What are your options with an Orange County DUI?


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Category Archives: DMV and a DUI

What are your options with an Orange County DUI?

What are your options with an Orange County DUI?

What are your options with an Orange County DUI?

During this Labor Day weekend in Orange County, California, there were several Orange County DUI Checkpoints, as well as Orange County DUI Saturation Patrols. You may have been recently arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in Orange County, given the heavy law enforcement activity this past weekend.

If you found yourself to be one of the unfortunate ones, you may be wondering what to do. You may have questions such as:

  • Should I get an attorney?
  • What are my options?
  • Should I plead guilty?
  • Should I fight my charge?
  • Should I try to negotiate a plea deal?”

First – Your driver’s license.

The first deadline that will come up is the ten-day DMV hearing deadline regarding your driver’s license.  Your pink temporary license will expire in 30 days unless you call the DMV hearing office and get a hearing started within 10 days.  Don’t miss that deadline.

Your court appearance.

After a DUI arrest, your first court date is called an arraignment. An arraignment is a hearing where you’ll be informed of your charge and asked whether you plead guilty or not guilty.

What are your options during a DUI arraignment?

The judge wants to know two things at an arraignment:

  1. Whether or not you want a lawyer; and
  2. Whether or not you want to plead guilty.

Do you want a lawyer?

The judge will ask if you want to represent yourself (not recommended), have time to hire a private attorney, or want to apply for an Orange County public defender.  If you can afford one, you are almost always better off with a private attorney, especially one that knows both the charges you are facing and knows the court where you are facing charges well.

Should you just plead guilty to DUI or fight it?

Depending on whether or not you express a wish for a lawyer, the judge may give you other options.  If you choose to represent yourself, you may be given the following options:

  1. You can plead guilty to the DUI (which is not recommended);
  2. You can seek a plea bargain, where you plead guilty to a lesser offense, such as a California wet reckless, in exchange for lighter punishment;
  3. You can ask for a trial – either a trial before a jury or before a judge.

    Should I Plea Bargain my DUI?

    The answer to that question will depend on your criminal record history, the facts involved in your DUI offense, and the available evidence. For example, if you had a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and there is a lot of evidence against you, you may be better off negotiating a plea deal in your DUI with the prosecutor.

    On the other hand, if you had a borderline (at or near the .08% legal limit) or low BAC, or if you were a victim of police misconduct, it may make sense to try to get the prosecution to drop your charges and if that doesn’t work, it may be beneficial to take your case to trial. It all depends on the unique facts of your case. If your BAC was below .08%, your chances of winning a jury trial are better.

    Regardless of the facts of your case, our top rated Orange County DUI defense attorneys will be able to both present you in the best light possible for a plea bargain or at trial cross-examine the witnesses and evidence and show reasonable doubt in the minds of the judge or jury.

Contact us.

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To determine the best defense strategy for your situation, contact our firm to speak with our firm about your case today.

How to get the police report in your DUI case

How to get the police report in your DUI case

How to get the police report in your DUI case

If you have been arrested for a DUI, you might be interested in getting a police report, or police reports, to see what the police officer in your DUI case wrote about the incident. This page has information from our Orange County criminal defense attorney on how to get the police report in your DUI case.

Why the police report in your DUI case is important

The police report constitutes almost all of the evidence that the DMV uses in deciding whether or not there is proof enough to find the issues at a DMV hearing true, which would suspend your license.  Because the DMV typically decides cases based only on the documents in your case, and in most cases does not hear live testimony, the documents, as written, are used to prove the case at the DMV.

For your court case, the police report is sent directly to the prosecutor’s office, in most cases the Orange County DA’s Office.  The police report gives the DA the basic evidence to show whether or not the case can be proven, and to see if any other crimes have been committed.  They use the police report to support the decision whether or not to file criminal charges of DUI in court. The police report also identifies the parties involved, and the evidence that exists for the case.

The problem in getting the police report in your DUI case

In discussing how to get the police report in your DUI case, the problem is California’s Penal Code section PC 1054.2.  That code section states as follows:

(a)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), no attorney may disclose or permit to be disclosed to a defendant, members of the defendant’s family, or anyone else, the address or telephone number of a victim or witness whose name is disclosed to the attorney pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1054.1, unless specifically permitted to do so by the court after a hearing and a showing of good cause.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), an attorney may disclose or permit to be disclosed the address or telephone number of a victim or witness to persons employed by the attorney or to persons appointed by the court to assist in the preparation of a defendant’s case if that disclosure is required for that preparation. Persons provided this information by an attorney shall be informed by the attorney that further dissemination of the information, except as provided by this section, is prohibited.

(3) Willful violation of this subdivision by an attorney, persons employed by the attorney, or persons appointed by the court is a misdemeanor.

The translation from legalese is that a person who is a subject, or defendant, in the case, cannot get a copy of the police report unless all the witnesses, or the alleged victim’s name, address, and contact information, is redacted.  The purpose of this law is to prevent retaliation against victims or witnesses, or defendants dissuading witnesses to testify at trial or at a hearing.

What if you are representing yourself?

It is never wise to represent yourself.  In a DUI case, which involves testing science and legal issues, an Orange County DUI Attorney can help you defend your case. But if you do choose to appear as your own attorney, the law accounts for that special situation, as follows:

(b) If the defendant is acting as his or her own attorney, the court shall endeavor to protect the address and telephone number of a victim or witness by providing for contact only through a private investigator licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs and appointed by the court or by imposing other reasonable restrictions, absent a showing of good cause as determined by the court.

With Orange County DUI cases, where a person is representing themselves in a DUI, the current procedure is to have a public defender redact (blackout or use white out) all witness information, including the police officers, copy the reports, and provide the copied report to the defendant acting as their own attorney.  That is one of the ways how to get the police report in your DUI case.  But there are others.

