Any person driving under the influence (DUI) of either alcohol or drugs, is considered a potential criminal and is charged in court. Vehicle Code 23152(a) provides the legal basis or DUI prosecutions. The crime is a misdemeanor, and you might face jail time, potential fines, and loss of license. The law explains that it is illegal for anyone who is under the influence of alcoholic beverages to operate a vehicle. The alcohol level in the driver's blood should not exceed 0.08 percent.
The prosecution uses the chemical test performed by the police officers upon the arrest of the defendant to make the judgment. The tests performed are sobriety tests, blood, or breath tests. Additionally, the police have to get the results within three hours of driving. In Bankhead Springs, any individual arrested for DUI typically faces two DUI offenses, which is Penal Code 23152(a) and Penal Code 23152(b).
Therefore, if you face DUI charges in San Diego, contact the San Diego DUI Attorney immediately. We have vast experience in aggressive client representation. With our attorneys, you are sure of a better chance to reduce your charges significantly or have your charges dismissed.
Definition of DUI Under State Laws
Courts in Bankhead Springs charge DUI defendants if they were not sober at the time of the arrest. That implies that the defendant's physical and mental abilities may have been impaired due to alcohol or drugs. The crime comes in when you drive while intoxicated. The prosecutor uses evidence of improper driving such as over speeding and swerving as well as physical evidence like staggering and slurred speech to administer conviction. The defendant has to be charged under two counts which include:
Vehicle Code 23152(a)
This law makes it a crime if you drive a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. There is a possibility of one to be prosecuted under this law even if the blood concentration was below 0.08 percent. As long as the sobriety test proved, the defendant was not sober, specifically those in the driving profession.
The first and subsequent offenses under PC 23152(a) are charged as misdemeanors. The accused face punishments such as fines, probation, license suspension, and rehabilitation. The accused driver may be permitted to continue driving with the condition that the driver installs an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in the car.
Vehicle Code 23152(b)
This law makes it a crime if the driver's alcohol level exceeds 0.08 percent. It is often referred to as per se DUI law. If the test records show an over the BAC limit, the accused is automatically guilty. It doesn't matter if the accused was under the influence of alcohol or not so long as the BAC passed the limit.
Under this statute, the accused faces similar punishments as in section Vehicle Code 23152(a). The prosecutor uses two elements of the crime to convict the law offender. That is, proving the accused was the driver at that particular moment and that the driver had a BAC of 0.08 percent or more.
Most of the BAC tests occur after half an hour or more after the police stop. Making it hard for the prosecutor to prove the defendant's BAC level at the time of driving. The judges presume the defendant had a similar BAC level at the time of driving, and the tests were completed within three hours of driving. Hence, if you are arrested and charged with a DUI, you need to follow the following steps:
- Comply with the law enforcers but do not accept liability
- Do not give any information to the police officer to avoid incrimination and hurting your case
- Do not accept field sobriety, breath, or blood tests when detained. Request for a warrant
- Take advantage of your rights and call a Bankhead Springs DUI Attorney
- Ask for an immediate release to have a third party BAC test
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Hearing
If the accused BAC test is 0.08% or more when stopped by the police officers, the accused license might be suspended. The license is later replaced with a 30-day temporary license. The time given is meant for the accused to present his or her case at a DMV administrative hearing.
At the DMV hearing, the defendant is neither declared guilty or innocent. The conviction is determined in a criminal trial. The DMV only determines the suspension of the driving license. Here are elements used by the DMV:
- The police reasonably suspected the accused lawfully for DUI
- The cops gave the accused the right information regarding the decline of complying in performing sobriety tests and subsequent suspension of the driver's license for the specific time
- Whether or not the accused declined to submit a breath or blood test
- The number of times the accused had been charged for DUI in a decade
The accused usually has ten days to schedule a DMV hearing. The ten days include holidays and weekends. If the accused fails to present the charges within the ten days, the license is automatically suspended and relies on the trial outcome.
