DUI / Drunk Driving

DUI/driving under the influence is a serious matter that needs the immediate attention of a skilled and experienced attorney. Whether this is your first offense, or you have been charged with DWI/driving while impaired in the past, you could lose your driver's license, pay a heavy fine or even go to jail.

San Mateo DUI Defense Lawyer — Zealously Fighting for Your Rights

I am DUI defense attorney Philip Barnett of San Mateo, California. Since I opened my law firm in 1972, I have exclusively practiced in the area of criminal defense. In over 35 years of criminal law practice, I have represented hundreds of clients charged with drunk driving. I know how concerned you and your family members are about what will happen next. Contact me for a free consultation, and I will explain the process and how I can help protect your rights, your freedom and your license to drive.

What You Can Expect if You Have Been Charged With Drunk Driving

When you are charged with a DUI, two steps are involved:

  • Within 10 days of your DUI arrest, you must challenge the suspension of your driver's license by requesting a DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) hearing.
  • You must prepare to defend against the DUI charge in court.

Step 1: The DMV License Suspension Hearing

Hire a qualified and experienced DUI defense attorney immediately after you have been arrested for drunk driving, because a DMV hearing must be requested within 10 days of your arrest. The law offices of Philip S. Barnett will schedule a hearing to challenge the suspension of your driver's license. As your DUI attorney, I evaluate the circumstances surrounding your arrest. I am prepared to investigate whether you were subject to an illegal arrest and whether the DMV can prove you had a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. In some cases, we may rely on the assistance of a toxicologist to offer expert testimony at the DMV hearing.

If you win your challenge, your license will not be suspended. Even if your license is not suspended, however, it doesn't mean that the criminal DUI charges against you will be dropped. You must still defend yourself against the actual charge of driving drunk.

Step 2: The DUI Charge in Court

If you have a misdemeanor DUI, I will appear in court on your behalf, so you do not have to miss time away from your job. In many cases, I can resolve the DUI charge without a jury trial by pursuing a dismissal of your case, or reduction to a lesser charge. I will challenge the prosecution's case based on whether the arresting officer had reasonable cause to stop your car, or if maintenance records reveal that the Breathalyzer unit may have been inaccurate.

In cases where there is a provable case against you, my strategy is to minimize the sentence and avoid jail time. Sometimes the evidence must be challenged, and we must consider taking the case to trial. I have more than 35 years of trial experience, involving hundreds of cases.

Act Quickly if You Have Been Charged With DUI

If you or a family member has been charged with DUI or felony DUI, acting quickly to hire a qualified and skilled DUI defense lawyer is your best legal decision. Contact my office in San Mateo, California, for a free consultation right away.