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San Diego DUI Attorney

At Our Law Firm, We Believe “Experience Counts”

A History Grounded in Success and Integrity

Over the years, the attorneys at San Diego DUI Attorney have provided exceptional DUI and criminal defense services to our clients. Our attorneys have successfully navigated complex criminal cases and have established an exemplary track record.  We are well respected in the courtroom by judges, prosecutors, and other legal professionals in San Diego, North County San Diego, and all of the surrounding areas. Our dedication to upholding ethical standards and integrity in our practice has earned us the respect of our peers as well as our clients. We pride ourselves in working side-by-side with our clients and their families every step of the way. Please contact our firm immediately if anyone that you know has been arrested. If you have been charged with a crime, we offer a confidential and free consultation to help you understand all of your options and to ensure that your rights are protected.

Calling our criminal defense attorneys immediately will ensure that you obtain counsel on how to avoid self-incriminating statements, which can compromise your case. We will also assess the specific circumstances of your situation, including the criminal charges you are facing, and provide you with professional advice on your options for the most effective defense. Our attorneys will utilize any necessary and available tools to best support your case, including private investigation, witness interviews, and thorough analysis of all facts and evidence.

One of the Biggest Mistakes People Make is to Hire an Attorney Without Physically Meeting With Them. Never Hire an Attorney Sight Unseen! 

Always Ask These 10 Questions Before Hiring an Attorney: 

  1. Can We Meet In Person For a Consultation? 
  2. How Many Years of Experience Do You Have?
  3. How Many Cases Have You Handled? 
  4. Who Will Be The Attorney Directly Handling My Case?
  5. What Are The AVVO Reviews for My Assigned Attorney?
  6. How Accessible Will My Attorney Be To Me?
  7. What Areas of Law Do You Focus On?
  8. What Courts Do You Primarily Work At?
  9. How Do You Decide What Types of Cases You Accept?
  10. What Are Your Fees and Do You Accept Payment Plans?

*You Only Have a Few Days to Request a DMV Hearing Before Automatic Suspension. 

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We Encourage You to Ask the Tough Questions

Having the right attorney representing you is one of the most important decisions you will have to make when you are facing criminal charges in San Diego county. This is because whoever you choose, will be in your corner throughout the entire process, making objections to evidence on your behalf, negotiating with the prosecutor, and ultimately advocating for a favorable verdict in front of a judge and jury. We encourage potential clients to ask our attorneys the tough questions; in a time of overwhelming emotion, the attorneys at San Diego DUI Attorney take pride in being able to provide the comfort of knowing you have hired the right firm to represent your interests. We encourage you to ask your attorney how long they have been an attorney, how many cases like yours they have tried before, and how many jury trials they have conducted. We are not interested in being hired because we say we’re good, the attorneys at San Diego DUI Attorney want to be hired because they are truly the best in the business. We encourage you to engage in online research about your attorney. The tough questions are frequently not asked in initial consultations, we look forward to those inquiries. WE ARE CLIENT TRUSTED AND TRIAL TESTED.

Possible Defenses Against A DUI Charge

  • The arrest and/or detainment were illegal.
  • There was insufficient evidence to support the charge.
  • There was a lack of probable cause to make a traffic stop.
  • Evidence related to administration was mishandled (blood tests and breathalyzer procedure).
  • There is evidence of a violation of the presentation of Miranda rights.
  • The arrestee was able to pass field sobriety tests.

These defenses may be applicable to your case. Contact our law firm if you have been charged with a DUI in San Diego County and one of our experienced attorneys will evaluate your case and determine which defense will be most compelling in fighting your charges. It is important to remember that an effective defense is time sensitive so it is imperative that you contact an attorney immediately after your arrest.

Contact Us Today for Immediate Assistance!

Our Intake Process

The intake process at San Diego DUI Attorney is unlike the process at other firms.

After you have been arrested, everything feels like a whirlwind, and it can be truly overwhelming to navigate the legal system on your own. Having an attorney from San Diego DUI Attorney not only means you will have competent representation, but also means you will have a skilled and dedicated attorney in your corner, fighting for your rights. When you come to San Diego DUI Attorney, you will be greeted by our skilled support staff to conduct what is called “an initial consultation.” This is your chance to meet the staff who will spend every moment fighting for you until we obtain the best result possible. This is also an opportunity for us to meet you and put a name to a face, to learn your story and what this means to you, and to evaluate your case and identify what kind of exposure you may be facing.

