Must I install a breathalyzer (IID) in my car?


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Category Archives: Orange County DUI Punishment

Must I install a breathalyzer (IID) in my car?

Must I install a breathalyzer (IID) in my car?

Ignition Interlock Device IID

Must I install a breathalyzer (IID) in my car in my DUI case? An ignition interlock device needs to be installed in your case under California law in certain cases. Learn from our Orange County DUI Lawyers when you will need to have a breathalyzer installed in your vehicle for the DMV or for the court.

What is an ignition interlock device (IID)?

An ignition interlock device, which is sometimes called a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (IID and BAIID) is a breathalyzer for your vehicle. It requires the driver to blow into a mouthpiece on the device before starting the vehicle. With some devices, you are also periodically required to blow in the vehicle while it is in motion at certain intervals.

When do I need an IID installed?

Must I install a breathalyzer (IID) in my car as part of my DUI case? There are only two situations where the IID needs to be installed in your car:

  1. You have a first time DUI in one of the four specific “DUI Pilot Program” counties in California; or
  2. You have a multiple offense DUI (a second DUI or higher).

Ignition Interlock IID Requirements for a “DUI Pilot Program” county.

The four “DUI pilot program” counties in California are as follows:

  1. Los Angeles County;
  2. Alameda County;
  3. Sacramento County; and
  4. Tulare County.

In those four counties only, a pilot experiment is going on over a period of several years.  That experiment is to see, statistically, if installing a breathalyzer (IID) in the cars of first time offenders, ends up reducing the number of second time driving under the influence (DUI) cases and provide DMV with data that can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of an IID in reducing DUIs overall.

That IID pilot program requires all individuals convicted of a DUI in one of the four California counties above to install an IID on every vehicle they own or drive, provide DMV with a Department of Motor Vehicles Ordered Verification of Ignition Interlock (DL 924) form, pay a $45 administrative service fee (ASF), and meet all other reinstatement requirements before DMV can reinstate, reissue, or restrict their drivers license.

The DMV, not the Court, Requires the IID.

Note that this is not a court requirement, even though it is triggered on being found guilty of DUI, or entering a plea of guilty to DUI under a plea bargain in court.  The court may not mention it, as it is a DMV requirement, and after a conviction, the DMV will notify you via mail of the need to install a breathalyzer (IID) in your car.

After a court conviction, the DMV automatically mails an Order of Suspension or Revocation notice along with a DUI IID Insert or an Order of Installment of an Ignition Interlock Device when the department receives notification of a conviction for a DUI violation under California Vehicle Code (CVC) §§23152 or 23153 or Penal Code (PC) §191.5(b) which occurred in one of the pilot counties on or after July 1, 2010. Note that pleading to a wet reckless does not require you to have an IID installed in your vehicle.

How long do I have to have the IID installed for?

If you are a standard first-time DUI offender in one of the counties above, you must install the ignition interlock device for five (5) months. If, however you are convicted of Vehicle Code 23153 VC DUI causing injury, you must install the device for one year.

Once an IID is installed, do I have to do anything further?

Yes – you must arrange service with the installer for each of the vehicles with an IID at least once every 60 days. When the vehicle is serviced, the installer will recalibrate and monitors the operation of the device. Under CVC §23700, an IID installer must notify DMV if the device is removed or if there is evidence that you attempted to remove, bypass, or tamper with the device; or if you fail three or more times to comply with any requirements for the maintenance or calibration of the IID.

An IID and a Second time DUI or a Third time DUI

Must I install a breathalyzer (IID) in my car for a second time DUI?

With a second time DUI, you are not required to install an IID, but it helps you.

While the DMV APS suspension is 1 year if there is 1 prior DUI on the record within 10 years, if you submitted to a chemical test and show proof of installation of the ignition interlock device(“IID”), you can obtain a restricted license after 90 days. This restricted license allows you to drive anywhere as long as it’s in a car with an IID installed. This is required for 12 months.

Unfortunately, drivers facing a second time DUI offense in California who also refused to submit to a chemical test will face a much tougher punishment. These individuals face a two year license revocation and are not entitled to a restricted license during any part of the suspension period.

