Driving Under The Influence: A “Minor” Offense With Life-Altering Consequences

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, do not consider this just an aggravated vehicle code violation. DUI is a serious criminal charge that can have immediate, long term consequences. In addition to jail time and costly fines, a criminal DUI conviction can hinder your employment opportunities, college admissions, professional licenses, insurance and even travel to some countries. You will also be subject to a suspension of your driving privileges in a separate administrative action by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

California’s DUI laws are complex and ever-changing. Gagen McCoy’s attorneys are experienced navigating the intricacies of DUI law and defenses, both in court and before the DMV. If there is a way to fight your case, we will find it. We will diligently advocate on your behalf to ensure the best outcome for your specific case. We will investigate the law and facts surrounding your arrest, scrutinize the police procedures and scientific techniques employed and when it is in your best interest, negotiate with prosecutors to resolve the case.

DUI defense is never one-size-fits-all. Every case will vary depending on a multitude of factors, including your blood alcohol level, the type of test (breath or blood), any collisions or injuries involved, medications you may have taken, whether you refused or were unable to take a test and any prior convictions you may have suffered. Penalties can range from no time in custody to months, even years in jail. There is too much at stake to navigate the process alone. Having a strong, experienced advocate by your side is your first step in understanding your case, challenging the government’s evidence and protecting your rights.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do you practice?

Our attorneys regularly practice DUI defense in Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano and Napa counties. We are locally known and respected, with offices in St. Helena and Danville. Be aware that many so-called “DUI attorneys” who advertise on the Internet will also claim to be “local.” In fact, many of these attorneys have never stepped foot in our counties. You may find yourself represented by an inexperienced appearance attorney, not the person whose pictures and credentials are touted on the slick-looking website.

It’s just a DUI. Do I really need an attorney?

To answer the question, we suggest you conduct your own risk-benefit analysis. Potentially at stake: Your criminal history record, future employment opportunities, college admissions, professional licenses, international travel, your driving privilege, jail time, expensive fines and personal and professional embarrassment. Given the complexities of DUI law and procedure, it will be difficult to navigate the system to your full benefit without the assistance of an experienced DUI attorney. As Abe Lincoln famously said: “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” Put in another context: If one of our loved ones was arrested for DUI, we would never let them to go through the process without an experienced DUI attorney at their side.

Will I have to go to trial?

The majority of all DUI cases resolve before trial. However, unlike some lawyers who make it a practice to settle every case as soon as possible, our attorneys are skilled, experienced courtroom advocates with a reputation for going to the wall for our clients. With decades of trial experience, we know how to prepare a case for trial and how to position our clients for an advantageous plea bargain. The best defense in many cases is a strong offense. An attorney with exceptional trial skills can make the difference in plea negotiations and, when necessary, zealously defend your rights before a jury.

Will I go to jail?

If you are convicted of a first offense, depending on your circumstances, the answer is: probably not. If the court does order you to serve time in custody, we are familiar with various custody alternatives such as the sheriff’s work program and electronic home monitoring. Whatever your circumstances, we will work aggressively on your behalf to mitigate negative consequences of your DUI.

What about my license?

A DUI arrest will affect your driving privilege. When you are arrested for a DUI, the DMV will likely taken an immediate action against your license. You can fight the suspension, but this requires an administrative hearing that is separate from any action in the criminal court. We regularly represent our clients in both the administrative per se hearing and the parallel criminal action. The issues, and the interplay between these two separate actions, can be complex and confusing. Having an experienced attorney by your side can make a difference in the outcome of your case, the length of your license suspension, if any, and the availability of other alternatives, such as a restricted license.