How to get the police report in your DUI case – directly from the police agency

As you can see from the above, if you try to get a copy of your police report from the police agency, often they will state they cannot release that to you, citing the above laws.  They may say that, as a pending court case, that you need to get any report through your attorney as part of the court case.

However, police records departments are often used to giving out police reports for insurance or investigative purposes, especially in traffic collision cases.  Licensing agencies and background investigation services also commonly order police reports.  However, access to these records varies greatly from one police agency to another and depends mainly on their procedures and policies for records.

As an Orange County DUI Attorney, I have had my clients tell me that they have had success in going directly to the police records department and obtaining their reports there.  Most police agencies charge per page for copying police reports, so there is a charge.

In Orange County, some of the police agencies that have policies releasing police reports are as follows:

Anaheim DUI Police Reports

Obtaining an Anaheim Police report (note the section instructing defendants with a pending crime).

Costa Mesa DUI Police Reports

Obtaining a Costa Mesa Police Report.  Note that the records department for Costa Mesa is open 24 hours a day.  Their phone number for records and report questions is (714) 754-5373.

Fountain Valley DUI Police Reports

Obtaining a Fountain Valley Police Report (note that you will need to fill out a form).

Tustin DUI Police Reports

Obtaining a Tustin Police Report

Los Angeles Police  DUI Police Reports

Obtaining a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Report

Obtaining your police reports and alcohol test results through the DMV Office of Driver Safety

DMV and a DUIWith DUI cases, the same police report is copied and sent two places – to the prosecutor’s office, for the filing of charges, and to the DMV, for use in your DMV hearing. How to get the police report in your DUI case from the DMV?

If you request a DMV hearing within the 10-day time limit to request a hearing, you, or your DUI defense attorney, will be sent by mail a full, unedited copy of the police report to be used in defending and preparing for your DMV hearing. That is sent to you at no charge, and it one way how to get the police report in your DUI case for free.

Obtaining your police reports from an online service

The legal research and online records service, Lexis/Nexis, has partnerships with many police stations to scan and search police reports, which are available directly through the service.  You can request and pay for access and documents here:


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If you have any questions for an Orange County criminal defense lawyer about your pending DUI case, or about obtaining your police report, don’t delay contacting us.  We can start you on a plan of action today that will help your court date later. Contact us today.


Under 21 DUI – California’s Zero Tolerance Laws

Under 21 DUI – California’s Zero Tolerance Laws

Criminal Conviction for DUIUnder 21 DUI – California’s Zero Tolerance Laws: Minors who are facing an underage DUI face not only a citation, but the additional punishment that is built into the structure of the law itself.  That includes the harsh penalties contained in California’s Zero Tolerance Laws. This page discusses in detail aspects and related punishments from an Under 21 DUI which apply to all Underage DUI cases, or any DUI or possession of alcohol for a Minor.

The law regarding Under 21 DUI – California’s Zero Tolerance Laws

If someone is caught driving under the influence, and they are under age 21, they can be charged with a number of offenses.  That includes the following:

  1. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs under 21 -California Vehicle Code Section 23136(a) VC – driving with a blood alcohol level of .01% or higher when under age 21.
  2. Under 21 DUI with a blood alcohol content of 0.05-007 percent, which is illegal under California Vehicle Code Section 23140 VC;
  3. Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs – California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) VC, which applies to persons under or over 21;
  4. Driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher – California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) VC, which applies to persons under or over 21;

How does the law decide what charges to bring?

The law for each crime is different.  Law enforcement, and the prosecutor’s office, usually decides which charges to bring based upon the age, and alcohol level, involved.  Under California law, you cannot be charged with two crimes from the exact same conduct, for double jeopardy reasons, so you can only be charged or convicted of one of the crimes below, with the exception of VC 23136, which is civil in nature, and can be added to any charge of VC 23140, or VC 23152.

Vehicle Code VC 23140  – Driving Under 21 with a Blood Alcohol Level of .05% or greater

VC 23140 – Under 21 DUI – California’s Zero Tolerance Laws – The VC Statute

Vehicle Code 23140 VC reads: “(a) It is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years who has 0.05 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle. (b) A person may be found to be in violation of subdivision (a) if the person was, at the time of driving, under the age of 21 years and under the influence of, or affected by, an alcoholic beverage regardless of whether a chemical test was made to determine that person’s blood alcohol concentration and if the trier of fact finds that the person had consumed an alcoholic beverage and was driving a vehicle while having a concentration of 0.05 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood.”

VC 23140  Punishment and Penalties

Vehicle code 23140 VC is an infraction, not a misdemeanor or felony DUI.  As an infraction, it cannot carry jail time, and is more of the nature of a traffic ticket.  However, it does have the following penalties by law, if you are convicted of this charge:

  • A fine of $100 or more;
  • Attendance at an alcohol school or alcohol education classes for three months, if you are over 18; and
  • Through the DMV, suspension of your driving privileges for one year.

An underage .01 DUI will also stay on your record, unless it is specifically later cleared through an Orange County expungement; and you might be required to report it on college or job applications.

Proving a VC 23140 charge

Proof of a  VC23140 DUI charge is usually made through a PAS test, or field breathalyzer.  Those are subject to any breath test defenses in a DUI. All that has to be shown is that the person was driving, was under 21, and was .01% or higher for alcohol levels, as tested on the DUI breath test.

VC 23140  Refusal

Refusing a breath test or DUI testing request by any law enforcement when you are under 21 results in an automatic one year suspension of driving privileges.  That can add to the one year suspension for underage DUI, and make your suspension two years, instead of one.

VC 23140  Defenses

Defenses to a VC 23140 charge include that the person was not driving, was not actually under age 21, and that there may have been error in the breath testing machinery.

