Are You Facing DUI Charges in Santa Barbara County?
Call now at 805.892.4922
Santa Barbara Attorney William C. Makler has defended more than 2,000 DUI cases on the Central Coast and, in so doing, he has achieved mastery in every aspect of DUI defense. With more than 20 years of experience working in both the California and Federal criminal justice systems, Mr. Makler can spot the problems with the prosecution’s case that others might not.
As a long-time member of the National College of DUI Defense, California DUI Lawyers Association, California Public Defenders Association and California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, Mr. Makler has kept current on the law and science of DUI cases by regularly attending seminars and workshops and by staying in touch with a vast network of experts in the field of DUI defense.
While working for the University of California Police between 1989 and 1992, Mr. Makler participated in numerous DUI investigations and arrests and coordinated training on DUI and other topics. He has also been a courtroom litigator and research attorney for the Federal Public Defender in Sacramento and he was a Felony Deputy Public Defender for both the Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz County Public Defender Offices (1997-2002). Mr. Makler taught Evidence as a member of the faculty of Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of the Law (2006–2008) and frequently lectures on Civil Liberties, DUI, scientific evidence and related topics.
What is a DUI?
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is usually charged as a misdemeanor where an individual is suspected by the police of having violated one, or both, of the following Vehicle Code sections:
- Under California Vehicle Code section 23152(a), it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the charged individual was the driver of a vehicle within the State’s boundaries while so intoxicated, with either alcohol and/or drug(s), that he or she was unable to operate the vehicle as safely as an ordinarily prudent person would under like circumstances.
- Under California Vehicle Code section 23152(b), it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the charged individual was driving a motor vehicle within the State’s boundaries with a Blood Alcohol content of greater than .08% by weight.
The above sections are by no means an exhaustive list of all of the code sections which prohibit various forms of driving under the influence. For additional details, see the California Code.
What if my BAC is below the limit?
As implied above, it’s unlawful to drive when you’re impaired by alcohol such that you’re unable to exercise ordinary caution. Your reaction time and motor coordination must not be compromised by alcohol. Many in law enforcement believe that everyone is “impaired” at .05% BAC. Also, the combination of either a low blood alcohol level (or none at all) while under the influence of a drug which may affect your ability to drive safely is considered a DUI as well (23152(a) CVC). To learn more about how drinking affects your BAC, you may wish to try our BAC Calculator.
Will I lose my license?
The law enforcement officer will seize your license if you’re arrested for DUI with an unlawful BAC or after you’ve refused to submit to all chemical tests (you may choose between breath and blood, ultimately). Your license will be confiscated, and the officer will issue you a citation as well as a pink form which acts as both a temporary driver’s license and as your notice of suspension.
For how long?
This will vary depending on the circumstances. If you’ve refused to submit to any chemical tests, the DMV will seek to suspend your license for a period of one year for a first refusal, or for eighteen months if you’ve previously refused to submit to such a test. If you have an unlawful BAC, the DMV will seek to suspend your license for six months for a first offense, and one year for a second offense. If you are under 21, the minimum suspension length is one year for any alcohol related offense.
Can I fight the suspension?
Yes. You may request a review of the driver’s license suspension by the department of motor vehicles within 10 days following your arrest. At a formal review, the hearing officer is authorized to administer oaths, examine witnesses and take testimony. You should know that doing so will cause the DMV to delay the imposition of the suspension until a decision is reached on the merits and you are notified of it.
In practical effect, the proceedings will extend the temporary driving privilege for at least two additional months and may result in the restoration of your full driving privileges without any period of actual suspension. Moreover, winning the hearing may prevent the DMV from requiring you to purchase “high risk” insurance coverage and to enroll in any courses. For information on how to contest the suspension, Contact Us.
Will I have to go to court?
Except for felonies and all domestic violence charges, a privately retained lawyer may appear for their client in court. There are exceptions, however it is normal for the client of a private attorney facing a misdemeanor or less to go to work or school instead of court. Of course, the client and lawyer must stay in contact with each other to make this work.
Will I have go to jail?
It depends on the nature of the charge, your criminal history (if any), and many other factors. You should consult a lawyer who is aware of all of the facts and circumstances, as well as the law on point, and the customs of the local prosecutor and court before you assume that any case will not result in jail time.
How does lawyer-client confidentiality work?
With few exceptions, everything you say to your lawyer (or prospective lawyer, as in a lawyer you’re consulting but haven’t hired yet) is confidential. The notable exceptions are when you tell a lawyer you have plans to commit a crime or when you’ve waived the privilege by word or conduct. You can waive the privilege by conduct by revealing your confidences to your family, friends, and others. So, suffice it to say, you probably shouldn’t talk with anyone about the facts of your case aside from a qualified lawyer. In certain cases, someone may choose, under advice of their lawyer, to make a limited waiver of their right to confidentiality so that the lawyer may answer questions posed by their spouse or parent.
How much will this cost?
There is a wide range of fees depending on the type of case and depending on the lawyer. Some lawyers, unfortunately, take advantage of the prospective client’s fears and naiveté by charging a whole lot more than they should on any given case. Ask tough questions of your lawyer before agreeing to pay any particular fee. Fees are not set by law–they are negotiable. At the same time, you must be wary of offers that seem too good to be true, or the bargain-basement lawyer. The latter will almost ensure bargain-basement service and skill.
A DUI arrest does not mean you are guilty.
Contrary to popular opinion, police officers make mistakes. Moreover, the hyper-technical laws surrounding the regulation of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) are rife with ambiguities, if not contradictions. You owe it to yourself to become educated about what to expect and, just as importantly, what to do about it. Much depends on whether you’re actually convicted of drunk driving, as opposed to just arrested. In other words, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.