You should note that there is no way around the 12-month ignition interlock device (IID) requirement. Therefore we always recommend to our clients that you should install it immediately so that you can get the restricted license on the 91st day after your suspension initially began.

Must I install a breathalyzer (IID) in my car for a Third Time DUI?

Do I need to install a car breathalyzer (IID) in my DUI case as a third time offender? If you are convicted of a third offense DUI, you must install an IID on any car you own or operate for a four-year period. If you are convicted of your 3rd DUI in the pilot program counties of Los Angeles, Alameda, Tulare or Sacramento County, IID installation is mandatory. However, in all other counties, installation is at the judge’s discretion.

A court license suspension from a DUI is 3 years when there are already 2 prior DUI or wet reckless convictions within 10 years.

On the other hand, the DMV’s APS suspension of your license is only 1 year if there is 2 prior DUIs on the record within 10 years. However, after 180 days, if you submitted to a chemical test and show proof of installation of an ignition interlock device (“IID”), you can obtain a restricted license. This restricted license allows you to drive anywhere as long as it’s in a car with an IID installed. This is required for 24 months.

Unfortunately, drivers facing a third time DUI offense in California who also refused to submit to a chemical test will face a much tougher punishment. These individuals face a three year license revocation and are not entitled to a restricted license during any part of the suspension period.

You should note that there is no way around the 24-month IID requirement, so we always recommend to our clients that you should install it immediately so that you can get the restricted license on the 181st day after your suspension initially began.

Must I install a breathalyzer (IID) in my car?  It depends on the above factors.

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Do you have question about your specific case, or about IID requirements, for our DUI Lawyers?  Contact us today. 


Can you get a DUI in an electric car?

Can you get a DUI in an electric car?

Can you get a DUI in a tesla

Can you get a DUI in an electric car? As a DUI Lawyer in Orange County, which has a fair amount of Teslas,  have been asked a few times in the past whether or not you can get a DUI in a Tesla.  Presumably the same question would apply to any other type of pure electric car.

The reasoning here in the question is that, since an electric car, like a Tesla, does not have a gas motor, is it really considered a car, for legal purposes involved with a DUI?

The law does have definitions, and limits on what it applies to.  While there have been cases in other jurisdictions where someone has been arrested for all of the following:

California law does make some distinctions. For example, in one Orange County DUI case that our Orange County DUI Defense firm handled, and which we ended up winning a dismissal on DUI charges for, our client was charged with a DUI on a scooter. 

In California, the law only allows the charges for DUI to remain if the motor was above a specific horsepower.  Under California Vehicle Code VC §406(b), a scooter or bicycle must:

  • Have pedals and an electric motor that produces no more than 1,000 watts.
  • Be unable to propel itself more than 20 mph on level ground, including with assisted pedaling.

A motorized bicycle or moped classified under these requirements do not need a license plate, registration fee or insurance. They are not considered a “motorized vehicle”, and you cannot get a DUI if they meet the above requirements, or are under those requirements above. However, it’s important to note that you still must be 16 years old and wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet whenever you are riding.

For a motorized bicycle or moped to be classified as type CVC §406(b),

Can you get a DUI in an electric car?  Yes you can. In California, a DUI is defined as operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway while under the influence or while above a .08 blood alcohol level.

A car with an electric motor is still a “motorized vehicle”. As long as there was driving of any motorized vehicle, and the person driving was above a .08%, or was impaired and unable to operate that vehicle safely, a DUI can be proven.

California Vehicle code VC 415 defines what a motor vehicle is and says:

(a) A “motor vehicle” is a vehicle that is self-propelled.

However, there is an exception for the following motorized vehicles:

(b) “Motor vehicle” does not include a self-propelled wheelchair, motorized tricycle, or motorized quadricycle, if operated by a person who, by reason of physical disability, is otherwise unable to move about as a pedestrian.

Can you get a DUI in an self driving car?

Interestingly enough, the question becomes more complicated if the Tesla (or any other self driving vehicle) is doing the driving, and not the person with the driver’s license.

