Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a criminal offense that results in a court arraignment to face DUI charges. Apart from insurmountable evidence notwithstanding, the service of an experienced Del Mar DUI attorney is what you need to fight DUI-related cases in Del Mar, California. San Diego DUI Attorney has DUI defense attorneys that you can work with to have your charges dropped or penalties reduced if you are charged with any crime related to driving under the influence in Del Mar, CA. Read on for insights on our practice areas and how we can handle each case for you.
The General View of Drug and Alcohol DUI Laws in California
Recent changes that have been made in California DUI laws and other bylaws that have been affected deal with changes in social and driving trends. Rideshares and private hire drivers such as for limousine drivers now have a lower blood alcohol level limits. California marijuana statutes have also restricted drivers under the age of 21 years, taxi drivers and their passengers from consuming marijuana while within their vehicles. Commercial license suspension is even more stringent than for other motorists with taxi or limo drivers having license suspended for up to a year, or outrightly disqualified if convicted.
To abide by these stricter California DUI laws, rideshares like Uber and Lyft drivers will have to keep their Blood Alcohol Content levels below .04. They must also not allow passengers to consume marijuana while they're driving according to SB 65; with deductions of points, license suspensions and higher premiums for insurance if this law is violated. Drivers who are 21 years old or under face zero tolerance if policy adheres to SB 1273; which calls for any marijuana found in their blood systems to result in a year's license suspension. Individual circumstances such as medical cannabis users are exempted; with test results for THC impairment hard to circumstantiate. A defendant charged under such circumstances and retains a Del Mar DUI attorney can be able to prove the falsity of the positive test results.
DUI with Priors
California state laws advocate lighter sentences for first time DUI's, and stiffer ones for priors; up to charging them as a felony. A first DUI will incur informal probation of up to five years and a ban on driving after drinking any amount of alcohol. A chemical test may be performed impromptu, and the defendant cannot operate a vehicle without license or insurance.
Public work instead of custody is preferred by courts in nonviolent cases while a license with restrictions may be allowed by the DMV. Some cases, especially where there has been damage to public property or injury, will incur fines, and a DUI defendant will undergo three to nine months of rehabilitative programs. An interlocking ignition device is sometimes used by California courts to enforce sobriety before a DUI defendant attempts to drive a vehicle.
Within ten years of a prior DUI, a subsequent arrest will elicit severe legal repercussions for a first-time offender. Another offense will obtain maximum incarceration of up to one year, informal five-year probation, and have the driving license suspended for two years. Rehabilitation programs of up to 18 months, fines and restricted driving license of 90 days for non-probationers and one year for probationers may also be necessary. A third DUI will carry a minimum 120 custodial sentence with a fine and three-year license suspension and the same program requirements or restriction, with a fourth violation becoming a felony.
Misdemeanor vs Felony DUI
A misdemeanor DUI charge can occur where there is a prior second or third offense that did not result in an injury. If the accident resulting from such a misdemeanor results in property damage, the charge remains the same. When a DUI results in an accident and other individuals sustain an injury, then the charge becomes a felony under California Vehicle Code. A similar charge of DUI after a previous felony charge within ten years, however, constitutes is a direct felony DUI. An accident without injuries sustained resulting from a DUI doesn't automatically become a felony though some penalties may be enhanced where the misdemeanor involves property damage.
According to the California vehicle code 23152(a) through 23153 (b), DUI is considered a felony when the defendant has committed a fourth offense within ten years whether there has been an injury or not. A DUI resulting in an accident where there is any form of injury, be it soft tissue or severe, automatically becomes a felony. Where there has been grievous bodily injury (GBI), an enhancement of the charge can result in an additional three years on a prison sentence.
A bodily injury caused by a DUI can have enhancements that include a three-year extra prison sentence, and count as a strike in accordance with the California Three Strike Law. This might have the adverse effects of increasing stakes in a defendant's legal battle depending on factors like the extent of injuries, level of alcohol in the blood, or a prior DUI record. Certain defenses that a Del Mar DUI attorney can use to have the charges minimized include whether there was a level of difficulty in driving conditions and other causative or contributory factors.
