The state of California has strict laws regarding driving a car while intoxicated with alcohol. Committing the first DUI offense even without inflicting bodily injury on another person may attract hefty fines and assessment fees, jail time, and suspension of driver's license. Committing subsequent DUI offenses will attract enhanced penalties. San Diego DUI Attorney assists people facing DUI charges in California to fight the charges. If you or a loved one is facing DUI charges, one of our experienced Fairbanks Ranch DUI attorneys can help you come up with a proper defense.
Per Se DUI Laws in California
In line with Per Se DUI laws in California, if you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or above, you are under the influence. The law will not require any other proof that you are intoxicated to handle your DUI case. The Per Se DUI laws imply that you might face charges for drunk driving even if you feel or consider yourself sober to drive.
The law makes it easy for the prosecutor to prove that a person was driving a car while intoxicated with alcohol. However, this does not mean that you have to face a conviction for DUI if your BAC is above 0.08%. With the help of your Fairbanks Ranch DUI attorney, you can challenge the evidence of the prosecutor. For instance, you can challenge the validity of the BAC results.
It is important to note that the legal limit of 0.08% set by the Per Se DUI laws in California does not apply to drug cases. Different states have different methods of testing the presence of drugs in a driver's system. Drug testing and analysis may be more complicated, making it hard to establish that a driver was driving a car while under a drug-related intoxication. Certain drugs may remain in a person's body many days after the consumption of the drugs.
California Zero Tolerance Laws
According to California law, it is illegal for people below 21 years to purchase or to possess alcohol. If you are below 21 years, it is illegal to operate a car with even a slight alcohol content in your blood. In California, you might violate the zero-tolerance laws if you operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.01% or more. You might only have had a small glass of wine; even if you feel sober, you might face charges for violating the California zero-tolerance laws.
The reason why the state has strict laws for drunk driving is to help combat the adverse effects of underage drinking. Majority of the accidents that occur in California revolve around drunk driving. You people below 21 years tend to engage in alcohol more than people above 21 years. As long as the blood alcohol content of an underage driver is above 0.01%, the prosecutor will not require further evidence to prove intoxication.
For a young person, a DUI conviction may have adverse effects and effects. The long-lasting implications of drunk driving may affect a driver in the future. An adverse DUI conviction on your record may affect you when seeking car insurance. The insurance companies may consider you a high-risk driver requiring you to pay higher insurance premiums. Potential employers may also find the DUI record after running a background check on you. This may hinder you from getting your dream job because most employers would prefer candidates with clean background check results. Given the adverse effects of a DUI conviction on your record, it is critical to seek the help of an experienced DUI attorney to help you fight the charges. If you want to remove a DUI conviction from your record, the attorney can help you apply for the expungement of the DUI record.
When an officer stops your vehicle after suspecting that you are intoxicated, the officer looks for signs and symptoms of intoxication. The officer may request you to submit to a BAC test using a breathalyzer. Some drivers may willingly undergo the BAC testing while some drivers oppose the testing. If you refuse to undergo the BAC testing, the police cannot force you. However, it is critical to note that there are consequences for refusing to submit to a DUI test.
According to California implied consent laws, when you apply for a driver's license in California, you automatically give consent to field sobriety tests and chemical tests used to determine your BAC level. If you refuse to submit to DUI testing, you will be subject to the automatic suspension of your driver's license. You might also face additional penalties in addition to the suspension of your license.
Common DUI Penalties in California
The penalties you face for a DUI offense in California will depend on several factors. The penalties will depend on whether you have committed other DUI offenses in the past. The penalties will also depend on the presence of aggravating and mitigating factors. Jail time is a typical DUI penalty. The jail period will vary depending on the type of DUI offense and depending on whether you are a first time or a repeat offender. The court might also impose hefty fines depending on the nature of the DUI offense. Instead of jail time, the court might recommend misdemeanor or felony probation, depending on the type of DUI offense. Other penalties include:
Suspension of Driver’s License
In California and other parts of the United States, driving is a privilege and not a right. Therefore, operating your vehicle under the influence of alcohol may lead to suspension of your driving privileges. The California Department of Motor Vehicles may suspend your driving privileges for driving under the influence of alcohol. Inline to California implied consent laws, failure to submit to a DUI test might also lead to automatic suspension of your driver's license.
