Oakland DUI Lawyer
In Need of an Oakland DUI Lawyer? Here’s Everything You Need to Know
You may have spent your life thinking that getting caught drunk driving is something that only happens to other people. Driving under the influence (DUI) charges are for careless teenagers and irresponsible adults, right? And you don’t fall into either of those categories.
You may have thought you knew when to cut yourself off, or when to call a taxi or order an Uber instead of driving home. Yet suddenly, you’re in the car at 2 a.m. when you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror, and before you know it a police officer is asking you to blow into a breathalyzer. Or you fail the roadside test and are taken to a police station to get your blood drawn because the police officer suspects you’re high.
The time you said “one more for the road” or “I can make it home just fine” is ending in a DUI arrest and a night on a cold jail cell floor.
Having a DUI conviction and losing your driver’s license—or even having to use an ignition interlock device—is not only hard to explain to others, it creates a lot of hardship in your everyday life. But the good news is that no DUI case is hopeless. You just need an experienced DUI attorney from a reputable criminal defense firm to help you navigate the criminal justice system and formulate the best DUI defense possible.
If you’re facing a DUI charge in Oakland, CA, the greater Alameda County area, Santa Clara County, or elsewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, finding an experienced Oakland DUI lawyer should be the first thing you do.
If you have a pending DUI case and are pressed for time, call Silver Law Firm at (510) 995-0000 and schedule a free consultation with one of our Oakland, CA lawyers today. Otherwise, keep reading to learn more about what to expect in DUI cases in the Bay Area, from Oakland, CA to San Mateo to Santa Clara.
What is a DUI?
DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” The term refers to the unlawful act of operating motor vehicles while intoxicated by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. All 50 states have their own DUI laws. It’s also federally illegal to drive under the influence, which means the federal courts can get involved.
You may have also heard the term DWI, which means “driving while intoxicated” or “driving while impaired.” Some states use DWI interchangeably with DUI, while other states use the terms to describe different levels of unlawful activity.
To make matters even more confusing, some parts of the country refer to DUI and DWI as OUI (“operating under the influence”), OWI (“operating while intoxicated”), or DWAI (“driving while ability impaired”). But in California, the catchall term for high or drunk driving is “DUI.”
Elliot handled my DUI case like a pro! I was freaking out about the unknowns and a possible jail term when I called him for the first time (on a Saturday) and he set up a time for us to meet on Sunday just to calm me down. He was very straightforward about what’s probable…
Highly recommended. Just have a chat with him, you’ll know.”
What is California’s DUI Law?
Under California law (California Vehicle Code section 23152(a) and (b)), it’s illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol, a drug, or any combination of the two. In Oakland, CA, and throughout the state, you can be arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs if:
- You are age 21 or over and have a blood alcohol concentration or “BAC” at or above the “legal limit,” which is 0.08 percent;
- You are under the age of 21 and have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or higher;
- You are operating a commercial vehicle, such as a truck or bus, with a blood alcohol concentration at or above 0.04 percent; or
- You display signs of intoxication due to alcohol, drugs, or any combination of the two.
Yes, you read that right. If you’re driving a vehicle that requires a commercial drivers license (CDL), the legal limit is lower than the standard .08 percent. If you’re under 21 years old, California has a “zero-tolerance” policy, meaning you can be arrested for a DUI if you’re driving with any amount of alcohol in your system.
Let’s break the different types of California DUI charges down a bit further.
Types of California DUI Offenses
While there is such a thing as a misdemeanor DUI offense, there are also several other DUI charges you can receive depending on the details of your DUI arrest.
At our criminal defense law firm, we have experienced Oakland DUI attorneys who are prepared to help you present a solid criminal defense in a variety of matters, whether it’s a basic traffic case or a more serious criminal case.
Here are just a few of the criminal charges our law office can help you fight.
UNDERAGE DUI (California Vehicle Code section 23136(a))
If you’re under 21 years and your blood alcohol concentration test comes back with a result of .01 percent or more, you may be arrested and charged with an underage DUI.
FELONY DUI (California Vehicle Code section 23153)
Certain aggravating factors can elevate your DUI offense from a misdemeanor to a felony DUI. You may be charged with a felony DUI if you:
- Caused another person’s injury or death while driving under the influence;
- Have three previous DUI convictions in the past 10 years; or
- Have a previous DUI on your record; and that DUI was a felony.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS (California Vehicle Code section 23152(F))
You can be charged with a DUI for impairment caused by drugs, including controlled substances, prescription medications, and over-the-counter products.
