Sacramento DUI Informational Video Transcript:
Hi. My name is Michael Rehm. I'm a DUI defense attorney.
Today I'm going to be discussing Sacramento County DUI offenses specifically. This is just an informational video, and it's in regards to those of you that are facing a first or second offense. Specifically, you're facing that first or second offense in Sacramento County.
It's not a guarantee as to any kind of result. It's not any kind of an implied result or outcome, anything to that extent. It's just a video that's based on my personal experience handling DUI cases, specifically in Sacramento County.
First off, if you were arrested, if you were just arrested for a DUI, you should have been given a pink piece of paper, and it acts as your temporary driver's license. What that basically signifies is you've got to start handling the DMV. Specifically, and if you read that pink piece of paper, it says it in the fine print: you have to set up your DMV hearing. I can't emphasize this enough, so pay close attention to this next part.
You have ten days. They call it the ten-day rule. You have ten days to set a hearing with the DMV to contest your DUI. If you do not set that DMV hearing within ten days of the date of the arrest, then, assuming the have enough evidence on you and you were a 0.08 or higher at the actual time of driving, you are automatically going to lose your driver's license 30 days from the date of the arrest.
If you set the hearing up, you're not. You're going to maintain your driver's license through the outcome of the hearing. Now the hearing can happen several months after the arrest, several months after the court date depending on the specifics of your situation. But for what it's worth, as soon as you can, set that DMV hearing.
Let me clarify a little further. If you hire myself or any other attorney, we will set that DMV hearing. If you're not going to hire an attorney, or you're not going to hire an attorney within ten days of the date of the arrest, you need to do it yourself.
Here's the proper way to do it. First of all, you just need to call. The phone number, there's a phone number on the pink piece of paper, but that just gives you a general number that leads you to a direct number. The direct number for Sacramento County is (916) 227-2970. That's who you're going to want to call if you have been arrested for a DUI and you want to set up your DMV hearing, which I'm advising you to.
Next, when you call they're going to ask what are you contesting. First of all, have the pink, temporary license on you when you call. Then you're going to call, and you're going to tell them, “Hey, I was arrested for a DUI. I want to set up my DMV hearing.”
They're going to say, “What exactly are you contesting?” because not all the time, but from time-to-time you'll get an operator answering the phone that is trying to persuade people not to actually set the hearing up. Just tell them you're contesting everything is what you want to tell them. It's not going to hurt you in the long run in any way.
Then you want to things. You want a stay and discovery. The stay means what I was stating earlier that the license suspension is stayed pending the outcome of the hearing, so you're not going to lose your license, at least through the outcome of the hearing or if you're convicted in court in the meantime, but that's a separate issue.
Discovery: Discovery simply means that they're going to mail you the evidence when they receive it. By evidence, I mean the police report, the blood test result, the breathalyzer result. Whatever evidence is in your case in regards to that sort of evidence, you're going to receive it. Now this can be beneficial for myself as an attorney or for you if you're not hiring an attorney because you get to actually see the evidence in advance of the court date, which is always beneficial.
When you call, as for a stay and discovery. They'll know exactly what you're talking about. You call. You say you were arrested for a DUI. You want to set your DMV hearing up. You're contesting everything.
Arrange a date with them and request a stay and discovery, and they'll know exactly what you're talking about. If you just do that simple, simple phone call, you're ahead of the game big time, and especially later on in the case. If you have a case you need to fight, it can really benefit you.
This is what you're somewhat expecting on a first offense DUI in Sacramento County. Now once again, this isn't a guarantee or anything to that extent, but this is based on my personal experience representing DUI cases in Sacramento County, which I have significant experience on. You're going to be looking at four things. You're going to really be looking at four things on a first or a second. Actually, you're looking at five things, and I'm going to include that right here.
You're looking at time. You're looking at a fine. You're looking at a DUI school, and you're looking at probation. Then, on a first offense DUI in Sacramento County, you're looking at the ignition interlock device, the IID, which is a breathalyzer in your vehicle. The breathalyzer in your vehicle will be there from between five to eight months.
