California’s Napa Valley is world-renowned for the amazing wines produced there, but in recent years it has become even more well-known to locals as a place where they are cracking down on driving under the influence – no matter how small that influence might be.
It’s almost unfair, isn’t it? How can they expect adults not to take a drink with so many wineries and wine-tasting restaurants around? When you visit Napa Valley, drinking is an expectation. So is driving in an un-intoxicated state, but Napa Valley district attorneys are known for filing DUI charges even when people blow below the legal limit! You would think that such a thing would be as illegal as driving intoxicated, but apparently the law doesn’t apply in the same way.
That’s why you want to make sure that you have a legal expert on your side if you are charged with driving drunk in Napa. An experienced Napa Valley DUI attorney not only understands the ins and outs of how DUI law works in California, but also knows Napa politics and the legal system in the Valley.
Don’t play games with your future. A Napa DUI lawyer can tell you everything you need to know.
How Napa Valley DUI Charges Happen
If an officer pulls you over and believes that you have been drinking, he or she will likely ask you lots of questions like where you’ve been and where you’re going – don’t be fooled that they are just making polite conversation! Napa Valley officers are trained to get information out of suspects, and that’s exactly what you are to them. If they can get you talking, eventually you might say something that they can use against you.
What’s the solution? Don’t talk!
Remember that you have the right to remain silent. The only thing you’re required to do is tell the officer your name and hand over your driver’s license. That doesn’t mean you can’t be polite, though. Simply tell them that you need to talk to your lawyer if they’re going to ask you any questions.
You should also never agree to take a field sobriety test. These are not required by law, and because they are based on the subjective opinion of the officer conducting the test, they often aren’t even very accurate. The only thing that taking a field sobriety test will do is give them more evidence to use against you in court.
But even though you should refuse that test, it’s a terrible idea to refuse a breath test. If an officer asks you to take one and you won’t do it, your driver’s license can be automatically suspended! Take the test and get a good DUI lawyer who can help you to deal with the consequences later.
Punishments Associated with a Napa Valley DUI
Napa Valley takes drunk driving charges seriously. As soon as you are taken into custody, the arresting officer will confiscate your driver’s license and give you a temporary one. When that expires, a suspension will go into effect on your real driver’s license unless you and your attorney request a hearing with the DMV – but don’t delay, because you only have a limited amount of time! A knowledgeable Napa Valley DUI attorney is invaluable help here, because there’s a lot of administrative work involved.
Beyond losing your driver’s license, the charges and punishments you face will depend on the severity of the crime. Most generic DUIs where people are just over the limit are charged as misdemeanors.
However, if you had a higher BAC, have had previous DUIs, were driving with a minor or got into an accident, you might face felony charges. Some people even end up facing jail time, but even typical charges involve high fees, driver’s license suspension, attending a mandatory drunk driver program, points against your license, and higher car insurance.
How to Fight Your Napa Valley DUI
Good Napa Valley DUI lawyers understand that the prosecution in the county often overcharges for DUIs. As mentioned above, sometimes they even charge when someone tests below the legal limit. These types of DUI cases can often be reduced to a lesser charge like reckless driving, and sometimes even dismissed altogether.
And even getting an illegal reading on your breath test isn’t the end. There are any number of reasons why the results could have been incorrect from the police officer using the device wrong to improper storage to foreign substances like mouthwash affecting the reading. Don’t give up hope, get an experience Napa Valley DUI attorney and fight for your rights.
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