MARIJUANA DUI (California Vehicle Code section 23152)
Few people take driving under the influence of marijuana as seriously as drunk driving. But although medical and recreational marijuana are legal for adult use in California, it’s illegal to drive while impaired by marijuana.
If you get pulled over and tested and you test positive for a psychoactive amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), you can face a DUI charge.
As with a typical first-time alcohol DUI, a marijuana DUI charge is a misdemeanor. However, if you are driving under the influence of marijuana and cause an accident that seriously injures or kills someone, you may be charged with a felony.
So what happens if you get a DUI conviction?
The Consequences of a DUI Conviction
DUI cases can be costly and inconvenient, which is why it’s essential to work with an experienced Oakland DUI attorney. The consequences of a DUI arrest can include:
- Jail time;
- Suspended driver’s license;
- Restricted license;
- Mandatory DUI classes, also known as “DUI school;”
- The installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle; and
- Participation in an alcohol treatment program.
Which, if any, of these consequences you must face can depend on the nature of the incident that led to your arrest and whether it’s a first-time or subsequent offense.
First-Time DUI Offenses vs. Subsequent DUI Offenses
You’ve probably heard of someone going to prison or losing their license permanently after getting multiple DUIs. That’s because the consequences of a DUI conviction can vary based on whether it’s your first offense or a later offense, also known as a “subsequent offense.”
While it’s best to avoid getting a DUI on your record period, you could have a lot more to lose the second or third time around.
Possible Punishments for Different Types of DUIs in Oakland, CA
The consequences of a DUI vary greatly based on the severity of the incident, your criminal record (including domestic violence and drug crimes), and other factors.
First-Time DUI Offenses
A first-time DUI conviction is a misdemeanor and is punishable by:
- Up to six months in jail;
- A fine of up to $1,000; and
- A possible 10-month license suspension, which can be converted to restricted driving privileges based on eligibility.
While you’re likely able to avoid jail time for a first DUI offense, you’ll probably still face:
- Expensive fines,
- A temporary driver’s license suspension, and
- Mandatory DUI school (which you typically must pay for).
More Serious Offenses
Under more serious circumstances, you’ll face more extreme consequences, up to and including jail time. This could be the case if you:
- Are facing a subsequent DUI, meaning you’ve gotten one or more DUIs before;
- Had a blood alcohol concentration of .15 percent or higher at the time of your arrest; or
- Have been charged with a DUI involving a high or drunk driving accident.
If any of these situations apply to you, you may receive an enhanced sentence if you’re convicted, which could include a lengthy jail term. You can also lose your driver’s license permanently.
Hopefully, your DUI case won’t come to that. Expert criminal defense lawyers, and DUI defense lawyers in particular, are trained to help their clients achieve the best possible outcome regardless of the circumstances.
Why Do You Need a DUI or DWI Lawyer?
DUI arrests typically result in license suspensions and formal charges, but a single case can take many turns. DUI lawyers are there to help defendants understand the criminal justice system and participate in each stage of a DUI defense, from investigation to court appearances to negotiations.
What can DUI and DWI Lawyers Help With?
Law offices and their attorneys can help with a variety of tasks. A legal team can:
- Get to the bottom of what really happened when you were arrested,
- Poke holes in the prosecution’s case,
- Advocate on your behalf at administrative and court appearances, and
- Help you negotiate a favorable plea bargain.
Here are a few more specific examples of what attorneys and their teams can do as part of your legal representation.
Examine Police Reports
Police reports contain a wealth of information about your case, such as how you comported yourself leading up to and during your arrest, what kinds of roadside tests were administered, and when a breathalyzer or drug test was administered.
In cases involving personal injury, a police report can also contain facts and potential errors indicating whether a victim’s injuries occurred as a result of the incident and whether those injuries constitute great bodily injury.
A lawyer can examine the police reports related to your case and uncover information the average person wouldn’t. A lawyer can then use that information as evidence at trial or leverage during plea negotiations or to convince a court to dismiss the charges against you entirely.
