DUI offenses are some of the common violations in California yet severely punished. The punishment a perpetrator receives depends on if there were injuries to third parties due to the DUI or if they have prior DUI convictions. When you cause injuries due to this offense, your penalties may move from misdemeanor to felony penalties. Equally, if you have prior convictions on the same offense, your penalties will be harsher than of the previous violation.
Impaired driving is highly discouraged in California because of the danger it poses to both the impaired driver and other people. When accused of this offense, you must defend yourself against a conviction. If charged at Hacienda Del Florasol, the San Diego DUI Attorney will defend you and make sure you get a fair trial.
DUI Offenses in California
When you get arrested on a DUI suspicion, you will face charges on any of the following violations:
VEH 23152(a) DUI Violations
Most motorists detained for DUI get charged with two misdemeanors separately. These are:
VEH 23152(a) which are charges of driving intoxicated by alcohol and
VEH 23152(b) which is when your BAC levels are at 0.08% or more based on the law.
For a defendant to get convicted of violating VEH 23152(a), the prosecutor must prove two elements or facts of the offense. These are:
The defendant drove the car and
They were high on alcohol as they drove
Establishing these elements is not always easy for the prosecutor unless you were arrested as you drove. However, some cases may make it difficult to prove, primarily when your local Hacienda del Florasol DUI Attorney argues the facts. For instance, you may have been found asleep in the vehicle but intoxicated, this means you were not driving, yet you get charged with the offense. Even when the engine was running, while you were seated in the car intoxicated, it is not evidence that you were driving.
Additionally, the prosecutor must show that you were under alcohol influence at the time of the arrest. There must be evidence suggesting that your mental and physical abilities were impaired and you could not cautiously drive as would a sober person under the same circumstances. This means how you drove is not conclusive to indicate impairment.
The prosecutor will rely on the testimony of the arresting officer in proving their case. The officer will testify on their reason for stopping you and what you did to indicate you were impaired. Most officers will suggest that you failed in the sobriety tests carried out. However, your experienced Hacienda Del Florasol DUI Attorney will challenge this evidence by bringing up the inaccuracy of the FSTs.
The Effects of Chemical Tests in a DUI Case
In California, when it comes to DUI laws VEH 23152(a) and VEH 23152(b) relate closely, but are different. This means you can get prosecuted with VEH 23152(a) offense even when your BAC is below 0.08%. This is the legal threshold under VEH 23152(b) which is normally used to support VEH 23152(a) allegations. Similarly, your BAC could be over 0.08%, and still not be under the influence.
This is one of the reasons a prosecutor is allowed by the law to present your BAC results to support the allegations against you. The jury gets instructed that when the BAC results are at or over 0.08%, they may or may not infer the defendant was impaired.
This is a point that is highly disagreed on in court where your defense attorney will produce expert witnesses that will testify about the various tolerance levels of people.
Fighting VEH 23152(a) Charges
These as earlier stated are the standard charges any person arrested on suspected impaired driving gets prosecuted on. The penalties for these charges depend on whether the defendant had been convicted of the same in ten years. A conviction will not only lead to legal penalties but other far-reaching consequences as well. This makes it crucial to get a Hacienda Del Florasol DUI Attorney to defend you against these accusations.
Your attorney will come up with various defenses that can get your case dismissed, punished less severely, or get a plea bargain. Some of the defenses used commonly include:
Alcohol was not the Reason of your Bad Driving
When a police officer is testifying in your case, he or she may indicate that your pattern of driving was a suggestion that you were impaired. However, your attorney can argue that most accidents are caused by sober drivers that violate traffic rules. Additionally, one may have had non-alcoholic reasons for the driving pattern, such as getting distracted by an external happening.
Symptoms of Intoxication can be Indicators of other Conditions
When officers get trained on how to identify intoxicated drivers, they are asked to look at some of the following signs:
Watery red eyes
Loss of balance
Slurred speech, among others.
When the officer notices a motorist with these signs, among others, he or she may arrest them and charge them with VEH 23152(a) violations. Fortunately, your Hacienda Del Florasol DUI Attorney can argue by indicating that the symptoms are not necessarily due to alcohol intoxication.
