Drunk driving in California is a crime that can change many aspects of your life. State laws are stringent on drunk drivers to ensure that the occurrence of this crime is decreasing and motorists, as well as pedestrians, are safe on public roads. However, people are still being arrested for drunk driving, and penalties for DUI in the state are hefty. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in Borrego Springs, California, you need the help of an experienced Borrego Springs DUI Attorney. With proper defense, you could have your charges dropped or have your penalties reduced.
The Different Types of DUI Cases We Handle
Our Borrego Springs DUI attorney helps people who have been arrested for DUI so that they can understand their options. We also make sure that their rights are protected throughout the DUI process. What you should do after a DUI arrest is to call your DUI attorney immediately. This way, you will avoid making any self-incriminating statements that could jeopardize your case. This will also help you not to spend more time than necessary behind bars.
We have the legal experts to assess the specifics of your case and provide you with the most expert advice on the best options you could take for your defense. We also utilize some of the best defense strategies to help our clients get a lenient sentence or have their charges dropped.
At San Diego DUI Attorney, we handle all manner of DUI cases as below:
First DUI Offenses
Whether it is a first or a repeat offense, a DUI arrest can be a little complicated and need to be proven with several elements. Every DUI case is treated differently, and this goes to say that the charges and the associated penalties will vary as well. DUI charges are also determined by the surrounding circumstances and the circumstances of your arrest. This could be hard to understand by an ordinary person, but an experienced attorney understands the legal processes better to be able to guide you all through.
That is why there is a need to work with an experienced DUI attorney to help you navigate through the charges you are facing. Your DUI charge will be based on the condition you were in at the time you were operating the vehicle. Were you over-speeding or driving recklessly? Did you have a minor with you in the vehicle at that time?
In California, DUI is generally a severe offense that will attract hefty penalties, including high fines and several years in prison. The state of California has been experiencing many fatal accidents on its roads, most of which have been attributed to drunk driving. To discourage drunk driving, the first DUI charge in California will be as severe as every other. Prosecutors are always trying to push more than a single DUI charge to increase an offender’s chances of conviction. Even so, A Borrego Springs DUI Attorney can help you avoid a conviction for some or all of the charges you will be facing.
In a DUI case, the prosecutor will base your charges on two main elements:
- You were driving under the influence
- Your blood-alcohol level was 0.08% or more
The penalties for the first offense will be:
- A fine of between $380 and $2000, including penalty assessment charges
- Mandatory attendance and completion of a drug/alcohol program for a period of between three and nine months
- Suspension of your driver’s license for between six months and one year
- Restriction on your driver’s license for driving only to and from work, or to and from the DUI program
- A jail sentence for two days, which can be extended to between six months and one year in county jail under certain circumstances, such as aggravating factors
- A possible probation
The punishments could be less or more depending on the surrounding circumstances such as the level of your BAC and whether or not it is above the allowed level. Even if the charges are less, a DUI conviction can interfere with several aspects of your life, including personal and professional areas. That is why proper defense is needed in a case like this.
Second DUI Offense
After the first DUI conviction, many people do not commit a second DUI. This could be because they are already aware that things will be more intense if they are arrested for the same crime again. Also, the penalties for the first conviction are tough enough to discourage a person from driving under the influence again. However, some people will still get a second, third, and fourth conviction in their record. The only good thing for them this time around is that they are now familiar with the system and will know what to do immediately after arrest.
In California, DUI state laws are set tough to deter the crime. A second-time offender will, therefore, face harsher penalties. Before sentencing the accused, the prosecutor will always find out if he/she has similar prior convictions. This will make a massive difference in the kind of penalties you will receive. A prior conviction is taken into account if it happened in 10 years.
If found guilty of a second DUI offense, you lose your driving license for two years. A lengthy suspension will change so many aspects of your life because going to work and back home and taking care of your family’s needs without a car will be a problem.
In addition to license suspension for two years, the following penalties will apply for a second-offender:
- Fines which could range between $390 and $1,000
- Jail time for between 90 days and one year
- Probation for three to five years
- Mandatory enrollment in a DUI rehabilitation program for up to 18 months
- Mandatory SCRAM monitoring for 30 days and can go for over one year.
The penalties you receive can be more or less than those listed and will be determined by the seriousness of your current DUI case and if you have an ongoing drug/alcohol problem and how serious it is.
A smart attorney can plan a solid defense for your second DUI case and have your charges dropped, or the case dismissed. Fortunately, there are several defense strategies that a Borrego Springs DUI Attorney can utilize in your defense.
Third and Subsequent DUI Offenses
Every subsequent DUI conviction becomes severe, and a third conviction will be a little more severe than the first and second. A DUI conviction is generally overwhelming, but if you are facing a third one, it will be not only overwhelming but also embarrassing. It helps to know that you will not be alone throughout the process and during the trial but only if you engage the help of the best DUI attorneys.
A third DUI charge comes if you have three similar DUI convictions within ten years, with the current charge being the third. Since you are facing a similar charge again, you may know how to proceed and will probably not be confused like a first offender. However, penalties will be stiffer.
Just like the first and second DUI offenses, the third offense is a misdemeanor in California. Even so, you can expect the court to unleash its wrath on you for committing the same offense thrice. Penalties you could hope for a third DUI offense are:
- A fine that could range between $2,500 and $3,000
- Possible incarceration for between 120 days and one year
- Mandatory requirement to complete a DUI education class
- Probation for between three and five years
- You could be required to install an Ignition Interlock system in your vehicle;
- You may be required to contribute to Victim Restitution Fund for the state
Note that the list is not complete and that the judge will always have wide discretion in determining the penalties to give you. A third-offender could also lose their driving license for three years, which is a very long time.