Unfortunately, under current California law, even if your self driving, self parking car is parking the car while you are not in the vehicle, you are still considered the person in charge (the “pilot in command”), and are still responsible for the car’s safe operation even when the car is operating out of your sight.

What that means is that if your car is driving itself and is parking while you are having a beer or other alcoholic beverage in a bar, and it gets in a collision with another vehicle, you are responsible for the safe operation and driving of that vehicle, and you could not only be held responsible for the accident, but could also be charged with driving under the influence (if you are above a .08% or are under the influence), even though you were not in the car at all. 

That law has been the subject of discussions regarding legislative change in the future, but for now, it remains the current law. So can you get a DUI in an electric car?  Under the current law, yes.

Contact us if you have questions for our Orange County DUI Lawyers regarding DUI and self driving vehicles, or electric cars, or if you need our services.


Brea Treasurer arrested for DUI right before his election

Brea Treasurer arrested for DUI right before his election

Brea treasurer arrested for DUI

A case was filed in Orange County Superior Court in Fullerton, alleging that Brea Treasurer Rick J. Rios was driving under the influence, and committed a hit and run in Orange County.

According to one source, on Friday, October 15th, 2016, (three weeks before his election), at around 11:45 p.m., the Brea police received a call that a white SUV had collided with parked cars in a non-injury accident and then left the area.  The treasurer, Rios was arrested when he his SUV returned to the area.  Police detected signs of alcohol intoxication, gave him a field sobriety test, and arrested him for both hit-and-run and driving while intoxicated.

The complaint filed by the prosecutor in the case alleges that he was a .09% blood alcohol level, as measured by a DUI breath test.

The case is pending in the North Justice Center in Fullerton as of this writing.  One of the best DUI lawyers in Orange County, Felipe Plascencia, is representing Mr. Rios.  Mr. Rios has entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment while the case is pending and is assumed innocent until proven guilty of his DUI in Orange County, and his Hit and Run charges.

The prosecutor in the case, The District Attorney of Orange County, waited almost two months after this occurred, and one month after the election occurred, to file charges on December 7th, 2016.

A source investigating this incident found out that the two cars hit belong to the same family, a parent and son.  In DUI cases, if there is a finding of guilty, or a guilty plea, the court typically orders restitution, or holds a restitution hearing, if there was damage to any party.  In most cases, insurance pays for damages, but the restitution order allows a victim to come to court to seek damages and reimbursement if there is not insurance coverage. For this Brea Treasurer arrested for DUI right before his election, he may be eventually ordered to pay for any repairs, or any damages.


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If you have questions about a DUI case in Orange County, or a hit and run case in orange county, please contact us today. We can help you with your case and minimize the impact on you from sentencing with the priors.

Man sentenced for 9th Orange County DUI

Man Sentenced for 9th Orange County DUI

Man sentenced for his 9th Orange County DUI

A man sentenced for 9th Orange County DUI was from Placentia.  He was arrested in Placentia for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID), and had 8 priors.  His case ended last week, on June 20th, 2017, with his plea.

The 53-year-old Placentia man was sentenced to four years in state prison for his 9th DUI conviction since 2011 in Orange County.  The Orange County District Attorney had brought the charges, but the DUI defense lawyer in Orange County, Marlon Stapleton, was wise enough to bypass the DA’s offer and obtain a sentencing offer from Judge Roger Robbins, the felony judge at the North Justice Center Courthouse in Fullerton, who handled the case.

The prosecutor handling the case, Christine Simmons, objected to the sentence.

His sentence, for his most recent DUI with all of his priors, including priors for driving on a suspended license, was as follows:

  • One year in state prison under Penal Code 663 as a felony;
  • Three years in state prison, the maximum for a multiple offense DUI;
  • Credit for 283 days in jail against the prison time
  • An order to pay restitution in the amount of $15,272.54.

He also admitted three misdemeanors for driving on a suspended license and without an ignition interlock device (IID) as required.