Also, involuntary intoxication, mouth alcohol in the breath test, and a lack of probable cause for the police stop and arrest or citation, can be used to defend against this charge.  Because Listerine strips, other breath sprays, and over the counter cough syrups and nighttime cold formulas such as Nyquil, contain alcohol, those might create a false positive for alcohol consumption.

Our Orange County DUI lawyers always investigate and examine the calibration and maintenance records for the PAS device or other means of alcohol testing. Because the threshold for license suspension is so low, a PAS device that is calibrated even slightly off may throw off the reliability of the test results, which can make a big difference when the difference is between a 0.0% and a .01%, as in the case of under 21 DUI cases.

VC 23140  and other charges

Vehicle Code VC 23136  “zero tolerance” underage DUI can also be charged. This is a civil penalty, and not a crime.  As a result, it is possible to be both convicted of VC 23140 and also cited for VC 23136.

Vehicle Code VC 23136  “zero tolerance” underage DUI

This law prohibits anyone under 21 from driving with a BAC of 0.01 or above (i.e., with any detectable alcohol in his/her system) as a result of consuming alcoholic beverages.

VC 23136 is not a crime. It is a civil penalty. It was created by California law to have those under age 21 suffer a (1) one-year suspension of the defendant’s driver’s license.

It is common for minors charged with Vehicle Code 23140 (under-21 DUI with a BAC of 0.05 or above), or minors charged with Vehicle Code VC 23140, to also face the penalty under Vehicle Code 23136.

The law – Vehicle Code VC 23136:

(a) it is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years who has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test, to drive a vehicle. However, this section shall not be a bar to prosecution under Section 23152 or 23153 or any other provision of law.

(b) A person shall be found to be in violation of subdivision (a) if the person was, at the time of driving, under the age of 21 years, and the trier of fact finds that the person had consumed an alcoholic beverage and was driving a vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test.

A Vehicle Code 23136 accusation is appropriate to anybody below the age of twenty-one who drives with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.01% . Those drivers are recognized under California’s “zero tolerance” law for underage DUI. Being accused can lead to your driver’s license being suspended for one year by the California DMV under the under 21 DUI – California’s zero tolerance laws.

Related charges for Underage DUI

Additional charges involving underage drivers and alcohol include a minor carrying or possessing alcohol, whether the container is open or not, in your vehicle.  Also, using a fake ID or the real ID of an older person to obtain alcohol, or even to ride as a passenger in the car and possess alcoholic beverages, can all be illegal..  These offenses can be separate offenses or be compounded with your DUI charge and result in harsher consequences.

California Vehicle Code 23224 VC – Possession of Alcohol in a Vehicle Under Age 21

A closely related law to the DUI under age 21 is VC 23224, possession of alcohol in a vehicle by a person under 21. Under this California aw, people under 21 may not carry alcohol inside a vehicle as an open container, unless:

  • the container is full, sealed, and unopened, and
  • they are:
    • accompanied by a parent or other specified adult,
    • getting rid of the alcohol because their parent or such an adult told them to, or
    • carrying it as part of their job working for someone with a legitimate liquor license.

Vehicle Code 23224 VC Penalties

Violation of Vehicle Code 23224 VC is a misdemeanor, and as a result, carries more serious penalties than an Under 21 DUI under VC 23136 or VC 23140. Penalties include all of the following:

  • One-year driver’s license suspension;
  • up to $1000 fine;
  • vehicle impoundment for up to 30 days

Charges of Vehicle Code section 23132 under age 21

In addition to the above, a driver under the age of 21 can still be charged with an under 21 DUI – California’s zero tolerance laws. California Vehicle Code section 23152 VC, allows prosecution just like an adult. The zero tolerance violation will be added to the DUI charge, resulting in the same penalties an adult would face (several thousand dollars in fines, probation, potential jail time or community service, and the mandatory alcohol education program) in addition to the one year license suspension.

How to get your privilege to drive back if you have a suspension- the Critical Need to Drive Application

While the under 21 DUI – California’s zero tolerance laws sets up a harsh punishment for any type of minor DUI, there is the possibility of driving again during the suspension period.

Under Vehicle Code 13353.8 when an order suspending your driving privilege is issued because of any violation of Vehicle Code 23136 (a), the department might lift restrictions on an individual’s driving privilege based on a presentation of a “critical need to drive.”

When you are eligible for the DMV Critical Need to Drive

You are only able to get a critical need to drive license from the DMV, after your license is actually suspended, and only if you do not have any of the following:

  • Priors: Within a decade of the present violation of Vehicle Code 23136, the driver has no other significant record such as have previous APS action or conviction;
  • Refusal: The driver has not been suspended or cancelled for refusing to take a PAS or other chemical test;
  • No actual critical need: The driver has not shown an actual need to drive, or there are other alternatives available to the driver for transportation.

What is considered a critical need to drive?“

The DMV’s  definition of a “Critical need to drive” is looked at in four categories.  You can apply using more than one category.  If approved, you would have a California restricted license, as allowed under Vehicle Code 12513, limited to driving for purposes under one or more of those categories.

The four categories of critical need to drive:

  1. To and from school or work
  2. For family illness
  3. For family enterprise and/or business
  4. For medical purposes (for yourself or for another

An application for Critical Need Restriction, DS 694, must be finished and presented to the Office of Driver Safety Mandatory Actions Unit headquarters, in Sacramento, California. If it is approved, you must pay a reissue fee of one-hundred and twenty five ($125) dollars and submit a California Insurance Proof Certificate, known as a SR 22. Once the application for critical need is approved, the suspension may be lifted and you can get a license to drive under the terms of the critical need application, despite the harsh under 21 DUI – California’s zero tolerance laws.

Critical need application approvals:

You should know that, according to the DMV, most critical need applications are denied.  The DMV considers these licenses to be severely limited, and only granted in extreme need in situations where all other transportation is inadequate. We have had success in detailing our client’s need to drive, and the unavailability of other options, by submitting substantial documentation along with the application, which greatly increases your chances for success.

