DUI Defense

Modesto, CA DUI Defense Lawyers

Fighting for Drivers in Stanislaus, Sacramento & Fresno Counties

Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is one of the most common criminal charges prosecuted in California courts. California maintains strict laws regarding this issue and stiff penalties apply to anyone convicted of this offense. However, while most drivers believe that a conviction is inevitable in their cases, many aspects of DUI arrests can be prone to error, from roadside sobriety tests to defective breathalyzers, and more. Savvy lawyers who understand this know what to look for in DUI arrest investigations on behalf of clients. These issues can challenge the state’s case against you and put it in reasonable doubt.

At Forkner Orlando & Echevarria, our team of seasoned criminal defense attorneys knows what to look for in defending clients against DUI. With a Certified Criminal Law Specialist onboard, we have the expertise as well as the experience to uncover errors and flaws on the part of law enforcement, their equipment, their procedures, and more that can invalidate charges. We can also represent you at the DMV administrative hearing which is part of the process to challenge the automatic suspension of your license. Throughout it all, we will be by your side to give you the support and legal proficiency you need at this critical time.

Request your complimentary consultation with a Modesto, CA DUI defense attorney at Forkner Orlando & Echevarria by contacting us online or at (209) 753-4009. Hablamos español.

DUI Charges in California

DUI charges in California are based on the following:

  • Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measuring .08 percent or higher (the legal limit) for adults, 04 percent for commercial license holders, and .02 percent for those under 21
  • Being under the influence of illegal drugs, including prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs
  • Being under the influence of a substance that impairs your driving regardless of the BAC level

Drivers found with a BAC level of .16 percent or higher will generally face enhanced penalties as part of an “aggravated” case. DUI charges will result in two separate proceedings that include your criminal case in court and a license suspension hearing with the California DMV. You must request this hearing to challenge the automatic suspension of your license within 10 days of your arrest. 

DUI Penalties

A first-offense DUI is charged as a misdemeanor. Many penalties apply which can include:

  • Three to five years of probation
  • Fines and penalty assessments that can range up to $2,000 depending on the county where you were arrested
  • Up to six months in jail
  • Mandatory participation in “DUI School” that typically lasts for three months
  • A driver’s license suspension of six months (you may be able to drive on a restricted license or drive right away if you install and maintain an ignition interlock device in your vehicle)
  • Attendance at a victim impact panel
  • A spike in your auto insurance premiums

Factors that can aggravate your case resulting in stiffer penalties can include driving with an excessive BAC as mentioned above, causing an accident, speeding while driving under the influence, refusing to take a chemical test, or driving with a minor under the age of 14 in your car. 

In second, third, and subsequent DUI convictions within a 10-year timeframe, penalties will be increased. A fourth DUI can be charged as a felony carrying 16 months up to four years in prison along with huge fines. DUI cases involving the injury or death of others will also generally lead to increased penalties and may be charged as felonies. Prison terms in these cases can range up to four years while fines can range up to $5,000. 

When Is a DUI Considered a Felony in California?

In California, a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is considered a felony under certain circumstances, including:

  • Prior DUI convictions: If a person has been convicted of three or more DUI offenses within the past ten years, any subsequent DUI offense may be charged as a felony.
  • Injury or death caused by the DUI: If a person's DUI causes bodily injury to another person, the offense may be charged as a felony. Additionally, if a person's DUI causes the death of another person, they may be charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, which is a felony offense.
  • Reckless driving: If a person's DUI involved reckless driving, such as driving on the wrong side of the road, driving on a sidewalk, or fleeing from the police, the offense may be charged as a felony.
  • Prior felony DUI conviction: If a person has a prior felony DUI conviction, any subsequent DUI offense may also be charged as a felony.

If a DUI is charged as a felony, the penalties can be severe and may include imprisonment in state prison, fines, and loss of driving privileges. The specific penalties will depend on the circumstances of the offense and the defendant's criminal history. It's important to consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney if you are facing DUI charges in California, particularly if the offense is considered a felony.

Our Representation in DUI Cases

Your Modesto DUI attorney from our firm will attend all court hearings as well as the DMV hearing on your behalf. Should your case go to trial, you will have to show up in court. We will work hard to gather and analyze evidence, prepare your case for trial, and negotiate with the prosecutor or court to seek a dismissal of your case or reduction of the charges. Our goal always is to help you achieve the best possible result through our aggressive and comprehensive efforts.