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Frequently Asked Questions About DUIs

The Law Office of John Goalwin Sept. 22, 2023

Driving Under the Influence Written on Law BookIf you have been pulled over by law enforcement and charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you probably have a lot of questions about what will happen next and how the charges will affect your life.  

A DUI conviction can have lasting consequences, which is why you should fight your drunk driving charge as hard as you can. Attorney John Goalwin has nearly 50 years of legal experience and knows how devastating a DUI charge can be. The Law Office of John Goalwin is based in Los Angeles, California, but we also serve people facing criminal charges in the surrounding areas, including Van Nuys, Norwalk, Torrance, and Compton.  

Frequently Asked Questions About Driving Under the Influence (DUI) 

Being charged with DUI can be a frightening and stressful experience, especially if you do not know what happens next. Below, we have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about DUI as well as brief answers to each of them to give you some guidance at the early stages of your case. However, the information provided below should not be taken as legal advice as everyone’s situation is different and should be discussed with an attorney individually.   

Can I refuse DUI tests? 

It depends on the test. First of all, it is important to understand the difference between a chemical breath test performed at the police station and a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device test. While you can refuse a PAS test without facing any penalty, the same cannot be said about a breath test administered at the police station after your arrest.  

Chemical tests, which can include breath, urine, and blood tests, are mandatory due to California’s implied consent law. Under the implied consent law, every person who obtains a driver’s license automatically consents to future chemical tests administered after their arrest for DUI. Refusal to take a chemical test after your arrest can result in a one-year suspension of your driver’s license.  

Do I have to answer the police officer’s questions during a DUI stop?  

No, drivers are not legally required to answer the police officer’s questions during a DUI stop. However, the law requires every driver to show their license, auto registration, and proof of insurance upon the officer’s request. Other than that, you can politely refuse to answer the officer’s questions during a DUI stop, even when the officer asks where you are driving from and whether you were drinking. However, refusal to answer questions is likely to raise suspicion.  

Can I be arrested if my blood alcohol content is under .08%? 

Yes, it is possible. Under California law, drivers whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds the legal threshold of .08% can be charged with “per se” DUI. However, you may still face DUI charges even if your BAC level is under .08% as California law prohibits drivers from operating motor vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In these cases, however, the prosecutor may have a higher burden of proof to secure a DUI conviction.  

Will my license be suspended?  

Yes, a DUI conviction is likely to result in the suspension of your driver’s license, even if you have had no prior convictions. In California, the length of the suspension depends on the number of prior DUI convictions on your record. As mentioned earlier, your license could also be suspended for a year for refusing to take a chemical test after your arrest.  

Will I go to jail if I’m convicted?  

While a DUI conviction is unlikely to result in incarceration in the vast majority of cases, the possibility of going to jail if you are convicted should never be ruled out. In most DUI cases, the defendant’s criminal record plays a crucial role in determining whether a jail sentence would be an appropriate punishment.  

Do I need a DUI defense attorney? 

Yes, you might want to consider speaking with an attorney if you are facing DUI charges. Even if you know you are guilty, a DUI defense attorney could still help you reduce your sentence or even help you avoid a conviction. A knowledgeable attorney may spot violations of your constitutional rights (e.g., the police had no probable cause to stop you) to get the DUI charges against you dismissed. 

Fearless Defense Attorney 

If you are facing DUI charges, you might want to contact Attorney John Goalwin to fight for the most favorable outcome possible. Our attorney will review the facts of your case during a free case evaluation and explain what to expect in your case. Reach out to The Law Office of John Goalwin in Los Angeles, California, today to ask any questions you have and get the legal guidance you need to move forward.