How an attorney can help with an Underage DUI

We can professionally handle your underage DUI matter, and do everything in our power to minimize the impact of the under 21 DUI – California’s zero tolerance laws on your license and your criminal record.  That may include in many cases fighting the charges to dismissal of the case, or negotiating with the court, or the prosecutor, for a different charge, that avoids the punishment under the charges filed.  We have helped many families facing an under 21 DUI case, and can help you also.

Contact us

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Contact us today.  We can begin work on a strategy to keep you driving and avoid the long term problems of a mark on your driving record, or a criminal record. The Under 21 DUI – California’s Zero Tolerance Laws do not have to keep you from a record, or from driving, if handled correctly.


California DUIs and out of state alcohol classes

California DUIs and out of state alcohol classes

California DUIs and out of state alcohol classes

California DUIs and out of state alcohol classes create a special problem. If you were convicted of a DUI in California, Vehicle Code §23556 requires the court to order the completion of a California alcohol program in the driver’s county of residence or employment.

However, if you move out of state, you have a problem with both the court and the DMV. This article discusses what happens when a California resident, who holds a California driver’s license, and gets a California DUI, moves out of state before completing the required alcohol school.  It is different from the situation where someone from California gets a DUI in another state.  In short, the court will allow an alcohol school in another state, but the DMV will require a California school or alcohol program, or for you to give up your CA driver’s license.

Court DUI Sentences and DUI schools out of county or state:

With the court, the court must specifically authorize, and order as part of your case, an out of county, or out of state, alcohol school.  In general, the court will allow any program that is the equivalent of a first time offender’s program in whatever state you are in, if you have a first-time offense, and a second time offender’s alcohol program if you have a second time DUI case, and so on.  That may mean that you attend a class that is substantially cheaper and less time than California, or more expensive and a longer program than California’s.

The DMV and DUI schools out of county or state:

With the DMV, you have a more difficult problem. So long as you live in California, the California DMV will never accept completion of an alcohol class from another state. The class must be taken in California even if the court accepted an out-of-state program in satisfaction of probation.

You have two options:

  1. Remain in California and complete the alcohol classes, or
  2. Move to another state and waive your “privilege” to drive in California.

Vehicle Code §23558(c)(1) allows the court to revoke probation for failure to complete the program except for good cause. Vehicle Code §13352(a)(2) refers to this Vehicle Code §23538 program, i.e. one in the person’s county of residence or employment, and requires that it be completed before full driving privileges can be returned. Punishment statutes for other drunk driving offenses have similar provisions. Obviously, none of this is possible if the person resides in another state since there are no California licensed drinking driver programs outside the state of California.

Where you must attend DUI schools in California:

Because of that, Health & Safety Code §11837.2(a) indicates that the court may refer persons only to licensed programs. Subject to these provisions, a person is eligible to participate in the program if it is operating in any of the following:

  1. The county where the person is convicted, or
  2. The county where the person resides, or
  3. A county that has an agreement with such person’s county of residence pursuant to Section 11838, or
  4. A county to which the person may request transfer pursuant to subdivision (d).

What do you do if you have a California Driver’s License but live out of state?

The law does not require impossibilities (Civil Code §3531). If a person resides in another state if they cannot attend a licensed California drinking driver program unless they interrupt their lives and move back to California. But with California DUIs and out of state alcohol classes, that rarely happens.

If you have a California DUI and you live out of state now, you may find that your license is suspended by the California DMV and will continue to be suspended until you complete a California alcohol school.

However, that suspension of your driver’s license may prevent you from getting a new driver’s license in another state, as other states that are part of the interstate driver’s compact will obtain the records from the California DMV, and will not issue you a new license in your new state until California lifts the hold.

That creates a driver’s license “Catch-22”.  The solution is to apply to the DMV for an out of state waiver.

Applying for a CA DMV License Waiver

You must take action yourself on this.  Your California DUI attorney, unfortunately, cannot do this for you. If you move out-of-state, you can call DMV Mandatory Actions Unit in Sacramento, California, at (916) 657-6525 and ask for a “1650 waiver packet.”  They will only mail this packet to you, the licensee, at an out-of-state address (you will also have to prove you live out-of-state with a utility bill or such).  This waiver allows out-of-state licensees to obtain a license in another state, by lifting driver’s license holds, and also allows you to drive in California, but does not allow the out-of-state licensee to acquire a California license within 3 years of filing the waiver.

One can only qualify for the 1650 waiver once in a lifetime – a rule that begun in March of 2005.  The 1650 Waiver removes the California hold, assuming an SR22 is also on file with DMV. If you come back to California within 3-years and want your license back, you will have to take the applicable approved California Alcohol school program, or classes. California DUIs and out of state alcohol classes does not work for the DMV lifting the hold.

Contact our DUI defense firm if you need our experience.

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We are happy to apply our education, training, and experience in handling Orange County DUI cases over 23 years to win cases.

About Us Robert Miller Associates

Contact our firm if you are interested in discussing with us what is possible at the DMV or in court.


DUI Lawyers Chino

DUI Lawyers Chino

Chino DUI Lawyers
If you were arrested for a DUI anywhere in or near Chino, then you will need the best DUI Lawyers Chino for your case, to fight for you, in court, and at the DMV.
DUI Lawyers Chino can help you and will handle your DUI professionally for you.  Having an experienced DUI defense attorney will help you and your case.
Chino is in San Bernardino County, and is part of the San Bernardino Superior Court system.  The court used to run a courthouse in Chino, which closed in 2012.
What courthouse your DUI in Chino will be assigned to depends on who stopped and arrested or cited you.

