Despite facing jail/prison time and paying fines, you may find it difficult to benefit from an employment or education opportunity due to a DUI conviction. We make it our mission at San Diego DUI Attorney to ensure that clients like you don’t face these negative consequences. With our target area being Carlsbad, CA, we excel in handling DUI related cases such as aggravated DUI, DUI causing injury, vehicular manslaughter, and DMV related cases such as license suspensions/revocations. In this guide, our lawyers take you through our practice areas.
An Overview of DUI Cases Handled by Us
Driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol may put you at risk of facing DUI charges such as Watson Murder and DUI causing injury. In California, DUI laws have become sophisticated while the penalties for DUI offenses have increasingly become severe. The common types of DUI you’re likely to be charged with as a resident of Carlsbad, CA are as follows:
- Aggravated DUI
Various aggravating circumstances may result in your conviction for this charge. An aggravated DUI charge can stem from causing property damage or an accident with another vehicle or being involved in a vehicle accident where someone is injured. The offense may also be based on operating a car with a blood alcohol concentration that is 0.15% or more or having passengers under 14 years of age in your car while driving. Other aggravating factors include:
- Refusing to take blood or breath test after arrest
- Being on probation for committing another offense
- Having two or three prior DUI charges within ten years
- Being under 21 years of age at the time you were arrested
- Failing to remain at the accident scene and getting charged with hit-and-run
Aggravating factors such as reckless driving may lead to a wet reckless conviction. A "wet reckless" charge is usually a bargain for less jail time, less probation time, fewer fines, less DUI school enrolment time and no mandatory license suspension. Your Carlsbad DUI attorney can negotiate with the prosecutors to have your DUI charges reduced to a wet reckless and lessen the penalties.
- First Offense DUI
A first offense DUI may apply to your case if you’re arrested for the first time for driving a motor vehicle while drunk. Provided that you don’t have any prior DUI charges on your criminal record, the offense will be treated as a first offense DUI. Penalties for such a crime, which include a 48-hour jail sentence or fine not exceeding $2,000, are less severe than those for subsequent DUI offenses.
Common instances of first offense DUI charges include underage/juvenile DUI, DUI with a passenger under 14 years of age and military DUI. A conviction for underage/juvenile DUI may stem from violating California's Zero Tolerance Law, which discourages persons below 21 years of age from operating a motor vehicle after consuming any amount of alcohol. Such a violation attracts a fine not exceeding $100 and not more than a one-year license suspension (if you were a licensed driver).
Military members and veterans are entitled to a Military Diversion Program when charged with DUI. Their misdemeanor DUI charges are dropped once they complete a diversion program. They may also risk incarceration, having negative performance reports, demotions/pay-cuts, dishonorable discharge, and monetary fines. Your Carlsbad DUI Attorney can help you to file a Military Diversion request.
- Subsequent DUI Offenses
Penalties imposed on a first offense DUI usually aim at cautioning offenders against repeating a DUI crime. If you repeat the mistake, you may be charged with second offense DUI, third offense DUI or fourth offense DUI.
A second offense DUI may attract fines not exceeding $1,000 and jail sentencing of up to one year. Third and fourth DUI offenses may attract more fines and more prison sentences. You may also be mandated to enroll in an alcohol education program and register with the DMV as a Habitual Traffic Offender.
- DUI Over 0.15%
A DUI over 0.15% charge stems from recording a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or more. Such an offense may call for penalty enhancements. In California cities such as Carlsbad, the enhancements include increased fines, increased jail sentence and longer enrolment in alcohol education programs. You may also have an IID (ignition interlock device) securely installed on your vehicle or be asked to partake in community service.
- DUI Homicide: Watson Murder
A DUI offense can only be treated as Watson Murder if someone else died while you were operating a car under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Penal Code 191.5 of the California laws considers this offense as vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. Penalties include a $10,000 restitution to the victim’s family, three strikes on your driving record and a 15-year or life imprisonment.
