Whittier DUI/DWI Attorney

Defending Clients Facing DUI/DWI Charges in Pico Rivera, Montebello, La Mirada, & La Habra

If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI in California, it is crucial to understand the seriousness of your charges. A conviction can have long-term consequences on your life, including fines, jail time, and a criminal record. 

That is why seeking legal representation from an experienced DUI/DWI attorney who can guide you through the legal process and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case is essential at the Law Office of J. David Munoz, we have years of experience defending clients against DUI/DWI charges in California. 

We understand the complexities of California DUI/DWI laws and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and freedoms.  

Are you facing a DUI/DWI charge in California? Call Law Office Of J. David Munoz today at (562) 362-4078 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with our DUI/DWI lawyer in Whittier! 

What Is the Difference Between a DUI And a DWI?

The terms DUI and DWI both refer to charges related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but their specific meanings can vary depending on the state or jurisdiction. In some places, DUI and DWI may be used interchangeably, while in others, they may have distinct definitions. Here are some general differences between the two:


  • DUI stands for "Driving Under the Influence."
  • In some jurisdictions, DUI is used to refer to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, regardless of the level of impairment.
  • In other jurisdictions, DUI may specifically refer to driving under the influence of alcohol, with separate charges for driving under the influence of drugs.


  • DWI stands for "Driving While Intoxicated" or "Driving While Impaired."
  • In some jurisdictions, DWI is used to refer to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, typically when the driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above a certain legal limit.
  • In other jurisdictions, DWI may specifically refer to driving under the influence of alcohol, while DUI is used for driving under the influence of drugs.

It's important to note that the specific definitions of DUI and DWI can vary significantly from state to state and even within different local jurisdictions. In some states, both terms may be used, with each carrying its own specific legal meaning and consequences. Additionally, the legal BAC limit for determining impairment can vary by jurisdiction.

If you are facing charges related to DUI or DWI, it's important to consult with a qualified attorney who is familiar with the laws in your area to understand the specific implications of the charges against you and to receive appropriate legal advice and representation.

California DUI Laws

In California, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. For commercial drivers, the BAC limit is lower, at 0.04%. For drivers under 21, the BAC limit is even lower, at 0.01%. It is also illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol.

What are the Penalties for a DUI/DWI in California? 

In California, the penalties for a DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated) can be severe, especially if it is not your first offense. Here is a general overview of the penalties:

First offense

  • A minimum of 4 days in jail (up to 6 months)
  • Fines of $390-$1,000, plus additional penalties and fees
  • License suspension for four months (up to 1 year)
  • Completion of a 3- or 9-month alcohol education program

Second offense

  • A minimum of 10 days in jail (up to 1 year)
  • Fines of $390-$1,000, plus additional penalties and fees
  • License suspension for two years
  • Completion of an 18- or 30-month alcohol education program

Third offense

  • A minimum of 120 days in jail (up to 1 year)
  • Fines of $390-$1,000, plus additional penalties and fees
  • License revocation for three years
  • Completion of an 18-month alcohol education program

In addition to these penalties, there may also be a mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), which requires a driver to blow into a breathalyzer before starting the vehicle. The penalties can also be increased if an accident, injury, or other aggravating factors occur.

It's important to note that these are general guidelines, and the specific penalties can vary depending on the case's circumstances and the judge's discretion. 

Is a DUI/DWI a Felony in California?

In most cases, a DUI/DWI is not considered a felony in California unless it involves aggravating circumstances, such as causing injury or death to another person.

A first or second DUI/DWI offense in California is typically considered a misdemeanor. However, if a driver has three or more prior DUI/DWI convictions within the past ten years, or if their DUI/DWI caused injury to another person, the offense can be charged as a felony.

A DUI/DWI with aggravating circumstances, such as causing injury or death, can result in felony charges regardless of the number of prior DUI/DWI convictions. The severity of the penalties for a DUI/DWI felony conviction can be much greater than for a misdemeanor conviction, including longer jail or prison sentences and more significant fines.

Common Defenses Against Drunk Driving Charges

There are several defenses against DUI/DWI charges in California, and the specific defense strategy will depend on the case's individual circumstances. Here are some common defenses that may be used:

  • Lack of probable cause: Law enforcement must have a valid reason for pulling you over in the first place. If they did not have probable cause to stop you, any evidence gathered during the stop may be inadmissible in court.
  • Improper administration of tests: The breathalyzer or blood test used to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC) must be administered correctly to produce accurate results. If there was a mistake or error in the administration of the test, the results may be challenged in court.
  • Rising blood alcohol level: Your BAC may have been below the legal limit at the stop but rose above the limit later due to the absorption of alcohol in your system. This defense can be used if there is a significant amount of time between when you were pulled over and when the chemical test was administered.
  • Medical conditions: Certain conditions can cause false positive results on the breathalyzer or blood tests. If you have a medical condition that could have affected the test results, this can be used as a defense.
  • Unlawful detention: If you were held in police custody longer than is legally allowed, your defense attorney may be able to get any evidence gathered during that time suppressed.
  • Lack of intent: You may be able to argue that you did not have the intent to drive while under the influence, such as if you were forced to drive due to an emergency or if you had consumed alcohol without realizing the effects it would have on you.

It's important to note that every case is different, and the defense strategy will depend on the case's specific circumstances. Our firm will strive to get you the respect you deserve and the results you desire.

What to do if you have been pulled over for drunk driving 

If you are ever pulled over by the police on suspicion of drunk driving, there are several ways you can help yourself:

  • Remain calm and be polite: If you are nervous, police officers may think that you are hiding something or are intoxicated.
  • Don’t allow a search without a warrant: Any evidence police find in your car can be used to support a DUI conviction.
  • Take the sobriety test: Refusing to take a test may make an officer more suspicious and lead to an arrest. The results of a test can always be challenged later.
  • Get a blood test after release: It’s a good idea to measure your BAC with a blood test after arrest. At trial, your attorney may use that evidence to raise possible defenses.

Contact Our Whittier DUI/DWI Lawyer Today

If you are facing DUI/DWI charges, it's essential to consult with an attorney who understands the complex laws and procedures involved in these cases. Our Whittier DUI/DWI attorney can help you navigate the legal process, protect your rights, and work towards the best possible outcome for your case. Don't hesitate to seek legal representation if facing DUI/DWI charges in California! 

Contact the Law Office of J. David Munoz today to schedule a FREE consultation with our DUI/DWI attorney in Whittier!


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