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Mr. Donath has spent his entire career defending people and standing up for the rights of the accused.

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  • former deputy public defender

    As a former Deputy Public Defender in Riverside County, Mr. Donath has always been on the defense side of the law. 

  • award winning certified criminal law specialist

    Top 100 Trial Attorneys in California 2012-2014, 2008 Trial Attorney of the Year by the Riverside County Public Defender's Office, and dozens of other awards and accolades.

  • a true passion for defending the accused

    Your lawyer should have a passion for defense, not just a passion for money. Reputation, vigor, and determination go a long way in this business.

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Riverside DUI Lawyer

Driving under the influence (DUI) convictions doesn’t just happen to alcoholics or reckless drivers. They can happen to anyone on any given night. Many drivers don’t realize they have had too much to drink until police pull them over. Whatever circumstances led to your DUI charge in California, you need a Riverside DUI attorney by your side looking out for your best interests. The law can come down hard on DUI drivers, even when they don’t necessarily deserve it. The Law Offices of Graham D. Donath, APC are here for those in need of aggressive DUI defense.

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Penalties for a California DUI Conviction

To help increase the safety of California’s roads, lawmakers have increased the penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the state. The police now operate under the rules of “admin per se,” which grants the right to confiscate the driver’s license of anyone suspected of DUI. Regardless of whether the charge has merit, the individual must wait for the length of the suspension before he or she can legally drive again. The new suspension rule comes in addition to expensive costs, community service, DUI school, and possible jail time.

The financial penalties for DUI in California are some of the most severe in the country. Depending on the circumstances of your DUI conviction, you can face costs that amount to $10,000 and more. Insurance costs, court fees, state fines, mandatory substance intervention programs, ignition interlock devices – these are just some of the things a convicted individual will have to pay for out of pocket. A DUI can bankrupt an individual or leave him/her in debt for years. The right Riverside DUI lawyer can potentially mitigate the charges against you to lessen the penalties or convince the court to drop the charge.

In the state of California, the laws governing the operation of a vehicle under the influence can be very complex. A DUI is known as a “priorable” offense, meaning that the punishment varies depending on the number of offenses you accrue in a ten year period. Most DUI’s are classified as misdemeanors, but depending on certain factors, they may be considered felonies. Here are the basic guidelines:

  • 1st offense. Punishable by 3-5 years of probation, 6 months in jail, up to $1000 in fines, and possible driver’s license suspension.
  • 2nd offense. Up to one year in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, mandatory DUI lessons for up to 30 months, and a two-year suspension of driver’s license.
  • 3rd offense. At least 120 days in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, mandatory completion of a 30-month program, three-year license suspension, and being deemed a “habitual traffic offender” by the DMV.

As long as no one is injured, DUIs are considered misdemeanor offenses. However, if a victim suffers harm as a consequence of your operating a vehicle under the influence, California classifies this as a “wobbler,” meaning a prosecuting attorney may charge you with a felony or a misdemeanor at his or her discretion. A felony DUI can result in up to 10 years of jail time, up to $5,000 in fines, and restitution for all injured parties.

There are also certain factors that can enhance your sentence or fines. These may vary by county, but in general, you may be subject to higher fines and more jail time if:

  • You refuse a breathalyzer.
  • Your blood alcohol content level is in excess of 0.15.
  • You were driving at excessive speeds.
  • You have passengers under the age of 14 with you.
  • You are under 21.
  • You caused an accident (or even worse, accidentally caused an accident and killed someone. Then you would need to talk to a Riverside vehicular manslaughter attorney to see your options).

What to Do When Charged With a DUI in Riverside

If you have been charged with a DUI, it may seem like your life has been changed irrevocably. While being accused of a crime is a life-altering experience, there are certain things you can do to make the process easier. Be cooperative with the investigation. Remember that refusing to submit to chemical testing like a breathalyzer can actually make your sentencing worse. Do not give the officer permission to search your car even if you believe you do not have any illegal drugs. You never know what people will leave in your car and if a police officer discovers any banned substances, you will be charged with drug possession. You should contact a DUI or a drug possession lawyer in Riverside as soon as possible. Do not sign any documentation at the police station unless you have legal representation present.