DUI incidents that result in death are prosecuted as second-degree murder cases. Second-degree murder entails murder stemming from having disregard for human life while first-degree murder involves murder that's deliberate and premeditated. Prior to your DUI homicide conviction, the prosecutors must prove the following:
- You intentionally and knowingly acted in disregard to human life
- The natural consequences of your actions were dangerous to human life
- Your intentional actions caused someone else’s death
- Non-immigrant Visa DUI
A simple DUI arrest can be more frustrating to an immigrant since there are risks for deportation and inadmissibility. DUI circumstances that may negatively affect your immigration status include driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs with a suspended license and driving under the influence of drugs. Having multiple DUI convictions in your criminal record and committing a DUI offense with a passenger under 14 years of age also matter here.
Under the US immigration law, you risk being denied entry in the country for committing a drug-related crime or multiple crimes with a total sentence of five or more years. You also risk deportation if your offense is considered as an aggravated felony and the crime attracts more than a one-year state prison sentence. Your Carlsbad DUI Attorney can help you fight these charges to avoid deportation and get admitted to the country as a citizen.
- DUI Causing Injury
Vehicle Code 23153 of the California laws considers a DUI act that causes injury as either a misdemeanor or a felony. For a misdemeanor offense, which may include first offense DUI that leads to injury, penalties include restitution, probation not exceeding five years, license suspension, up to a year in county jail and a maximum fine of $5,000. A third DUI causing injury offense is treated as a felony in California. Penalties for this crime include 5-year license revocation, up to four years in county jail, a habitual traffic offender title and three strikes on your driving record. You may also be sentenced to up to 6 years in state prison and asked to pay a fine that ranges from $1,015 to $1,000.
- DUI Hit and Run
Leaving an accident scene (whether you caused the accident or not) without giving relevant information to the other party may result in a DUI hit and run conviction. You’ll also face this charge when someone else got injury due to driving while intoxicated. As a Carlsbad DUI attorney would advise, you must identify yourself to the other person in a DUI accident regardless of the person who’s at fault. You’re also required to contact the local police department immediately to report the DUI accident.
- DUI with Drug or Prescription
Driving while intoxicated with drugs or under the influence of drugs (DUID) is an unlawful act according to Vehicle Code 23152(f). In this case, the term "drug" refers to a substance (other than alcohol) that can impair your nervous system, mental abilities or physical abilities. You'll still be charged with DUID if your impairment was as a result of taking lawfully prescribed medication. Just like other DUI cases, your criminal history and facts surrounding your case determine the penalty for a DUID.
- Blood Split Motions
A DUI attorney must be present when filing a blood split motion, which allows you to request another agency to test the BAC levels of your urine or blood samples. Your lawyer should use the findings of this investigation as evidence presented to the court to help fight your DUI charges. If the results indicate that your BAC level is lower than that recorded by the police, you stand a chance of getting a fair court ruling.
Police departments (among other processing stations) are mandated by the law to withhold your urine/blood sample for it to undergo independent testing. Your attorney can ask the court to nullify the test results if the police happen to lose the sample or fail to save it. Findings of an independent investigation may show that your urine/blood sample was tampered with if it was improperly stored or cross contaminated.
Types of DMV Related Cases Handled by Us
The California DMV (the Department of Motor Vehicles) is the state agency responsible for regulating the motor vehicle industry, securing identities, registering vehicles and licensing drivers in California. A simple DUI charge may lead to your license being suspended by the DMV. Instances such as refusing to comply with or take a chemical (blood/breath) test may require you to attend a DMV hearing to determine whether the suspension of your license should be waived. Here are some of the DMV related cases our lawyers can handle:
- License Suspension
If a California court clears your DUI charges, you may still have to attend a DMV hearing to determine the fate of the license suspension. Through a lawyer’s help, you may be allowed to obtain a restricted license (a driver’s license that allows you to only drive through certain routes) for a first DUI conviction. The DMV advises offenders to have SR22 forms filed 30 days after the license suspension. A first offense DUI may attract a license suspension time frame ranging from 4 months to 3 years.
