Drunk driving is a common occurrence in California. By operating an automobile with a BAC which exceeds the limit set by the law, you risk facing a driving under the influence of alcohol charges. In California, the legal limit varies depending on the type of license you possess. Adult drivers with an adult driver’s license should not operate with a BAC higher than 0.08%. Also, the law has zero-tolerance for underage drunk driving, and a BAC exceeding 0.01% will attract charges for underage DUI. Should you find yourself battling charges for drunk driving or other related offenses in Hulburd Grove, it would be wise to contact the San Diego DUI Attorney. Our DUI Attorneys work diligently to make sure your case has the best results.
What is DUI Under California Law?
Drunk driving is the term used to describe the act of operating an automobile with an alcohol content exceeding the legal limit. Also, drivers whose judgment is impaired by the use of drugs are considered to be intoxicated. DUI is a common cause of traffic accidents in California, making the DUI law stringent on offenders.
Under Vehicle Code 23152 of California, the legal limit of blood alcohol differs depending on the type of license you possess. Adult drivers commit an offense by having a BAC of 0.08% or more. Drivers who operate commercially are often charged with commercial DUI if, at the time of arrest, their BAC exceeded 0.04%.
If an officer suspects you may be intoxicated while behind the wheel, they will stop your vehicle. After which observations will be made in the form of a field test. You will be subjected to a breath test to confirm your BAC. If the percentage of alcohol in your breath test is above the limit, an arrest will be made. On arrival at the station, you may be required to submit to blood tests, which is the most accurate way to get your BAC.
Should you get convicted for a DUI offense, you will face harsh penalties in the form of jail time, fines, and probation. The seriousness of the penalties for a DUI relies on your criminal history and circumstances surrounding the case. You risk facing an enhanced sentence if while driving, you caused an accident that resulted in serious injuries. After your arrest, the California Department of Motor Vehicle will be notified and attempt to suspend your license. With help from a Hulburd Grove DUI attorney, you can request a hearing to contest the suspension.
Wet Reckless as a DUI Plea Bargain
Wet reckless is a form of DUI charge reduction you receive in your DUI case. It is crucial to note that you cannot be arrested for being reckless, and a conviction is an offer presented by the court, especially when the evidence against you is not enough. The main difference between wet and dry reckless is that in dry reckless, it is clear that you were not drunk driving.
Wet reckless is a lesser offense and carries more minor penalties as compared to Vehicle Code 23152. However, it is essential to understand that wet reckless is a priorable offense. If you get convicted for DUI within ten years of a wet reckless, you are considered a repeat offender, and you risk an enhanced penalty.
Whether wet reckless is a beneficial plea bargain for you will determine your criminal history and the circumstances of your case. When getting the plea bargain, both your attorney and the prosecutor have to agree on the idea. After the agreement is made, the court will allow you to plead guilty for reckless driving. Your DUI charges will get dismissed, and the Department of Motor Vehicle will be notified that you received a wet reckless conviction.
If you are hoping to get your DUI charges reduced to wet reckless, you need to have reliable legal assistance from a Hulburd Grove DUI attorney. The benefits you receive for getting a wet reckless as a plea bargain include:
- The jail sentence is shorter. Should you get convicted for a DUI offense, you risk facing a jail sentence not less than six months for a first DUI offense. However, if you get wet reckless as a plea bargain, your penalty will not exceed ninety days.
- A shorter period of probation. In California, a DUI probation lasts for a minimum of three years. Should you get convicted for wet reckless, you will face up to one-year probation. A shorter probation period is advantageous if you want to erase your criminal record.
- You won’t receive a mandatory license suspension as a penalty. A six months license suspension is one of the legal consequences of a DUI conviction. When wet reckless is offered as a plea, you won’t get a mandatory suspension. Instead, you will be mandated to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
- Lower fines. The fines you are subjected to for a wet reckless is almost half the amount you pay for a DUI conviction.
- Less impact on your profession. Being convicted for driving under alcohol or the influence of alcohol has serious legal consequences. Also, the DUI criminal record harms your professional licenses. However, a wet reckless conviction has less harsh effects on your professional life.
If you are facing DUI charges, a plea bargain is not guaranteed, and it is crucial to contact your Hulburd Grove DUI attorney for legal guidance. Wet reckless as a plea bargain for DUI is beneficial under particular circumstances. However, it is crucial to remember that this offense counts as a prior offense in subsequent DUI cases. Also, if you are convicted, the DMV will try to get your license suspended, and you have to contest the suspension. When potential employers check your background, the wet reckless record will show up.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
Under Vehicle Code 23152(f) of California, you commit an offense by operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs. Also, you may face a conviction for this offense if both alcohol and drugs altered your driving conduct. California DUI law defines a drug as any substance other than alcohol that will affect the normal function of your brain and nervous system. For this crime, drugs could either be prescription medication or illegal drugs. In most cases, DUI drug charges are based on driving under the influence of Marijuana, cocaine, prescription opiates, or oxytocin.
Experts have not come up with a specific concentration of drugs that causes impairment. Therefore, there is no specific legal limit for drugs to match the 0.08% limit of alcohol. Your level of intoxication is based on particular drugs and your level of impairment from the drug.
A DUI drug arrest begins at traffic stops when you are suspected of driving under the influence. The police officer is likely to enquire about drug or alcohol use before driving. A field test will be administered as well as together with other forms of physical observation. Since DUID is based on drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol, you may be required to submit to a Breathalyzer test. Physical evidence of drugs in your vehicle can also be used as a basis of DUID arrest.