Let's start off from the top. Time: On time, you're looking at two days. Now, let me clarify what this means because there's a lot of misinformation on there for those of you that have just been arrested for a DUI. You're going to read a lot of attorney websites or you're going to get mailers in the mail where attorneys are stating that you're looking at 48 hours of jail. Technically that's true. The minimum is 48 hours jail if you read the statute.
What that actually means though is that you're going to be sentenced, if you're convicted, to 48 hours jail, 2 days in jail, and you're going to have the right to apply, with the Sacramento County Sheriffs, for what they call either work release or home detention. Work release, Sheriffs Work Project, is simply working for the sheriffs for two days whether you're on the road crew or you're washing the sheriffs' cars. Whatever project they have you doing, that's going to be the sentence. Then home detention is simply ankle monitoring at home.
When you hear about time, what you have to understand is that you're going to either be sentenced to 2 days, or you could potentially be sentenced to 5, 10, 15, whatever the case may be on a first offense. The norm is around two, but it can go up for multiple reasons. Whatever exactly it is, you have to remember that it's not actually custody.
You're not actually going to jail unless you don't qualify for the work release or home detention. The normal ways people don't qualify are, one, you screw up signing up. You don't sign up by the deadline. Two, you have some sort of a medical condition that doesn't allow you to do any kind of physical labor. That's rare.
I don't think I've ever had a client actually get denied for physical labor. I don't think I've ever actually had a client get denied from the work release or the home detention. Generally, if you fail and screw up, they'll give you another chance at court. And if you can't do any kind of physical labor, they have light duty labor that you can do.
The third situation is if you have some sort of a resisting arrest or battery on a peace officer, some sort of a charge that implies you're not going to be easy to deal with and the sheriffs don't want to deal with you. But even then there are potentially other options. But, for the most part, just so you know when it comes to time, you're looking at two days. You're looking at either work release or home detention.
The fine is around $2,500. That is, for the most part, nonnegotiable. You can sometimes convert the fine to time. I believe it comes out to around 17 days, and then you would add 17 to the 2 and do 17 days of work release or home detention.
Keep in mind you have to pay for work release or home detention, so it generally doesn't end up saving you. It saves you money, but not an extreme amount of money. All it does is it adds to the total number of your days.
Then if you screw up the work release or home detention, you still owe those days. It'll just be in custody as opposed to on work release or home detention. So I always advise, unless you're indigent and then you would have the 17 days converted to community service, just general community service, just make payments on the fines. They'll allow you to pay $100 a month, potentially even less than that if you're low income, and that is the better route.
The DUI school, here's where Sacramento County is somewhat unique. They offer three different lengths of DUI programs. They offer a three-, a six-, and nine-month. This is all based on your blood alcohol level. If you're 0.15 and under — excuse me — 0.14 and under, they're going to offer you the three-month school. If you're 0.15 to a 0.19, they're going to offer the six-month school. If you're a 0.20 and over, they're going to offer a nine-month school.
The length of the program is going to be based on your blood alcohol level. Now, your blood alcohol level, in a sense, is negotiable and that's because your blood alcohol level, first of all, there's a margin of error on your blood alcohol level. For example, with rising blood alcohol, if you're a 0.21 when they actually take the blood draw, it's not a guarantee you were a 0.21 at the actual time of driving.
A common tactic is to negotiate a 0.19 stipulation on the blood alcohol level. That way you're only ordered to do a six-month program. Once you stipulate on the 0.19, then the DMV gets the 0.19. They're going to only want the lesser program as well.
It's either going to be a three-, six-, or nine-month school. If you're convicted of a DUI in court, even if the court didn't order you to do it, the DMV would still require that you do it. Either way, you're going to be looking at a three-, six-, or nine-month school, and that's going to be based on your blood alcohol level.