If you have allergies, are fatigued, or because of extreme sun, you may also display the same symptoms.
When your lawyer can convince the jury that you had underlying conditions that resulted in these signs, your case may get dismissed for lack of evidence.
Field Sobriety Tests are Not an Accurate Measure of Impairment
When one gets stopped for any traffic violation or suspicion of drunk driving, the officer will ask them to perform field sobriety tests. When a motorist fails in any of these tests, an officer will be quick to conclude impairment. Your lawyer will, however, challenge the officer by asking them to testify to other ways that you correctly performed the FSTs.
With this argument, your lawyer hopes to demonstrate that what you did right was more than what you did wrong. Your lawyer will also show the statistics of accuracy levels for the field test used and their relation to intoxication. This argument can also get your case dismissed.
Proper Procedure was not Followed
Your lawyer is experienced to question every aspect of the investigation of your offense. Your attorney will examine if the correct procedure was followed in arresting you.
The arresting officer is required by the law to have a probable cause before stopping you. If no proper procedure was followed in your arrest, then this becomes a valid defense.
Additionally, when collecting your breath or blood sample, the correct procedures must be followed as outlined according to Title 17. When the officers violate these regulations, the BAC results obtained may not be used in court as evidence against you.
Police misconduct also gets used as a defense in this case. In many cases, if the police officer while arresting you engaged in misconduct, their wrongdoing in most cases may override your wrongdoing.
Prosecution and Penalties for VEH 23152(a)
As earlier stated, violations to this statute are prosecuted and punished based on prior convictions on the same offense. Usually, the first, second and third violations of this offense get charged as misdemeanors in the absence of aggravating factors. The fourth and any other crime in a ten-year time frame gets prosecuted as a felony even when there are no aggravating factors.
When prosecuted on misdemeanor charges for the first three offenses, the punishments you face fall under the following legal guideline:
The defendant gets sentenced to informal probation for 3 to 5 years
County jail imprisonment not exceeding a year.
Payment of a fine of not below $390 in addition to other court assessment fees that can amount to $18,000
Getting sentenced to a DUI education program
A suspension of your license for not less than six months. The suspension is typically issued by the DMV and the court independently. However, a defendant can still enjoy driving privileges as long as an IID gadget gets installed in the vehicles they drive.
These penalties however depend if you have committed the offense before. The penalties for a subsequent offense usually are harsher than those of the prior conviction.
Aggravating Elements to your Penalties
Even when an offense would have been a misdemeanor, the presence of some factors would aggravate or increase the penalties a defendant receives. Some of these aggravating elements are:
If aside from your DUI offense, you were moving at high speeds, your penalties for the offense get increased.
If in your DUI, you had a minor in your car, this increases your penalties because you get an additional charge of child endangerment in California.
If BAC results of 0.15% accompany your DUI offense, your penalties get increased as well.
VEH 23152(c) Driving when one is a Drug Addict
When you get arrested for intoxicated driving, and are a drug addict, you also get prosecuted on DUI charges. However, if you are currently a participant of an approved treatment program, the penalties for this offense may not apply to you.
Just like driving while impaired by alcohol, drugged driving is a priorable offense. The first three offenses typically get prosecuted as misdemeanors, while the fourth becomes a felony. These penalties are equally severe and detrimental to your life in many ways. Getting a Hacienda Del Florasol DUI Attorney to represent you is crucial in avoiding a conviction. The prosecutor, in this case, must prove similar elements as those of VEH 23152(a). These are:
You were driving the vehicle at the time you got arrested and
As you drove, you had a drug addiction
This means, for you to be found guilty of this offense, you do not need to be under the influence of the drugs.
Under this statute, a drug is anything that will cause you impairment as you drive other than alcohol. The drug can be prescription medicine or a controlled substance that causes impairment.
When charged and convicted of the offense as a misdemeanor, a conviction will earn you similar penalties as those of VEH 23152(a).
VEH 23152(d) DUI with a Commercial Vehicle
Commercial vehicle drivers are held at a higher regard when it comes to intoxicated driving. To become a commercial driver, one must obtain an exclusive license that is different from the ordinary one. Commercial drivers typically drive common carrier vehicles. These are vehicles that transport people and cargo for profit. Because of the nature of their job, they are expected to be more careful than ordinary drivers are.