Substantial penalties are associated with a DUI felony including state prison sentences or county jail time. Driver license revocations and suspensions are augmented by probation, fines that can amount to $10,000, sobriety or rehab programs and restitution for property or personal injury damages. To get resolutions that are favorable to a defendant and complement their rights, a competent DUI attorney will review evidence and identify mitigating factors that will result in less stringent penalties. This evidence may include field sobriety testing and driving tests, initial contact reports and chemical analysis results.
Administrative and criminal sanctions aside, a DUI conviction can result in professional and vocational license problems. There may also be a loss of security clearances and immigration issues in the aftermath of DUI convictions with employment problems or due to a criminal record. Some alternatives to custody are available such as work programs or SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring). Del Mar DUI attorney works with an arrested or charged defendant for a DUI and reviews their case for a better understanding of the consequences, procedures, and defenses available.
DUI of Drugs (DUID)
Despite the legalization of cannabis, the state of California still frowns on a DUI of drugs, though the process for determination is not scientific. Police testimonies and the field sobriety exams that were performed at the arrest site provide subjective proof that an individual was arrested or caused an accident while under the influence of drugs. This may cause the law to be misappropriated at times and a sober defendant can be accused of a DUI of drugs.
Blood tests, which are the regular methods for alcohol level tests on defendants in California, are not an effective method of drug influence determination. Blood drug levels are not consistent with the time of testing or consumption and will depend on the individual's tolerance to the narcotic. A defendant can fail a test even though they had consumed the narcotics days before the arrest or accident.
Blood test evidence can, however, point to usage and depending on the drug detected, could lead to impairment being ruled on. Marijuana THC, for instance, can be detected in varying concentrations, as well as cannabinoids that are its active or inactive metabolites. The drug laws in California are changing, and a defendant charged with a drug DUI needs an experienced attorney to fight the charges.
The state of California takes drug or marijuana DUI with the same view as alcohol-influenced driving. The active psycho-compound in marijuana that causes varying degrees or lack of impairment is known as tetrahydrocannabinol or TCH. Impairment over a threshold to safely operate a motor vehicle for THC is five nanograms in 100 milliliters of blood.
California laws advocate the same sentences for marijuana DUI as that of .08 concentration of blood alcohol, while some other states don't set these limits. The reliance on chemical recognition experts to interpret the drug thresholds in a drug DUI enables a San Diego attorney to challenge any vulnerability or bias to tow the police line they may display.
DUI with License Suspension
After a DUI arrest and charge is laid on a defendant, the driver's license might be retained by the police. There should then be an issuance of a notice for suspension and a temporary provisional license that allows driving for a month. The notice expires together with the temporary permit, but within ten days of the arrest, a defendant should contact the DMV to challenge the license suspension. At this point, a Del Mar DUI attorney will assist the defendant in filing a license suspension challenge; the hearing of which will give an allowance for another 30 driving days or up to the outcome of the DMV case.
A defendant receiving a DUI conviction may get their license suspended. Prior offenders on probation only need a .01 for DUI charges and license suspension and so are underage drivers. Refusing to take an onsite breath test or blood test may also result in a suspended license, and a defendant will be charged on a separate count. Your attorney will direct you on the filing for a hearing towards the suspension of a driver's license.
Is a DMV License Suspension Separate to DUI Proceedings?
A DUI arrest in California results in an automatic license withdrawal, with suspension slated for after 30 days. This can also be triggered by the refusal to take a test or a prior DUI, and a defendant must make an Admin Per Se application for hearing within ten days of being arrested. The administrative hearing runs concurrently with the DUI misdemeanor or felony proceedings where under 21 years' old drivers may face a license suspension of up to 4 months. If their blood alcohol levels are above the .01, and no charges are filed, the young defendants may still incur up to one-year license suspension.
