Trial Attorney Representing Those Accused Of DUI For Over Three Decades
- Top lawyer Jerry Nicholson has nearly 40 years of experience providing honest and aggressive legal representation to clients.
- Thanks to the hard work of our lawyers, we are recognized as one of the best law firms in the Long Beach community.
- The reviews of our law firm speak for themselves—clients appreciate our dedication and commitment to their cases.
- Our award winning attorneys have earned the respect of members of the legal community, including judges, prosecutors, and probation officers.
If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in California, you may be feeling frightened, embarrassed, worried and uncertain about what to expect as the legal process moves forward. In fact, many people charged with DUI or DWI in California have a very difficult time dealing with the criminal aspects of the charge, as many have never been arrested previously. That’s why it’s so important to let a Long Beach criminal defense lawyer help you through this challenging time.
A Long Beach DUI arrest can result in serious civil and criminal consequences, including heavy fines and penalties, loss of the driving privilege, and even jail time. Subsequently, you have a lot at stake, so it’s essential to hire an experienced Long Beach DUI defense attorney who has handled dozens of driving under the influence cases in Long Beach, Ventura, San Bernadino, Riverside and Los Angeles. It’s important that you trust your case to a legal team with significant local experience, as each county prosecutes DUI cases a bit differently.
At The Law Offices of Jerry Nicholson, our world class team of Long Beach DUI defense lawyers will guide you through the legal maze that is the California criminal justice system and the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In fact, veteran DUI defense attorney Jerry Nicholson has represented hundreds of individuals throughout the state of California who have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He will work aggressively to protect your rights in court.
Los Angeles County criminal defense attorney Nicholson also provides representation before the California DMV to help you obtain a provisional driver’s license while you await trial. In some cases, it may even be possible to have your DUI charge reduced to a lesser offense that will allow you to preserve you California driving privileges.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for DUI in Long Beach or a nearby Southern California community, contact The Law Offices of Jerry Nicholson to discuss your case in a free and confidential case consultation session. Just call 562-434-8916.
Our DUI Lawyers Will Represent You in Your Court Case and in Your DMV Case
There are essentially two different cases that are brought against you when you are arrested for DUI. Firstly, there is the DMV case. This is where your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked, resulting in a loss of your driving privileges for a span of months or years.
Secondly, there is the criminal case, which unfolds in the California court system. This can result in jail time, fines, compulsory alcohol education classes, community service, vehicle impound, the installation of a ignition interlock device in your vehicle, or a combination of these and other penalties, depending upon the precise circumstances and facts in your case.
If you have been arrested for DUI (or suspicion of DUI), you must request a DMV hearing within 10 days of the arrest. If you do not do so, your license will be suspended automatically or you may face license revocation 30 days after your arrest.
The DMV proceeding is very different from the criminal courtroom proceeding. The DMV hearing is informal and is run by a Driver Safety Office (DSO) Hearing Officer, rather than a judge. This person is an employee of the DMV. The standard of proof in DMV hearings is known as a “preponderance of the evidence,” which is much lower threshold than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard which is applied to criminal trials.
DMV hearings can be very technical, and the chances of a person winning without expert legal help is fairly slim. Unfortunately, the DMV does not care about your personal life and how the loss of your driving privileges will impact your life, career and family. It generally, makes no difference to them if you need to drive to work, to school or even if you drive for a living!
The DMV has even been known to discourage individuals from requesting a hearing, telling them that they cannot win. The documentation that is given to a person who is arrested for DUI can also be confusing, and it does not clearly explain that a hearing must be requested within a very short period of time. Contrary to what it says on the provided forms, you are not required to demonstrate that the suspension is not justified. Rather, the burden falls upon the DMV to show that the suspension is justified.
According to the DMV’s own statistics for a recent year, 34% of all people who experienced a license suspension for DUI at the time of the arrest were able to maintain their driver’s license by simply requesting a hearing to challenge the suspension.
After the DMV hearing, the accused person must face the criminal process. The penalties for drunk driving in California are set forth by statute and can be very complicated. The basic statute allows for a range of possible sentences, but there may be modifications of the sentence based on the following factors.
