Frequently Asked Questions About a California DUI Arrest


Q: I was Just Arrested in Monterey or Santa Cruz County for DUI. What Happens Now?

Time is of the essence.  To preserve your right to drive, you must request a DMV hearing within 10 days of the arrest.  We can do this for you.  If your license is suspended, DO NOT DRIVE.   Driving on a suspended license is a misdemeanor and may result in jail time.  The first thing you should do is to contact an experienced Monterey DUI lawyer or Santa Cruz DUI attorney.

Q: I was drinking and driving and they have a breath test that is over the limit.  What's the point of getting a lawyer?

The District Attorney's office needs to be able to prove its case against you beyond a reasonable doubt.  There are countless potential defenses to DUI charges.  No technology is perfect, including the government's breath and blood testing devices.  We have won numerous cases with very high alcohol levels.  Hiring an experienced DUI attorney can potentially result in reduced penalties or reduced or dismissed charges.

Q: Are the Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) Mandatory?

No. Unless you are on probation for a DUI, or other charge that requires you to perform FSTs, you are NOT required to perform field sobriety tests.  And, we always advise our clients not to perform them.  No matter how well you do on them, if you have alcohol or drugs in your system, the police will often skew the results to reflect a poor performance.  Moreover, police almost never demonstrate or explain these tests properly which makes it more likely that they will arrest you and try to use your performance on the tests against you in court. (read more about refusing FSTs)

Q Do I Have to Take the Pre-Arrest Breath Test?

No.  Unless you are under 21 or you are on probation for DUI or other charge that requires you to do so, you are never required to take the pre-arrest breath test (preliminary alcohol screening PAS).  We always tell our clients not to perform this test.  It only gives the police and the district attorney more evidence against you in court.  If the cop does arrest you, then you must take a chemical test of your blood or breath.  Typically, blood is preferred. (read more about refusing the PAS)

Q: I Refused to Take a Breath or Blood Test; What happens Now?

Under California's implied consent law, anyone who is lawfully arrested for DUI is required to take a chemical test of their breath or blood.  If the police officer who arrested you properly advised you of the consequences for DUI refusal or refusing to take and blood or breath test, then you are facing much more serious consequences at court and at DMV.  Depending on how many prior DUIs you have you face losing your license for anywhere from one to three years.  You also face mandatory jail time and longer DUI school

However, there are many legal issues Mr. Crawford can delve into to avoid these consequences.  So, don't lose hope.

Q: What Does "Priorable"  or "Priorability" Mean?

 A: If you are convicted of a DUI, that conviction is "priorable" for ten years.  This means that if you are arrested for another DUI within ten years of the first arrest date, the district attorney will charge you with a second offense DUI and you will face more serious penalties in that new case.  Our Monterey/Salinas DUI attorneys will explain that you face losing your license for a year but you can get a restricted license after a 90-day no-drive period (if you are still on probation for the prior offense).  You also face a longer jail sentence, which we can most always avoid, imposition of an ignition interlock device, an approximately $2,000.00 fine and a five year probationary period. 

Q: If I hire an attorney, does that mean I have to go to trial?

A: No. The vast majority of DUI cases do not go to trial.  Our goal is to reduce the impact of the arrest on you.  We work to get charges reduced or dismissed entirely, and to minimize the penalties. We do this by finding every weakness in the prosecutor's case against you.   Ultimately, the final decision on whether to go to trial is made by you, with our advice and counsel.

Q: Will I lose my commercial license?

A: This is a very serious issue for many people.  If this is your first DUI charge, you face losing your commercial license for a year.   If you have a prior conviction for DUI, you face losing your commercial license FOREVER. If you depend on your commercial license for your livelihood, please consult with an experienced attorney who is ready to FIGHT for you at court and at the DMV.

If you have been arrested for DUI, the most important thing you can do is to consult with an experienced DUI attorney TODAY.  Call The Crawford Law Firm, Inc. for a free consultation at (831) 783-0222.

Q: What is an SR22 insurance policy?

A: An SR22 is a "certificate of financial responsibility" that you are required to carry for three years if you are convicted of a DUI or you lose your DMV case.  You must have this on file in order to obtain your restricted driver's license along with proof of enrollment in DUI school (if required in your case).

Q: When do I need to obtain an SR22 in California?

A: We understand that some people who have recently been arrested for DUI are receiving scam calls from companies trying to sell them SR22 policies.  You DO NOT need an SR22 immediately after being arrested.  You only need to purchase an SR22 if you have been convicted of a DUI or you lose your Administrative Per Se DMV hearing.   Check here for SR22 pricing.

Top-Rated, Award-Winning Criminal Defense Attorneys


The Crawford Law Firm has been committed to its clients for over fourteen years. With offices in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Salinas, CA, our focus is DUI and criminal cases in Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara counties.

Free consultations are by appointment and we here to ease your mind and fight for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.