A criminal charge against you is unique to you. It will affect you differently than the next person based on what’s going on in your life at the time. An unfavorable outcome to a case could have far reaching effects including school applications, security clearances, background checks, possession of firearms, and even professional licenses. It is a critical part of the intake process to get to learn about the person who is being charged, so your San Diego DUI Attorney staff can identify what in undesirable, and gather all the important information to present to the Attorney. This is why San Diego DUI Attorney prioritizes the opportunity to personally meet our clients, offer them a free consultation, so we can develop a theory of defense that will result in the most beneficial outcome to your case possible.

During the initial consultation, our staff will gather important information and present your case to the attorney to determine if the attorney can accept your case. After your consultation, the San Diego DUI Attorney will provide clients with a step-by-step guide of what we would like them to do as the case proceeds through the legal system.

In the state of California, a DUI charge can lead to jail time, the suspension of driving privileges, costly penalties and court fees. Even for a first time offender, a DUI misdemeanor charge can result in the suspension of driving privileges for at least six months, up to six months of jail time, and fines and fees as high as $4500. Court-mandated mandated drug and/or alcohol classes lasting three to nine months are also likely. For individuals with prior DUI offenses, the penalties are greater.

Where Experience Meets Hard Work

One of the most common traps for clients seeking criminal defense representation are “law mills.” As the name suggests, these are firms that retain clients aggressively, but do not work the cases with that same aggression. This is truly an epidemic in busy judicial counties, where firms will retain clients, only to hire “appearances lawyers” to do all the work. In severe cases, some firms will retain clients only to delegate the ENTIRE CASE to some unknown attorney!

Here at SDCA, we reject this unethical practice known as the “law mill.” Instead, we invested significant time and energy to put together a team of trustworthy attorneys to handle our caseload. We handle all of our cases personally and internally!!! You can click on the “meet the team” tab on our homepage right now, and see our entire team. You can rest assured that only attorneys listed on that page will ever touch your file. This is a promise from us to you.

We Take Pride in The Fact That We Are Not A “Mill.”

At San Diego DUI Attorney we take the time to get to know our clients.  We do all the work on your case; and we truly care about the outcome of your case.

Our business model reflects our decision to strive to provide the highest caliber service to our clients, to treat them well, and to assuage and deal with their real fears and concerns.   We handle each case with a one-on-one approach. The only people working on your case are the attorneys listed on the “meet our team” page.  Take some time to read about and become acquainted with the skilled, dedicated, team that makes up the San Diego DUI Attorney now!

We don’t simply clock in at 9 and clock out at 5 

The support staff, and attorneys at San Diego DUI Attorney do not simply pretend to care about you and your case. As opposed to many other firms, where your call will not be taken outside of regular business hours; you can call any time of day and your attorney will keep you informed of the process. We take pride in our ability to put our client’s minds at ease that we are always working to provide our clients the best possible outcome.

Our confidence in the fact that our level of service and dedication are unique allows us to say this with the utmost confidence: if you can and are able to discover a firm with proven results who is available 24/7, hire them. We are confident that another firm of the same caliber as San Diego DUI Attorney does not exist. San Diego DUI Attorney has become what it is because it was built on a foundation of success, vigor, and integrity.

Over the past years, our attorneys have represented a wide range of clients, and against a vast number of criminal charges. Our attorney has represented clients in matters ranging from small misdemeanor offenses to serious felonies, including murder cases. Our attorneys have appeared as counsel on cases involving just one defendant, and have appeared as counsel on cases involving complex issues and several criminal defendants, our attorneys strive to provide high caliber representation in criminal matters of clients.  

We do our best to adhere to our bedrock principles; integrity, dedication, and vigor. We approach each, and every, case with professionalism; we will be respectful, but we will not waiver in the face of pressure. We will advocate vigorously, but we will never take a position that is contrary to our clients’ best interests. Our integrity, and commitment to justice, is one of the many reasons we have earned the respect of clients and the legal community.

A frequent error made by other law firms, is that they miss the big picture about what a “good” criminal defense firm looks like. It is undeniable that professionalism is a major part of success, they don’t want to agitate the Prosecutor, or hassle the judge. Unfortunately, many firms value “professionalism” over the vigorous representation of their clients’ interests. This could be caused by many things, but the end result is that the attorneys who value professionalism over zealous defense are frequently ineffective. Since the prosecutor, or judge, is aware that these attorneys are unlikely to fight back against unfavorable outcomes, those attorneys can be pushed around; why would the prosecutor negotiate fairly when they know someone won’t fight back against unfair terms.

At San Diego DUI Attorney, we’re not afraid to fight back when the prosecutor is trying to drive an unfair bargain; most prosecutors have already learned not to mistake our professionalism for weakness – we are in court to protect your rights and freedom.