The most recent DUI case in Placentia, his ninth DUI, involved a DUI with an accident.  It was alleged that he drove into a Southern California Edison electrical box.  He was found to be a .11% blood alcohol level, and police discovered he didn’t have an ignition interlock device in his vehicle as required.

His prior case, (his eighth), a DUI in Laguna Beach, occurred on June 7, 2015. He was lane straddling and failed to yield when police tried to pull him over, according to probation officials. He kept going for a half-mile at about 4 to 7 mph, according to a probation report, which said the vehicle “stopped for about two minutes, then began rolling again before driving onto a sidewalk and colliding with a cement light pole.”

Police found a prescription bottle containing GHB, a drug which is undetectable in blood, breath, or urine in DUI cases, in his car.  His probation officer stated, at the time, “Despite any success the offender has demonstrated under supervision, he has shown by his recent arrest that he has substituted his alcohol addiction with another substance that is not detected by standard drug screening”.

His Orange County DUI lawyer, Mr. Stapleton, had shown evidence that his client had paid someone $50,000 a year to drive him around, and was undergoing family turmoil that had triggered his addiction. The man sentenced for 9th Orange County DUI likely needs help with conquering his addiction, rather than state prison time.

Contact our firm.

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If you have questions about a DUI with a prior, please contact us today. We can help you with your case and minimize the impact on you from sentencing with the priors.


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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What is causing the DUI arrest rate to drop?

What is causing the DUI arrest rate to drop?

All statistics show that the rate of DUI have dropped.  Trends show that the DUI rate has been dropping for years and are dropping even more dramatically in recent years.  What is causing the DUI arrest rate to drop? Any reduction is a good thing for society overall.

DUI arrests decreased by 7.2% in 2013, following decreases of 4.1% in 2012 and 8.0% in 2011.


DUI Conviction Rates

  • 2004 – 76.7%
  • 2005 – 77.0%
  • 2006 – 78.1%
  • 2007 – 79.4%
  • 2008 – 78.8%
  • 2009 – 78.7%
  • 2010 – 77.2%
  • 2011 – 73.1%
  • 2012 – 73.3%
  • 2013 – 73.7%

Orange County DUI numbers:


  • Felonies (268) 2.1%
  • Misdemeanors: (12,682 )97.4%
  • Infraction (Juvenile) (70) 0.5%

Males 21-30 are the highest category of those that get a DUI.

Even in other states, like Arizona, DUI rates have dropped. In Arizona, there were only 24,674 DUI arrests in 2015, which was down from 29,250 arrests in 2014. In 2013, there were 31,891 DUI arrests, and in 2012, there were 32,174 arrests.

The number of arrests for high blood alcohol DUI cases also dropped. (Extreme DUI is the charge for those with a blood-alcohol content of .15 or more, compared with 0.08 for a standard DUI charge.) In 2015, there were 6,742 extreme DUI arrests. That was down from 8,414 arrests in 2014.

Though the number of arrests was down in 2015, the average BAC numbers were up. The average BAC was .158 last year, compared with .152 in 2014.


“Although it is heartening to see a downward trend in levels of driving under the influence of alcohol, it still kills thousands of people each year and shatters the lives of friends and loved ones left behind,” said Frances Harding, director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.

“We must strive to save lives by reducing this public health threat through education, prevention, and all other possible measures,” she said in a news release from the agency.

According to the report, the percentage of people aged 21 to 25 who acknowledged drinking and driving fell from 30 percent in 2002 to 19 percent in 2014.

The report also revealed that 4 percent of people aged 16 and older reported driving under the influence of illegal drugs in 2014, and 2.5 percent drove under the influence of both alcohol and illegal drugs.

What is causing the DUI arrest rate to drop – is is Uber?

New research suggests that Uber may be responsible for the drop in drunk-driving deaths across California.

The study, by Philadelphia’s Temple University, analyzed data on alcohol-induced road deaths from 2009 to 2014, summarizing that the mortality rate for such incidents fell by up to 5.6 percent in cities where Uber was used.

