FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

Why do I need an attorney for my DUI matter?
The most obvious reason is a lawyer is trained in the law. You would not want to rebuild your car’s engine if you are not a mechanic, would you? It would be a very time consuming, tedious process to educate yourself on the car’s engine and how to properly rebuild it. And, after you spent all that time and energy, you would not know if you did it right until you turned the key. You don’t want to resolve your case and wonder if you had mitigating issues to raise that could have lead to either a reduced charge or even a dismissal. Get help! Call The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman and find out how we can help you today.

I was arrested for drunk driving and I am interested in hiring a lawyer. I have not done this before. Can you explain the process?
The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman offers a free telephone consultation. During that call, you will speak directly to Susan Hartman, not a receptionist or a salesperson. The DMV and court process and general information about drunk driving matters will be explained. To retain our firm, you do not need to come into the office for an appointment. Everything can be done over the phone, email, fax, and snail mail. However, if you prefer, office appointments can be scheduled.

After my arrest, I got a temporary driver’s license that says I can drive for 30 days from the date of my arrest, then my license will be suspended. How can I save my license?
You must contact the DMV within 10 days of the date of arrest to request a hearing to challenge the suspension; otherwise, you will lose your driving privilege after 30 days. If you retain The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman, we will request the hearing for you and prepare and conduct the hearing. In most cases, the hearing can be done without your presence, saving you money and missed time at work.

My license was suspended for thirty days and now I need an SR-22 to get a restricted driver’s license. Do I have to report the arrest to my insurance company to get the SR-22?
No. The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman refer clients to insurance companies that specialize in insuring people with DUI’s on their record. Contact us before you contact your own insurance company for more information.

What happens if my license is from out-of-state?
Law enforcement will not take your physical license because they lack authority to do so. However, you are still subject to the process as any other driver with a California license. Your privilege to drive in California will be suspended 30 days after your arrest if you do not contact the DMV to request a hearing to challenge the suspension. In addition, the California DMV will often send the suspension information to your home licensing state and they too may take action on your license. For more information about out-of-state driver’s license issues, contact The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman today.

Will I have to serve time in jail?
The short answer is, it depends. It depends on your prior drunk driving convictions, other criminal history, and the facts of this new case. However, if jail time is required, The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman will negotiate with the prosecutor to get alternative sentencing such as home confinement, public work service, and community service. Our goal is to keep our clients out of jail whenever possible. Call us today to discuss the potential penalties for your particular case.

Do I have to go to the DMV hearing or to court?
Most misdemeanor driving under the influence cases can be handled by The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman without you appearing at the DMV hearing or in court. However, if you are charged with a felony, you are required to appear in court. If you have to appear, we will be there with you to guide and counsel you through the process. You will not be alone.

Why have I been charged with two counts of drunk driving?
There are two DUI statutes in California that are charged most often. Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) is the statute that deals with driving while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, a drug, or both. The (a) count is charged in illegal and prescription drug cases along with straight alcohol cases when the blood-alcohol content is below .08%. It is also used in cases where both alcohol and drugs were consumed. Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) is the statute that deals with having a blood-alcohol content at or above a .08%. Most often both the (a) and the (b) count are charged together.

I know I was drinking before I drove and I was probably even under the influence. Should I just plead guilty?
Absolutely not! Regardless of your blood-alcohol content (BAC), there may be defenses in your case that can lead to reduced charges or even a dismissal! The officer needed to have reasonable suspicion that a crime was occurring to make contact with you and probable cause to arrest. In addition, there may be mechanical issues with the blood or breath test machines or medical reasons why the results were higher than expected. The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman will review the discovery, looking for issues to challenge the State’s case, negotiate with the prosecutor to get the best result, and file motions and conduct a trial when it is in your best interest.

I am done with the terms of my probation. Can I ask the court to terminate my probation early and then get my case expunged?
If you have paid all your fines and fees, completed all the classes you were ordered to do, and you have not been charged with another crime, you can petition the court for an early termination of your probation. If the petition is granted, or after you have successfully completed probation, you can request an expungement. The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman can advise you if you qualify for an early termination of probation and/or expungement. We also can assist with filing the petition with the court and attend the hearings on your behalf. Often this can be done without your appearance in court.