Over the years in practice we have been honing our craft and perfecting our understanding of the criminal process. Our firm but assertive approach to the criminal process has resulted in outstanding success.

Our Practice Areas

When arrested for drunk driving, clients often have many questions. Is there jail time involved? Do I need a criminal defense attorney? How much will this cost? What is an arraignment? Can a DUI charge be overcome? Will I lose my license? How do I handle the DMV? Knowing your rights and acquiring a qualified attorney will help provide answers and peace of mind before a court hearing occurs.
Our website and blog contain further information on a variety of topics associated with DUI charges. Additionally, the following information provides a foundation to help you get started. Please feel free to contact San Diego DUI Attorney for a free consultation so that we may thoroughly discuss the details of your case as soon as possible.

An arraignment is the initial court appearance following a DUI charge and arrest. At this hearing, the charges will be brought forth and a plea will need to be entered. You can make a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Additionally, you have the right to challenge the charge brought against you. To do this, you must plead not guilty and the court will schedule a trial. Without an attorney, the arraignment hearing can be a confusing, frustrating, and complicated process. A DUI attorney will assist you throughout this entire process, ensuring that you understand your rights, and that those rights are always being protected.

If you would like to dispute the suspension of your license, either you, or your attorney, need to call the DMV Driver’s Safety Office within 10 days of your arrest. If you do not request the hearing within 10 days, you waive the right to dispute the suspension. This also applies for individuals with an out-of-state driver’s license; in which case, the suspension will go into effect in the state from which the license was issued. An experienced DUI attorney will assist you through the DMV hearing process and fight for a positive outcome.

Assisting in the avoidance of the loss of your California driving privileges.

During an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI), the police officer will likely confiscate your driver’s license, provide you a temporary license, and issue a notice of suspension. The temporary license is valid for 30 days from the date that it was issued. After those 30 days, the license suspension goes into effect. We can intervene for you and prevent your suspension from going into effect after the 30 days until your case is resolved, or you have a DMV hearing which always occurs after the 30 days.  The length of the suspension depends on the severity of the charge and is typically from 30 days to a year. Refusing a chemical test after arrest can result in a license suspension of one year. If you have prior DUI convictions, two to ten years can be added to the license suspension. It’s important to note that suspensions issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may apply even if the DUI charges are dismissed or reduced to another charge.

However, you do have the ability to dispute the suspension of your license if you request an administrative DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest. One of our attorneys can attend the hearing with you to walk you through the process and provide the best opportunity to retain your driving privileges.

In defending your DUI case, we aggressively seek out every possible defense strategy. We realize that there are in excess of 50 causes of BAC and breathalyzer tests being inaccurate, that arresting officers often fall into legal missteps or violate the rights of arrestees, and that every piece of evidence presented against you can be challenged. We possess high-tech computer software capable of analyzing your metabolic processes to build a defense. No stone is left unturned, and we tenaciously pursue your interests by every means possible.

A prosecuting attorney may attempt to convince you that the case against you is indisputable, but that is often very misleading and incorrect. Our attorneys can examine the specifics of each case and assist in finding the most effective defense against your DUI charge. The attorneys at San Diego DUI Attorney are experienced and dedicated to representing you as effectively as possible.

In California, driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offense, as well as a grave traffic violation. Over time, the state has consistently increased the penalties for DUI in a bid to check the injuries and fatalities that arise from drunk driving. These penalties range from significant fines to lengthy prison terms. With such serious ramifications, a DUI arrest means that you need an attorney who understands the intricate details of a DUI defense.

The Barona DUI Attorney will take charge of your DUI case. Our primary goal is to put up the best defense to discredit the evidence against you and avoid a conviction. We will work with you throughout the process, negotiate with prosecutors, and possibly get a favorable ruling from the judge or jury.


About Us


For years, Barona DUI Attorney has established an outstanding track record in DUI defense. We navigate the complex justice system to provide superior services to all our clients. We work closely with you and your family in every step of the process and uphold the integrity and ethical standards. Therefore, we have the respect of our clients, peers, prosecutors, and judges.

If you or a loved one are in custody for DUI, you need to call our attorneys immediately. We will give a free, confidential consultation to inform and help you understand your available options and to protect your rights. We ensure that your statements are not self-incriminating and provide advice on how you can avoid compromising your lawsuit. We will assess the specific details of your charges, and advise you on the most persuasive defense strategies.

We utilize our resources, including a thorough examination of facts and evidence, witness interviews, and private investigations to support your case. We manage all our cases internally, and our team of dependable attorneys will invest significant amounts of time and energy in working on your case.

