Call Us831-426-5800

Call Us831-566-4357

303 Potrero Street, Suite 30
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

california drivers license reinstatement lawyerWhen one is convicted of violating Vehicle Code section 23152(a) or 23152(b), or loses the DMV hearing related to a DUI arrest, a license suspension follows. Reinstating the license often involves showing DMV proof of enrollment in DUI classes, an SR-22 (a special certificate of insurance), and an IID (ignition interlock device). In their wisdom, DMV requires that the SR-22 and the proof of enrollment in DUI classes be submitted electronically from the folks who provide those things. Proof of IID, however, is done by showing a written certificate.  Once the driver has corralled all of these, they go to DMV, pay a reissue fee (not a small sum, could be as much as $250.00), and get their license reinstated. Seems easy, right?

Common pitfalls include: waiting to get into the DUI class and finding out they have a waitlist of a month or more to get enrolled, an insurance company that insists that they have sent the SR-22 to DMV when in fact this has not been done successfully, and the IID certificate not being 100% correct in the detail on the form (driver’s license number, date of install, license plate number, etc). One should always double-check all of these to make sure they are in place and in place correctly before heading down to the DMV to reinstate their license. It is frustratingly common to have DMV turn a driver away because of some failure to do the above correctly. 



santa cruz dui defense lawyerWe’ve all seen TV shows and movies depicting people undergoing roadside sobriety testing; some of us have personally witnessed it. What are they doing? Is it scientific? Does it show whether one is under the influence of alcohol?

I’ve been handling DUI cases for over 30 years. In my opinion, these tests show whether a person can balance and whether one can multi-task. That’s it. What if a person does not do the tests perfectly? Sometimes this is obviously due to being drunk. Other times it is a person who has poor balance, or who has trouble multi-tasking in an anxiety-ridden roadside encounter with an officer who may just take them to jail. 



Santa Cruz, CA criminal defense attorney misdemeanor

On January 1, 2021, California Penal Code section 1001.95 became effective. Referred to as “misdemeanor diversion,” this new law allows a judge to grant diversion to a defendant even over the prosecutor’s objection. It is called a diversion because the criminal case is diverted from prosecution, and it reads as follows:

(a) A judge in the superior court in which a misdemeanor is being prosecuted may, at the judge’s discretion, and over the objection of a prosecuting attorney, offer diversion to a defendant pursuant to these provisions.


The Department of Motor Vehicles will reopen all of its field offices on Thursday, easing the angst of thousands of drivers with expired licenses who have been unable to schedule appointments because of overloaded phone lines or closed offices.

All 169 field offices, opening for the first time since they were shut down at the end of March to prevent the spread of COVID-19, will be able to assist those with current appointments at a specific office and limited transactions that require an in-person visit.

“Fantastic,” said Cathy Meadows of San Jose, whose license expired May 8. “I still need to drive, at least, to and from the grocery store.”


Santa Cruz criminal defense attorney public defenderIn California, when you are charged with a crime, you are entitled to have an attorney represent you in court. This can be a retained (hired) attorney, one whom you pay to go to court (and DMV) for you and help you wind your way through an often confusing situation. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, you are not at all out of luck. The system provides criminal defense attorneys to help folks who cannot afford to hire private counsel, known as public defenders. Here in Santa Cruz, the public defenders are outstanding advocates for their clients. One often hears negative comments about public defenders in general - “just a government attorney,” “public pretender,” and “just another part of the system.” I can’t speak to areas where I don’t practice, but I can speak to the system in Santa Cruz, as I’ve been involved in it for over 30 years. The public defenders here are dedicated, intelligent, hard-working attorneys who zealously represent their clients. In short: they are outstanding attorneys. 

To see if you qualify for a public defender, you can go to court on your arraignment date and wait until the judge calls your case. You can request the judge appoint a public defender. Typically, a judge will either ask you to fill out a financial form, or he or she could simply question you about your financial situation. The judge then makes a determination as to whether you could afford to retain a private attorney. If the judge thinks you can afford to do so, he or she will give you time to hire an attorney. If the judge believes you cannot afford to hire a private attorney, a public defender will be appointed right then and there. There are public defenders staffing all of the criminal courtroom departments in Santa Cruz. If the judge appoints a public defender to represent you here in Santa Cruz, you are quite likely getting not just good, but extremely good representation.

One note for DUI offenders: your court date is usually 30 or more days after arrest, and the way our system is currently set up, you cannot apply for a public defender until you get to court. Meanwhile, there is usually a separate administrative action (separate from the court case) at DMV that started upon your arrest. If you don’t call DMV within 10 days of your arrest to set up an administrative hearing, DMV will automatically suspend your license. If you want to challenge the suspension of your license by DMV, you will need to make that call yourself (or have a lawyer do so) within those 10 days. The correct DMV number for a Santa Cruz DUI case is ironically a San Jose number: 408-229-7100. The hearing the DMV sets up is separate from the court date, and will likely be after the court date.

Back to Top