Many tourists head to San Francisco every year to see the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the distinctive cable cars, and the colorful Victorian houses perched on a dizzying array of hilly, up and down streets. San Francisco is located in northern California, on the tip of a peninsula, surrounded by the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. San Francisco, despite the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire and the 1989 earthquake, remains a center of technology and progressive culture. The famous Castro District and Chinatown routinely draws entrepreneurs from across the world into the city.
If you are a resident of San Francisco—rather than a tourist—you may be familiar with the Smuggler’s Cove Bar on Gough Street, boasting a pirate-themed décor, more than 200 types of rum, and a host of exotic cocktails. Maybe Bourbon & Branch, on Jones Street, is more to your taste, with its dim lights, handcrafted cocktails, and the 30s blues and jazz music. Zeitgeist Bar and Grill, on Valencia Street, is another local favorite. Zeitgeist offers craft beers, a lively crowd, and a spacious patio area. Perhaps you have visited one or more of these favorite stopping off places, or perhaps you and your friends have your own favorite.
In any case, you may have spent many an enjoyable evening with friends, chilling out, and shaking off the workweek. You may have also found yourself in the middle of a DUI checkpoint on San Francisco and South Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco and Mission Street, or San Francisco and San Bruno Avenue. Perhaps you were stopped because of a routine vehicle issue, such as a broken taillight, then later charged with a DUI.
Whatever your particular situation, it is extremely important that you realize just how serious a California DUI conviction is, both in the present and for your future.
Potential Consequences of a DUI Conviction in San Francisco
Most of those who are charged with a first-time DUI arrest are law-abiding citizens who felt they were not too impaired to drive and, in fact, were not driving erratically. DUI laws tend to be subjective; while this may result in your being arrested when you don’t feel you were intoxicated, it also creates ways for your attorney to build a solid defense on your behalf.
In order for you to realize just how serious a DUI conviction could be, consider the potential penalties for a first-time DUI:
- A permanent criminal record which limits employment opportunities
- A driver’s license suspension from several months to a year
- An ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle
- Fines from $390 to $1,000
- DUI penalty assessments from $1,800 to $2,600
- A jail sentence from 48 hours to 6 months
- Mandatory attendance in a $500, 3-month alcohol treatment program
- Vehicle impoundment
- Probation from 3 to 5 years
- Increased insurance premiums
- The possibility of losing your job
- The loss of custody rights
- The loss of a CDL license
- Restrictions on international travel
- Denial of admission to a college
- Loss of a scholarship
- The social stigma of a DUI conviction
How a San Francisco Attorney Can Alter the Outcome of Your DUI
The sooner you have an experienced San Francisco DUI attorney by your side, the better your chances of a positive outcome. Your DUI attorney can question the accuracy of your chemical test, whether a breathalyzer or blood test. Breathalyzer tests have a number of issues which can be challenged, including whether the machine was properly calibrated, and whether the officer who administered the test is properly trained.
Your attorney may also be able to question whether your stop was legal. If it was not legal, any evidence obtained from the stop will be considered inadmissible.
If you agreed to field sobriety tests (which you are not legally required to do), there are a number of challenges to these tests. Field sobriety tests are only considered about 65 percent accurate, and when a person is elderly, overweight, taking certain medications, has an illness, has balance issues, or is wearing heels, the results of field sobriety tests are even less accurate.
Having a knowledgeable DUI attorney on your case can result in challenges to the officer observations as well. The likelihood that your DUI charges will result in a dismissal or in a plea bargain with less harsh penalties, is much greater when you have a San Francisco DUI attorney working hard on your defense.
Call the Law Offices of Nabiel C. Ahmed at (510) 907-6600. From our Oakland, CA offices, we provide DUI defense to clients all over San Francisco, the Bay Area, and throughout Northern California. Get a free consultation today!
If you have already been detained, our attorney offers jail interviews and over-the-phone consultations. Contact us as soon as possible!