- Prior convictions within the past ten years;
- Speeding 20 mph or more over the speed limit at the time of the arrest;
- Having a child under the age of 14 in the car at the time of the DUI;
- Having a blood alcohol level reading of over .20%;
- Refusal to submit to chemical testing.
Within the range that is set forth by statute, the sentence in a DUI case will be affected by such factors as:
- The facts and circumstances unique to the case;
- The policies of the prosecution and the local court;
- The weaknesses or “holes” in the case, as uncovered by the defense attorney; and
- The abilities and experience level of your defense attorney.
It is very important to understand that the results of the blood, breath, or urine test will be a factor in determining what charges will be brought against you and the possible sentences that may be imposed.
It’s important to remember that the DUI laws relate to the blood-alcohol level at the time of driving, not at the time of the test. This is a very important distinction that may work to the favor of the accused, as blood alcohol concentration can rise in the time between the traffic stop and the time when the test is administered. It is also important to understand that the tests used, particularly the breath test, are often unreliable. An experienced DUI attorney with The Law Offices of Jerry Nicholson can often use this to your advantage.
Trust Your Case to an Experienced Southern California DUI Defense Attorney
Experienced DUI lawyers know which arguments, strategies and tactics are effective, as they have spent years refining their skills in this area. This means that an experienced attorney is well-positioned to mount an effective defense in your case. Each client’s strategy is unique.
In some cases, a top drunk driving lawyer can get a felony DUI charge reduced to a misdemeanor — a huge victory that requires expertise and a good working relationship with the local prosecuting agencies and courts. Long Beach DUI defense attorneys with The Law Offices of Jerry Nicholson Jerry Nicholson have the skills, experience, and relationships required to achieve this type of victory and others, such as the full dismissal of the case.
If you have any questions or would like to speak personally with an experienced Long Beach DUI attorney following a drunk driving arrest, please do not hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Jerry Nicholson. Time is critical so it’s essential that you take action immediately! Arrange a free and no-cost consultation session by calling 562-434-8916.
DUI Statutes in Long Beach, California
California has some rather complex DUI statutes, which can apply to driving under the influence of alcohol or driving under the influence of another substance, such as an illicit drug, a prescription drug or another intoxicating substance. A DUI charge can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the circumstances.
There are numerous Vehicle Code and Penal Code statutes that may apply to DUI cases. While the blood alcohol concentration “legal limit” referenced most of these statutes is .08%, there are cases where an individual with a lower BAC may be subject to arrest, such as an operator of a commercial vehicle, an operator who is under the legal drinking age of 21 or individuals who are believed to be under the influence of two or more substances that cause impairment.
Vehicle Code § 23152(b) is a per se charge for driving under the influence in California. In the case of a per se charge, anyone who is found to be over the legal limit is subject to arrest, regardless of the actual degree of impairment.
A DUI can also be prosecuted using Vehicle Code § 23152(a), which holds that even if testing reveals that you are below the legal limit, you may still be charged with DUI if field sobriety testing reveals evidence of impairment.
If a DUI involves the injury of another person, it may be prosecuted under Vehicle Code § 23153. Cases involving a DUI that results in the death of another person can be prosecuted under Penal Codes §§ 191.5(a) and 192.5(b).
For cases involving vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, the prosecutor may opt to charge the defendant under Penal Code § 191.5(a) if the act is believed to involve gross negligence or Penal Code § 191.5(b) in cases that lack an element of gross negligence.
The attorneys at our law firm have experience defending clients against a number of different criminal charges, including but not limited to DUI, theft, sex crimes, domestic violence, assault, and battery, so they know criminal law well. A conviction will stay on your record and affect your life for years to come, which is why it’s important to hire an attorney who can aggressively defend your rights and fight for the best possible outcome.
DUI can be very complex and the penalties for this crime can be significant, so it’s essential to trust your case to an experienced legal professional. Our criminal defense lawyers can provide you with the legal advice you need to understand your charges and the next steps in the process. If you are facing DUI charges in Southern California, including Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura and Long Beach, turn to the defense attorneys with The Law Offices of Jerry Nicholson. Contact our law offices to discuss your case in a free and confidential consultation session by calling 562-434-8916 or filling out the form on this website.