CHP DUI Arrests in Chino or Rancho Cucamonga

All traffic and criminal matters issued by the California Highway Patrol in the jurisdictions for Rancho Cucamonga and Chino Districts are split by the court and are be filed and heard at the following location:

Fontana Courthouse
17780 Arrow Boulevard
Fontana, CA 92335

All traffic and criminal matters issued by all law enforcement agencies other than the California Highway Patrol (that includes the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department or any city police departments) will be filed and heard at the following location:

Rancho Cucamonga District
17780 Haven Avenue
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

The problem – what you are up against and what you are facing.

As you know, the prosecutors, the courts, the law, and the push from organizations like MADD all want to show how tough they are against people with a DUI.  The punishment includes potential jail time, loss of your license, loss of a job, and thousands of dollars in fines if not handled correctly.  Don’t let the system excessively punish you without looking at all sides. Although you probably are still dealing with the impact from your arrest, this is more serious than you realize.

The solution – how to avoid the full impact of a DUI conviction

There is a way out of this.  The best way to handle a DUI is to be prepared, and to methodically and responsibly handle everything with an expert that only handles DUI cases, knows defenses to DUI cases, including with breath testing and blood testing involved in a drunk driving case, and will work with you and professionally guide you to the best possible result.  That law firm is Miller and Associates.

What our past DUI clients have stated about us

Many clients helped by our firm in the past can attest to our great results.  We have many top ratings and reviews on Yelp, Avvo, Google, and other resources.

As one client stated about their experience:

“During two meetings with Robert and several telephone conversations we were able to craft a defense strategy.  In several court appearances Robert was able to convince the district attorney of our defense.  Ultimately the case was dismissed.  Robert gets a five star rating from me.   He is professional and easy to reach either  by phone or email or even text message.  His fees are fair and very competitive.”  (Maurice N., from a Yelp review).

What other attorneys know about our DUI expertise

Even other attorneys in the field know that our law firm has the expertise and knowledge to handle your DUI matter.  We have top ratings from colleagues within our area of expertise.  As one stated: “I highly endorse Mr. Miller. Very experienced and caring attorney who produces great results in representing clients! I want all people with legal problems to contact him first.” (Mark Clay, Esq., from one of over 60 attorney endorsements through Avvo.)

Our results in DUI cases

In the past we have had amazing results for clients fearful and facing a drunk driving matter before the courts and the DMV, including hundreds of DUI matters reduced or dismissed, avoiding a lifetime of problems for our clients.  See our results page for many details on cases just like yours. 

Meet Our Skilled DUI Attorney

DUI Defense Lawyer, Robert Miller, is certified in Field Sobriety Testing and DUI Trial Defenses.  He is a member of the National College of DUI Defense, the DUI Lawyers Association, and the California DUI Lawyers Association, among many other certifications and professional organizations. He is known for being a top Orange County DUI Attorney.
He is also the author of two books on DUI, both published by Aspatore Press, geared towards instructing other attorneys on matters of DUI defense.
The Washington Post, the BBC, NPR, ABC 7 News, have consulted with and had Robert Miller appear to provide legal commentary on cases in the news.

Why Hire Us for Your DUI Case?

With impeccable credentials, hundreds of great results in DUI cases, and over 22 years of courtroom and trial experience, Robert Miller is the right choice for any case where you need DUI Lawyers Chino.

Contact us now – Let’s Get Started.

Don’t delay contacting us.  We can start you on a plan of action today that will help your court date later. The DMV needs action within 10 days of your arrest.  Contact us today.

Getting a California Driver’s License with an Immigration Visa

Getting a California Driver’s License with an Immigration Visa

DMV Information and Penalties for a DUI

Do you need a California Driver’s License?

Getting a California Driver’s License with an Immigration Visa: If you are here on a tourism visa of any kind, then as a tourist, you may drive a rental car in California for one year as long as you have a valid driver’s license from their home country.  See the California Department of Motor Vehicles for complete details.

If you will be driving in California and/or you plan to purchase a motor vehicle (a car, scooter or motorcycle), we recommend that you get a California Driver’s License. Many insurance companies will provide coverage, or offer you better rates only if you have one, and having automobile insurance is a legal requirement in California.

How To Apply for the California Driver License

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has the latest California Driver Handbook, forms, and instructions on how to apply for a California Driver License(link is external). Check out the helpful section in the handbook (link is external)on frequently asked questions and residency requirements.

If this if your first CA Driver’s License, you are required to schedule an appointment at any branch office of the DMV.

An F-1 student, F-2 dependent or J-1 student is NOT required to have a Social Security Number to be eligible for a driver license.

A J-1 scholar must present a Social Security Number to be eligible for a driver license.  J-2 dependents are only required to show a Social Security Number if they have an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Requirements for Your Driver’s License

Following these five simple tips makes the process go smoother and save of time in the end:

1.    Wait 10 days after you enter the United States.

You may want to apply for a driver’s license right away, but be patient. The 10 day wait allows time for all the government databases to update with your arrival information. If you apply too early, your application will be delayed or denied.  If you are a continuing student or scholar, please remember to wait 10 days from your most recent entry to the U.S.

2.    Make sure your record in SEVIS is up-to-date and in Active status.

Getting a California Driver’s License with an Immigration Visa requires that your record in SEVIS is accurate and active. SEVIS is the database that contains information for all F and J nonimmigrants in the United States.  If your record is not active when you apply for a Driver’s License, the application may be delayed or denied.

Note: This step is only required when you first arrive the the U.S. on your new I-20 or DS-2019.  Wait 10 days from the time you complete the Online Arrival Confirmation or SIM before going to the DMV.

3.    Check your immigration documents.

Check all your immigration documents to make sure your information is correct. Getting a California Driver’s License with an Immigration Visa requires what the DMV calls data integrity. Data integrity is very important because if you have any different information on different forms, it will cause delays. Specifically, check your electronic I-94 “Arrival/Departure” record for information. If the information on your electronic I-94 admission record is different than on your passport, visa or Form I-20 or DS-2019, please contact the issuer or sponsor of your visa.

