Driving under the influence (DUI) is known to cause a lot of personal injuries and property damage. Drunk driving is also a serious offense that carries heavy penalties in Harbison Canyon. The penalties become more severe with instances of commission. For example, with the first offense, you will possibly be charged with considerable fines, jail time, and even lose your driving license. If you are arrested, it is essential to note that you only have ten days from the time of your arrest to make arrangements for your hearing. It will be in your best interest to hire a Harbison Canyon DUI Attorney who has extensive experience in representing clients aggressively. Our DUI defense team at San Diego DUI Attorney will ensure that your rights, freedom, and future are protected.
What is a DUI?
A DUI is a crime that is charged depending on your inability to drive. In Harbison Canyon, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense that comes with harsh punishments. The penalties are severe because of the huge number of accidents and injuries that happen due to drunk driving. A DUI charge in California has two separate elements:
Driving Under the Influence
DUI is the most common drunk driving and traffic offense known by most people. It refers to driving in a state of impaired judgment due to drug or alcohol consumption. It does not matter if the level of blood alcohol concentration was below or at the legal limit of 0.08 to be charged with DUI. A police officer will use your current state at the time of driving to make the judgment under Vehicle Code 23152 (a).
Driving With a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or Higher
The allowed limit for operating a vehicle in California with alcohol in your body system is under 0.08. Police will take either a blood sample or conduct a breath test to determine your BAC level. If the test is above the legal limit (0.08), you are charged with a DUI offense under Vehicle Code 23152 (b).
First-time offenders of DUI are charged with a misdemeanor with both administrative and criminal penalties. However, some circumstances result in severe penalties if convicted. These include:
Having an extreme BAC level above 0.15 percent
A DUI that resulted in an accident, fatal injury, or even death
Over speeding and reckless driving while driving under the influence
Driving under the influence with the passenger being a child of under 14 years of age
Under 21 years driving with any content of alcohol in your system
Driving under the influence without a license at the time of the arrest
Refusing to cooperate in taking a blood or breath test after arrest
Conviction of DUI as a first time can be very confusing as you are not aware of what to do next. Each case has different challenges, and the different variables can work to favor you or against you. All that you need is a Harbison Canyon DUI Attorney to ensure that you get a fair and legal judgment.
DUI Arrest Process
In Harbison Canyon, most DUI arrests start at the traffic checkpoints where the traffic officers ask you to pull over. Anyone over the age of 21 can drive with BAC of below 0.8%. It does not matter whether you feel sober to drive, or the driving distance to get home is short. Your BAC will be the one to determine whether you are legally allowed to drive. Here are a couple of reasons why you could get arrested:
Violating Traffic Rules
Most DUI arrests are common at checkpoints. A traffic police officer may stop you for breaking traffic rules such as driving with an overdue license, having a broken tail light, or running at a stop sign. If you are found intoxicated in addition to violating traffic rules, for instance, smelling alcohol or appearing impaired, you must take a field sobriety or a breath test.
If you are seen driving carelessly, the police officer could assume you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The police will have to pull you over and use a breathalyzer to check your level of alcohol in your blood. If the test reads over the legal limit, you get arrested and charged with DUI.
The police do not have to use a breathalyzer based on probable cause. If the police officers believe you were driving while under the influence, they could arrest you. They will drive evidence from either a strong smell of alcohol from your car, inconsistent speech and abnormal movements, or empty alcohol bottles on the floor of your vehicle.
Many people do not realize the importance of DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) hearing, and so after the arrest, they do not request it. A DMV hearing is an administrative hearing that allows the suspect to challenge their license revocation case. A DMV hearing does not determine whether you are guilty or innocent. The issues of conviction are later discussed in the criminal case. The DMV can only decide the following:
The arresting officer had reasonable cause to arrest you
You were lawfully placed under DUI arrest
You were briefed about the consequences of refusing to take sobriety tests
You refused to submit to, and complete the blood or breath test
DUI Court Process
Whether you win or lose your DMV hearing, you still could be arraigned in a criminal court for your DUI arrest. The key players in the DUI court process are:
The defendant's attorney
A jury (maybe)
Californian DUI court process starts with court arraignment and ends when the convict is sentenced or acquitted for the charges. During the arraignment, the prosecutor gives the defendant a first "offer''. The offer is the sentence given by the prosecutor if you plead guilty to your charge.
If you plead not guilty, a Harbison Canyon DUI Attorney will be entitled to review the prosecutor's evidence. This includes a copy of the police report and accessibility to maintenance records of the testing instruments. Generally, court cases go through the following process:
After the arrest, you are taken to police custody and then released after processing and testing. The accused will receive a preliminary summons. Where your charges and results of the chemical tests if any have been recorded.
When you are arrested and detained, you have to be bailed out by a local magistrate. Mostly the accused drivers are released the same day and arraigned at the preliminary hearing.
Here, the prosecutor tables evidence to prove the defendant's criminal offense. Both the police and the witnesses give their statements. You do not have to say anything, and your attorney will do it on your behalf.
County Court Arraignment
This is a second court date that is set by the court for pleas. You do not have to appear if you have your attorney. The attorney will request for police reports and ensure the case is listed on the next pretrial.
The primary purpose of this process is for the court to update any new developments of the case. The prosecutor and your attorney hold meetings and record any agreement reached.
This is where your attorney raises a specific defense based on your case. The attorney will also have the opportunity to examine the police officers and witnesses to testify.
A jury trial will only happen if you had a prior DUI conviction. Instead of a jury, a bench trial may take place. Here one judge is the final decision maker as well as the board.