Fight Driver’s License Suspension or Revocation
If you refused to submit to a blood alcohol concentration test upon a valid arrest or had a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit, you can automatically suffer a suspended driver’s license. This is known as an “administrative per se suspension.” We can help you fight these types of license suspensions so you can maintain your freedom.
Assis You With the DMV Hearing Process
An automatic license suspension is an administrative consequence, not a criminal punishment. As such, you must appeal this type of suspension through the California DMV within 10 days of receiving notice of the suspension, which usually occurs during DUI arrests, and participate in a DMV hearing. An attorney can—and should—attend the DMV hearing with you to ensure the best possible outcome.
Help You Navigate the DUI Court Process
We offer guidance on when you must appear in court, what to expect at California Superior Court or federal “trial court” hearings, and how to best present a DUI defense.
Our law office in Oakland, CA is home to attorneys who can help you through each of the stages described above.
Potential Outcomes for Your DUI Case
A typical Oakland DUI sentence might include some jail time, a fine, DUI school, a license suspension, and probation. Instead of having to jump through each of those hoops, you can hire a DUI lawyer to help you do the following things.
Negotiate a Plea Bargain
Sometimes the path of least resistance is the best path to take. A lawyer can help you negotiate a plea agreement where the prosecutor in your case agrees to reduce the degree of the charges levied against you and minimize their sentencing recommendations in exchange for a guilty plea. Your lawyer may even be able to negotiate a plea bargain that doesn’t include a DUI charge.
For example, you could plead guilty to a wet reckless charge in exchange for having your DUI charge dropped. California Vehicle Code section 23103 states that a “person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.” Typical reckless driving charges don’t contemplate the use of alcohol or drugs, hence the term “wet reckless.”
A wet reckless or other lesser charge will probably still carry penalties, but they will be less severe than pleading to a DUI charge and can be less damaging to your criminal and driving records.
Regardless of the type of charge you plead guilty to, you will still have to carry out the sentencing terms the judge orders. However, a plea bargain can lead to a final result much faster than going to trial, and most judges accept the prosecution’s recommendations without adding additional penalties.
Advocate for Alternative DUI Sentencing
Whether you plead guilty or fight the charges brought against you to the bitter end, an attorney can help convince a prosecutor and a judge to agree to alternative DUI sentencing instead of jail time or a revoked or suspended driver’s license.
Alternatives to traditional sentencing include:
- House arrest,
- Electronic monitoring,
- Community service,
- DUI school,
- Installation of an ignition interlock device, and
- Completion of an alcohol treatment program or work program.
Petition for a DUI Expungement
If you do plead guilty to or get convicted of a DUI, it will remain on your driving record for 10 years. A DUI can also remain on your criminal record indefinitely unless you do something about it.
Once you have completed all of the terms of your DUI sentencing, including probation, you may be eligible to petition the court to expunge or “remove” your DUI conviction from your criminal record. A lawyer can help you file the paperwork necessary to pursue an expungement.
Have you been charged with a crime? Contact Silver Law Firm today.
How Our DUI Defense Attorneys Can Help
With an attorney of Elliot Silver’s caliber, you can ensure your case is in good hands. When your driver’s license is at risk of being suspended, a strong lawyer will argue on your behalf at the administrative hearing with DMV. The DMV wants to restrict your ability to get to work, how your kids get to school, or how you simply get around town. Attorney Elliot Silver will fight to keep your license active.
At Silver Law Firm, we are here to help you throughout the entire DUI process, from getting you out of jail as soon as possible to fighting for the minimum punishments upon conviction. With us by your side, you will never be alone or confused. Elliot prides himself on staying in constant contact with every client. Whether it’s by email, a call, or a text message, you will always have answers to your questions and thorough explanations of each of your options.
Contact us today for assistance with:
- DUI Court Process
We offer guidance on when you must appear in court, what to expect at court hearings, and how to best defend yourself.
- Driver’s License Suspension or Revocation
If you refused to submit to a BAC test upon a valid arrest or had a BAC above the legal limit, you will automatically lose your license. This is known as an Administrative Per Se suspension.
- DMV Hearing Process
An automatic license suspension is an administrative consequence, not a criminal punishment. You must appeal this suspension through the California Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days of receiving notice, which is usually the same day as your arrest.
- Alternative DUI Sentencing
The typical DUI sentence might include some jail time, a fine, DUI classes, a license suspension, and probation. Instead, your attorney will negotiate the use of alternative DUI sentencing like house arrest, electronic monitoring, community service, alcohol abuse treatment, or work program.