4.    Read. Practice. Review.

The DMV has the latest California Driver Handbook, forms and instructions on how to apply for a Driver’s License.  You will also find five sample exams.  The practice exams will help you prepare. Please note after you pass the written exam, you may need to take a Driving Test.

5.    Bring all your paperwork. When you go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) remember to bring all your paperwork. For California, the paperwork may include these documents:

  • Form I-20 or Form DS-2019
  •  The electronic I-94 record you received with the passport admission stamp.  Please access your electronic I-94 record and print it.
  •  Passport (with visa, if applicable).  Please ensure your passport is on the Approved Foreign Passport list with the DMV.
  • Two documents showing your proof of residency in California.

The California State Identity Card

Getting a California Driver’s License with an Immigration Visa is easy if you take the above steps.  But if you are not planning to drive, the DMV also issues a California Identity Card with your photo and date of birth information on it. This is an easily recognizable form of identification used for cashing checks, proving your age, etc. Plan on making an appointment before going to the DMV. To do so, visit the DMV website or any DMV branch office.

Contact our law firm for any questions about immigration and the DMV.  We are happy to help.

The burden of proof in DUI cases

The burden of proof in DUI cases

You may be familiar with the phrase “beyond a reasonable doubt” from crime dramas on television, or in the movies.

The burden of proof in legal cases, from the highest levels of proof required, to the lowest, are as follows:

  1. Beyond a reasonable doubt
  2. Clear and convincing evidence
  3. Preponderance of the evidence
  4. Probable cause
  5. Reasonable suspicion
  6. No evidence

With a DUI case, there are actually two different standards of proof involved, based upon what the proceedings are.

The burden of proof in DUI cases at the DMV

At the DMV, the hearing officer decides the case based upon the evidence presented in the documents.  In California, it’s rare for the DMV to call witnesses, although either side has the right to do so.

The DMV action involved in your license is civil in nature, so it uses the civil “preponderance of the evidence” standard.  That is, as long as there is 51% proof on all the issues required at a hearing, the DMV wins the hearing.

Keep in mind that the issues that the DMV still has to have proof on, and prove via paperwork or testimony, are:

  1. Can it be proven that the person was driving a motor vehicle?
  2. Was the person above a .08% alcohol level at the time of driving (not only at the time of the later test);
  3. Did the police have valid probable cause to arrest for DUI?
  4. Was the person placed under valid arrest?
  5. And, for cases involving a refusal or DUI probation, or a prior, the refusal, DUI probation, or prior has to be validly proven separately.

The burden of proof in DUI cases in court.

In court, the prosecutor has a different standard.  As a criminal proceeding, the prosecutor has to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that each and every element of the case is proven to that standard.

In many cases, it may be difficult to prove one or more elements of the case.  They may not be able to show or prove driving in accident DUI cases, or prove the timing of intoxication or time of driving.  Under California law, a blood or breath test has to be taken within three hours of driving to be used in a case, at the Orange County DMV hearing, or in Orange County DUI court proceedings.  When the police don’t know the exact time of driving, or are missing other elements of the crime, that might be enough reasonable doubt to get a not guilty in a DUI case.

Contact us if you have any questions about the burden of proof in Orange County DUI cases.  We can help you.

Strategies to win your DUI DMV Hearing

Strategies to win your DUI DMV HearingDMV Information and Penalties for a DUI

As we have discussed elsewhere in our website, the DMV hearing is especially important in your Orange County DUI case, as it affects your privilege to drive. This page summarizes some strategies to win your DUI DMV Hearing, and what works in defending a DUI case at the DMV.

DUI Procedures involved in a DUI Arrest 

When you are arrested for a DUI, the police officer is trained to perform certain duties.  If you have a California license, After a DUI arrest in California, your driver’s license is especially vulnerable from both the administrative action (the DMV admin per se proceedings) and any court DUI convictions, both of which can restrict or suspend your license, depending on what your driving record looked like before the current DUI matter occurred.

We try to stop your license from being suspended at all.  The first step is to request a hearing from the DMV within 10 days of your arrest.  The DMV is very strict about that deadline, so it’s extremely important to abide by that 10 day rule.

The DMV hearing doesn’t happen right away.  When you make a hearing request, the DMV stops all possible action against your license, and then sets a hearing date in the future.  In Orange County, that is about 30-45 days from the request date.  Once the hearing is set, there are a few possible actions that may make your hearing more likely to be decided in your favor.

The Issues at a DMV hearing

  • Were you administered a test within 3 hours of driving?
  • Did the officer continuously observe you for 15 minutes before administering your breath test at the police station pursuant to Title 17 of the California regulations which outline the proper breath testing procedures?
  • Was the officer properly trained and qualified to administer the breath test?
  • Was the DS 367 Officers’ statement properly sworn and filled out?
  • Was the official duty presumption rebutted, i.e. is there evidence that the officer did not properly perform his official duties?

The issues at a DMV Refusal Hearing

  1. Did the Peace Officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of Vehicle Code Section 23140, 23152, or 23153?
  2. Were you placed under lawful arrest?
  3. Were you told that, if you refused to submit to or failed to complete a test of your blood or breath, your driving privilege would be suspended for one year or revoked for two or three years?
  4. Did you refuse to submit to, or fail to complete, a blood or breath test after being requested to do so by a peace officer?

Subpoena Strategies for your DUI DMV Hearing

One option available to you and your attorney is to issue a subpoena for the police officer to show up and testify, and be cross examined.  Should you do that?  In my opinion, as an experienced Orange County DUI Lawyer, the answer is a firm “maybe“.

It’s usually better to look at the reports prepared by the officer, and see if any missing elements of the DMV’s case might exist.  Since DMV cases can be won on what would be considered a “technicality”, it might actually hurt you to have the officer show up, testify, and “fill in the blanks” and help the DMV make their case with additional evidence.

