The consequences of drunk driving are the reason why most states in the country have stringent laws in place against DUI. California is among those states that have severe penalties even for first time DUI offenders. The possibility of spending time behind bars, paying hefty penalties, and losing your driver's license for some time or forever comes with most DUI convictions. For that reason, anyone facing DUI charges in California is advised to seek the best legal representation they can get.
If you are in Hidden Meadows, getting yourself an experienced DUI attorney will make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. A good Hidden Meadows DUI Attorney can compel the court to reduce or drop your charges, depending on the circumstances of your arrest. He/she can also take you through all the legal processes that come after a DUI arrest, and ensure that your rights are protected. Contact the San Diego DUI Attorney if you have a pending DUI case in Hidden Meadows.
The Need for a Hidden Meadows DUI Attorney
Any criminal charge leveled against you should be taken seriously, even when you feel that the police do not have sufficient evidence against you. An arrest, even for an innocent person, will affect their lives in so many ways. It is essential to always think of a favorable outcome as this is the only way you can get back to your life as if nothing happened. An arrest for DUI is particularly life-changing because of the punishments that come after a conviction. The good thing is that California state allows people suspected of criminal offenses to hire legal representation to help them throughout the processes.
If it is your first time to face arrest for DUI, you may not know where to start and what you can do to save yourself from this devastating situation. An experienced Hidden Meadows DUI Attorney can help you with that. Having been in the court corridors for some time, this type of attorney will know where to start to ensure a smooth process that will soon get you out of custody. He/she will also advise you on the best options you have, depending on the circumstances of your arrest.
In addition to guiding you through the DUI process, an experienced DUI attorney will make sure that you are saying the right things to the police. Any incriminating statements made to the police will worsen your case and could leave you serving even a longer jail term plus heftier penalties. Out of panic, you may be quick to explain your situation to the police, not knowing how dangerous that can be for your case. Your attorney will be there on time to advise you on what to say and what not to say to ensure that your situation is not getting worse.
An experienced attorney will also be there to defend you against your charges legally. He/she will study police reports, and take your statement and the statements of any witnesses to come up with a good defense plan against your accusations. For instance, a qualified attorney will begin by establishing whether or not your arrest was legal. If not, he/she will find loopholes in your situation to compel the court to drop your charges. If your arrest were lawful, he/she would use other defense strategies to either have your charges dismissed or reduced.
Areas a Hidden Meadows DUI Attorney Could Help With
As mentioned above, the legal process involving DUI arrests is long and complicated, making it challenging for a civilian to navigate without proper legal guidance. A skilled attorney will, however, know what is expected of their client at any given time. He/she will also know the right papers to file at any given time to ensure that the process is moving on well for a favorable outcome of their client's case. Here are some of the areas with which an experienced attorney in Hidden Meadows can help you.
California Misdemeanor DUI
Most DUI offenses in California are convicted as misdemeanors. Even though misdemeanor offenses are not as severely punished as felony offenses, a misdemeanor DUI offense in California is still a severe offense, attracting severe penalties. Your first DUI offense will most likely be convicted as a misdemeanor if you get convicted. A second DUI offense committed ten years after the first, will also be sentenced as a misdemeanor offense. The same goes for a third DUI offense, committed ten years after the first and second. Note that these three offenses will only be convicted as misdemeanors only if there are no aggravating factors.
Aggravating factors are those that worsen a defender’s case and heighten the penalties they are likely to receive. Charges with aggravating factors are as follows, DUI resulting in property damage or physical injuries, DUI with a minor of below 14 in the car, and Hit & Run DUI. In the absence of such aggravating factors, here are the penalties the offender is likely to receive for a misdemeanor DUI conviction in California:
Jail term for not more than one year
Misdemeanor probation for a maximum period of five years
Monetary fines ranging between $290 and $3000
Mandatory requirement to complete a court-approved DUI program
A likelihood of losing one’s driver’s license to suspension for between six months to two years
A need to install an IID system in their car
Fighting your misdemeanor charges is the only way out if you do not want to face the above and other penalties that come with a DUI conviction in California. A qualified DUI attorney will come up with the best legal defense to counter the evidence presented in court by the prosecutor. If he/she is successful, your charges may be dropped. If not, the court may reduce your charges to a more lenient charge with less-serious penalties.
California Felony DUI
A felony conviction is more dangerous when compared to a misdemeanor conviction. It means that the offender is likely to face even heftier penalties that they would get if they got a misdemeanor conviction. Several situations could cause a DUI offender in California to face a felony DUI conviction. The most common ones are:
You have been arrested for the fourth time within ten years for a DUI-related offense
You have been accused of causing property damage, injury to others or death while operating a vehicle under the effect of drugs or alcohol
Your BAC level at the time of arrest was more than the required standard
You were driving with a minor below 14 years in the car at the time of DUI arrest
The difference between a felony and a misdemeanor conviction in California state is significant. A felony conviction would result in more severe penalties, including a life sentence if a person lost their life due to negligence on the road. Other penalties that an offender is likely to face in California after a felony DUI conviction depends on the nature of their DUI offense. A fourth DUI offense with no injuries or property damage can be punished with:
A maximum of four years behind bars
A maximum of $1000 in court fines
Likelihood to lose one’s driver’s license to suspension for four years
Mandatory completion of a court-ordered DUI program for 18 months
Registration as a habitual traffic offender in the state
Understanding your situation is crucial if you are facing a felony DUI charge in California. The help of an experienced Hidden Meadows DUI attorney will be invaluable in this case. With the help of an attorney, the court might drop or even reduce your charges, depending on the strategy he/she uses in your defense.
