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Mendocino County DUI Attorneys

Defending Clients Facing DUI Charges in California 

DUI is a serious crime that puts you at risk for various penalties in the state of California. The state has implemented strict laws to deter drunk driving and protect public safety. Many people arrested for DUI face their first experience with the criminal justice system and thus are unprepared for what is to come and how to defend themselves. It can also mean that you have misconceptions about the law, the proceedings, and whether or not you should hire a Mendocino County DUI lawyer.

Understanding California's DUI laws is essential to ensure compliance and avoid legal consequences. At Wilber Law Offices, everyone should have the advantage of reputable and competent DUI defense representation when confronted with government-funded prosecution.

You may think you have little chance of defending yourself against DUI, but that is far from the reality of the situation. Much about DUI arrests can be found faulty when you have a seasoned team on your side, which is what our firm offers. Through a thorough investigation into the facts, from the initial stop to police procedure to testing equipment, our team knows all the issues and problems that can weaken or nullify the state’s case against you. That is why we recommend you call us immediately following any DUI arrest in Mendocino County.

Have you been charged with a DUI in California? Call Wilber Law Offices today at (707) 597-7977 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with our DUI lawyer in Mendocino County!

DUI Cases We Handle 

We handle all types of DUI charges, including: first, second, third, and subsequent charges, DUI with injury, under 21 or college student DUI, DUI for commercially-licensed drivers, aggravated DUI with excessive blood alcohol concentration, DUI with child endangerment, and drug DUIs. 

Any of these put you at risk for the following penalties:

  • Jail time
  • Fines plus court fees
  • The loss of your license
  • Years of probation
  • Community service hours
  • Weekly attendance at DUI School
  • Potential substance abuse education, testing, or treatment
  • Restricted licenses with ignition interlock devices
  • SR-22 vehicle insurance

Along with the above, a conviction gives you a permanent criminal record that will be accessible on any routine background check. This can hinder future opportunities for employment, housing, advanced education, and professional career licenses, such as plumbing, electrical, teaching, nursing, real estate, piloting, pharmacy, and more. For those who are noncitizens, a criminal record can negatively affect your immigration status and lead to deportation.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher for most drivers aged 21 and older in Mendocino County.

Zero Tolerance Policy (Under 21 BAC Limit)

For drivers under the age of 21, the "zero tolerance" policy applies, meaning any measurable amount of alcohol in their system can result in a DUI charge.

BAC Limit for Commercial Drivers

For commercial drivers operating commercial vehicles, the legal BAC limit is 0.04%.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in CA

California has a separate offense called "Driving Under the Influence of Drugs" (DUID), which applies to individuals impaired by drugs, whether prescription, over-the-counter, or illegal substances.

California DUI Penalties

DUI conviction penalties in California vary based prior DUI convictions within a specified period and the specific circumstances of the offense. Penalties become increasingly severe with each subsequent conviction.

First-Offense DUI

The potential penalties for a first-time misdemeanor DUI offense include:

  • Jail for up to 6 months
  • Fines up to $1,000
  • License suspension for up to 4 months
    • Possible restricted license after a 30-day hard suspension period
  • 3 or 9 months of DUI School
  • Summary probation, generally lasting 3-5 years

Second-Offense DUI

The potential penalties for a second-time misdemeanor DUI offense within 10 years include:

  • 96 hours to 1 year in county jail
  • Fines up to $1,000
  • License suspension for up to 2 years (1 year if you choose an IID)
    • Possible restricted license after a 1 year
  • 18 or 30 months of DUI School
  • 3-5 years of summary probation

Third-Offense DUI

The potential penalties for a third-time misdemeanor DUI offense within 10 years include:

  • 120 days to 1 year in county jail
  • Fines up to $1,000
  • Mandatory IID installation for 2 years
  • License suspension for up to 3 years (2 years if you choose an IID)
    • Possible restricted license after a 18 months
  • 30-month DUI School
  • 3-5 years of summary probation
  • Designated as “habitual traffic offender” by the DMV

Felony DUI

A felony DUI is typically four or more DUI convictions within 10 years. The potential penalties for a felony DUI offense include:

  • 16 months to 2 or 3 years in state prison
  • Fines up to $1,000 (total costs may reach above $10,000)
  • Mandatory IID installation for 1 year
  • License suspension for up to 5 years (sometimes permanently)
  • 30-month DUI School
  • 3-5 years of summary probation
  • Designated as “habitual traffic offender” by the DMV
  • Designated as a convicted felon

Contact Our Mendocino County DUI Lawyers

When facing all of the potential consequences of a DUI, your choice of an attorney is crucial. We believe that experience counts, especially if you are pressured to plead guilty. Don’t waive your rights without speaking to our Mendocino County DUI lawyers. We can advise you about your case and how we can deconstruct it in search of evidence that can be critical to a solid defense. 

