DUI Defense Attorney California

DUI or driving under the influence of alcohol, recreational, or even prescription drugs is a very serious matter in California. You can be prosecuted for a DUI even if your blood alcohol measures under the legal limit (.08%). Further, you risk jail time and complete loss of your driving privileges.  Being charged with a DUI — whether it is a first offense or an accident DUI — can change your life as you know it.

DUI law is a specialized, technical area of law that requires skill, dedication, and expertise. At the Law Office of Nicole Irmer, we have handled countless DUI criminal cases and administrative hearings for our clients. We have represented clients charged with a first-time DUI to felony vehicular manslaughter involving alcohol and/or drugs.  For more information regarding your DUI charge, please contact our office.


If you are 21 years of age or older, if convicted of a first DUI offense, in addition to any DMV action, you are potentially facing the following criminal court sentence:

  • Five years of informal or “summary” probation. There is no probation officer involved; you are on probation to the court. You are ordered not to violate any laws (except for minor traffic violations) for five years.
  • A fine of approximately $2,000.00 and you will have plenty of time to pay it.
  • A drinking-driver program. You must attend weekly sessions of approximately three hours each. Classes range from three to nine months, depending on your blood alcohol level of greater than .08%.
  • Public Work Service if the Court finds appropriate.


The legal limit for drivers under 21 is .01%. If you are under 21 years of age, you will face all of the penalties above, in addition to a mandatory loss of license of one year. If you are younger than 18, a juvenile judge may add additional requirements to your sentence, such as imposition of curfew, mandatory employment, and maintenance of a certain grade point average.

A lawyer with experience handling DUI matters can make a major difference in the outcome of most cases. At the Law Office of Nicole Irmer, Nicole is highly skilled and experienced in handling matters that involve first-time offenders and underage drinking and driving juveniles.


For a second DUI offense, if you are convicted, you are facing all of the criminal penalties, in addition to a minimum mandatory sentence of 96 hours of custody. The court may order up to 1 year of additional jail time. Further, you will lose your driving privileges for 1 year.
 For a third DUI offense conviction, you are facing a minimum mandatory sentence of 120 days in custody.  The court may order up to 1 year of jail time if appropriate.

At the Law Office of Nicole Irmer, we have had success challenging prior convictions to reduce the consequences our clients were facing. In addition, under certain circumstances, there may be alternatives to how custody is served. Contact our office to discuss a legitimate and effective defense strategy for your DUI case.


In California, there are three ways that a DUI can be treated as a felony:

  • First, 4 or more DUI offense convictions within 10 years can be charged as a felony.
  • Second, if you are the driver involved in a DUI where there is a death or serious bodily injury to your passenger, a pedestrian, or occupants of another car, you could be charged with a felony DUI.
  • Third, once you have a conviction for a felony DUI, any later conviction will also be a felony.

The court procedures in a felony DUI case are different from those in a misdemeanor case in several very significant respects, and as a general rule, the client must be present in court at all stages of the proceedings. With state prison as a possible direct consequence of a felony DUI conviction, the stakes involved are incredibly high. 

There are several important variables involved that can have a significant impact on the outcome of the case. What is at stake could range widely from five days in jail, or a non-custodial alternative, to state prison for three or more years, depending upon the facts of the case.  If you are facing a felony DUI, you must contact our office to discuss a legitimate and effective defense strategy for your felony DUI matter.

Is It Possible to Defend Against a DUI Charge?

When you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, it is easy to feel hopeless. If the prosecutor offers you a plea deal, you may feel as though you have no choice but to accept it and plead guilty. Before doing so, however, you should consult with a California DUI defense attorney.

There are many potential defenses to a DUI charge. For example, the police may have stopped you illegally. Law enforcement must have probable cause to make a stop, which means that they have a reasonable suspicion or belief that you are engaged in criminal activity. If an officer did not have probable cause to stop you, then your DUI defense lawyer may be able to have the evidence against you tossed out – and the charges dismissed.

In many situations, the chemical breath tests that police officers and prosecutors rely on are faulty. There may even be a false positive triggered by something like a medical condition or your diet. For example, if you have diabetes or are on a keto diet, your body produces ketones – which can be mistaken for alcohol with DUI breath testing machines.

Sometimes, so-called objective signs of intoxication that a police officer observes are also incorrect. Field sobriety tests were designed to be administered in ideal conditions – such as on a flat surface, or in good weather – and taken by a person without underlying medical conditions. Any number of issues, such as having a prior surgery, can result in a law enforcement officer claiming that you were unsteady on your feet or that you couldn’t complete the tests appropriately.

There are numerous potential factual and legal defenses to DUI charges. The important thing is to not simply accept that you will be convicted and any consequences that may follow. You can and should defend yourself against driving under the influence charges with the help of an experienced California defense lawyer.

DUI convictions can lead to jail time and significant financial penalties. They can also have collateral consequences, such as losing a professional license and increased car insurance premiums. It can also make life incredibly difficult as you try to navigate getting to school, work, or even the grocery store without the ability to drive.

If you have been charged with a DUI, know that you have options. A skilled criminal defense lawyer will analyze the facts of your case and put together a strong factual and/or legal defense. In many cases, they will be able to negotiate a favorable plea deal. If they can’t, they will take the case to trial to ask a jury to return a not-guilty verdict.

How Our Law Firm Can Help

DUI charges are incredibly serious. Depending on the type of charge and your record, it could result in jail or prison time. You should not talk to the police, sign any documents, or accept a plea agreement until you have had a chance to consult with a CA DUI defense attorney.

The Law Offices of Nicole Irmer represent individuals who have been charged with DUI and other criminal charges in California. We offer zealous, compassionate legal representation, to help our clients achieve the best possible outcome. To schedule a consultation with a California DUI defense lawyer, call us at (619) 237-6130 or contact us online.