Evaluation for Drug Impairment
If your BAV (Blood Alcohol Value) from the preliminary alcohol testing test is lower than the legal limit, but you still appear impaired, the officer will start investigations for drug use. A drug evaluation expert is likely to come to the scene and evaluate you for drug use. The expert has specialized training and will be able to tell whether your intoxication results from drugs in your system.
A drug impairment evaluation is done using the following steps:
- Confirmation of your Blood alcohol content to eliminate or include alcohol impairment
- Checking of any physical signs of impairment or intoxication, including traces of drugs in the mouth pulse rate among others
- The drug recognition expert will carry out a series of interviews. It is crucial to understand that you don’t have to answer all questions asked by the DRE (Drug Recognition Expert) if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. Also, you can refuse to take a field test without any legal consequences
- An eye-tracking exam will be conducted
- After all the interviews, you may be expected to take a blood test, which can be the only sure way to tell whether your driving was impaired from the use of drugs. If you have not been legally put under arrest, there are no consequences for failing to submit to a chemical test. However, drivers on probation and those under the age of twenty-one years will face penalties for chemical test refusal
When the officer finds a probable cause, you will be arrested and taken into custody. At this point, you will be read your Miranda rights. If you had not submitted to a blood test before the arrest, you would be required to do so on arrival at the station. Your blood sample will then get sent for toxicology sampling. Toxicology will indicate the presence of a particular drug in your system but not the concentration. When one or more drugs are detected, then a quantitative analysis will be done to determine the amount of the drug in your blood.
At the hearing, the results of the toxicology and quantitative analysis will be used as evidence against you. Also, the testimony from the DRE and arresting officer will be a crucial element. DUID is a serious offense, especially if you have a prior DUI conviction. Therefore, it is essential to contact your Hulburd Grove DUI attorney as soon as you get arrested for this offense.
Penalties Accompanying a DUID Conviction
Driving under the influence of drugs is a severe offense, and a conviction attracts severe penalties. In California, this offense is charged as a misdemeanor unless it is your fourth DUI offense over ten years. Also, causing severe injuries to a third party can attract a felony conviction. Some of the penalties that a company a sentence for a first DUID include:
- Informal probation for a period not exceeding five years
- Fines and assessment fees not less than $1,800
- A three months mandatory registration for an education program
- A suspension of your driving privileges by the Department of Motor Vehicle for up to six months. If you failed to submit to the blood tests, you would risk a mandatory suspension for up to one year.
DUI Hit and Run
You risk arrest and DUI hit and run charges if you caused an accident while drunk driving and fled the accident scene. If you are involved in a car accident, the law expects you to stop and help the people involved in the accident. Also, you should avoid leaving the scene until the police arrive to get an account of how the accident occurred. While at the scene, you should exchange contact information with the injured parties and other drivers involved in the accident.
Should you get involved in an accident without other people present, like hitting a car in the parking, you need to leave a note with your contact information. Hit and run accidents occur when you leave the crime scene without informing the authorities. There are several reasons why drivers choose to flee the accident scene, including:
- Driving under alcohol or drug influence. DUI in itself is a severe offense in California, and even without causing an accident, you can be convicted for this offense. When a driver is intoxicated, their judgment is often impaired and may decide to leave the accident scene. Also, a drunk driver may fail to notice that they got into an accident and unknowingly leave without informing authorities.
- The driver could be evading consequences. When an accident occurs, charges could be filed against the driver, causing a conviction. Also, the fault parties could be required to compensate for any injured parties. Most drivers will flee from the accident scene to evade these consequences.
- When a driver is running away from the authorities for a prior crime, they may not find it convenient to stop after an accident.
Fleeing from an accident scene does not guarantee that the authorities won’t catch up with you. When other individuals are interviewed, they may have identified the plates on your car. Also, if you had stepped out of your vehicle, apparent signs of intoxication could be noticeable. The police will find you and get your account of the accident. While doing so, your blood alcohol content will be taken to determine your level of intoxication. If you committed an offense of hit and run while drunk driving, you will face charges for DUI hit and run.
If you cause a hit and run accident, and it is clear that you were under the influence of alcohol, you will face serious legal consequences. Therefore, it is crucial to navigate the case with guidance from a Hulburd Grove DUI attorney. The severity of the consequences will depend on the nature of the accident and the number of serious injuries caused by the accident. A conviction for DUI hit and run attracts the following penalties:
- Fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000
- A prison sentence of two to four years if the accident you caused resulted in severe bodily injury or death
- If the accident victims sustained minor injuries, you would face a jail sentence not exceeding one year
- Fines not exceeding $1,000 for accidents that caused significant property damage.
- Suspension of your driver’s license by the Department of Motor Vehicle
Before you get convicted for DUI hit and run in California, the prosecutor must prove the following elements:
- You were involved in an automobile accident
- You fled the scene and failed to perform your legal duty towards other involved parties
- At the time of the accident, you were driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
Proving the elements of DUI hit and run can be quite complicated for the prosecutor. With the help of a competent attorney, you can claim that you can try to refute the claim of drunk driving. This can be done by arguing that you did not start drinking until you got home. The proper defense can reduce your charges to a hit and run, which has less severe penalties.
Fight DUI Charges with an Attorney Near Me
Drunk driving is a common cause of severe accidents in California. The law is stringent on drivers who exhibit this behavior on the roads. When dealing with DUI charges, the judge considers your criminal history, and a conviction for a repeat offense attracts more severe penalties. If you are convicted for a drunk driving-related crime, the Department of Motor Vehicle will seek to restrict your driving privileges through a suspension. Fortunately, if you get arrested for this offense, you will not necessarily get convicted. With competent legal representation from the San Diego DUI Attorney, you can fight your charges to avoid the harsh legal consequences. Contact our Hulburd Grove DUI attorneys at 619-535-7150 to discuss more details of your case.