Contact Wilber Law Offices today to schedule a FREE consultation with our DUI attorney in Mendocino County!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do DUI Cases Take?

The duration of the DUI process in California can vary significantly based on several factors, including the complexities of the case, the jurisdiction, and whether the case goes to trial. Generally, a DUI case might take anywhere from several months to over a year to resolve. Initially, after an arrest, you will be given a court date, which is usually within a few weeks. If you decide to plead not guilty and contest the charges, pre-trial motions, negotiations, and potentially a trial will extend the timeline. Keep in mind, opting for a trial can significantly prolong the case, as trial dates are subject to the court's schedule and availability. For many, the process may also include time spent in DUI education programs, which can be a part of the sentence or a condition for license reinstatement. Understanding this timeframe is crucial for managing expectations and preparing for the consequences and responsibilities imposed by a DUI charge in California.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in California?

In the state of California, DUI convictions will generally stay on your record for ten years. This period is known as the "lookback period" for DUI offenses. Meaning that if you receive another DUI within ten years of your previous conviction, it will be considered a subsequent offense that will be associated with more severe penalties. As mentioned above, a DUI conviction during the ten-year period, will appear on your driving record and may affect your insurance rates, future employment prospects, and more.

What is Wet and Reckless in California?

In California, "wet reckless" refers to a specific type of plea bargain or reduced charge in cases involving driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. It is an alternative option that may be offered to some individuals who have been arrested for DUI, especially for first-time offenders with borderline DUI cases or certain mitigating circumstances.

A wet reckless charge is a combination of two separate offenses: reckless driving and alcohol-related reckless driving. It is officially referred to as "reckless driving involving alcohol" under California Vehicle Code Section 23103.5. This charge is considered a lesser offense compared to a full DUI charge, punishable by a maximum jail term of 90 days and fine of up to $1,000.

The main benefits of a wet reckless plea bargain compared to a DUI conviction in California include:

  • A shorter jail sentence and/or probation period
  • Lower fines
  • No court-ordered license suspension
  • No mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) installation
  • Shorter DUI school


What Constitutes a Misdemeanor DUI in California?

In California, a misdemeanor DUI typically involves driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, to the extent that your abilities are impaired. The specific criteria and penalties for a misdemeanor DUI in California can vary based on several factors, including your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and whether you have any prior DUI convictions.

Driving under the influence may be charged as a misdemeanor in California under the following conditions:

  • The offense is a first, second, or third DUI or “wet reckless” without aggravating factors within ten (10) years
  • The driver has no prior felony DUI convictions
  • No injury was involved

Factors that can elevate DUI from a misdemeanor to a felony include:

  • Causing an accident where another person is injured or killed
  • Having three prior DUI convictions in the last 10 years
  • Having a prior felony DUI conviction

What is Aggravated DUI?

Aggravating circumstances increase the severity of a DUI charge and the potential punishments that come with a conviction. In California, there are a number of factors that can warrant harsher sentencing. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Driving drunk with one or more minor passengers (under the age of 14) in the vehicle
  • Reckless driving, including excessive speeding (defined as driving 20+ mph over the speed limit on a street or 30+ mph over the speed limit on a freeway)
  • Driving without a valid driver's license or on a suspended, cancelled, or revoked license
  • Driving intoxicated while on probation
  • Driving intoxicated while under the age of 21
  • Refusing to submit to a chemical test (blood or breath)
  • Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeding 0.20%
  • Being arrested for other criminal activities while intoxicated
  • Causing an accident in which another person was killed or injured
  • Causing an accident and fleeing the scene

Any of the above increase the likelihood of the prosecution pursuing enhanced penalties that can hugely impact your life. Don't delay in consulting and retaining a qualified DUI attorney to defend your case and protect your rights.

Charges Reduced
Client charged with vehicular homicide. Ryan successfully negotiated for client to avoid a criminal conviction by being placed in a 6-month diversion plan.
  • Case Dismissed
    Battery charge dismissed halfway through trial, and the jury hung on the resisting charge.
  • Case Dismissed
    Case dismissed on appeal based on arguments made by our counsel during the trial that the blood test was inadmissible and that there was no time of driving established by the evidence.
  • “I believe you were God sent because the times where I felt discouraged and felt like giving up your encouragement and support helped me to once again stand and be confident in the type of man I am and the heart that I have.” - Former Client
  • “One of the best experiences in my life. Professional, courteous and understanding through whole process.” - Scott J.
  • “If you need legal help I fully recommend them! If your looking for an experienced trial lawyer this is the team you want to hire.” - William H.

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