California Driving Drunk or DUI Frequently Asked Questions


The more you know, the better equipped you are for your DUI case & your DUI defense.

Morell Law Office is here to help you every step along the way.

If you are facing DUI charges in the Bay Area, it is best to work with an experienced and local Attorney. Amy Morell has practiced law both as a prosecutor and defense lawyer, exclusively in the practice of DUI. She has devoted her law practice to defending those who have been accused of DUI in the San Francisco Bay Area and surrounding areas. She is familiar with the courts, process and those involved. Along with regular training, Amy keeps on top of the latest changes in both law and the technology associated with Sobriety Field Testing and other related tests such as Blood Alcohol Content testing (BAC) and more. The following list of frequently asked questions are designed to inform you and best equip you for your first meeting and defending your DUI case.

Need to speak to a DUI Lawyer now? Call or Email Amy Today!

1. Did the officer conduct a lawful stop?

Typical cues for a DUI stop are the following taken from the National Highway Traffic Association:

  • Turning with a wide radius
  • Almost striking object or vehicle
  • Weaving
  • Straddling center or lane marker
  • Appearing to be impaired
  • Driving on other than designated roadway
  • Driving into opposing or crossing traffic
  • Slow responses to traffic signals
  • Turning abruptly or illegally
  • Stopping inappropriately
  • Accelerating/decelerating rapidly
  • Headlights off
  • Swerving
  • Following too closely
  • Drifting
  • Speed lower than 10 mph below limit
  • Stopping without cause in traffic lane
  • Tires on center or lane marker
  • Braking erratically
  • Signaling inconsistent with driving

There are many defenses to these "cues." We address these possible defenses during your consultation.

2. Will I go to jail?

The answer to this important question is:  it depends. After you meet with Amy Morell, she will be able to tell you the answer to the question given the facts of your case.

A conviction of Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) or 23152(b) without priors can entail:

  • $390 to $1000 fine, plus assessments
  • Car impound for up to 6 months, if owned by defendant
  • Refusal can add an additional 48 hours confinement in jail if plead and proven.
  • With an under 14-year-old passenger, additional 48 continuous hours jail time, unless convicted of Penal Code Section 273(a).
  • If driving privilege suspended, no return of driving privilege until DUI program is done.

Without Probation:

  • 96 hours to 6 months jail, at least 48 hours of which must be continuous.
  • Suspended driving privileges for 6 months

With Probation for 3 to 5 years:

  • First offender drinking driver program minimum of 3 months/30 hours

And either:

  • 48 hours jail and suspended driver privilege 6 months

OR, if no refusal pled and proven

  • 90-day work/DUI program-only driving restriction following the DMV suspension

3. I feel guilty, does that mean I'm guilty?

Your feelings of guilt have nothing to do with the prosecutor's ability to PROVE the State's case. Amy Morell will fully and personally investigate your DUI case, including using the powers of a subpoena to obtain all necessary records from machines used. She will investigate the machines used for breath, blood or urine testing. She will consult with Forensic Toxicologists, utilize her private investigator, and consulting with accident reconstruction experts. She will then discuss with you the available defenses in your case and your options.

4. This has never happened to me before and I'm scared, should I hire an attorney or represent myself?

You should not represent yourself. DUI is a very complex area of law. Criminal Defense attorneys that handle murder cases often times state that DUIs are far more complex. DUI defense involves knowledge of complicated science issues from how breath machines actually work to what type of device was used to test blood samples. Court procedures are difficult to understand unless you are familiar with criminal procedure laws. Penalties for DUI are becoming harsher and harsher and this is why you need Amy on your side, to help you through this difficult process.

5. What is going to happen to my car insurance premiums?

After you are arrested you are given a pink piece of paper that has a lot of legal jargon. This paper is your temporary license for 30 days. Remember, a DMV hearing must be requested within 10 CALENDAR DAYS of arrest, or your license will automatically be suspended. You have absolutely nothing to lose by requesting and obtaining a DMV hearing - only something to gain. If the hearing is won, your license will not be suspended by the DMV action and no additional insurance will be required from the DMV hearing action - no expensive SR-22 Form. But, remember the court outcome is just as important in saving your licenses and potential insurance increases. We will work to try to minimize any insurance increases.

6. Will my license be suspended?

After you were arrested or detained, you were most likely given a pink piece of paper and your California driver's license taken by the police officer. That pink piece of paper is your temporary driver's license.

CAUTION: you must request a DMV hearing within 10 days of the date of your arrest. Our office can help you with this. We know the numbers to call to talk to an actual human being at the DMV - not a recording, which is what you will hear if you call the number at the top right on the pink piece of paper.

Your license could be suspended. However, there are many defenses to DMV hearings and that is why you need to talk with a DUI lawyer. If the hearing is won, you may suffer no suspension at all.

7. How much will this cost?

This question is difficult to answer because each case is different. 

We charge a "flat fee." This means that we do not charge hourly. We quote you a fee for service that typically includes court appearances and the DMV hearing. Please do not hesitate to call so that we can meet with you and give you a quote for your case. We also accept all major credit cards.

8. Can I get my criminal record expunged?

After a conviction of a crime, you may be able to have your criminal record cleared. This is usually referred to as an "expungement."  Having your record expunged will depend on the specifics of your case.

Please contact the Bay Area DUI Attorney Amy Morell to review your case.

Proven Track Record

Proven track record of successfully helping people charged with DUI.