The judge will make the final decision of convicting or acquitting you. If found guilty, the judge punishes you with possible fines, jail time, license suspension, compensation, or other penalties per state laws. But if found not guilty, your case gets dismissed.
DUI Common Defenses
You have the right to a defense when arrested for drunk driving, even if you feel a little inebriated. There are several defense options that an experienced attorney in Harbison can raise to help you gain the best results for your DUI case in Harbison Canyon. Most of the possible defenses on drunk driving charges are by attacking the police officer's observations. They include challenging the integrity of the evidence recorded, like the breathalyzer accuracy and the happenings before the arrest. Depending on your case, the defense attorney will use the following defenses:
You Were Not the Driver
The attorney may raise the question of whether you were the driver at that particular moment. Perhaps, a passenger switched places with you believing he or she was sober but unfortunately failed the sobriety test. If the prosecutor cannot prove that you were the driver, the case might as well be dismissed, or you get acquitted of the charges at the trial.
Your BAC Rose Abruptly
If your BAC was below 0.05% by the time you started driving, it is presumed you were not under the influence. Your defense lawyer may argue the BAC increased between the time of the traffic stop and that of the breath test. This mostly happens if you had recently consumed alcohol, and it had not absorbed until when the BAC test was being performed.
If the initial traffic stop lacked probable cause, it is unlawful, and any evidence that resulted from the stop should be dismissed. The attorney will argue that the officer had no lawful reason to pull you over. Your case will be dismissed as the arresting officer could face significant punishment for arresting you unlawfully.
Faulty Testing Kits
The attorney may challenge the accuracy of the sobriety test procedures and apparatus used at the scene. While the officer could be trained correctly, the test devices could be faulty or calibrated incorrectly, or there were interferences like vomiting or indigestion.
You might have ingested alcohol without your knowledge. For instance, you attended a party where the cake was "spiked" with an indefinite quantity of liquor or even marijuana. It was not your fault, and you cannot be convicted of DUI.
A mistake of fact
Some signs of intoxication used by the police can be misleading. For example, slurred speech or bloodshot/watery eyes as much as they are signs of intoxication are also as a result of allergies, frustrations, or eye irritation.
Improper police actions
This evidence includes the officer's violation of your civil rights, a fake DUI report, or otherwise did not give you your Miranda warning (right to remain silent).
Penalties for DUI
In Harbison Canyon, DUI penalties and sentences depend if they are for a first offense, second offense, third offense, or fourth offense. Each offense has its charges determined by the circumstances of your arrest. Below are penalties for each specific offense:
Penalties For a First DUI Offense
Summary probation of three years
Between two days and six months in jail
A fine of $ 1,000 with penalty assessment
A 6-month driving license suspension or longer or drive with an Ignition Interlock Device for half a year
A one-month vehicle impoundment
The ordered community service
Penalties For a Second DUI Offense
Summary probation of three to five years
Total fines and penalties assessment of $ 2,000
Three months in the county jail that may be converted to home confinement
A mandatory of an 18 to 30-month alcohol program completion
A two-year driving license suspension or installation of Ignition Interlock Device for one year
Penalties For a Third DUI Offense
Summary probation of three to five years
Total fines and penalties assessment of $ 2,800
A minimum of four months of jail sentence or more
A mandatory 30-month alcohol program completion
A three-year driving license revocation or installation of an Ignition Interlock Device for two years
Penalties For a Subsequent Offense
Forced prison or jail time
Huge fines and court fees
Mandated alcohol treatment program
Driving license revocation or suspension
Additional charges for summary probation violations
There are other enhanced penalties for a DUI conviction if you did the following:
Refused to take breath or blood test to determine your BAC
The DUI you committed resulted in a fatal injury or death of another person
Had a minor (below 14 years) as a passenger
Your BAC was over 0.15%
What the Prosecutor Must Prove to Convict You
What the prosecution has to prove to the court varies with charges. It typically shows that some actions were done with a specific state of mind, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Many charges in Harbison Canyon have elements of the crime set out under Vehicle Code 23152. So your Harbison DUI attorney will have to carefully study the statute to determine what the prosecutor has to prove since it brings a lot of value to the case.
The prosecutor has to prove that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol at the time of driving. For this reason, the prosecution would rely on the blood or breath tests that were administered on the driver.
The prosecutor will have to provide an expert report on how the sobriety tests were conducted. The results of the test should be accurate, and the test devices should be perfectly calibrated to give proper results.
In the case where the defendant refused to take the blood and breath tests, the prosecutor has to prove with other pieces of evidence. He or she may include the defendant's driving conduct, the performance of field sobriety tests, or use other factors that can be legally put into considerations.
The prosecutor will also have to introduce the police officer's records as evidence of drunk driving to prove conviction. The report generally includes the officer's observations, the reason for pulling over the defendant, questions to the driver, and statements made by the driver. The officer's credibility should be high compared to that of the driver.
Frequently Asked Questions on DUI
If I'm stopped for suspicion of DUI, do I have the right to refuse to answer questions without an attorney?
Answer: The California law guarantees the right of a person not to be a witness against his/herself self.usually, the officer will advise you of your Miranda rights. You should invoke those rights and do not talk. Request to speak to a lawyer.
What is the penalty for refusing to submit to a blood or breath test?
Answer: If you fail to submit or complete the sobriety tests, you will have the license revoked for driving privileges.
Find a Harbison Canyon DUI Attorney Near Me
If you have been arrested for a DUI, you must meet with an experienced Harbison Canyon DUI attorney right away. Our attorneys will walk you through the DMV hearings to the criminal process. The first hearing is vital as it sets the stage in the DUI criminal case. Call the San Diego DUI Attorney at 619-535-7150 today and we will ensure your rights are preserved as well as securing a positive outcome.