We take quality time to know you, and we genuinely care about how your trial ends. We strive to treat you well, to provide you with top-notch services, and to mitigate your concerns and fears. Each of our skilled, dedicated attorneys will approach your lawsuit on an individual basis. You can rest assured that we never hire external attorneys to handle any of our cases. 

Offered Services at Barona DUI Attorney


California law prohibits you from driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, drugs, or both. The state considers you to be under the influence when your faculties have inhibitions due to drugs or alcohol. Inhibition means that you cannot function in a way that a reasonable person would under similar circumstances. California’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08%, but stricter standards apply for specific categories of drivers.

Upon your arrest for DUI, you must answer to two separate DUI cases. The first is a criminal offense, which you must fight in court, while the second is a DMV procedure to safeguard your driver’s license from revocation or suspension. Regardless of the type of DUI charges, Barona DUI Attorney will represent you at the DMV hearing as well as during court trials for any of the following offenses:

First offense DUI

Although a first DUI offense is a misdemeanor, it is still a serious crime. It can earn you misdemeanor probation for up to five years or even a six-month jail term. Upon conviction, you may get a restricted license and retain your driving privileges after you install an IID in your car for at least four months. If the court does not grant you a restricted license, you will get a six-month license suspension. You can only avoid a license suspension if you request and win a DMV hearing, or the court does not convict you for DUI.

Other possible outcomes of a first DUI offense are:

  • DUI school that typically lasts three months but may extend to nine months
  • Penalty assessments and fines of up to $2,000
  • Work release

A DUI offense also results in indirect repercussions, such as higher auto insurance premiums. More importantly, DUIs count as priors. Therefore your first DUI will remain on your criminal record. It will count for at least ten years, and you will receive stiffer penalties for subsequent DUI convictions.


Second offense DUI

Since every DUI offense counts as a prior, each successive conviction for wet reckless or DUI in under ten years enhances the punishment. A second DUI is a misdemeanor whose penalties are: 

  • Summary probation for up to five years
  • Fines and penalty assessments that may total to almost $2,000
  • Up to 30 months in DUI school.
  • Installing an IID in your car for a year
  • Jail time for the 96-hour mandatory minimum up to the one-year maximum

Third offense DUI

Having a third DUI conviction within ten years will present more severe ramifications than the first or second DUI conviction. This enhancement arises because all DUI convictions count as priors. A third DUI is a misdemeanor whose penalties include:

  • Informal probation for between three and five years
  • A county jail term of at least 120 days, but up to one year
  • 30 months of a court-approved DUI school
  • Approximately $2,000 in fines, assessments, and penalties
  • IID installation for two years

Felony DUI

A felony DUI is more grave than a misdemeanor DUI, and its penalties are harsher. You will face felony DUI charges if:

  • You have three previous DUI convictions within the past ten years
  • You have a minimum of one felony DUI convictions within the past ten years
  • Your DUI offense involves inflicting injury or causing death

A Barona DUI Attorney can defend and help you avoid the possible penalties for felony DUI, which include:

  • A prison term of up to three years
  • License revocation for four years
  • Substantial fines
  • Extended periods of DUI school
  • A three-year status of Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO)

The court may sentence you to four-year incarceration for felony DUI causing injury. The sentence may be longer if:

  • More than one individual, other than you, suffer injuries in the same incident.
  • The victim sustains serious bodily injury

Underage DUI

California’s Zero Tolerance law does not allow persons aged below 21 years to consume alcoholic beverages. It also prohibits them from driving when their BAC exceeds 0.01%. Violating this law is not a crime, but an infraction, meaning that a conviction will not put you behind bars. However, it carries the following penalties:

  • License suspension
  • A $100 fine or more if the sentence is for your second or succeeding offense
  • Mandatory sessions in an alcohol education program
  • Vehicle impoundment if it is your second or subsequent conviction


DUI of drugs (DUID)


California law defines a drug as a substance or mixture of chemicals that affect the muscles, brain, or nervous system. They can also impair your ability to drive in a way a rational, cautious person would. Drugs include:

  • Illegal drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine
  • Legal drugs like marijuana
  • Over-the-counter medicine including medicines for cold and antihistamines
  • Prescription medicine even when it does not make you high

A first offense DUID is a misdemeanor that mostly does not include jail time if no third party sustains injuries. The potential penalties are:

  • Informal DUI probation for between three and five years
  • Fines, penalties and assessments
  • A six-month license suspension
  • At least three months in DUI school

Penalties for a second and successive DUID conviction include:

  • Hefty fines
  • Probation
  • Time in DUI school
  • A longer suspension of your driver’s license
  • A mandatory minimum term in jail which increases with each successive wet reckless or DUI conviction.

