Richmond, California is a city in western Contra Costa County, located on the eastern side of the San Francisco Bay Area. With a population of approximately 110,000, Richmond has grown significantly since its incorporation in 1905. Richmond’s downtown is the city’s business and retail center, although this 56-square mile is making a shift in its economy from a heavy industrial center to more of a high tech and light industrial city.
If you are a resident of this bustling, changing city, you may have stopped off at The Up & Under Pub and Grill on Richmond Avenue, enjoying the variety of beer and mixed drinks and the tavern decked out with rugby memorabilia. Or, perhaps your tastes run more to Jerry’s Cocktail Lounge on San Pablo Avenue, or the Hotel Mac Restaurant and Bar on Washington Avenue with its elegant tin ceiling and quaint downstairs piano bar.
You may have stopped by one of these places to relax after a hard day’s work, or you may have your own favorite spot where you meet up with friends to have a drink. What you probably did not expect was to find yourself pulled over by a Richmond police officer, under suspicion of driving under the influence.
You may have been pulled over randomly, or stopped in a Richmond DUI checkpoint on San Pablo Avenue, or on Cutting Blvd. and S. 41st Street. Whatever the circumstances, it is important to remember that a California DUI conviction is extremely serious, and could potentially affect your future for a long time to come.
Penalties for a California DUI Conviction
One of the most far-reaching of these penalties is losing your ability to drive.
Aside from paying up to $1,000 in fines, up to $2,600 in DUI penalty assessments, jail time from 48 hours to six months, mandatory alcohol counseling, and 3-5 years’ probation, you could lose your driver’s license for a period of time—even without a conviction.
Being Without a Driver’s License in Today’s Busy World
In today’s mobile society, being without a driver’s license could well be one of the most serious issues you could face after your DUI arrest. You, like many people, may drive daily to work, to school, to run errands, to church, to the movies, to visit friends, and to take your kids here and there. Once you are arrested for DUI, your driver’s license will be immediately confiscated by the police officer, and you will receive a DMV notice of suspension.
This notice of suspension provides you with temporary driving privileges for a period of 30 days; however, you must request an Administrative Hearing within 10 days of your arrest. If you neglect to make this request, your right to contest your suspension is lost, and at the end of thirty days your license suspension will begin.
Administrative Hearing and Criminal DUI Case—Two Separate Issues
It is important to remember that your Administrative Hearing and your criminal DUI case are two completely separate issues. In addition to potentially having your driver’s license reinstated, an Administrative Hearing is a good venue for hearing exactly what evidence the state has against you, and can actually help your attorney build your criminal DUI defense.
During the Administrative Hearing, documents will be introduced, including your driving record, the arrest report, your BAC test results, and any notes made by the officer.
Your attorney will object when necessary, and you may or may not testify on your own behalf. At the end of the Administrative Hearing, the hearing officer may decide to suspend your license, in which case you have the right to appeal that decision.
If you’re from out of state, take note: California police officers do not have the right to seize a driver’s license from an out-of-state driver or to suspend the driver’s license when issued by another state.
A Notice of Suspension will be issued to an out-of-state driver, however, which suspends the driver’s right to drive for 30 days within the state of California. In the event of a DUI conviction in the state of California, the driver’s home state will be notified, and that state will generally suspend the license in the same way as if the person had been convicted in that state.
If you have been charged with DUI in Richmond, California, it is critical to the outcome of the DUI that you immediately speak with a knowledgeable DUI attorney who will protect your rights and your future.
Call the Law Offices of Nabiel C. Ahmed in Oakland today. We have successfully preserved the driving privileges and innocence of clients throughout Richmond, Contra Costa County, and the East Bay. Dial (510) 907-6600 for a free case consultation as soon as possible.