Probationers and prior drug or alcohol DUI offenders will meet with stiffer regulatory conditions augmented with lengthy DMV suspensions. A non-alcohol or drug DUI may be exempted from administrative restrictions in the case of an acquittal. A conviction suspension, however, may take effect and be concurrent with the administrative DUI restrictions. A restricted license can arise from these suspensions in relation to court instituted DUI programs or professional and commercial driving capacities.
To get these license restrictions revoked or a license replaced, a defendant who complies with California statewide DUI programs petitions the DMV for the reinstatement of privileges. General program lengths are three months for DUI's without priors and up to nine months where the blood alcohol level is over .20. Consecutive second or third misdemeanor offenses will elicit a DUI program spanning 18 months, with ages 21 and under enrolled in a star program.
Where the result of a DUI accident causes a fatality, the charge can graduate to manslaughter by gross negligence that carries a ten-year state prison sentence. A simple negligence charge will incur a maximum of four years in prison; while some aggravated vehicular manslaughter cases, depending on evidential contributors, it can result in a second-degree murder charge.
The General DUI Defenses
A defendant charged with DUI or related crimes faces prosecution that leads to severe direct consequences. These include; possible jail time, license suspension, hefty fines, increased car insurance rates and the installation or maintenance of an ignition interlock device. Terms and conditions of probation or restitution and the continuing DUI programs will indirectly affect a defendant's opportunities, employment, licenses, and security clearances.
To prove a Blood Alcohol level of .08 or the presence of impairment from drug use, the prosecution presents breath and laboratory tests. An attorney will review all the resolutions in evidentiary factors and find mitigating factors for defending a defendant. This attorney's review will result in DUI charges becoming lesser such as from a felony to a misdemeanor and dismissed charges. Some of these defenses that a Del Mar DUI attorney uses are;
Blood or breath testing equipment and calibration according to manufacture will need to be proven effective and well maintained. If they are not, any tests done by the equipment are invalid.
The validity of the arrest:
The prosecutor and arresting officer must prove that the reasons for a DUI arrest were within the reasonable cause. In cases such as accidents resulting from a DUI, the officers must present evidential testimonies and witnesses to show that a defendant was in fact under impairment such as irregular driving or speeding. The breath and blood tests taken on the arrest site must also prove a defendant had the required illegal amounts of impairing factors such as .08 BAC and above.
The favorable resolution of a DUI case will depend on certain elements that are individual specific. These may include certain special considerations such as professional impact, prior trauma, military service, age, mental or physical conditions. Lack of a previous DUI record is usually a robust mitigating factor that an experienced Del Mar DUI attorney will use as a legitimate defense consideration.
What are the Cost and Time Factors in a California DUI?
There is a myriad of expenses associated with a DUI in California, many having to do with fines and charges. Other than the court instituted fines, a myriad of license reinstatement charges, program costs and elevated insurance policy fees will break a DUI defendant's bank balance. There may also be a restitution of injured persons or private property that may come out of pocket, with lots of productive time even going to waste.
A defendant who has been arrested with a DUI crime in California might suffer jail stays, work absences, and the court or program attendance taking a considerable amount of time and money for the defendant. The inconveniencing loss of a driver's license, coupled with the additional costs arising from alternative methods of transport significantly hampers a defendant's financial freedom. Appointments for work or court-related matters must be kept, and legal fees may also add to the fiscal burden.
Find a DUI Lawyer Near Me
With aggressive defense strategies, the San Diego DUI Attorney offer services to defendants by protecting their rights and providing legal assistance in the event of a trial. There are many defenses against a DUI crime, and a defendant needs not to plead guilty until they have the opportunity for legal representation. Many errors can lead to a police initial arrest and charge, while testing equipment mechanisms are prone to malfunction or contamination. There are medical conditions such as heartburn and diabetes that can make this equipment to provide false readings. If you are facing misdemeanor or felony DUI charges including DUID, vehicular manslaughter, DUI with Injury, etc., or you want representation for your DMV License Suspension hearing, contact our Del Mar DUI attorney today at 619-535-7150. Once we understand your situation, we will begin devising the best approaches for your case.