Your DUID becomes a felony if:

  • Your current offense is your fourth or successive DUI
  • You have at least one previous felony DUI conviction
  • A third party sustained grave injuries or died as a result of your DUID
  • The incident is your third or successive DUI causing injury

The penalties for felony DUID depend on your specific charges and your criminal history. They include:

  • Jail or prison time ranging from 16 months to four years
  • Felony probation in place of part or the entire prison or jail term
  • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • A license suspension or revocation

DUI causing injury

Injuring another person due to DUI is a crime, even if your BAC is within the legal limit of less than 0.08%. The prosecution will charge you if they think their case is strong, so long as the amount of drugs or alcohol in your system is measurable. If your BAC equals or exceeds 0.08%, the offense is a definite DUI.

The penalties will depend on several factors, such as your criminal history, especially previous DUI convictions, and the injuries that the victim suffers. Your conduct after the accident, such as hit and run, will also play a vital role in determining your punishment. The penalties for a first DUI causing injury include:

  • Serving time in county jail
  • Informal probation for three to five years
  • Fines ranging from $390 to $1,000
  • A court-approved alcohol education program
  • Suspension of your driver’s license

The offense counts as a prior. Therefore, the penalties increase with subsequent convictions for wet reckless or DUI. If it is your third DUI causing injury, the charge automatically becomes a felony with stiffer and long-lasting penalties.

Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated

This crime occurs when you unlawfully kill a person while you drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is a felony, for which a conviction comes with:

  • A California state prison term of four, six or ten years
  • Imprisonment for 15 years to life if you have at least two previous DUI convictions or an earlier conviction for negligent vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Gross negligence is more than a regular mistaken judgment, inattention, or carelessness. It is when your behavior is extremely different from how a typical careful person would act in similar circumstances. It is behaving without concern for the consequences of your actions or consideration for human life. You are grossly negligent when:

  • You act dangerously and cause a high possibility of great bodily harm or death
  • A rational person would have been aware that such actions would cause such a threat.

Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is a grave felony offense and a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law. A conviction will significantly enhance the consequences of any future crimes.

Negligent vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated

The prosecution will charge you with this offense if you:

  • Unlawfully kill a person while driving under the influence, but without malice aforethought
  • You kill a person through an illegal deed that does not amount to a felony
  • You cause death by illegally conducting a legal act, but with no gross negligence.

The penalties vary depending on the type of charges. They include:

  • A maximum fine of $1,000 and up to a year in jail for a misdemeanor
  • A fine not exceeding $10,000 and 16 months, two or four years jail time for a felony
  • A further, consecutive three to six-year sentence if a surviving victim sustains great bodily harm.

Aggravated DUI

A regular DUI conviction comes with its set of severe punishment. However, the presence of some factors can enhance the standard DUI penalties either by increasing the sentences or elevating the charges to higher levels. Such aggravating factors include:

  • Excessive BAC: It is a crime to operate a vehicle with your BAC at 0.08% or higher. However, a BAC equal to or exceeding 0.15% is special. It may justify enhanced penalties. Even when the courts grant you probation, they will impose punitive restrictions that will make your life more difficult.
  • Excessive speed: Overshooting the speed limit on a freeway by 30 mph or on other roads by 20 mph will enhance your DUI penalties. California law provides for 60 additional days on your sentence. The 60 days is a pre-condition if the judge puts you on probation for your DUI charge. It is also a requirement by law that the 60 days is a consecutive term and does not overlap your sentence for DUI.
  • Refusal to submit to a test: If you decline to take a chemical blood or breath test and the judge convicts you for DUI, the denial can contribute to enhancing your sentence. When you refuse a test, there is no proof of your actual BAC. Therefore, the courts assume that your BAC was above the legal limit, and you get a matching sentence.
  • Reckless Driving: This refers to willful or deliberate disregard for the safety of people or property. It is driving in any manner that puts other people or vehicles at risk even if you do not cause an accident. Reckless driving attracts a consecutive sentence of 60 additional days. The days are a pre-condition for probation on your underlying DUI offense, and they do not overlap your penalty for a regular DUI.
  • Minor in the vehicle: A conviction for DUI while you have a child under 14 years in the car will earn you a mandatory jail time of 48 hours. You will spend all these hours in jail, even if you get probation for the underlying offense. The court cannot stay the sentence, nor can you serve it in intervals of shorter periods. You may get a longer sentence depending on the charges against you.
  • Causing an accident: in case you are under the influence and you cause a car accident that results in injuries, your criminal charges may be either a felony or a misdemeanor. If the accident is a hit-and-run, your DUI sentence will be longer, and you will get an additional penalty for the hit-and-run. Even when the incident does not result in injuries, judges often consider the accident a valid reason to enhance your sentence. The actual outcome depends on the court determining your case.
  • DUI while on probation: An arrest for DUI, during your probation, is a violation of your probation conditions. The rule applies to conditional for both DUI and other criminal offenses, even without a new DUI conviction. Driving with any amount of drugs or alcohol in your system during your probation period is an offense. The judge may reinstate the original sentence for the crime for which you are on probation. If your violation is for DUI probation, you will face the statutory punishment for your repeat DUI and additional penalties.

