If you were recently arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, your body is likely under a tremendous amount of stress. You are probably very worried; you do not sleep well and may be ‘sick to your stomach’.
If this sounds like you, relax, take a deep breath and remember, “It is not the end of the world”. Unlike other criminal offences, a DUI conviction is not a crime of moral turpitude.
A crime of moral turpitude is one that would prevent you from obtaining employment or professional licensing. An example of a crime of moral turpitude would be a theft or forgery case, or any case where you were proven to have knowingly committed a criminal act. Driving under the influence cases do not fall under this category. With respect to employment, remember that if you are convicted of a DUI, you could, theoretically, still qualify for political offices or any other leadership position – remember, President Bush was convicted of a DUI.
Please do not misinterpret the above statements – We are not saying that a DUI case should be treated lightly or without respect. We simply want you assure you that you will make it through this period of time, and ultimately you will be okay.
The Law Offices of Stull & Stull has been involved in hundreds of DUI cases and we take the time to hold your hand and walk you through the process.
What Is Your First Step?
Your first step is to contact the Law Offices of Stull & Stull and make an appointment to discuss your case. We offer a no obligation free consultation to give you the background, knowledge and updated law on your DUI case. The consultation may take up to 30 minutes, but during that time, we will bring discuss your case and by the end of our meeting you will be able to make pro-active decisions on handling your case. However, more importantly we will help put your mind at ease from all the mental anguish and stress you are currently experiencing.
During the consultation, we will address the following:
1. Your driver’s license:
When you are charged with a DUI, the officer who arrests you will take your driver’s license and issue you a temporary one. This license is good for 30 days. At the end of this 30 day period, your license will be suspended for approximately 5 months. You are also issued a pink sheet of paper, when you try to read this pink sheet you may not understand it (as many lawyers do not understand the content on it) – however, upon close analysis, it explains that you may call the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days or receiving your DUI and request a hearing on your DUI. When this step is taken, the DMV will set a date for a DMV hearing. You are allowed access to a copy of your police report and to have your suspension stayed until the results of your DMV hearing have been finalized. This means you are allowed to keep your driver’s license longer and it gives you a chance to fight your license suspension.
This is where our law firm can assist you. When you call and / or meet with us, we will call the Department of Motor Vehicles for you, give them your driver’s license number and set up a DMV hearing. We are able to obtain your police reports before the hearing. This gives us an advantage while we are working on your case. Additionally, we can prepare a DMV defense, which gives us a chance to keep your license from being suspended. In any event, if you license does end up being suspended, we can have a plan for determining when your license will be suspended.
For example, we have represented a client who was a Chairman of one of the Rose Bowl Parades, who received a DUI in October. Because he absolutely needed his license through the first month of the year, we were able to negotiate a DMV hearing date, which allowed him to keep his license through the first month of the New Year. Our ability to control the time that his license was actually taken from him was critical to him, the parade and his livelihood.
2. Will I Lose My License? If So, For How Long?
Will you’re your driver’s license ultimately be suspended? We can’t tell at this point. The way we can determine this is by reviewing the actual police report from your arrest. However, at the Law Offices of Stull & Stull, we prepare your case for the best or worse outcome. In other words, we plan ahead for either possibility, prepare and hope for the best, but also have a plan in the rare case of the “worse” outcome.
If you do end up losing your license, but strategically control the DMV and courts to the extent available, you could, theoretically, end up being suspended for approximately 30 days. In this scenario, at the end of 30 days, you would be allowed to obtain a restricted license, which allows you to travel to and from work and to and from any court ordered rehabilitation programs or appointments.
The key is to coordinate the DMV suspension with your court case. It is a juggling act with the two agencies, but if executed properly, it can benefit you greatly in the long run.
The key to making this process work is timing. We must coordinate the DMV suspension close in proximity to resolving your case. The problem that can arise with this strategy is that sometimes the District Attorney’s office files your DUI case late and the DMV want to resolves your case earlier.
The Law Offices of Stull & Stull are very experienced in handling this issue and making sure that your license is not suspended any longer than it has to be.
3. Will I Have To Go To Court?
Many of our clients are very busy, overworked professionals or are afraid to go to the courthouse. Most of our clients also do not like to sit in a court room for 2-4 hours of their day and listen to the Judge call each case before he gets to their name. The good news is there is a provision in the Penal Code – Section 977(a), which allows your attorney to make all of your court appearances with your approval.
This means, ultimately, you may never have to appear in court. Our typical client never steps foot in the court room. We handle all of the court appearances and, if the case reaches the point where we enter a plea, we can send the plea by mail and you simply have to sign a few documents and have your signature notarized. Furthermore, we go to the alcohol liaison office and set up the appointment for the court ordered DUI school and the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers panels for you, so you do not have to wait in their offices.
Having an attorney represent and attend court on your behalf can save you many, many hours of anxiety, frustration and time. We are very experienced in the process, and we handle most misdemeanor cases for clients without them ever having to appear in court.