That is why you need the best legal defense to fight those stiff penalties and others that may come, especially if there were factors that could heighten the charges.
Note that any other DUI conviction you get after the third one, within ten years, will be treated as a felony.
The first three DUI convictions in California are usually misdemeanors, but if you are arrested for the fourth DUI within ten years, you will be charged with a felony. There are two other instances you can face a felony DUI in the state:
- The motorist caused an injury or death while driving under the influence
- The driver was driving with a blood-alcohol content that is higher than the standard BAC.
A felony charge attracts heavier punishments than a misdemeanor. It would, therefore, help if you were to find a competent DUI attorney for the best defense if you do not want to spend many years in prison and lose your driving privileges for a much more extended period.
Some of the penalties you could face for felony DUI include:
- Incarceration for up to four years in state prison
- A fine of up to $1000 for the fourth DUI offender
- Loss of driving privileges for up to four years
- Enrolment in an alcohol/drug education program for 18 months
- Designation as a habitual traffic offender by DMV
Your Borrego Springs DUI Attorney can help you avoid a felony conviction with a proper defense. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, they may have your fourth DUI charge dropped.
Aggravated DUI occurs if certain factors show that the DUI was more severe than the typical drunk driving. If the driver shows a pattern of similar behavior, for instance, he may get a harsher penalty or get a felony conviction. Your DUI charges could, for example, be heightened under the following circumstances:
- You have two or three prior DUI convictions within a short period
- An accident happened and resulted in an injury or death
- You were driving recklessly on a highway or at a higher speed than standard
- You got involved in an accident that caused property damage
- You refused to submit to a blood or breath test
- You had a BAC of 0.15% or higher
- You were driving with a minor below the age of 14 while under the influence
- You were on probation at the time you were arrested for DUI
- You were driving on a suspended, revoked, or a canceled license, or you did not have a driver’s license at all
- You were under the age of 21 at the time of the DUI arrest
- You fled from the scene of the accident immediately after causing an accident
Each of the aggravating factors carries a different weight, and the sentencing you get after that is determined by the severity of the case. Aggravating factors result in additional punishments, most of which will have a severe impact on your life and career. A reasonable DUI attorney can help you not to get a harsher sentence than you deserve.
Possible Defense Strategies We Can Use for Your Case
An attorney should strive to understand and treat every DUI case uniquely. We know the severe consequences that one can face in California for drunk driving with a possibility of losing their driving privileges for good in case of aggravated DUI and spending many years behind bars. That is why we use the best possible defense strategies to fight the charges our clients are facing. Some of the strategies we use include:
Lack of reasonable suspicion for DUI
The law requires law enforcement officers to have a probable reason to stop any motorist for DUI. If it is established that the arresting officer did not have a right to suspect that you were diving under the influence, their case may not be accepted in court. The driver must have shown signs of intoxication to be stopped and arrested for DUI. If the police stopped you for other reasons, say an expired tag, and then they suspected that the driver was drunk after stopping him/her, the evidence gathered at that time may not be allowed in court.
Inaccurate Sobriety Tests
There is always no guarantee that the sobriety tests administered out there in the field are usually accurate. A smart DUI attorney can use the fact that so many faults have been found with the sobriety testing gadgets to fight the charges you are facing. This will work if the police officer administered the test to you out there before they arrested you. It will also work if you did not refuse to submit to the testing.
Improper conduct by the police
If by any chance, the arresting officer misbehaved throughout your arrest or in handling the evidence, this could be used to defend your charges for more lenient penalties. A smart DUI attorney can analyze the conduct of the arresting officer at that time and their previous behavior to prove to the court that his/her conduct could have significantly contributed to the DUI findings and the subsequent arrest.
A non-compliant DUI checkpoint
California has provided a list of rules and regulations that should be adhered to by all DUI checkpoints and the law enforcement officers that are operating those checkpoints. A good attorney will be able to find fault with a DUI checkpoint if there is any that could help your case. If for instance, there was no supervisory officer at the checkpoint at the time of your arrest, the arrest may not be legal, and your case could be dropped. There is a predetermined criterion of stopping and arresting motorists for DUI too, which should be followed to the letter.
No Miranda rights
The arresting officer is required to read your Miranda Rights after the arrest. If your rights were not read to you and you were not allowed to contact your attorney immediately after the arrest, your attorney could use this in your defense to have your charges reduced. Again, the officer is not supposed to question you in the absence of your attorney. If this happens, any evidence gathered through that questioning will not be used in court.
The accused was not drunk
It is possible to be stopped and arrested for drunk driving even if you were not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If, for instance, you have a medical condition such as diabetes, a neurological disorder or you have a cold, it is easy for the police to mistake you for a drunk or a person driving under the influence of drugs. In such a case, you need to prove your medical condition, with the help of your attorney, to get acquitted of the charges.
Find a Borrego Springs DUI Attorney Near Me
Any type of DUI charge is a serious offense, even if it is your first DUI offense. Fortunately, you have options. If you are in Borrego Springs, we invite you to contact the San Diego DUI Attorney to represent you depending on the circumstances of your case. Call our San Diego DUI Defense Lawyer at 619-535-7150 today!