California DMV Hearing
Any person that is facing arrest for DUI in California is likely to receive both criminal and administrative penalties. Administrative penalties are those that are imposed by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. With these, a DUI defendant is likely to lose their driver’s permit to suspension or revocation, depending on the nature of their offense. Note that administrative penalties can still apply even if the offender wins their trial in a criminal court.
The suspension takes effect immediately after an arrest, whereby the arresting officer confiscates your driver's license. In its place, you are given a temporary driving permit to use within 30 days, after which you will not be allowed to drive until your suspension is lifted. To safeguard your driver's license, the DUI defendant is required to ask for a DMV hearing within the first ten days of their arrest. Failure to place this request will see you losing your permit to suspension in 30 days. The length of time the suspension will last will depend on the nature of the DUI offense you have committed.
If the DMV grants you the hearing, you will be expected to appear in the DMV office, and not in a court, on the date of your hearing. Note that this hearing can still be conducted over the phone. It is also not necessary to have legal representation in the trial, though the presence of an experienced DUI attorney can influence its outcome. Note that this outcome is important as it will determine whether or not you will continue to drive your car in California. If you fail in the DMV hearing, your license will be suspended once the 30-day period after the arrest is over.
Other than legal representation, an experienced DUI lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected during the hearing. DMV officers and not trained judges conduct DMV hearings. For that reason, they lack the formal training required in a legal trial. A DUI offender has the right to review and challenge all pieces of evidence presented against them in a DMV hearing, which is quickly done with the help of an experienced attorney.
California Juvenile DUI
California Juvenile DUI laws make it unlawful for any driver below the age of 21 to take any amount of alcohol. It is believed that a person below the age of 21 is incapable of operating a vehicle while they have consumed even the slightest amount of alcohol. The zero-tolerance law is not just in California but in most other states within the country. For that reason, juvenile DUI offenses are taken and treated with the seriousness they deserve.
Driving with any amount of alcohol in your system at the age of 21 or below will cause you to get arrested for juvenile DUI following Section 23140 of California Vehicle Code. Consequently, you will face severe penalties, among them a likelihood of losing your driver's license to suspension. Penalties are heightened if your actions resulted in an accident that caused property damage or injuries to other people.
To avoid all the severe consequences that come with juvenile DUI conviction, it is advisable to speak to an experienced DUI attorney. This is a charge that the court can reduce if your attorney proves that your charges are unreliable. There are specific regulations provided under Title 17, which provide guidelines through which the police must follow when arresting anyone for drunk driving. Any error during your arrest or in the administering of DUI tests can significantly help with your case.
Other than violation of the zero-tolerance law, there are other offenses that an underage driver can face charges for if they are arrested for DUI. These are:
Underage DUI — this is the charge an underage driver gets if they are found guilty of operating a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .05% or more. The offense is not as severe as a violation of the zero-tolerance law, and so may not be punishable by jail time. However, the offender might face severe court fines plus a likelihood of losing their driver's license for a specified period.
Standard DUI — On top of the zero-tolerance charges, an underage DUI driver may still face charges for standard DUI for violation Section 23152 of California vehicle Code. They can be convicted to misdemeanor or felony, depending on the seriousness of their offense
DUI Causing Injury — This charge will suffice if the underage motorist caused an accident in their drunken state, which resulted in physical injuries. Again, this offense can be convicted as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the nature of the crime.
DUI Hit and Run
As previously mentioned, a person can get involved in a road crash while driving a car under the effects of drugs or alcohol. When this happens, and the driver flees the scene of the accident without waiting to be cleared by the police officers, he/she can be charged with DUI as well as hit and run. In California, these are two of the most serious offenses that can leave you serving a long time in jail, plus paying hefty fines.
The law requires every motorist that gets into an accident to stop their vehicle and ensure that everyone else is safe before they can drive on, if this is not done, you will be charged with Hit and Run even if you were not the one that caused the accident. This is sometimes difficult to do for a motorist who already knows that they are driving under influence. The motorist may decide to flee the scene of an accident so as not to be arrested for DUI, which is seemingly a severe offense.
If a driver is arrested and charged with DUI Hit and Run, they will be tried and punished for DUI first, then tried and penalized for Hit & Run. It means that he/she will face two sets of penalties, which should be served consecutively. The standard DUI penalties will stand, depending on the nature of the offense and whether or not you have prior DUI convictions within ten years. In addition to those penalties, the offender is likely to face the following penalties for Hit & Run:
Imprisonment for between six months and four years
Monetary fines ranging from $350 to $5000
Payment of restitution
Driver license suspension
If a person is facing charges for California DUI Hit & Run, it is desirable to get in touch with a competent DUI attorney as soon as possible. He/she will be able to advise you on what to do as well as defend you in both trials to make certain that you are getting the least penalties possible. The most important thing is to ensure that your rights are safe from violations throughout the process.
Find a Hidden Meadows DUI Attorney Near Me
California DUI laws are complicated and hard to understand by an ordinary person. Again, these laws keep changing. Only a competent DUI attorney will know how to apply defenses to various DUI cases. That is why it is crucial to work closely with a qualified DUI attorney if you or your loved one is facing DUI charges in California. A skilled DUI attorney will walk with you through the many legal procedures, and also be there to defend you against your charges in a criminal court. Call the San Diego DUI Attorney at 619-535-7150 if you are in Hidden Meadows, CA, and allow us to assist you throughout the process.