Remember, the trial and DMV hearing address separate issues. The accused might be granted the license but have it suspended if found guilty in the criminal trial. Conversely, the jury might suspend the license at the DMV hearing, but if the accused wins the case, reinstatement can be applied for by the accused with the help of an attorney.
Possible Penalties For DUI Offense
Under Penal Code 23152, a first time DUI offender is a misdemeanor. The crime is punishable with a maximum fine of $1,000, and a period of three to five years probation. On top of that, the defendant is expected to attend an approved alcohol and drug education program. The jury may also order for community service, installation of IID, and attendance of alcoholics anonymous meetings. The DMV also imposed a driver's license suspension for four months.
Several DUI offenses with a decade attract increased penalties. For instance, a second DUI offense is punished with one-year jail time, a maximum fine of $1,000, three to five years of probation, and a mandatory DUI alcohol or drug program for 18 months to 30 months. The DMV takes its separate disciplinary action by suspending the license for one year.
A third DUI offense is more severe and has a mandatory 120 days to a one-year jail term. The crime also requires completion of an alcohol and drug program for a 30-month. The DMV orders a three-year license suspension.
After the DUI conviction in Bankhead Springs, the defendants who complete the probation term successfully, are eligible for an expungement. This simply implies that the defendant's criminal records are erased. This can only happen with representation from an experienced lawyer who will defend your case and have it dismissed.
DUI Underage Offenses
An underage here represents any person who is under the age of 21. There are new zero-tolerance laws that govern the standard DUI laws for the minor. Being underage does not exempt you from being convicted of DUI. The consequences may not only lead to legal penalties but also affects the young person's education and employment opportunities.
Generally, the roadsides screening tests are meant for adults. However, an underage person suspected of DUI must submit to a roadside BAC test. Failure to comply leads to an automatic one-year suspension of driving license for a first-time. It may also end up to three years revocation if there are subsequent offenses within ten years.
Under the zero-tolerance law, if the underage person was driving with a BAC of 0.01 percent or higher faces a civil offense whereby the license is suspended for one year unless the driver takes immediate action. The first time offenders are advised to make a hearing request action within ten days of the suspension.
The underage drivers are also charged with an infraction if the BAC level exceeds 0.05%. An infringement does not necessarily result in prison time, and the first-time offenders are punishable by a one-year license suspension, substantial fines, and an alcohol and drug education program for three months.
Different Types Of DUI Charges
Unknown to many, driving under the influence laws is not limited to just alcohol impairment in vehicles and past criminal cases. Other circumstances lead to stricter DUI convictions. For instance, commercial truck drivers follow more harsh regulations compared to non-commercial vehicles. The following are different types of DUI charges and their scope of laws:
This type of DUI mainly happens when a driver over speeds while drunk, drives with a revoked or suspended license, drunk drives with a minor as a passenger, or had prior DUIs within ten years. The charges for aggravated DUI get worse since it implies violating the law in more than one way.
Commercial DUI Regulations
Some professionals are held high concerning drunk driving. For example, bus drivers and truck drivers who are holders of CDL face stricter rules than non-commercial drivers. They are not allowed to drink at their job.
Driving under the influence does not only refer to cars. Most people commute to work by bike, and one may be tempted to enjoy a happy hour before heading home. Therefore, you can be guilty of drunk driving while operating motorbikes and bicycles. The offense is treated as careless or inconsiderate cycling.
In Bankhead Springs, a DUI charge becomes a felony if the accused driver causes bodily harm or even death to another person. It also happens while in conjunction with another aggravating factor, such as driving on a revoked license. Felony DUI hence attracts higher monetary fines and more extended imprisonment.
Stages of a DUI Investigation
During a DUI investigation, law enforcement breaks the investigation into three separate stages: traffic stop, investigatory DUI detention, and arrest. Each step is an independent seizure and lawful when the police can meet specific standards. The legal standards increase as the cases progress through the stages.
The Traffic Stop
Most DUI cases start with a traffic stop for a sobriety check-up. As required by the law, a traffic stop is lawful based on a reasonable suspicion by the police, believing a driving law is violated. The officer uses observation of the driver's conduct, and it remains the cause of the stop even if it was a pretext of DUI investigation.