Keep in mind, you're going to know what at least the blood alcohol level is on paper in advance of the court date if you set the DMV hearing within the ten days and request the stay and discovery. And, of course, the DMV obtains the report or the blood test, breathalyzer result before the court date, which many times they do. But it's not a guarantee.
Probation: Probation is for three years. This is informal probation, not formal probation. Formal probation is where you have a probation officer, drug tested, you have to check in. That is not what this is. This is informal where you simply don't have a probation officer or anything to that extent. You're not going to get drug tested, nothing to that extent.
But there are just some general terms you have to abide by. One is obey all laws. It's a catchall provision that basically if you commit any violation, they could technically violate your probation. I've never seen, heard of any kind of client or individual in general getting their probation violated for anything other than a misdemeanor or higher offense under the obey all laws provision. If you get some sort of an infraction, a red light ticket, stop sign ticket, I've never heard of that violating your probation.
The next one, there are three others. Once again, pay attention or go back and look at this because I know I'm talking somewhat fast here.
You can't refuse a chemical test. You really can't do that anyway. You're going to be on what they call zero tolerance, meaning you can't have a 0.01 or more in your system when you drive. You basically can't have any alcohol in your system when you drive for the next three years. The 0.08 no longer applies to you.
Three, this is the more trickier one. You have maintain — let me rephrase that. If you want a valid driver's license, you have to maintain valid SR22 auto insurance. SR22, you see that phrase. You've probably heard that phrase already by now. SR22 is just auto insurance, specifically high-risk auto insurance.
They're not saying that you have to get an SR22. They're saying that if you want a valid license, you have to get an SR22. If you're not driving, you don't need an SR22. But if you are, and you want a valid driver's license, you have to get an SR22.
Number five, as I kind of touched on earlier, is the IID. That's a breathalyzer in your vehicle. Sacramento County is one of only four counties in California that require you to get a breathalyzer in your vehicle on a first offense DUI.
If you get convicted of a DUI, that's nonnegotiable. The DMV is going to require it once they see you got a first offense DUI conviction out of Sacramento County. That's going to be for a minimum of five months.
That is basically it on a first offense. That's kind of the standard offer you're going to get on a first offense DUI. Now, keep in mind that two days can be somewhat negotiable. If you checked yourself in before midnight or if you got arrested and you were booked into jail before midnight and released after midnight, some judges in Sacramento County will give you credit for two days time served, and then you don't have to do the two days. Some judges won't.
This is basically what you're looking at on a first and a second, and the second comes with additional time, the DUI school and probation. But, other than that, it's basically the same.
Speaking of court, 720 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, that's where the courthouse is located if you are facing a misdemeanor DUI, you've been released out of custody, and you have court coming up. If you're still in jail facing your case, you're going to be dealing with your case in the jail courts, unless you bail out or you're released. You're going to either be in Department 3 or Department 4. That's on the second floor of the courthouse.
For the most part, you're going to be dealing with the same sentence. There was a time years ago where sometimes different dispositions were given in Department 3 and Department 4, but, for the most part, no matter what department you're in, you're looking at the same thing.
On a second offense DUI, this is where it gets a little tricky. This is where they do want custody time. They're going to be asking for 10 to 15 days on a second offense DUI. Four of those days, specifically, they're going to want in custody. The balance of the time they're going to want on either work release or home detention, whichever one you're eligible for.
This is not set in stone. You can get out of the four days in custody. It used to be, in Sacramento County, and this was also years ago, that it was just thought of as the law. Legally, they had to give four days in custody, and that attitude has changed. They, for the most part, now realize it's not illegal to give all of the whole time out of custody.
But they're still pretty adamant about giving it, at least the District Attorney Offices. For the courts, for the most part, are pretty adamant about giving it as well. You have to have some extreme good reason. There is a statute that allows you to do the four days in custody just on general community service.
You're generally going to have to do more than that, and you're going to have a really good reason why you can't do the four days in custody. And you're going to have to be willing to do more than the 10 to 15 days, more than likely. You're going to either have to be willing to do obviously community service hours in lieu of the 4 days, potentially AA meetings, and potentially more than 10 to 15 days, double, something to that extent to stay out of jail. For what it's worth, it is possible, but it's tough. It's real tough.