After a DUI arrest in California, you might request a DMV hearing within ten days of DUI arrest. You might attend the DMV hearing in person or request your attorney to attend the hearing for you. During DMV hearing, you express the reasons why the California Department of Motor Vehicles should not suspend your driving privileges. If you win at the DMV hearing, you might be able to retain your driver’s license. However, if the DUI case proceeds to court and you lose the trial, you might still lose your driving privileges despite having won at the DMV hearing. The outcome of the DMV hearing does not affect the court process for your DUI offense.
If you fail to request a DMV hearing within ten days after a DUI arrest, it may lead to automatic suspension of your driver's license.
California DUI School
After committing a DUI offense in California, you might be subject to mandatory DUI School geared toward alcohol education and therapy. The judge may recommend DUI School as a part of the suspended sentencing arrangement or a condition of probation. The program teaches drivers the consequences of driving under the influence and the dangers of alcohol dependency. Engaging in DUI School may help to reduce, eliminate, or replace harsher penalties of DUI, such as jail time, court fines, and license suspensions.
If you comply with all the terms of DUI School, and you complete the program successfully, the court might restore your driving privileges in California. If you fail to comply with the terms and conditions of DUI School, you might not be eligible for reinstatement of your driving privileges.
It is important to note that not all people are eligible for alcohol education and treatment programs. The judge may consider several factors while deciding whether to recommend DUI School. Some of the factors that the judge may recommend include whether you are a first time or a repeat DUI offender. Repeat DUI offenders may not qualify for DUI School; the court might recommend jail time and fines for repeat offenders.
The judge may consider your BAC levels at the time of the arrest. If you recorded very high levels of BAC, you might not be eligible for DUI School. Other factors that the judge is likely to consider are whether another person suffered injuries in the accident or if the accident led to the death of another person. The judge may also consider if you have participated in a similar program before.
After committing repeat DUI offenses, you might have your vehicle impounded. Vehicle impoundment aims at preventing future DUI offenses by removing the car from your control. Vehicle impoundment in California mainly applies to repeat offenders. However, with the development of ignition interlock devices (IID), vehicle impoundment has become less common. Also known as confiscation, vehicle impoundment may be a severe or excessive punishment for driving under the influence; for this reason, the state has limited its application.
Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
An ignition interlock device resembles a breathalyzer often fitted in the vehicle. The device prevents someone from starting the car if it detects the presence of alcohol in a driver's breath. After a DUI arrest, agreeing to install an ignition interlock device may allow you to retain your driving privileges in California. Unlike acquiring a restricted driver's license that will allow you to drive to designated places, installing an ignition interlock device allows you to operate your vehicle freely.
Many people often wonder how an ignition interlock device works. Typically, the ignition interlock device measures a driver's BAC and disables a vehicle's ignition if a driver's breath contains alcohol. The device has a lockout period that prevents a driver from starting his/her vehicle if the device detects the presence of alcohol. With each failed BAC test, the lockout period gets longer.
Aggravating Factors in DUI Cases
Under California law, the consequences of driving a car while under an alcohol intoxication are severe. However, the presence of certain factors may enhance your DUI sentencing. These factors are known as aggravating factors and will make you face more charges than the standard charges apply for a DUI offense in California. If aggravating factors are present, you should not attempt to handle the case on your own. You should inform your Fairbanks Ranch DUI attorney to help you come up with a strategy for fighting the charges. Some of the common aggravating factors in DUI cases include:
Extremely High BAC Factors
According to the law, you are under the influence if your blood alcohol concentration is more than 0.08%. If a DUI test reveals that your BAC levels are very high, you might face enhanced penalties according to California law. For instance, you will face enhanced penalties if you record a blood alcohol content of 0.15%. ABAC of 0.15% is extremely high because it is almost twice the allowable limit.
