Sacramento Cannabis, DUI & Criminal Defense FAQ

General FAQ

Whether or not you will have to do in-custody time after being convicted of a crime in Sacramento depends on a couple different factors:

  • Are you charged with a misdemeanor or felony?
  • What crime are you charged with?
  • Do you have a criminal record?
  • Have you successfully completed the Sheriff’s alternative sentencing program in the past?

In many circumstances, the “time” that you are sentenced to can be done out of custody through one of the Sheriff's alternative sentencing programs.

The District Attorney charges both VC 23152(a) and (b) for non-injury cases, and VC 23153(a) and (b) for injury cases. To be found guilty of VC 23152(a) or VC 23153(a), the District Attorney must prove that you could not drive with the caution of a sober person due to your level of intoxication. To be found guilty of VC 23152(a) or VC 23153(b), the District Attorney must prove that you drove with a BAC of at or above a .08%.

It is standard operating procedure for both Vehicle Code sections to be charged, so do not be alarmed. You can only be punished for one of the charges, not both.

A DUI is charged as a felony if you injure a passenger(s), or someone in another car, while driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. You can also be charged with a felony DUI if you have a previous felony conviction.

You have 10 days from the date you are arrested to request a DMV hearing to determine if the DMV will administratively suspend your license. If you do not request a DMV hearing within 10 days, your license will automatically be suspended 30 days from the date of arrest.

To request a DMV hearing, give the Sacramento Driver’s Safety Office at 916-227-2970. When you call, have the following information handy:

  • Driver’s License Number
  • Date of Arrest
  • Arresting Agency
  • Arresting Officer’s Name and Badge Number
  • Whether or not you performed a Breath or Blood Test

After providing DMV the above information, you will want to request:

  • DMV Administrative Per Se Hearing (“APS Hearing”)
  • Stay on any license suspension
  • Discovery (i.e. all the police reports) sent to you

Setting a DMV hearing date allows an attorney to use the DMV subpoena process to request documents directly from the arresting agency. This enables a Sacramento DUI attorney to get all of the discovery necessary to your defense faster. Therefore, even if you think DMV has you dead to rights, it’s usually a good idea to request a DMV hearing.

With most misdemeanors, the answer is “yes.” Expungements can be granted pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4, among others. They are typically granted upon the successful completion of probation. However, expungements do no “clear” your criminal conviction off your record. Expunging a conviction changes your record to read “Dismissed pursuant to PC 1203.4…”

DUI fines and fees different from county to county. In Sacramento County, the court fines are in the neighborhood of $2,400. However, in most circumstances, the court will allow to convert the majority of the $2,400 fine to four days on the Sheriff’s Work Project.

I’m a better lawyer than a salesman. Anybody that guarantees or promises any specific result is trying to sell you something. Private attorneys do not have a crystal ball that allows them to do tell you where your case will end up, particularly if they haven’t even seen a police report. The result you obtain in your case will be dictated by the facts of your case, as well as the skill and expertise of your attorney. In most circumstances, hiring a private attorney will save you trip(s) to court and provide piece of mind that you’re getting your fair shake.


Yes and no. Medicinal and adult-use cannabis is now legal under California state law, but remains illegal under Federal law. Since Federal law supersedes state law due to the Supremacy Clause in the United States Constitution, anyone who engages in any cannabis activity whatsoever is subject to federal prosecution and penalties.

Yes. Anyone that consumes cannabis or enters the cannabis business risks Federal Prosecution.

Yes. Marijuana is a schedule one substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Therefore, the Federal Government does not consider marijuana to have a medically accepted use and feels that it represents a potential for abuse and/or dependency.

The problem is with the way the DEA and FDA interpret the Controlled Substances Act. In order to be considered medicine in their eyes, a drug must:

  • Be known and reproducible;
  • Have adequate safety studies;
  • Have adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy;
  • Be accepted by qualified experts;
  • Have widely available scientific evidence 1

As you can see, the problem is circular: the Federal government requires a drug to be thoroughly studied to be considered medicine, yet the Federal prohibition of marijuana that blocks meaningful studies from taking place.

Technically, doctors may only recommend marijuana to treat an ailment. Thus, a doctor cannot suggest you use a particular type or amount of cannabis, due in large part to the fact that the medical field (including pharmacies) are federally regulated.

No. The schedule a drug falls under does not indicate whether or not it is legal. How a drug is scheduled is dictated by whether or not it has an accepted medical use and it's potential for abuse/dependency. 2

If the possession of marijuana is "decriminalized" in your state, it is still illegal. However, violations only lead to civil fines rather than criminal punishment.


  • Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know, Pg. 266.
  • Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know, Pg. 242.