On the other hand, if the police report shows information that is clearly incorrect, showing the DMV hearing officer that the police officer performed a “cut and paste”, or was mistaken about your case (confusing your case with another that same evening), or just plain lied, that can be powerful evidence that alone can win your DMV hearing.

Unfortunately, unlike a traffic ticket, the officer not showing up does not guarantee a win at the DMV.  More likely, it would result in a continuance of the hearing.  And, there is a cost for each subpoena of the officer.

You can also subpoena your patrol car video, or any other information, including the maintenance and calibration of the breath test machine or blood testing equipment for defenses.

Expert Witness Strategies for your DUI DMV Hearing

Having an expert witness can help you also.  We have used expert witnesses in the field of police procedures, and alcohol testing procedures and intoxication levels, including proving the rising blood alcohol defense, with much success.

We have won DUI DMV hearings over the years for our clients.

Contact us if you would like us to help you, or if you have questions.  We can help you.


Restricted License in California – What are the rules?

Restricted License in California – What are the rules?

DUI California DMV
When you are arrested for a DUI, the police officer gives you a temporary license, after taking away your physical driver’s license. You would not need a restricted license after arrest, as you the temporary license is a full license, with all driving privileges, for 30 days.
Note that you must contact the DMV within 10 days and request a hearing to continue to drive beyond the 30 days without the automatic suspension after 30 days.  If you hire an experienced DUI lawyer, that attorney will handle that for you.  The DMV will then issue a new temporary license, extending your right to drive, and schedule a hearing to see if they can prove the three issues at a DMV hearing.

You can only get a restricted license once your license is actually suspended.

For DUI cases, where a restricted license is available (rather than CA driver’s license suspensions for other issues, like unpaid child support, a warrant for a missed court date, or for medical reasons), your license can only be suspended in two ways.  Those two ways are by the DMV, or as a result of a court conviction for DUI.

DMV Driver’s License Suspensions

If your license was suspended by the DMV, that means that one of these situations happened:
  1. You never asked for a DMV hearing in the first place; or
  2. You lost a DMV hearing.
If you win a DMV hearing, you can immediately apply for a no fee driver’s license at any DMV office.
Upon losing a hearing, or not requesting a hearing, the DMV will suspend your license for 4 months.  Before you can reapply for your California driving privileges, you have to wait the suspension period of one month (30 days) and then do the following three things:
  1. Enroll in an approved alcohol school;
  2. File an SR-22 proof of insurance; and
  3. Pay a fee of $125.

Once you do that, you will be able to drive under the restriction.

Court Triggered Driver’s License Suspensions

Once the DMV is notified by the court that you pled guilty or no contest to a DUI, the DMV will send you a letter, allowing you to have a restricted license for another 6 months.  If you don’t already have a restricted license by following the steps above, then you will need to follow the three steps above to get a  license reinstated.  The court will never mention this to you — the DMV automatically adds additional punishments upon being notified of the conviction.

The law authorizing a restricted license in California

The law authorizing a restricted license is contained in CALIFORNIA VEHICLE CODE § 13352.4.  That section of the Vehicle Code  in california states as follows:

Section 13352.4:

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (h), the department shall issue a restricted driver’s license to a person whose driver’s license was suspended under paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352 or Section 13352.1, if the person meets all of the following requirements:

(1)Submits proof satisfactory to the department of enrollment in, or completion of, a driving-under-the-influence program licensed pursuant to Section 11836 of the Health and Safety Code, as described in subdivision (b) of Section 23538.

(2)Submits proof of financial responsibility, as defined in Section 16430.

(3)Pays all applicable reinstatement or reissue fees and any restriction fee required by the department.

(b) The restriction of the driving privilege shall become effective when the department receives all of the documents and fees required under subdivision (a) and shall remain in effect until the final day of the original suspension imposed under paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352 or Section 13352.1, or until the date all reinstatement requirements described in Section 13352 or Section 13352.1 have been met, whichever date is later, and may include credit for any suspension period served under subdivision © of Section 13353.3.

( c ) The restriction of the driving privilege shall be limited to the hours necessary for driving to and from the person’s place of employment, driving during the course of employment, and driving to and from activities required in the driving-under-the-influence program.

(d) Whenever the driving privilege is restricted under this section, proof of financial responsibility, as defined in Section 16430, shall be maintained for three years. If the person does not maintain that proof of financial responsibility at any time during the restriction, the driving privilege shall be suspended until the proof required under Section 16484 is received by the department.

(e) For the purposes of this section, enrollment, participation, and completion of an approved program shall be subsequent to the date of the current violation. Credit may not be given to a program activity completed prior to the date of the current violation.

(f) The department shall terminate the restriction issued under this section and shall suspend the privilege to operate a motor vehicle pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352 or Section 13352.1 immediately upon receipt of notification from the driving-under-the-influence program that the person has failed to comply with the program requirements. The privilege shall remain suspended until the final day of the original suspension imposed under paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352 or Section 13352.1, or until the date all reinstatement requirements described in Section 13352 or Section 13352.1 have been met, whichever date is later.

(g) The holder of a commercial driver’s license who was operating a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in Section 15210, at the time of a violation that resulted in a suspension or revocation of the person’s noncommercial driving privilege under paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352 or Section 13352.1 is not eligible for the restricted driver’s license authorized under this section.

(h) If, upon conviction, the court has made the determination, as authorized under subdivision (d) of Section 23536 or paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 23538, to disallow the issuance of a restricted driver’s license, the department may not issue a restricted driver’s license under this section.

What are the limits of a license restriction?

A restricted license allows you to drive only for the following:
  1. driving to and from work,
  2. for work related purposes during the work day;
  3. and to and from the alcohol school you are ordered to attend.