Depending on the specific details of your case and your criminal record, the most common forms of enhanced penalties include:

  • An extended prison term which often has a mandatory period
  • Substantial fines
  • A longer probation period
  • Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
  • Mandatory attendance of an alcohol education program
  • Installation of an IID on your car

In addition to the consequences directly related to the criminal charges, you may also incur:

  • Civil liability for the victims’ physical injuries or damage to property
  • Higher vehicle insurance premiums or denial of coverage

Consult a DUI Attorney Near Me

DUI convictions count as priors for ten years. Having such a criminal record for such a long time can have far-reaching effects on your life. Fortunately, a Barona DUI Attorney can help you fight and avoid a conviction. If the police arrest you for any DUI crime, call us at  619-535-7150. Our goal is to oppose the charges against you and do everything we possibly can to get an outcome in your favor.

A DUI charge may be overwhelming to handle on your own, especially with the many DUI laws that have to be considered when pressing the charges. Additionally, when most people get pulled over for suspected DUI, they usually do not know how to handle themselves to avoid more trouble. A few others do not know the consequences they would face when convicted of a DUI offense.

The most crucial thing to understand is that a DUI charge takes many forms, and each form has its repercussions. The consequences can be severe, depending on the DUI charges you are facing. However, all is not lost. You can still avoid these penalties by hiring an experienced DUI attorney to represent you in the court proceedings. At San Diego DUI Attorney, we provide legal representation to any person in Banner and the whole of San Diego facing any DUI-related charges. If you have been arrested on DUI allegations, reach out to us as soon as possible. In this article, we look at the basics of a DUI charge, including DUI laws, penalties, and forms.

California DUI Laws

Several laws govern DUI in California to try and curb the drunk-driving problem. For starters, we have Vehicle Code 23152a, which is the subjective standard DUI law. This law makes it a criminal offense to drive a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Being under the influence means your mental or physical abilities  are impaired to a level that you can’t drive as good as a sober driver would. Note that you can be charged under this law even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was below .08%. Other DUI laws include:

The Per Se Law

The DUI per se law is defined under VC 23152b. The law provides that it is an offense to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more. Generally, this law establishes that after a person is proven to have a BAC of .08% or more, he/she will be considered by law to be under the influence. This is irrespective of whether they are actually impaired or under the influence.  Therefore, in circumstances like these, the arresting officer will need no further proof of impairment or intoxication to charge you with DUI.

Therefore, alcohol drinking persons must know that irrespective of how sober they feel, it’s their BAC that counts when they decide to drive. Should the BAC be more than the per se standard legal limit, it will legally be presumed that they are impaired. The per se law makes it simple for the prosecutor to prove that a person was impaired without needing more of an on-scene assessment like sobriety testing.

Still, the DUI per se law doesn't mean that if you register a .08% BAC or more, then you will directly be convicted of DUI. For instance, with the help of an experienced Banner DUI Attorney, you can challenge the validity of the test results, the equipment used to administer the test, or the procedure used. Challenging the charges may have you acquitted.

Note that the per se law doesn’t apply in DUI of drugs.

The Implied Consent Law

After a police officer pulls you over for suspected DUI, he/she will generally check for any signs that show you are impaired. He/she may also ask you to do a breathalyzer test so he/she can determine your BAC. However, not every driver willingly agrees to do a breath test, and a police officer cannot force drunk-driving suspects to blow into a breathalyzer.

Under the implied consent law, drivers are required to consent to a breath test after a DUI arrest for the officer to determine if they are impaired. Note that the law applies only to breath tests after a driver is lawfully arrested for DUI. This means you can still decline to submit to a preliminary alcohol screening breath test before being arrested.

However, If you refuse to do the test, you will be said to have violated the implied consent law. In this case, you risk an automatic suspension of your driver’s license for one year. You may also receive enhanced penalties that add to the standard DUI penalties.

