes for clients at this stage of the DUI process.

          Two of the most sought after plea agreements when facing a first-offense DUI charge is a “Wet Reckless” or a Dry Reckless. In essence, a Wet Reckless and a Dry Reckless are nicknames given to violations of the Reckless Driving statute (VC §23103). The appealing parts of these resolutions are that a Dry Reckless does not count as a DUI prior and does not result in a license suspension while a Wet Reckless typically has reduced consequences, lower fines, no automatic suspension, and shorter DUI classes than a standard DUI resolution.

          Unlike a “Dry Reckless” which implies that no drugs or alcohol were involved, a Wet Reckless implies that you were driving recklessly under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Both resolutions have less severe penalties than a DUI and have more administrative options when it comes to your driver’s license. An experienced DUI lawyer can help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your DUI case and help you determine if a Wet Reckless or a Dry Reckless may be a possible resolution for you.

          Oakland DUI Attorney Explains Wet Reckless
          Oakland DUI Attorney Explains Wet Reckless

          Like most things in the justice system, the impact of a DUI conviction on your immigration status depends on other factors. This is why you should hire a dedicated Oakland DUI lawyer if you’re facing DUI charges and are worried about your immigration status.

          First and foremost, if you are undocumented and charged with a DUI, an arrest can lead to immigration consequences such as deportation depending on the results of immigration proceedings. However, if you are a legal immigrant, then oftentimes a single DUI conviction will not have a significant impact on your ability to remain in the United States because DUI is not listed as a deportable crime in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

          If your DUI charge is accompanied by other criminal charges, then your immigration status may be impacted depending on the exact charges you face. Another aspect of DUI charges is the effect they have on your immigration applications, such as DACA. A DUI conviction could work against you if you are undergoing the naturalization process or if you are a minor applying for DACA.

          When determining whether your criminal charges will impact your immigration status, you must first understand criminal intent and the role it plays. Basically, crimes involving “moral turpitude,” like those with intent, have a negative impact on your immigration status. If you are unsure of the immigration consequences you are facing, you should contact a defense attorney who has experience handling cases with potential immigration consequences. At The Nieves Law Firm, we take immigration consequences seriously, and we can work with you to minimize the impact of your DUI charge or prior DUI conviction on your immigration status.

          Anyone with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) understands the impact that a DUI conviction could have on their livelihood. Something as simple as a license suspension could lead to employment problems for individuals who need their CDL to do their job. In California, there are two distinct tiers of CDLs– Class B and Class C. The penalties are the same for both classes of commercial driver’s licenses in California. If you need a CDL for your line of work and you’re charged with a DUI, you should contact a DUI lawyer as soon as possible.

          Commercial drivers face stricter regulations when operating a commercial vehicle than others on the roadway, especially as it relates to DUIs. For example, someone driving a commercial vehicle needs to only have a BAC above .04% to be charged with a DUI, which is half the BAC that a regular driver must have to be charged with a DUI (.08%).

          Additionally, the penalties individuals with a CDL face are more severe than other drivers. A DUI charge can result in a CDL suspension for one year, which is substantially more than the four-months typically imposed on drivers. Unlike regular drivers, commercial drivers cannot apply for a restricted license like an ignition interlock permit to continue working. Lastly, a second DUI conviction could result in the loss of your CDL for life.

          Get Legal Help from an Oakland DUI Attorney Today

          There are numerous defenses that could be raised in opposition to a DUI charge in Oakland. From challenging the testing procedures to the actions taken by law enforcement, an experienced Oakland DUI lawyer may be able to choose the right defensive strategies to help reach the best possible outcome in your case. Call now for a free consultation to learn how a local attorney could help!

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