- DUI Expungements
While a DUI will be removed from your driving record after 10 years, it will remain on your criminal record forever unless you do something about it. If you completed all of your DUI punishment, including probation, you may be eligible to petition the court to expunge your DUI conviction.
Our Oakland DUI Attorneys Are Here For You
Attorney Elliot Silver knew from a very young age that he wanted to speak up for those without a voice. He has a presence that commands attention in any courtroom. You can be sure he’ll be speaking for you. To learn more about DUI charges in the Oakland area and how Silver Law Firm can help, check out our DUI FAQs and contact us today. Use the online form or call (510) 995-0000 to schedule a one-on-one consultation to discuss your DUI case and what it will take to obtain the best possible outcome.
Our DUI Attorneys Can Help You Come Out on Top
Criminal defense attorneys can help sort out DUI cases, but for the best possible representation, you need an expert criminal defense attorney with extensive experience in Oakland DUI law.
Elliot Silver, an award-winning Oakland DUI attorney and founding partner of our law office in Oakland, CA, knew from a very young age that he wanted to speak up for those without a voice. And that’s exactly what DUI lawyers do.
Elliot has built his career around finding the best outcomes in tough situations, and he has the knowledge and skill needed to properly review your DUI case and find angles that can give you an edge. Plus, Elliot has a presence that commands attention in any courtroom, making him the ideal DUI lawyer to be speaking for you.
With an attorney of Elliot Silver’s caliber on your side, you can be sure you’ll receive great legal representation. When you’re facing the prospect of a suspended or restricted driver’s license, Elliot or another seasoned attorney from our law office will argue on your behalf at the DMV hearing and beyond.
The California DMV often takes a heavy-handed approach and is ready to restrict your ability to get to work, drop your kids off at school, or simply get around town. Elliot and his team will fight to keep your driver’s license active so you don’t have to plan your whole life around your inability to drive.
With Elliot by your side, you’ll never be alone or feel confused. Elliot prides himself on staying in constant contact with every client. Whether it’s by email, a phone call, or a text message, you’ll always have answers to your questions and thorough explanations of each of your options.
No matter which Oakland DUI lawyer you work with at our law office, we’re here to help you throughout the entire process, from arguing for reduced charges to preventing a DUI conviction to fighting for the least severe punishment upon a DUI conviction.
If this sounds like the kind of assistance you’ve been hoping for, don’t wait—contact our law office today to talk about your DUI case.
Hear From People Who Have Hired One of Our Oakland DUI Lawyers
Still wondering if Silver Law Firm in Oakland, CA is the right law office to help you present a DUI defense? Here’s what our clients have to say about how we handled their DUI cases.
- “Elliot handled my DUI case like a pro! I was freaking out about the unknowns and a possible jail term when I called him for the first time (on a Saturday) and he set up a time for us to meet on Sunday just to calm me down. He was very straightforward about what’s probable… Highly recommended. Just have a chat with him, you’ll know.”
- “Thank God I hired Elliot, I had a complex case in Alameda and he fought for me at every corner, plus he knew all the district attorneys and judges, even the prosecuting attorney. The only advice I can give is to trust him! He saved me!”
To find peace of mind and achieve results like these, all you have to do is follow in these clients’ footsteps and let someone from our law office serve you.
Areas We Serve
Silver Law Firm provides legal services to people in the following areas:
- Alameda County
- Contra Costa County
- Marin County
- Napa County
- Solano County
- Sonoma County
- San Mateo County
- Santa Clara County
- San Francisco
- San Jose
If you or someone you know live in one of these areas and need help fighting a DUI charge, we’re here to help.
Our Oakland DUI Attorneys Are Here For You
Don’t let a DUI dictate the rest of your life. If you’re facing DUI or criminal charges in Oakland, CA, or any of the surrounding communities listed above, contact Silver Law Firm today.
To learn more about how the Oakland DUI lawyers at Silver Law Firm can help fight your civil or criminal case, reach out by using our online form or calling (510) 995-0000. We’ll be happy to schedule a free consultation to discuss your DUI case one-on-one and figure out what it will take to obtain the best possible outcome for you.
To learn more about DUI laws in Oakland, CA, and beyond, check out our California DUI FAQs.