OUR OFFICE PHILOSOPHY
At the Law Offices of Stull & Stull, our approach is quite different from most other criminal defense attorneys. While we always strive to exonerate and vindicate our clients, we also remember at the same time that our clients do need personal help. This simply means that we attempt to find the root of the problem and find out why the crime occurred in the first place. We can then explore various options to assist our clients in resolving their personal problems, so the need for a criminal attorney does not arise under the same circumstances again.
For example, if your case involves drinking and driving, we will talk to you and find out more about your drinking habits. If we can determine a drinking problem, we have connections with some of the best counselors in California that can help you overcome such a problem. If, on the other hand, you are simply hanging out with the wrong crowd and carelessly partying, we can also advise you on better ways to manage your personal relationships and your friends.
Having practiced law with combined experience of over 30 years, we have seen many patterns among people who are charged with DUI. We encourage our clients to use the DUI arrest and the experience as an opportunity to start making better choices, which will lead to an overall better life.
We often speak to our clients and let them know that although a DUI charge may be “2 steps back” in your life, however if you learn from your experiences, it could cause you to take 10 steps forward. In other words, the reason that you were charged with DUI or have been involved in other criminal activities is generally a result of something disruptive that may have been going on in your life, with the final result ending in an arrest. We focus on the positive and try to make the most of this experience so end the result if a beneficial one to you.
DUI Arrest and Defense Questions
You likely have a number of questions relating to your arrest and defense. Some exampled of the questions or concerns you may have are:
- If the officer never read me my Miranda rights, does the case get dismissed?
- The officer made me perform the field sobriety test on a hill – is that fair?
- I could not understand the instructions he gave me for the field sobriety test, does that matter?
- The officer asked me to take a breath test that was the size of a box of cigarettes with a little straw in it – did I have to take that test?
- Do I have defenses to this case?
You will have lots of questions regarding these issues and we have lots of questions to ask you regarding these issues in order to accurately answer your questions. The best way to handle your questions and concerns is to meet with us personally to go over each point of concern. We will answer your questions and give you a better feel of where you stand with your particular case.
What Is The Punishment For A Driving Under The Influence Case?
We have a “ punishment chart”, which sets out the statutory penalties the courts can impose for a DUI case. Remember, the courts do not have to follow the minimum sentence guidelines, and can sometimes be less or more severe (depending on your circumstances). The courts can also impose a combination of different penalties for one charge. However, the basic guidelines are set out in the chart.
What Is The Cost To Hire A Lawyer?
On a first time offense, the fees can vary. However, if this is a first offense, in which we can build a clear defense strategy, the fees are generally
$2,500-$7,500. However, based on certain circumstances, as well as the individual case, the fees can be less or more.
Additionally, there can be other legal costs, which can range from investigative costs (for example, if we need to send an investigator to interview witnesses, take photographs, create video re-enactments or perform various other investigative tasks) the costs will vary and will be billed to our client on a “dollar for dollar cost basis” (we do not “mark up” any of these fees – and will provide you with a copy of their billing to our firm, if requested).
Additionally, if required, our client may have to incur the cost of an expert witness – In the case of a DUI, this person will be someone who is an expert in calculating and analyzing blood alcohol content, alcohol and breath measurement machinery and field sobriety test procedures. These fees are usually a minimum of $200, and, depending on whether the expert’s testimony is required for court, the fees can run up to $1,500.
Not every case needs an investigation or expert witness involvement. However, we do have these services at our disposal if they are needed.
Why Should I Hire The Law Offices of Stull & Stull?
There are several reasons why you should hire our firm for your representation. The following is a list of considerations to review while making your decision:
- We handle all of our own cases: If you hire our firm, you will have a principal or a partner of our firm handle your case. Adam R. Stull or Libbie Stull will negotiate on your behalf. Many firms have one principal or a highly experienced attorney who is the spokesperson for the firm. Unfortunately, when you go to court, you can end up with a different attorney, who may not have the same experience you desired or expected.
- We are available to talk every day, and, as a client, you will have our cellular telephone numbers: Traditionally, one of the biggest complaints that people have with their attorneys, is that they are unable to speak with their attorney, or their attorney does not return their phone calls. At the Law Offices of Stull & Stull, we make communication our highest priority. We communicate constantly with our clients, and all of our clients have our cellular phone numbers and know how to contact us. We also have commitment of returning all of our client’s telephone calls the same day, or, if we are in trial, within 24 hours
If you are feeling stress from your case, we encourage you to call us, so we can talk about your case and help you reduce your anxiety.
- We care about our clients: At the Law Offices of Stull & Stull, we care about our clients. We put our client’s needs first, and counsel them on all aspects of their case. However, our ultimate goal is to give them the tools and knowledge to avoid future criminal activity. Most firms want repeat business from their clients. We are the opposite. We do not want our clients to be charged or arrested again. We want to give them the tools and insight to assist them so they never encounter similar problems again.
- Experience: With over 30 years of combined legal experience, the Law Offices of Stull & Stull has handled nearly every kind of criminal matter, whether simple or complex. With a background as an Assistant District Attorney, as well as experience in working for the Supreme Court of the State of California, in addition both of us being judge pro tem we understand the entire criminal law justice system.
Through education, experience, trial and error, we have learned the methods, secrets and techniques to achieve the best results for our clients.