If you submitted to a breathalyzer, the prosecution already has evidence that you were under the influence of alcohol or other substances when you were pulled over. Thus, when defending DUI cases, we focus on reducing your sentence to achieve the most favorable outcome possible instead of getting the charges dropped.

DUI Arrests in Surrounding Counties

Source: 2015 Annual Report of the CA DUI Management Information System                                                              Data is current as of February 2017

Throughout California, DUI arrests decreased by 7.2 percent in 2013, following a 4.1 percent decrease in 2012 and an 8 percent decrease from 2010 to 2011. In 2013, the most recent year released, San Bernardino County saw the greatest decrease in DUI arrests across the state at 12.2 percent.

That said, DUI convictions remain relatively stable, highlighting the importance of hiring an effective Riverside DUI attorney should you or a loved one be arrested.

  • On average, about 75 percent of arrestees are convicted, with 73 percent in 2011 and 79 percent in 2004
  • Orange County has the 3rd highest conviction rate at 84.6 percent
  • In 2012, 73 percent of first time DUI offenders were sentenced to jail
  • About 5 percent of CA drivers have one or more DUI convictions

Defenses for DUI in California

Though the number of annual DUI arrests is high, it does not mean every case was handled lawfully or that the drivers were even intoxicated. If you take your case to an experienced attorney, there are a few potential defenses he or she will likely explore. These professionals know how local and state police document a traffic stop, and if this leads to an arrest, your legal team will ensure they do not factor specious evidence into the final ruling.

What makes our law offices so successful at DUI defense is our tailed approach to each case. We’ve represented enough clients to know that no two DUI cases are alike. They require strict attention to detail and innovative defense strategies for the most successful outcomes. There are a variety of potential defenses we might use in a DUI case depending on the circumstances.

  • Debating “appearance” and other implied evidence. In addition to having your driving behavior called into question, the prosecutors will scrutinize your appearance at the time of the arrest. Behaviors like slurred speech or stumbling may imply intoxication, but sometimes, drivers are just tired. Or maybe you were recovering from a fever or it was just a particularly cold night. If factors like red eyes and trouble focusing are leveraged against you in an attempt to prove intoxication, a qualified defense attorney will have plenty of room to minimize the sentence or have it thrown out completely.
  • Driving patterns are another example of implied evidence. An arresting officer may testify that your behavior during the traffic stop suggested a certain level of intoxication. In California, you may be incarcerated even if your blood alcohol level is below the .08% limit. The police will also consider any other evidence suggesting you were intoxicated while driving. While you may have been speeding, for example, it does not imply intoxication.
  • Demonstrating an officer error. Police are accountable for submitting complete, accurate reports. Furthermore, they need legal justification to pull a person over, and they must follow correct arresting protocol. Making a mistake at any point can lead to a person being incorrectly incarcerated and charged. These cases should be dropped.
  • Exploring the many problems related to Field Sobriety Tests and intoxication assumptions. Field Sobriety Tests are a cornerstone of any DUI conviction. Unfortunately, they are not as accurate as they are often presented.

For instance, there are numerous physical impairments that affect a person’s ability to walk in a straight line. In all likelihood, a person’s nerves are completely shot during a traffic stop, especially when asked to get out of the car and perform complex maneuvers. Depending on how tired a person is or even how cold it is outside, this test may be incorrectly and unfairly submitted.

It’s impossible to plan your best defense without first speaking to you about your individual DUI case. We want to hear from you during a free, no-obligation criminal defense consultation. Our Riverside drunk driving attorney team is available to listen around the clock. One conversation with us can completely change your outlook for the future after a DUI charge. Contact us or call (951) 667-5293 today.

