If you have been recently arrested for DUI, you are probably facing a hard time. The process can be quite overwhelming, and you may not know what to do, or you might have questions you want to be answered. As you might already know, DUI is a grave offense in California and could lead to severe punishment if you are convicted.
What you need is a skilled and experienced DUI attorney who knows how to interpret the details of your case to create a compelling and robust defense against the charges you are facing. If you are in Eagles Nest, the San Diego DUI Attorney will be the right choice for you. With vast experience and knowledge, the right DUI attorney will ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.
Understanding DUI Laws in California
California DUI laws make it illegal for drivers to operate a car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There are several laws in place, all under California Vehicle Code Section 23152, which makes it illegal for any person to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These are:
Section 23152(a),which makes it unlawful to drive under the effect of alcohol. Any amount of alcohol is considered here as long as it has the capability of affecting your physical or mental ability to operate a vehicle. To be charged under this law, the prosecutor must show evidence that your driving was impaired and as a result, you were not driving as good as a person that is sober. Note that this law does not need your BAC test results to prove you guilty of the DUI offense.
Section 23152(b),which makes it illegal for a person to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC level of 0.08% or more. This is called the per se definition of DUI and will not require the prosecutor to prove that the driver was driving under the influence. The arresting officer must produce the driver’s BAC test results in court for him/her to be charged under this law.
Section 23152(c),which makes it illegal for anyone to drive a car when they have an addiction to any type of drug
Section 23152(d),which makes it illegal for commercial vehicle drivers to drive with a BAC level of 0.4% or higher
Section 23152(e),which makes it unlawful for any driver driving with a passenger, maybe in a hired car or taxi, to drive with a BAC level of 0.04% or higher.
Section 23152(f),which makes it illegal for any driver to operate a vehicle while under the effect of any drugs
Section 23152(g),which makes it illegal for any driver to drive while under the influence of both alcohol and drugs.
Most DUI arrests are convicted under both 23152(a) and 23152(b) sections of the California Vehicle Code. From the two, prosecutors have options on how they can prosecute the case. Again, most DUI cases in the state are convicted as misdemeanors. There are felony DUI convictions though, for instance, if a perpetrator is facing a fourth DUI or they were driving under the influence with a minor below the age of 14 in the car. Some convictions will carry a jail term and others a longer prison term. DUI offenders also face DMV penalties, which means that they could lose their driving privileges for a specified period.
What is the Role of a DUI Attorney?
A DUI conviction can bring you loads of problems in your life, including facing hefty fines, several months or years behind bars and other severe penalties depending on the nature of your DUI case. A conviction will also affect your professional and personal life. To avoid all these undesirable consequences, it is essential to seek legal guidance of a DUI attorney who understands the legal system well and can help dismiss your charges or lower the penalties you are facing.
Your DUI attorney will assess thoroughly to understand it and look into ways in which he/she can help in your defense. Every DUI case is unique; therefore, your attorney will spend some time studying your case and the circumstances surrounding it to see what can be done to help you out. He/she will also collect information that can be used as evidence in your defense.
A smart Eagles Nest DUI attorney will also keep his/her client informed throughout the process. This gives you peace of mind knowing that something is being done and you might get your freedom back in no time.
Your attorney will also prepare all the documents that are needed in court and file them before the deadlines. Any delay may worsen your situation, and you might end up spending more time in jail for that. That is why you need help from an experienced Eagles Nest DUI attorney. Such an attorney knows too well the documents that need to be filed and when they should be submitted to speed up the process.
A DUI arrest will be quite stressful, especially if it is your first time to be arrested. It can even get more worrying if you think about all the consequences you might face if you get convicted. For that reason, you need someone on your side until you get through the ordeal. A supportive DUI attorney could be just what you need. With the physical and emotional support you get, it should be easy to get through it all to the end of your case.
Types of DUI Cases Handled by a DUI Attorney
There are various types of DUI cases that an Eagles Nest DUI Attorney can handle, depending on the nature of the offense and whether or not the offender has a prior DUI conviction. These are:
First Offense DUI
A DUI offense can be quite complicated as it contains many and different elements. As mentioned above, every DUI case is unique; therefore, your DUI attorney will try to understand your situation first before trying to help you out of it. The circumstances of their arrest usually determine the charges and penalties an offender gets.
For a first DUI offender, you may get confused, mainly because this is the first time you are being arrested for drunk driving. The offender knows nothing about the DUI process and what to expect after an arrest. That is why you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. You need someone to guide and help you as well as ensure that your rights are respected.
Again, there are severe penalties to expect for a first-time DUI offender. These include a fine of between $390 and $2000, between 48 hours and one year of incarceration, license suspension for between 6 months to one year and mandatory requirement to attend a drug or alcohol program for between 3 and nine months. You need an attorney by your side, who might help reduce the charges you are facing to less-severe penalties or have your charges dismissed altogether.
Second Offense DUI
When arrested for DUI for the second time, you may not be as confused as you were the first, but still, you will be feeling a little overwhelmed, knowing that the penalties you might face if convicted will be heftier. Having an Eagles Nest DUI attorney by your side will lessen the burden on your heart and give you hope that your charges could be dismissed or you may face less hefty charges in the end.
The second offense DUI in California is punished by:
- Fines of between $390 and $1,000
- Jail time for a period of between 90 days and one year
- Between three and five years of probation
- Mandatory requirement to enroll in an 18-month DUI education program
- Mandatory requirement to have a SCRAM monitoring system installed in your car for between 30 days and one year or over.