Professors Brad Greenwood and Sunil Wattal looked at the quarterly changes in vehicular homicides—which kill 13,000 Americans each year—occurring in Californian cities with Uber versus the rate in those ones without, finding that the service reduced deaths by a minimum of 3.6 percent wherever it was implemented. Should the study’s findings hold nationally, an estimated 500 lives would be saved every year, and the annual cost of deaths of this nature—$37 billion, racked up by the likes of medical care for the injured, and prosecution and incarceration for the perpetrators—could be reduced.


Contact us for any questions for our Orange County DUI Attorney Robert Miller.  We are here to help.

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.

Can a DUI affect your immigration status?

Can a DUI affect your immigration status?

Can a DUI cause immigration problems?

A common question for persons that are in the United States on a Student Visa, a Work Visa of any kind, or a Family or other visa, is whether or not a DUI will affect immigration status.

If you have qualified for any type of visa to enter the United States of America, then you have already been checked by the USCIS to qualify you for the visa.  That required that you submit information to be checked against the FBI Department of Justice criminal records reports.

For some types of visas, you also have a requirement to resubmit fingerprints and data and disclose any convictions during renewals.  It is understandable that someone that is arrested, or convicted, for a DUI here in California would be concerned about the status of their visa or petition.

What types of crimes cause immigration problems?

The Immigration and Naturalization Act is part of the United States Code.  That sets what categories of crimes could affect immigration status, by making certain crimes a problem.  The law states that for crimes that are prohibited, you can be:

  • Excluded from admission into the United States of America;
  • Ineligible to obtain visas issued by the USCIS; or
  • Offenses that are deportable, which will cause you to be kicked out of the country.

As broad categories, the Federal INA makes convictions of the following types of crimes a problem:

  1. Crimes of moral turpitude;
  2. Crimes of violence;
  3. Crimes involving terrorism;
  4. Crimes involving transportation, sales, or creation of narcotics; or
  5. Crimes involving firearms.

Note that a crime of moral turpitude is defined as one that gravely violates the normal standards of the community.  Theft or embezzlement crimes are usually crimes of moral turpitude.

You will note that drinking and driving is not listed here.  Drinking and driving doesn’t generally fit any of the categories of crimes that pose an immigration problem.

However, the facts of a DUI case are important.  There are certain enhancements that can make a DUI more serious, that may be a problem, or other crimes that can occur along with a DUI that might match one of the above.

Can a DUI affect your immigration status by being a problem offense?

Under a separate, rarely invoked section of the Immigration Act, someone can be excluded from admission for having a medical condition, and alcoholism is considered in caselaw as a medical condition.  While that is so rare as to be unlikely, for persons that have multiple DUIs, the USCIS could make an argument that a person with a second time DUI, a third time DUI, or a felony fourth DUI or more suffers from alcoholism as a medical condition.  That could make that person excludable from entering the USA.

Can a DUI affect your immigration status?

The answer, like much of law, is shrouded in shades of grey, and is highly dependent upon the facts.  But in general, a DUI is not the type of crime that can affect any type of immigration visa (subject to the disclaimers and caveats for special situations above).

Contact Us. If you have questions about immigration and a DUI, please contact us anytime.  We are happy to help.




Should I plead guilty to DUI?

Should I plead guilty to DUI?

DUI Dismissed

One of the common questions that is probably not emphasized enough by Orange County DUI Lawyers is whether or not you should avoid the expense of having a DUI specialist represent you, and just plead guilty.

This page honestly and frankly discusses the pros and cons of proceeding without a lawyer, and what might happen if you were to plead guilty.

A note is required here – facts of a DUI can vary greatly, and if you have a borderline case that is a .07%/.08%, and you were found in a parked car sleeping, you will have a much different scenario than if you have priors for a DUI, drive at a high speed, with a high blood alcohol level, into a school bus full of kids and cause a major accident.  For purpose of this discussion, it is assumed that you have a fairly standard first time DUI – that is, no priors, no accident, no children in the car, a blood alcohol level below a 0.15% and no other charges, like a suspended license, hit and run with a DUI, or resisting arrest.

Should I plead guilty to DUI? – the procedures with and without a lawyer.