Note that implied consent law applies to all drivers in Banner. This includes state residents who hold a California driver’s license as well as non-state residents who have an out-of-state driver’s license.

The Zero Tolerance Law

You may not feel drunk. Even better, you may be under the standard legal limit for BAC required for a regular DUI. However, you would still be in trouble if you are under the acceptable alcohol consumption age of 21 years. In Banner, there are different legal standards for underage drunk-drivers.

VC 23136 is the zero-tolerance law on underage drunk-driving. You will have violated this law if you’re under 21 years old, and you operate a vehicle with any measurable alcohol content in your blood system. Remember, it is not a must that you are under the influence or impaired to be charged with underage drunk-driving. Even driving with a BAC of as low as 0.01% would get you arrested. This means even taking a glass of wine at dinner may subject an underage driver to a drunk-driving charge.

VC 23136 is not an actual crime, but a civil violation. However, if you do not take a step to challenge the citation, you can be subjected to a mandatory driver’s license suspension of one year. And if you don’t possess a driver’s license at the time of the arrest, you will be subjected to a delay of one year in obtaining one.

If you have been arrested for underage DUI, you should talk to your Banner DUI Attorney as soon as possible. This is to give the attorney ample time to gather evidence and build a defense strategy that could help you win the charges.

DUI Penalties in Banner

DUI in Banner carries severe penalties. The penalties are imposed depending on how many DUI convictions you have faced within ten years. They also depend on the facts of your case. They are as follows:

First offense DUI

When you get convicted of drunk-driving in Banner for the first time; that will be your first DUI offense. The possible penalties for a first-time misdemeanor DUI offense include:

  • A maximum of six months of a county jail time
  • Three to five years of summary probation
  • A court-approved DUI program for three to nine months
  • Fines and assessments of between $1600 and $2300
  • Driver’s license suspension for six months, and in other cases one year
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installation for a maximum of six months
  • Insurance consequences

Second Offense DUI

A second offense DUI occurs when you get convicted of DUI for a second time within ten years of the commission of the first offense. The penalties for a second misdemeanor DUI offense include:

  • Between 96 hours and one year of a county jail sentence
  • Summary probation for a maximum of five years
  • A maximum fine of $1,000
  • 18 or 30 months of a court-approved DUI School program
  • Assessment fee
  • Up to one year of mandatory installation of an IID
  • Up to two years of license suspension

Third Offense DUI

A third DUI offense is charged if, within ten years, you get arrested for drunk-driving for the third time. The consequences for a misdemeanor third offense include:

  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • Assessment fee
  • Informal probation for a maximum of five years
  • Between 120 days and one year of a county jail sentence
  • Two years of mandatory IID installation
  • A DUI School program for 30 months
  • A habitual traffic offender title by the DMV
  • License suspension for a maximum of three years

Fourth/Felony DUI Offense

You will be charged with felony DUI if you acquire four or more drunk-driving convictions within ten years. The consequences for a felony DUI are:

  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • 16 months, two or three years of a state prison sentence
  • Mandatory installation of an IID for one year at the minimum
  • Up to four years of license suspension
  • A habitual traffic offender title

DUI Causing Injury

DUI causing injury is defined under VC 23153. This is a wobbler offense, meaning it a prosecutor can charge you with either a felony or a misdemeanor. How the prosecutor chooses to charge you depends on the facts of the case and your criminal record. If convicted of a drunk-driving offense where another person who is not you sustained an injury or injuries, you may face the following consequences:

Misdemeanor DUI causing injury

  • A fine of up to $5,000
  • Between five days and one year of a jail sentence
  • Summary probation for three to five years
  • Up to 30 months of a court-approved alcohol program
  • License suspension for a maximum of one year
  • Mandatory installation of an IID for up to six months
  • Restitution to the injured victims

Felony DUI causing injury

  • 16 months to 10 years in State prison, and an additional and consecutive one to six years of a prison sentence based on the number of injured victims and the degree of their injuries
  • A fine of up to $5,000
  • Up to 30 months of a court-approved DUI School program
  • A three years habitual traffic offender title
  • A strike on your criminal record as per the Three Strike’s Laws
  • Mandatory installation of an IID for a maximum of three years
  • License suspension
  • Restitution to the injured parties

Note that a DUI that results in death is sentenced differently. Its penalties could include a strike on a defendant’s criminal record and life imprisonment.

