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Criminal Court Issues

Drivers licensed in other states who are arrested in California for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), face unique issues both at the California DMV and in criminal court. An experienced California DUI defense lawyer will know how to reduce complications for out-of-state drivers in both cases.

Appearing in court repeatedly can be especially challenging for out-of-state drivers who were visiting California temporarily at the time of arrest. However, a DUI defense attorney can appear on the driver's behalf in misdemeanor cases. This allows the driver to return to life in his or her home state while the attorney aggressively fights the charges.

Generally, felony DUI defendants are required to be present at all court appearances. However, an experienced DUI defense attorney may be able to negotiate with the court to make appearances on a driver's behalf, or persuade the court to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor.

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Attorneys for the firm represent clients accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or driving with a blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit in San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Sonoma and Napa counties.

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In California, drivers agree to submit to a blood, breath or urine test when suspected of driving under the influence in what is known as implied consent law (California Vehicle Code Section 23612 - Implied Consent For Chemical Testing). California drivers make this agreement when applying for a driver's license, and out-of-state drivers enter into this agreement merely by driving in the state. Anyone suspected of drunk driving who refuses to take a chemical test violates this agreement, and faces additional penalties (California Vehicle Code Section 13353 - Refusal of Chemical Test).

Many out-of-state drivers are unaware of California's implied consent law and the repercussions of refusing to take a chemical test. This could have even greater consequences against an individual's driving privileges in California. In California, driving privileges will be suspended for one year for a first refusal, two years for a second refusal, and three years for a third refusal.

A California DUI arrest may affect the status of a motorist's driving privileges in his or her home state because of the Interstate Driver's License Compact, an agreement among 45 states to share information about driving-related crimes. The action taken would include, but not be limited to, points assessed on a minor offense such as speeding and suspension of license or a major violation such as Driving Under the Influence (DUI), or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Only Wisconsin, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Michigan are not part of this agreement.

A California DUI arrest can bring serious consequences to an out-of-state driver. However, a criminal defense lawyer with extensive experience in California DUI defense will provide information about the driver's home state licensing policies, and aggressively challenge California DMV hearing.

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