The fine is around the same. It's around $2,500.
The DUI school is different. This is where you're going to be looking at what's called the SB38 Program. The SB38 Program is an 18-month program. The first 12 months are just like the first offender program where you're going to be doing at least once, twice a week. After the first 12 months, you're going to be doing a once a month. Really, the first 12 months is really the most intrusive in your life. After that, you're still in the program, but it's nowhere near as a pain for people to complete.
Probation, still informal probation; this is not a felony offense. Second offense DUI and first offense DUI are both misdemeanors. On felonies, you get formal probation where you get a probation officer and drug testing. You have to check in. This is still a misdemeanor, so you don't. Instead of three years, it's going to be for four years. The same term applies.
They're going to require number five again. I don't have it there, but number five is the IID once again, and that's going to be for 12 months.
Now, as much as people don't like having to get a breathalyzer in their vehicle, on a second offense DUI it actually can benefit you because, on the second offense DUI, you're looking at a two-year driver's license suspension. Under the old law, you were eligible — before these IID requirements came out, you were eligible for a restricted license after a year. By restricted, I mean to and from the DUI school and to/from/during work.
Now, under the new law, you're eligible for a restricted license after 90 days. That is assuming you have the breathalyzer in your vehicle. You could actually a restricted earlier. Another benefit of the IID is it's not limited to work or the DUI school. You could drive anywhere. The restriction is limited to the IID. You can drive wherever you want as long as you have a breathalyzer in the vehicle. As much as people get angry about the requirement, it can actually benefit you in the long run.
That's what you're looking at on the second DUI, and a first DUI. You're looking at basically the same. It's obviously more extreme on the second DUI: time, fine, DUI school, and informal probation. Time: They're going to want the four days in custody, but it's not necessarily set in stone.
As far as reductions, I'm going to go over this briefly, but there's something called a wet reckless. That is a reduced charge. It's a reckless driving, alcohol related. It's still a misdemeanor. It still counts as a prior DUI if ever receive another DUI, but it does normally come with less significant consequences. Generally, the employment factor of it: You can put on any job application reckless driving as opposed to a DUI, which obviously a lot of individuals are interested in.
Now, you can still get a wet on a second. Just because it's not your first doesn't mean you can't get a wet. It can be more difficult.
Here's what they look at with a wet: a low blood alcohol, ideally 0.10 and under, sometimes even a 0.09 or under, but none of that is really set in stone. These are, once again, just based on my experience. I've got wet recklesses on higher blood alcohol amounts than that, and I've been told that we're not willing to give it on lower. A lot of it just depends on the facts and circumstances of your case, but they're going to look at your blood alcohol level.
They're going to look at your driving. Were you driving okay, or were you all over the road? If you're pulled over for, you know, you were at a sobriety checkpoint or a crack in your windshield, something independent of driving, you're looking good. That's definitely a factor in your favor if you want to get a wet reckless.
Then you can get it on a second. You can get it on a third. You can get it on a fourth, in theory. But, generally, they're looking at the overall character of the individual. A lack of a criminal record really helps.
If you're on a first offense DUI, it's normally, in my experience, easier to get a wet reckless, especially if not only it's a first offense DUI, but you have no criminal record whatsoever. By criminal, I mean misdemeanor or higher, not stop sign or speeding ticket, any kind of infraction. Military experience, school, work, involvement in the community, church, anything that shows you have excellent character will help you to obtain a wet reckless.
Now here's something unique with Sacramento County. They don't do this in Placer County. They don't do this in Yolo County, at least not in my experience. It's something called a Helmandollar. A Helmandollar was the name of a case in California. The principle from the Helmandollar case is that if you're found not guilty of a DUI, then the DMV cannot take your driver's license.
Now, there's a big distinction between a dismissal and an acquittal – being found not guilty. On a dismissal, they still can. If you get your DUI dismissed in court, then you can still lose your driver's license. You have to win the DMV hearing in order to keep it.