That’s it.  If you are stopped and asked, you must fit one of the categories above, or you are considered to be driving on a suspended license.

What are the best strategies for someone with a restricted license?

Since you are limited to driving to and from work, and to and from the alcohol school, that limits your options, but also creates  opportunities to drive and still meet your restriction.
Remember that you will have a full (unrestricted) license back upon completion of the alcohol school.  But as long as you are driving under the restriction, you must match your driving to what is allowed, even if statistics show that most people drive anyway for reasons not allowed to
If you use public transportation, rides from friends or family, a bicycle, or Uber or Lyft, you will always be safe.  But keep in mind the following strategies for driving to and from work, and to and from the alcohol program:

Restricted License To and From Work:

I have learned that certain DUI lawyers recommend you get cheap cards that say you’re a realtor, and then claim you were driving looking at neighborhoods, which means you are driving “for work” even if out late at night.  I don’t recommend that, as that seems potentially problematic to me.
The restriction also allows “driving during the work day, for work purposes”.  So if the office has you get lunch, or run a work related errand, or make a delivery, and something else you need is next door to that, you are not in violation.
If you drive your child to school and then go to work, you are still going “to work”.  Likewise, if you are driving home from work and stop on the way, for any reason, you are driving “from work” or “to home” at the two legs of that trip.

Restricted License To and From Your Alcohol School:

The restriction also allows a restricted license to drive to and from the alcohol school you must attend (this is not in the code but is created by caselaw).
Under the structure of alcohol schools in California, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) classes are a component of each alcohol school’s program.  If you drive to your family’s home, and then to an AA class, or from work to your class, and then to the grocery store and then home, that is still “to or from educational classes” or “to and from work” at each leg of the journey.
There are AA classes 7 days a week and almost 24 hours a day in Southern California, so you may want to print out a list and keep it in your car.  You can find AA classes at aa.org.
Be careful what you state your driving purpose is when stopped by police.  Of course, this all depends on proof.  The primary proof that would be used against you, is your statements.  So if asked when stopped by a police officer, “where are you heading to?”, or “where are you coming from?”, you must state that you are coming from work, home, or an alcohol school or AA class.  Even better if you can prove that, and if escalated to a court hearing, you may have to.

Contact Us for Questions

If you have questions about restricted license rules in California, please contact us.  We are happy to help and advise you regarding the entire process.

How to get your Driver’s License Back

How to get your Driver’s License Back

How to Get Your Drivers License Back

If your driver’s license is suspended for any reason, then you need to know how to get your driver’s license back.  The process is a little different depending on why your license was suspended.

In order to be suspended, one of the following things must have happened to suspend your California Driver’s License:

  1. You didn’t pay something.  This could be child support, or a fine to the court, or the DMV.
  2. Your license expired. (This is the easiest to fix).
  3. Something happened to you.  That could be a seizure or other medical problem that makes you unsafe to drive, or it could be an arrest for DUI. 
  4. You didn’t show up in court.  This will always, for driving offenses, suspend your driver’s license, as there is a warrant out for your arrest. 

Lets look more closely at each of these problems, what caused them, and what the remedy is.

1: You didn’t pay something.

This means that you didn’t make a payment, or skipped making payments, for one of the following:

  • Court fines.  The solution here is to go into court, recall any warrants, and pay off the fines or get back on a payment plan. You may need to see a judge.  The photograph above is from the Orange County Superior Court’s amnesty program, which ended in April, 2017, but which waived past due fees for those that got their account current immediately for certain cases.
  • DMV fees.  The solution here is to pay the DMV fees.  The DMV doesn’t take payments.
  • Child Support.  The family law court can hear your petition to change child support, and can lift a lien on child support if you make a few good faith payments.  If your financial situation has changed, you can also get a retroactive order changing the past due amount, or challenge child support wrongfully ordered.  Once fixed with the family law court, they notify the DMV to lift the lien (by having the court clerk issue an electronic “abstract”, which clears your record with the DMV and makes it cleared up for you to have a license issued again.

2.  Your license expired.

If your license expired, you need to pay the renewal fee.  Depending on your driving record, and how long you’ve had your license, you may need to take a vision test, or a driving test, during renewal.  Once you’re renewed, you’re good to go.

3.  Something Happened to You.

This title is intentionally vague, but that is because it covers so many options.  The DMV will suspend your license for any of the following reasons:

Medical Suspension:  The best strategy here is to request a DMV examination appointment, and have a doctor perform a quality, thorough examination and fill out the DMV’s medical evaluation form.  With evidence that the medical problem is resolved, or is unlikely to continue, the DMV can reissue the license and eliminate the hold.

You have a DUI:  The solution is to first get a restricted license, and then reinstate your license in full.  This means you must pay the re-issuance fee, enroll in an alcohol school, and show you have insurance, through an SR-22.  That will get you a restricted license after one month, if it’s a first time DUI.  If it’s a second time DUI, you can get a license after 90 days if you add an IID, or wait one year and get a restricted license for the remainder of your suspension. As the top DUI Lawyer in Orange County, we can definitely help you with this part.

You are a negligent operator:  The DMV allows you to have four points in one year, six points in two years, and eight points in three years.  Anything above that will suspend your license.  You can wait until any of those points drops off your record, timing wise, or you can request a hearing with the DMV Office of Driver Safety, which will allow you to show the need to drive and get your license back.

4.  You Didn’t Show Up In Court.

Courts love to suspend a license if you don’t show up in court, as their way of showing who’s boss. They are serious about you making your court appearances.  Even for the smallest driving violation, the court has the ability to put a hold on your license, causing your license to be suspended.  The solution to this problem is easy – have a lawyer go into court for you, or go into court yourself, and recall the warrant, which updates the DMV and releases your license hold.

Contact us for questions.

Contact us

If you have questions about getting your driver’s license back in California, contact us and our firm.  We are here to help you.

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