Additional Terms of Probation

Sometimes Banner courts can sentence you to probation instead of a jail/prison sentence. If this is the case, you will be required to adhere to certain conditions. They include:

  • You should not operate a vehicle with any detectable alcohol amount in your system
  • You should not decline to take chemical tests of your breath, blood, or urine if you are rearrested for DUI
  • You should not commit any other crime

Also, based on the facts of your case, you may be required to:

  • Attend Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings
  • Pay restitution to the injured victims if you caused an accident
  • Participate in the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Program

If you violate any of the terms mentioned above, you may be subjected to penalties associated with violating probation terms. 

Aggravated DUI

A standard DUI charge carries severe consequences already. However, certain circumstances can lead to increased consequences that go beyond the typical sentences that are usually imposed after a drunk-driving conviction. If aggravating factors are present in a case, they can lead to increased punishment by increasing the scope of potential sentences. Or, they can raise the actual charges to a higher level.

Also, note that aggravating factors will enhance your DUI punishment irrespective of whether it is your first, second, third, fourth, or subsequent offense. The following are examples of circumstances that can result in an aggravated drunk-driving charge with increased penalties in Banner.

  • DUI with a passenger under 14 years in the vehicle
  • Multiple drunk-driving convictions
  • DUI on a revoked or suspended license
  • DUI at excessive speed/ reckless driving
  • Refusing to take chemical tests
  • Driving with a BAC of 0.15% or more
  • Causing an accident

The type of increased penalty you get for any of the above aggravating factors depends on the facts of your DUI case and your criminal record. However, if you can get an experienced Banner DUI Attorney by your side, he/she may succeed striking off these aggravating factors from your case. He/she may do this by building a strong defense that would convince the judge to reconsider, including the factors in your sentence. In turn, you will receive lenient penalties than you would have received with these factors present.

Alternative DUI Sentencing Options in Banner

Alternative DUI sentencing options refer to alternative sentences other than jail/prison time in case of a drunk-driving conviction. They may include:

  • Community service
  • Cal-Trans roadside work
  • House arrest or electronic monitoring
  • Residence in an environment with sober-living people
  • Confinement in a city or private jail

Attorneys who do not specialize in DUI defense might not even be aware that these alternative sentences exist. Or, if they know, they might not know how best to persuade the judge or prosecuting attorney to get to impose them. That is why it is critical to hire specifically a Banner DUI Attorney who specializes in DUI defense to defend your case. He/she would know what strategies to employ to minimize your DUI penalties.

Plea Bargains and Charge Reductions for DUI

Plea bargains in DUI cases refer to negotiated alternatives to escalating a case to a jury trial. Typically, a plea bargain involves either:

  • A reduction in charges
  • Sentence reduction

To get a reduction in your sentence, you first plead guilty to a DUI offense. In turn, you are presented with several agreed-upon penalty suggestions. Receiving these suggestions avoids the uncertainty you would have while waiting to find out what sentence the judge would impose if you are convicted at trial.

A reduction in charges involves you admitting guilt of a lesser charge. A reduced charge is a result of a negotiation between the prosecutor and your attorney. Generally, if your charges are reduced, you will face lighter penalties compared to the original conviction of DUI.

Plea bargaining comes with several advantages. For instance, if you have a sentence reduction, chances are you will have a more lenient sentence, and you get to know what punishment awaits you in advance. On the other hand, if you have a charge reduction, you may not be subjected to a mandatory suspension of your driver’s license. Also, in other cases, there will be no priorability. By this, it means your case won’t be treated as a priorable offense. If a crime is priorable, it will count as a prior offense if you are later convicted of a DUI offense within a ten-year look-back period for drunk-driving. Other advantages of a charge reduction include:

  • Lower fines
  • No or little jail time
  • No compulsory DUI School program
  • A lower negative effect on your insurance
  • Reduced stigma as compared to a DUI conviction

Note that various charge reductions would still be priorable. By this, it means they would still be considered as prior convictions if you are rearrested for DUI of alcohol or drugs. For example, wet reckless still counts as a priorable offense.

Typical forms of DUI charge reductions

The most known charge reductions that your Banner DUI Attorney can bargain for include:

  • Wet reckless
  • Dry reckless
  • Exhibition of speed
  • Drunk in public
  • Traffic infraction
  • Drinking alcohol in a vehicle

Get a Competent DUI Defense Attorney Near Me

The most crucial step after being charged with DUI is obtaining the best legal representation from a skilled DUI defense attorney. This will help boost the chances of beating the charges. At San Diego DUI Attorney, we make it our duty to ensure you get the best probable outcome for your case. Immediately you contact us, we will start assessing your case and determine which defense best works to get you acquitted or your charges reduced. If you are in Banner and need of DUI defense, call us at 619-535-7150 as soon as possible to schedule a consultation about your case.

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