In my experience, if you get the DUI dismissed in court, you should have at least a chance to win the DMV hearing. It's not a guarantee, but that's where the DMV hearing really comes into play because a lot of times I've had cases dismissed in court, and then you still have to deal with the DMV hearing. If you lose the DMV hearing, it's just like, for the DMV purposes, you're still going to have to do the school. It's just like being convicted of a DUI, for the most part.
But with the Helmandollar, a Helmandollar, as I said, was a case. In Sacramento County, there's an actual form in court in Department 3 and Department 4 that is called the Helmandollar Form. In Sacramento County, the district attorneys will negotiate what's called a Helmandollar, meaning that you don't have to do the DUI school. It's basically they're giving you what's called an acquittal. They're finding your client not guilty of a DUI through the court. Procedurally, it's a little difficult to explain, but the bottom result is that it's like being found not guilty of a DUI.
First, you've got to get it knocked down to a wet reckless. Then you get it knocked down to a wet reckless and, as I stated before, then it would be left up to the DMV hearing. But with the Helmandollar, you don't have to worry about the DMV hearing. It's like being found not guilty on the DUI, so it overrides the DMV hearing.
What that basically means that if you can obtain the Helmandollar and a wet reckless, first you've got to get the wet reckless, then you've got be able to negotiate the Helmandollar, you don't lose your license at all, basically. You will not have to do the DUI school. For commercial drivers or people in sales that drive on a regular basis, any individual that their driver's license is of utmost importance, a wet reckless with a Helmandollar, other than just a full blown acquittal at a jury trial or a bench trial, is a really good option.
Keep in mind, if you set the hearing within ten days, you stay the license suspension pending the outcome of the hearing, and the hearing is delayed while court is going on and you're in court attempting to obtain a Helmandollar, that hearing can be delayed for multiple reasons. The DMV will request a continuance many times. Sometimes I will have to request a continuance, or whoever your attorney is, if I have a court conflict or there's still discovery we have not obtained.
In theory, the ideal is that you're driving while court is going on. Your livelihood stays the same. And you can obtain a Helmandollar and never lose your license at all. Especially for commercial drivers, that's a big goal.
That's basically what's going on. There are ways to beat these cases. There are ways to suppress the breathalyzer. There are ways to suppress the blood tests. That's a whole different video. These sentences here and these negotiations are based on if you're not necessarily going to trial or you have a case where you're just going to negotiate it in court and do damage control.
For more information on actually how you beat these cases and how you suppress the breathalyzer from being entered into evidence or the blood test, you can call me or a lot of attorneys. They'll offer free consultations. I offer free confidential consultations.
Michael Rehm, that's my name. (916) 233-7346. You can call any time. I'm probably not going to answer at any time, but that's the business line. If I don't answer, just leave a voicemail with a good time to get back to you, and I will get back to you.
In summary, you've got to set the DMV hearing. You only have ten days from the date of the arrest, and that's what gets most people because a lot of people, they get arrested and they're mentally kind of down on themselves that it takes about ten days before they get out of the depression of the whole thing. By that time it's too late, at least to set the hearing.
You can, sometimes, get a late hearing request, but you're going to have to have grounds. For the most part, set the hearing within the ten days. If you're going to hire an attorney, I'll do it for you. Any attorney will do it for you, but if you're not – ten days.
This is what you're looking at on a first and second: time, which should be, as I stated on a first, it's going to be the work project or the ankle monitoring. On a second, they're going to want four days in custody, but that's not set in stone. The odds are high of receiving it if you're convicted, but it's not set in stone.
You're looking at a fine. You're looking at the DUI school. You're looking at informal probation. And you're looking at the breathalyzer in the vehicle.
Sacramento County, as far as plea-bargaining goes, there's not a lot of counties that do the Helmandollar, so take advantage of it. If you can obtain this, it's well worth the money in retention of an attorney.
I wish you luck. If you have any questions, call me.