A second DUI offense may be hard to fight on your own, but a smart DUI attorney will know what to do to have the charges reduced, or your case was thrown out of the court. Your attorney will advise you against any statements you could make that could worsen your situation. He/she will also be there to fight every charge that will be leveled against you.
Third Offense DUI
A third DUI conviction means that you have been convicted of three similar DUI charges in a span of 10 years. While you may be familiar with the DUI process and you can guess what will happen after an arrest, no one is prepared for the penalties they can get once they are found guilty of the third DUI offense. Other than being by your side and assuring you that all will be well, your attorney will work extremely hard to have some, or all your charges dropped or reduced.
The possible penalties a third DUI offender gets in California include:
- Fines of between $2500 to $3000
- Incarceration for a period of between 120 days and one year
- Mandatory requirement to complete a DUI education class
- A probation period of between three and five years
- Mandatory requirement to install an IID in your vehicle
- You may be required to contribute to California’s victim restitution fund
The offender could get more penalties if there are aggravating factors surrounding their case. These factors could be, for instance, DUI resulting in death or severe bodily injuries, DUI leading to property damage, driving with a minor of below 14 years in the car, among others.
Like mentioned earlier, the first three DUI offenses in California are charged as misdemeanors. However, the fourth offense within ten years will be charged as a felony, which means that it will be punished more severely than the second or third DUIs. A felony DUI could also result from the following circumstances:
- The offender caused an accident in their drunken or drugged state, which led to severe injuries or death of others
- The BAC level of the driver at the time of arrest was way higher than the standard BAC level of 0.08%
If you are facing a felony DUI charge, an experienced Eagles Nest DUI attorney can prepare a very profound defense for your case. Offenders facing felony DUI charges need an attorney who will work hard to reduce the severe penalties they are facing as well as advocate for the reduction of the felony charges to at least misdemeanor charges. Some of the penalties your attorney will be fighting against include:
- A maximum of four years of incarceration in state prison
- Fine of not more than $1000
- A possibility of losing one’s driving privileges for four years
- A mandatory enrollment to a DUI education program for at least 18 months
- Mandatory requirement to register as a habitual traffic offender in the state
Possible Defenses an Attorney Can Use to Help Your Case
A single DUI conviction will significantly alter your life because, after that, you will have a criminal record that will always come up when you are arrested again, or looking for employment, among other things. It is essential to work closely with an experienced attorney, who will put up a good defense for you and ensure that your case is dismissed or your charges are reduced to less severe. Fortunately, there are very effective defense strategies that an Eagles Nest DUI attorney can use to fight your charges. Some of these are:
An error in the breath tests
For a long time, DUI breath tests in California have been under scrutiny for their reliability and accuracy. There have been cases of instruments malfunctioning and sometimes improper techniques used to take BAC results, which have made these results unreliable and hence, inadmissible in courts. There is no way to tell if the BAC results obtained at the time of arrest were indeed accurate. If there is a possibility of inaccurate calibration, or the tests were not well conducted, your DUI attorney may call for the dismissal of the test results, and this means that you may face lesser charges in the end.
The rising level of alcohol in the offender’s blood
This is called the increasing blood alcohol, and it can work as a very effective defense for any DUI charge. The argument is based around the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the body, which is usually at a rate of between 50 minutes and three hours after consumption. If you were stopped and arrested for DUI immediately you had a drink; the arresting officer may obtain misleading DUI test results since the alcohol will not have been fully absorbed in your body at that time. There is a possibility of registering a higher BAC level after an arrest than it was when you were driving.
No probable cause for arrest
California law requires traffic officers always to have probable cause to believe that a person is driving under the influence before they can stop and arrest them. If this was not the case when you were arrested, then the case could be dismissed. An officer can stop a driver who is driving recklessly; driving in the wrong lane or one that has violated traffic rules and arrest them for DUI. However, if you were driving well, but you were stopped and arrested for DUI, the officer may not have a good reason as to why they stopped and arrested you. For this reason, any evidence they might have gathered so far will not be usable in court.
Your Miranda rights were not read
Sometimes the arresting officers are quick in interrogating drivers who have been arrested for DUI and collecting statements from them without informing them of their Miranda rights. The law requires an officer to read an offender’s rights immediately after arrest and allow them to contact an attorney before they can be asked many questions regarding their case. If the officer violated your Miranda rights, any response you must have given to them, even though voluntarily, can be surprised. This might leave the prosecutor with little or no evidence to convict you of the offense.
You were illegally arrested
An illegal arrest could happen if it happened in an illegal DUI checkpoint. In California, there are strict procedures and requirements that law enforcers must comply with at the DUI checkpoints. The DUI checkpoint must also be well set and advertised in advance for it to be seen as illegal. If not, any evidence that might have been gathered in that checkpoint might be suppressed, and this could see your DUI charges being dropped.
Find a DUI Attorney Law Firm Near Me
Drunk driving is an offense that will change your life entirely if you face a conviction. However, the penalties you might suffer can be reduced or avoided if you choose to work with a competent DUI attorney. The San Diego DUI Attorney is a criminal defense firm comprising of well-trained and experienced DUI attorneys that can take up your defense and ensure that your rights are not violated. Call us at 619-535-7150 and let us be there for you when you need it most.