Don Hammond, a practicing Criminal Defense Attorney in Los Angeles County is our guest blogger this week. Don offers his insights on how the law is working, tips for CA residents to keep in mind, and what steps California citizens should take if they are stopped on the suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). Welcome to the Intoxalock blog, Don!
The new state-wide California law on ignition interlock devices kicked off on January 1, 2019. This law offers a path to retaining driving privileges after a drunk driving charge through the use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) which ensure sober vehicle operation.
With the implementation of this new law, clients are now eligible for an IID-restricted license without any hard suspension, which is leading some clients to choose not to request a DMV hearing, as they can now install an IID and keep driving without interruption. This allows them to get the restriction over with and get on with their lives, rather than waiting many months for a DMV hearing, and then often-times having to go through the same process. Clients are relieved to learn that there is an option to keep driving without interruption.
Defendants who believe that they are wrongfully charged, or believe there may be grounds to challenge the DMV action, must request a hearing within 10 days of their arrest, or else they forfeit the ability to challenge the suspension/restriction.
Tips for California Citizens
California residents should keep in mind that social drinking or running out after drinking at home can end in a drunk driving arrest depending on how much they’ve had to drink. In fact, many alcoholic beverages can put someone at or over the legal limit with just two servings. Overall, the bottom line is: Don't drink and drive. It's not worth the possibility of injuring someone and/or getting arrested.
Getting arrested for a DUI is a traumatic experience, and it kicks off two complicated processes: the court case and the DMV action. A DUI is not a glorified traffic ticket - consequences include possible jail time, a license suspension, lots of classes, fines, and having to blow into a device to start a car.
There is a lot of science involved in DUI cases, and even if you can win the case, it will be very expensive. The easiest way to avoid a DUI is to avoid drinking and driving. Using Lyft and Uber, other rideshare services, or a designated driver are the only sure way to avoid a drunk driving charge.
What To Do if You Get a DUI
In California, someone arrested for DUI has only 10 days to request a DMV hearing, or else his/her driver license will be automatically suspended (subject to IID restriction if qualified) 30 days after the arrest. It is imperative to find an attorney within the first few days, to make sure the arrestee's rights are protected.
A qualified attorney should be able to explain the court and DMV processes, and options regarding a restricted license. The best DUI attorneys also understand the science of how alcohol impacts the body, the science behind blood and breath testing machines, and the police investigation process.
Look for an attorney who is a member of DUI defense organizations, such as the California DUI Lawyers Association and the National College for DUI Defense. Ask a knowledgeable friend or acquaintance, do a Google search, and then be sure to interview a few attorneys in order to find the right one for you.
Guest Contributor - Biography
Don Hammond is a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney with an emphasis on DUI defense. Don is a graduate of Occidental College and the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. Prior to completing his education, Don attended the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Academy, and since becoming a lawyer, Don has taken police training in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE). Trained by police experts and pioneers in the field, Don understands the science behind alcohol's effects on the body, breath testing, and blood alcohol testing. Don uses his training to spot problems with police investigations and laboratory procedures that help his clients get better results in court. Don is frequently called on to educate community groups about DUI investigation tactics, and he enjoys protecting clients' rights throughout Southern California and beyond. You can find out more about his services at his website.