A police officer may not warrant a traffic stop for a sobriety check. He/she must articulate suspicion to prove the driver was under the influence. Therefore, he/she must record statements with regards to their observation of the driver's conduct. The conduct may include swerving or weaving, which is an indication of intoxication.
In some instances, traffic stops involve insubstantial driving conduct or fake police reports. If the facts do not add up for the basis of stop, our Bankhead Springs DUI Attorney, can file a suppression motion and order the prosecutor to prove a reasonable suspicion that justified the stop. If the jury finds out that the initial stop was an unlawful seizure, the DUI charges may result in dismissal.
The Investigatory DUI Detention
After the traffic stop, if the officer detains the accused driver for investigation, the investigative detention is referred to as independent seizure. Before the police begin DUI investigation, he or she needs to have some precise shred of evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was driving under the influence.
Examples of signs of an intoxicated driver to support DUI investigatory detention has several factors. The factors are alcohol smell either in the car or driver's breath, red-watery eyes, slurred speech, staggering, or presence of alcohol. The basis of the investigation must be sufficient. Otherwise, a motion might be filed to exclude all facts recorded for detention.
Once the police are sure of sufficient evidence to justify the investigatory detention, the interrogations start immediately. The accused driver is asked questions concerning location and time he or she consumed the alcohol and type of substance consumed. Moreover, the driver is asked to submit an alcohol screening test, which is mostly a breath test.
Most offenders are asked to perform several field sobriety tests. The tests are designed to test coordination, balance, and divided attention. Unfortunately, some of these tests may not even favor sober individuals. Though the tests are not legally required, you may decline to do them if you feel you might fail. The judge will, therefore, determine the probable cause that led to the DUI arrest.
The DUI Arrest
Upon completion of investigatory detention, the police must have probable cause to make an arrest. The officer must have the knowledge and facts to warrant the suspect committed the crime. The evidence that the officer will use to determine DUI arrest include observations, statements, sobriety tests performance, alcohol screening tests results, and the period taken to detain the driver during the initial traffic stop.
After the official driver's arrest, the driver should submit a chemical test according to the court. Failure to present leads to a one-year license suspension and an extended jail time. Upon reaching the police station, the suspect either chooses a breath or blood test. If the results turn out to have a 0.08 percent or higher, the license is automatically suspended and confiscated. Our Bankhead Springs DUI Attorney will file a suppression motion on your behalf and have your charges reduced or dismissed.
Developing Possible DUI Defense Mechanisms
Failing a sobriety field test does not mean an automatic conviction. Our skilled DUI attorney from Bank head Springs, can effectively challenge the tests, expose evidence, or argue constitutional rights violations and turn the entire case around.
Our attorney may also challenge the prosecutor by claiming you were not the one driving at that moment. If the prosecution cannot prove that you were the one driving, the charges might be dropped. Some signs of intoxication used by the police are misleading, like having red-watery eyes. A sick person can also have red-watery eyes and be mistaken for being intoxicated.
What the Prosecutor Must Prove
As we have learned above, to be charged with DUI, you face two separate offenses. That includes Vehicle Code 23152(a) and Vehicle Code 23152(b). To be considered under the influence, the prosecutor must prove that you:
- Drove the vehicle
- Were under the influence while driving
- Your blood alcohol concentration was 0.08% or more
- Were so intoxicated and were unable to drive with the caution of a sober person
- Your driving pattern was inconsistent
Find a Bankhead Springs DUI Attorney Near Me
Alcohol and drug-related crimes have a lasting impact on the defendant's life. The defendant faces punishments like loss of job and ignored housing applications. With such adverse effects, you will need to be represented by a skilled Bankhead Springs DUI attorney to have the most robust defenses that can lead to the charges being reduced or dismissed. If you face DUI arrest challenges, do not hesitate to call our San Diego DUI Attorney team at 619-535-7150 for a free consultation, and we will plan for your successful outcome.