For this reason, the BAC level for a commercial driver is lower than that of ordinary drivers. A commercial driver in California must not drive when their BAC is at 0.04% or more.
When charged with violating this statute, engage a Hacienda Del Florasol DUI Attorney to represent you. The penalties when found guilty are harsher than those for ordinary drivers and can result in the end of your career when your license gets permanently revoked. For a defendant to be guilty of this violation; however, the prosecutor must determine that:
The defendant was driving the commercial vehicle and
As they drove, their BAC was at 0.04% or over.
The penalties when one is found guilty depend on if the offense is a repeat one and the circumstances of the offense. For instance, if the commercial driver was carrying hazardous products in their truck, an accident due to intoxicated driving can result in extended jail time.
When the offense is a misdemeanor, the driver may get his license suspended, among other penalties. A repeat offense a second time may lead to a permanent revocation of the license. The consequences of losing your license are far-reaching because you will never work as a commercial driver again.
When a DUI Offense Results in Injuries
All the above DUI offenses can become wobbler offenses in California. A DUI offense when it causes injuries, it becomes a wobbler. This means the defendant can face either a felony or a misdemeanor charge. The prosecutor in deciding how to charge you considers your criminal past and the circumstances of the offense.
When charged and convicted on misdemeanor charges, you face the penalties below:
A probation sentence of between three and five years
County imprisonment ranging between 5 days and 365
Paying of fines of between $390 and $5,000
Going to a DUI school program
Installation of an IID in your car to facilitate driving
Suspension of your driver’s license
Paying the victims restitution.
When charged and convicted on a felony offense, you will face the penalties below:
California state incarceration for not less than sixteen months or over ten years. Additionally, you will get more jail time due to the victims hurt and how severely they got hurt.
A conviction can get you a strike
You pay higher fines of between $1,015 and $ 5,000
Install an IID in your car for you to drive when your license gets suspended
You must pay restitution to the victims
Plea Bargain in DUI Charges
Sometimes, VEH 23152(a) charges do not proceed to trial. Your Hacienda Del Florasal DUI Attorney can get your case resolved at a plea bargain negotiation. A plea bargain is useful to both the prosecution and the defense. This tool allows a prosecutor to get a defendant convicted when they plead to a lesser charge that attracts lower penalties. Some of the violations used in plea bargaining are:
VEH 23103.5 Wet reckless
VEH 23103 Dry reckless
VEH 23109(c) Exhibition of speed
Expungement of your DUI Record.
A criminal record has far-reaching consequences than the legal penalties one receives in court. When convicted, your criminal record registers the conviction. Even when you have served your time, you will still get judged by the public based on your criminal record. In California, every sentence becomes a public record meaning any person can access it. Some of the consequences of a conviction are:
College admission – most institutions, before admitting an applicant into their institution check on their criminal background. If a conviction is present, you are likely to get denied an opportunity to study in the institution.
Finding a house – most landlords avoid renting their houses or apartments to individuals with a criminal background. Having a perfect credit score is not the only consideration in getting a flat. When you have a criminal record, a potential landlord may deny you their house.
Challenges of getting employment – a potential employer will look at your past before offering you a job. Despite your excellent qualifications, a potential employer can deny you a job when you have a conviction in your record.
These, among others, are some of the consequences a DUI conviction can earn you. Getting your record expunged however is crucial in improving your chances. Once you have served the punishment given to you successfully, you can apply to get your record expunged.
When your record is expunged, it means that no one will know you were arrested and charged with a DUI offense or even got convicted of it unless you tell them. The stigma associated with a record is taken away, and you get jobs or houses easier without bias.
Find a Lawyer Near Me
The consequences of a DUI are severe and should be avoided when possible. If you are accused of the offense, getting an experienced attorney to represent you during the trial is critical to your winning the case. If you have been charged in Hacienda Del Florasol, contact the San Diego DUI Attorney to represent you in court to get favorable results. Call us at 619-535-7150, and we will aggressively defend you against the accusations.