June 18, 2010 By Wallin & Klarich

It was recently reported by TMZ that Soprano’s star, Joseph Gannascoli was arrested early Friday morning and charged with drunk driving. Gannascoli was arrested after officers claimed they observed him making a wide right turn and then drifting between lanes. After the officers stopped Gannascoli, they noticed that he had bloodshot eyes, smelled of alcohol, and slurred his speech. The actor submitted to a field sobriety test and blew a .111. Gannascoli posted $500 bond and was released.

California Vehicle Code Section 23152a prohibits driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or both regardless of your blood alcohol level. However, if your blood alcohol level is 0.08 percent or more it is automatically illegal. If you are driving a commercial vehicle, your blood alcohol level cannot exceed 0.04 percent. It is important to note that even if your blood alcohol level is under 0.08 percent, you may still be charged with a DUI if your mental or physical abilities are so impaired by drugs or alcohol that you are no longer able to drive a vehicle with the same caution as a sober person using ordinary care under similar circumstances. The numbers are merely a guideline.

In California, if you have been arrested for a DUI you will have to go to court, and you will also likely face a DMV hearing. You have ten days from your arrest to request a DMV hearing, or your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for four months if it is your first offense. If you are convicted for a DUI your driving privileges will be suspended for six months.

On a first offense, if you are convicted you could be imprisoned in the county jail for 96 hours up to six months, and you will have to pay a fine of $390 up to $1,000. It is extremely important to note that the more convictions you acquire, the higher your penalty will be. If you have been convicted of four or more DUI offense, you could be charged with a felony meaning that you could serve time in a state prison and face much higher fines.

Sentencing practices for DUI charges vary widely depending upon the specific court your case is pending in, as well as the number of prior DUI offenses you have. Some courts demand jail time on a first DUI offense. In other courts you can avoid mandatory jail time and do community work service and complete Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. The list goes on and on with potential punishments.

It is very important when you first get arrested for a DUI that you immediately contact our law firm. We can meet with you and contact the DMV on your behalf to demand a DMV hearing be set. Once we do that this will preserve your driving privilege, meaning that you will be able to continue to legally drive pending the outcome of the DMV hearing. Our defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience taking on cases just like yours. We will look at the particular facts of your case to determine the best defense strategy that is available to you. Call us today at 888-749-0034 or visit us online at www.wklaw.com. We will be here when you call.

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