At the Law Offices of Graham D.Donath,APC,  we look at your case holistically to decide on the best course of action. Depending on your unique circumstances, we can offer advice or reach an agreement with the District Attorney’s Office. Here are, in general, some avenues we try to pursue in lieu of jail time:

  • Community service
  • Electronic monitoring and/or house arrest
  • Inpatient rehabilitation
  • Roadside work (i.e., Cal-Trans)

Riverside Underage DUI Attorney

A DUI as a driver under the age of 21 comes with different consequences and penalties than an of-age DUI conviction in California. Since 1994, California has operated under a Zero Tolerance Law against underage drinking and driving. This law created new penalties for underage DUI drivers. Learn the potential consequences and defense options for underage DUIs under the Zero Tolerance statute. Don’t hesitate to call Graham Donath Law Offices, APC if you were charged with an underage DUI.

Zero Tolerance Law in California for Underage DUIs

The legal drinking age in California is 21. The only time an underage person will not receive a penalty for drinking is if he/she is calling to report a medical emergency concerning another underage drinker. California law has this exception in place to encourage minors to call the police in emergencies without fear of retaliation. However, no such exception exists for underage drinkers who drive while intoxicated. Under the Zero Tolerance Law, any driver under this age convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol will receive an underage DUI.

Under the Zero Tolerance Law, any person under the age of 21 with any amount of alcohol in his/her system (a blood alcohol concentration of 0.01% or higher) will receive a DUI charge. It does not matter if the driver is exhibiting signs of being intoxicated or if he/she is even intoxicated. If the officer suspects the minor has been drinking and a test comes up with any trace of alcohol, the driver will receive a DUI charge. This charge can have major implications depending on the circumstances.

Penalties for Underage DUI

The penalties for underage DUI are strict to discourage people under the legal drinking age from getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. The penalties increase with a second or subsequent underage DUI conviction. Penalties in California are as follows:

  • First DUI. Four days to six months in jail. Fines of $1,400 to $2,600. License suspension of 30 days up to 10 months.
  • Second DUI. Ten days up to one year in jail. Fines of $1,800 to $2,800. License suspension of up to two years.

California’s implied consent law states that you consent to drug and alcohol tests if an officer has reason to believe you’re driving under the influence. If you refuse a blood or other chemical test, you face penalties such as fines, loss of license, and even jail time. Second or subsequent refusals can result in more severe penalties. Refusing the test does not mean you automatically escape an underage DUI. In fact, the officer could use your refusal against you as proof that you knew you would fail the test.

Potential Underage DUI Defenses in Riverside, CA

Receiving a DUI while under the age of 21 can have lasting ramifications. Your car insurance premium will likely increase, or your company could drop your coverage altogether. You may be required to attend alcohol or safe driving classes. You will have DUI on your permanent record. You may also face additional penalties for other charges, such as possession of fake ID, minor in possession, or moving violations such as reckless driving. To increase your chances of reducing charges and penalties, you need strong, aggressive legal representation in your underage DUI defense.

The defense attorneys at Graham Donath Law Offices, APC are experienced in representing people charged with underage DUI in California. We know the most appropriate strategies for defense, if applicable. We also know how the criminal court system operates. Our attorneys have a repertoire with local circuit judges from our years in the field. We can help you fight an underage DUI or at least reduce your penalties. Contact us to speak with an attorney about underage DUI defense.

Hiring a Riverside DUI Lawyer

If you are facing a DUI charge, you need the help of an attorney that will work with the prosecution to seek alternative solutions to jail time. As Riverside Criminal Defense lawyers, we will work aggressively to protect your rights and reach the best solution we can. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.

 

If interested in learning about DUI with drugs and California’s push to legalize marijuana, check out my expert round-up with a retired LA Chief of police and a Superior Court Judge.

 

“I cannot say enough about the outstanding job Graham did with my DUI case…At Trial Graham was extremely well prepared and immediately went to work on systematically tearing apart the DA’s case and winning over the jury. The quality of Graham’s arguments was so far above that of the DA’s. The jury, and folks working in the court LOVED him. Even the CHP officer that arrested me asked for his business card after a not guilty verdict on both counts.” – Client