Legal Question in DUI Law in California

I was convicted of a DUI (prescription medication error), which was my first ever court appearance and legal issue (I'm 57). I didn't understand much of the jargon or the consequences of a guilty plea. I lost my license for 6 months and was ordered to attend classes. I did not have an opportunity to explain myself and was told by my PD that he met with the judge and DA and they already decided my case. At the time I did not know I could ask for another attorney, or question this. So I contacted a few attorneys and asked. One attorney expressed interest in helping me stating that the DMV only has jurisdiction over alcohol. I started feeling like there was some hope and this was all a big error. 6 months later I am loosing my momentum, I've totally lost faith in the attorney and at this point I just want my license back and I'm not wanting to go through with this, specifically because of this attorney. I've heard him say he is going to do something on my case and he never does it. He makes comments like the one that hooked me (about the DMV having jurisdiction only over alcohol), then I find out he is incorrect. He won't return my calls, won't provide me copies of anything he has submitted to the court on my behalf, won't let me know what to expect when we are in court, didn't tell me there was a warrant issued for me failing to sign up for the court ordered classes when he was asked by me to get these extended because we were submitting a motion to withdraw guilty plea, won't answer my questions. He has wasted my time and money (which I had to borrow). I just want my license back and forget the rest. I don't trust him, I don't know what he is going to say to the court and I can't be a part of this. It is too much stress. MY QUESTION: CAN I WITHDRAW MY MOTION AND ASK THE COURT TO REINSTATE THEIR REQUIREMENTS FOR ME TO GET MY LICENSE BACK? IF SO, HOW CAN I GO ABOUT THIS SINCE THE ATTORNEY I PAID WON'T RETURN MY CALLS?

Asked on 11/06/13, 7:30 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Joe Dane Law Office of Joe Dane

I have absolutely no idea why a first time DUI has turned into this nightmare.

Are there grounds to withdraw your plea? That would require another attorney to review your case to determine if there are grounds or not.

The DMV has two ways they can suspend a license in a DUI case. First - if it is an ALCOHOL case, they can suspend your license for 4 months if at their hearing it is determined that you were driving with 0.08% or more in your system. This can happen to you whether or not there are charges filed in court. If you are convicted of DUI in court (for alcohol and/or drugs), the DMV can suspend your license for 6 months.

But here's the thing that your attorney ABSOLUTELY should have explained from very early on... You can get a restricted license after 30 days of suspension. In your case, the DMV didn't take action against your license initially since it wasn't an alcohol DUI, but they did suspend it once they were notified by the court of the conviction.

After 30 days of no driving, all you have to do is show proof of enrollment in the first offender's program (the 3 month DUI classes), proof of insurance filed by your insurance company (a SR-22) and a reissuance fee of $125. That gets you a restricted license for the remaining 5 months. You would be allowed to drive to and from work and to and from the DUI classes.

The court has nothing to do with your license - it is always in the DMV's control. It sounds as though you are beyond the entire six month suspension and should be able to get your license reinstated asong as you've finished that 3 month DUI school. If you haven't competed it, but have enrolled, at least get a temporary license so you can be mobile again.

Please pardon any typos - posted via mobile device.

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Answered on 11/06/13, 9:30 pm

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