Recording very high BAC levels qualify as extreme DUI and attract higher fines and longer prison time.
DUI with a Minor Passenger
Under California law, it is an offense to engage in drunk driving with a minor in the vehicle. In the context of California law, a minor is a person below 14 years. The presence of a minor in the vehicle at the time of DUI arrest may aggravate the DUI consequences. In some states, the age that triggers enhanced penalties or DUI with a minor is 16 years. In some other states, a minor is a child below 12 years. However, in California, you will face enhanced penalties for driving with a person below 14 years while intoxicated.
You might face even more severe penalties if you engage in DUI in a school zone. The enhanced penalties may apply regardless of whether a child was present in the car or not. In addition to California DUI laws, DUI with a minor may also attract other charges under the California child endangerment laws.
Numerous DUI Convictions
You might also face enhanced DUI charges if you commit multiple DUI offenses in California. Even if you committed some DUI offenses in other states, they may still count as priorable offenses and attract more penalties. The state imposes harsher penalties for repeat offenders, to discourage people from engaging in drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs after the first DUI conviction.
When you commit a second or subsequent DUI offense in California, you will face more severe charges than a person who commits the first offense. Repeat DUI offenses may even come with mandatory jail time.
It is an aggravating factor to engage in reckless driving, including excessive speed while driving a car while intoxicated with alcohol. The state may charge you with excessive speed in addition to driving under the influence. Exceeding the speed limit by a certain amount may lead to an aggravated DUI. If you were operating your vehicle at high speed at the time of DUI arrest, you might face enhanced charges than if you were driving at a reasonable speed.
Driving on a Suspended License
Most DUI offenses in California result in the suspension of your driver's license. If you decide to continue driving on a suspended license, you might face enhanced charges. The court interprets driving on a suspended or revoked license as a blatant disregard of the law. This attracts higher penalties under California law.
DUI penalties can be devastating. It would be even more devastating if the prosecutor charges you with aggravated DUI. It is important to seek the help of an experienced DUI attorney if you are facing regular or aggravated DUI charges. You should not attempt to face the case on your own, especially if aggravating factors are present.
Common Legal Defenses for DUI Charges in California
Upon committing a DUI offense in California, the prosecutor gathers evidence to prove that you are guilty of the said offense. However, you do not have to agree to all the allegations of the prosecutor. With the help of an experienced Fairbanks Ranch DUI attorney, you can challenge the prosecutor's allegations. Your DUI attorney can help you to come up with a viable defense against the DUI charges. Some of the common legal defenses for fighting DUI charges in California include:
Questioning the BAC results-With the help of your DUI attorney, you can challenge the credibility of BAC results in court. For instance, the attorney may investigate the condition of the breathalyzer machine used in measuring your BAC. Your attorney will consider whether the machine was well maintained. A faulty breathalyzer may lead to elevated BAC results.
Fatigue or Illness- After stopping your vehicle on suspicions of DUI, the police look for signs and symptoms of intoxication. Signs and symptoms of intoxication may include red or watery eyes, confusion, and drowsiness. You might state that the signs were due to an illness or fatigue and not due to intoxication.
Before stopping your vehicle, the police must have probable cause. If the police stopped your vehicle without a probable cause, you might fight the DUI charges on these grounds. You might also fight the charges if you feel you are a victim of police harassment.
Find a Fairbanks Ranch DUI Attorney Near Me
If you are facing DUI charges, an experienced Fairbanks Ranch DUI Attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf to have the charges reduced. San Diego DUI Attorney assists people facing DUI charges to come up with a proper defense. Contact us at 619-535-7150 and speak to one of our experienced DUI attorneys in Fairbanks Ranch.