For a second DUI offense, your license may be suspended for a period ranging from one year to two years. You can still obtain a restricted license by filing an SR22 form whether a California court or the DMV suspended your license. The DMV has harsher rules for offering restricted licenses to drivers charged with a third DUI offense. Besides getting the restricted license, the DMV will ask you to have an IID (an ignition interlock device) inside your car for at least a year.
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Suspension
A CDL is usually given to commercial drivers to authorize them to operate various vehicle types. They include vehicles that carry hazardous substances, vehicles that ferry at least ten people, a tank, double trailer or school bus and a vehicle weighing 26,001 pounds. A DUI charge may result in your CDL being suspended for up to one year without the entitlement to a restricted license.
- Out-of-State Motorists Arrested for DUI in California
California’s DUI laws apply to all citizens whether they live in or out of California. Though police officers don’t have the jurisdiction to charge you under these laws to take your driver’s license, they’ll hand you an Order of Suspension. The suspension order will state that your driving privileges in California are suspended for at least thirty days.
Through your attorney's help, you can have a DMV hearing scheduled to challenge this suspension. The DMV will only inform your state of residence about your arrest if the state complies with the Interstate Driver's License Compact (IDLC). Since the IDLC allows US states to share reports on DUI arrests/convictions with each other, you may face penalties such as ail time, heavy fines and probation for an out-of-state DUI charge. You'll also have an IID installed in your car and be mandated to join a court-supervised drug and alcohol treatment program.
- Representation at DMV Hearings
Also referred to an administrative hearing, a DMV hearing gives you the chance to plead your case using evidence presented by your lawyer if charged with a driving offense including DUI. The California DMV will assess your lawyer's evidence and defenses to establish whether you were lawfully arrested for DUI. The evidence also helps show whether the arresting officer was sure that you were under the influence of drugs/alcohol while driving. The DMV will want to know whether you were issued proper information informing you about the dangers of refusing to take a blood/breath test.
The outcomes of the DMV hearing will depend on whether you took or refused to take the administered chemical test. Your lawyer may argue that certain complications prevented you from giving an adequate air sample on the breath analyzer. In every DMV hearing, there's an administrative law judge present to decide whether to waiver or re-impose your license suspension.
Your attorney's role in the DMV hearing is to help ensure that your driving license privileges remain intact. Note that DMV hearings are entirely different from criminal proceedings. A DUI conviction can lead to your driver's license being suspended. However, your Carlsbad DUI attorney can rely on the win you made at the DMV hearing to negotiate a fair deal for a DUI case or prove t the court that the prosecutors' allegations against you are weak.
- Help Obtaining an SR22 Form
Obtaining an SR22 form is only mandatory when your driving incident resulted in the suspension of your license. You may get it in case of DUI convictions, failure to pay your parking tickets, unsatisfied judgment suspensions and driving suspensions due to driving recklessly or having your uninsured car being involved in an accident. Our lawyers can help your file SR22 forms such as the Operator's Policy Certificate, the Owner's Policy Certificate, and the Broad Coverage Policy Certificate.
An Owner's Policy Certificate applies to all vehicles under your ownership (registered under your name) while the Operator's Policy Certificate covers your financial responsibility if you don't own a car. You may obtain a Broad-Coverage Policy Certificate to cover the financial responsibility for vehicles you own or don't own. SR22 forms help you negotiate for a restricted license. In addition to filing the SR22 form, you're required to enroll in a recognized DUI school and attend the classes regularly for you to get a restricted license.
Fight DUI Charges by Enlisting the Help of a DUI Attorney Near Me
Of all decisions that you can make while facing DUI charges, hiring a DUI attorney is the best one. The attorney you hire to help you seek justice will be responsible for carrying out various tasks. They include presenting evidence, making objections to prosecutors' evidence and advocating for a fair ruling. Working with the San Diego DUI Attorney can guarantee you great case outcomes and peace of mind.
We serve Carlsbad, CA residents with our legal services which span from DUI cases to DMV hearings. Some of the DUI cases our lawyers handle include DUI causing injury, Watson Murder, first-offense DUI and DUID among many others. It'll be our pleasure to have you as a client. Book a free legal consultation with our San Diego DUI Defense Attorney at 619-535-7150.