Ventura DUI FAQ
Here are the frequently asked questions (FAQ) and answers regarding Ventura drinking and driving laws.
What is a DMV hearing?
After being charged with DUI, you have 10 days to schedule a DMV hearing. This hearing is not a trial; rather, it is designed to determine whether or not you can keep your license after a DUI offense. Strong representation is important to ensure that you keep your license after this hearing.
What are the penalties for a first time DUI?
If convicted for your first DUI, you could face the following:
- Min 48 hours jail or 5 days work release
- Fines and fees totaling approximately $3,000
- Period of license suspension.
You may be eligible for a restricted license while participating in a court-ordered alcohol education class.
While a conviction could result in jail time, there are a number of ways you can benefit with the right representation. At the Law Office of Jennifer Zide, we have successfully negotiated pleas involving no custody time, community service in lieu of custody time, and dropped special allegations or enhancements for our clients. In addition to these reduced charges and better sentencing opportunities, you can benefit through a victory at trial. We can also successfully argue for alternatives to custody time, which may include options such as work release, home monitoring, or residential treatment in case of lengthier sentences.
Can I refuse a breath test?
In California, you are required to take a breath test under required consent laws. Refusal to do so will lead to automatic suspension of your driver’s license. If you wish to avoid this suspension through the DMV, you must consent to this test. However, if you consent to the test and provide a sample, you are giving the officer evidence that can possibly be used against you in your court case. To put you in the best position in your future court case, you will want to balance the potentially damaging effect of providing that evidence against the impact of a DMV-ordered license suspension for an alleged refusal. The only DMV-mandated breath test is the Final Breath Test, which can be completed either in the field or back at the station. The breath test to which officers may ask you to submit at an earlier point in time, known as the Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test, is not a required test. If you refuse to consent to this PAS test, no action will be taken against you by the DMV and you will be depriving the officer and the prosecution of any evidence that can later be used against you in court.
Do I have to take a field test?
No—in fact, many field tests are not considered reliable for determining if a person is intoxicated, as sober motorists may have difficulty completing them in given situations. While you should never be aggressive with an officer, you can politely refuse to take a field test.
Will I be automatically convicted for a 0.08% BAC?
No. The methods used to test blood alcohol levels are far from perfect, and in many cases you can successfully challenge chemical testing used for DUI. Contact an attorney to learn more about your options for DUI.
When should I seek an attorney?
Contact an attorney as soon as possible to build the best approach to your case. An experienced DUI lawyer in Ventura can provide representation and guidance from the DMV hearing to the end of a trial.