When you are facing a DUI in OC and hire a DUI lawyer in Orange County, the lawyer generally makes all court appearances for you.  One of the advantages of having a lawyer is that the lawyer can be in court for you, on your behalf, as your agent, without you having to be there.  That can save you a substantial amount of time.

A lawyer will appear for the first court appearance, your DUI arraignment, and will handle every court appearance possible throughout the case process.

When you appear without a lawyer, since lawyers go first, you will spend more time at each court appearance.  The judge presumes lawyers know the law and rights, but will require you to go through a process involving a handout, a speech, and a video (in some courts) to advise you of your rights.  You will then be asked if you want to represent yourself, apply for the public defender, or get more time to hire your own attorney, before you will be asked guilty or not guilty in your case.

Lawyers generally will negotiate and investigate all defenses in a DUI case based on their experience and education.  That alone can go further than a person representing themselves.

Should I plead guilty to DUI? – the potential punishment with and without a lawyer.

Assuming the minimal facts above, the range of punishment for the DUI charge could be the same with or without a lawyer.  That is, most judges in Orange County would give you the minimum sentence, which is:

A lawyer can usually request credit for your arrest and minimize fees somewhat.  But in some cases, a lawyer may be able to show how a DUI case should actually be dismissed, or reduced to a different charge, which can protect you from a criminal or driving record conviction, or substantially reduce the penalties for you.

That won’t happen if you plead guilty up front, and you may spend years dealing with the effects of a DUI and wonder if something better could have been done.

Should I plead guilty to DUI? – weighing the facts of your case.

Hiring a professional is always recommended, whether it’s for surgery, an audit, or legal proceedings.  But you always have to weigh the cost of a DUI lawyer versus what that lawyer might be able to gain in your case.

If you need an attorney, or want to discuss the pros and cons of your particular case, contact us today.  We can help with Orange County DUI cases.


What can I do to help my DUI?

What can I do to help my DUI?

As Orange County DUI Attorneys, our law firm often is asked what individuals can do before their court date to help their DUI.  So, what can you do to help your DUI?

Short of building a time machine, and going back in time and avoiding being arrested, there are certain things you can do that may help your case, or shorten the time period that you may suffer from some of the unavoidable consequences.

Keep in mind that you are generally not going to do much about facts that have already occurred.  When you have bad facts involved in a DUI case, and you can’t change those facts, then your DUI defense lawyer has three options:

  • To present evidence that minimizes the impact of those bad facts; or
  • To gather additional evidence that shows that those bad facts might be explained differently than originally thought (for example, maintenance and calibration issues involved with the breath test or blood test); or
  • To analyze the facts of the entire case to see if any legal or factual issues exists that may dismiss or reduce the case.

Here are some things that may help your case:

  1. Taking AA classes, enrolling in rehab, or taking your alcohol school right away.  If you feel that you have an addiction problem, then proactively taking action, before the court orders you to take action, shows responsibility.  AA classes are free and may help you maintain sobriety.  Rehabilitation programs (“rehab”), may give you credit for jail time, if jail time is a possibility.  And the same alcohol school is used for both the DMV and the court, so taking it increases your chances of getting one portion of your sentence right away, and makes it likely you can get your license reinstated more rapidly.
  2. Follow all conditions of your bond.  With second or higher DUI cases, the court often requires that you not drive without a valid license and insurance (which is the law anyway), and that you abstain from any legal or illegal substances, and avoid the locations where alcohol is sold. Not following any conditions or instructions associated with your bond would result in you being held without bail.
  3. Gather character reference letters.  Gather any character reference letters, letters of recommendation, proof of school or work, and any notable awards or achievements. They help.
  4. Collect medical records. Any medical records that may show any physical or neurological defects that may help explain your behavior in the DUI case are helpful.
  5. Don’t get arrested while this DUI case is pending.  That’s self explanatory.
  6. Don’t miss any court dates, and stay in contact with your Orange County DUI attorney

Contact our law firm if you have any questions about DUI cases.  Our firm can help you and we are happy to do so.

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