When you happen to get charged with DUI in Imperial Beach, you risk facing grievous penalties like a term in jail, heavy fines or, a bad criminal history. Therefore, when charged with driving under the influence in Imperial Beach, you will need the help of a qualified DUI attorney. A skilled DUI attorney may help you to be acquitted and avoid being convicted of the offense of DUI.
What is Driving Under the Influence?
As per the laws of California; a person may be charged with DUI when he or she drives a motorcycle or a vehicle immediately after taking hard drugs, medicine prescribed by a doctor and, alcohol. Driving under the influence is deemed to be an offense because if an individual is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, that person may be negligent and drive carelessly; causing an accident which may result in physical injuries to other people and, destruction of property. Many people are sentenced of driving under the influence in Imperial Beach because such people were under the influence of alcohol while driving; since alcohol is one of the most common and, readily available beverages in Imperial Beach.
Within the American legal system, there exist several laws of driving under the influence that state the limit of the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream of a driver of a car or a motorcycle. Most states of the US have a prescribed alcohol level limit of 0.08 in adults, and 0.02% or higher for underage drivers.
Despite the existence of these DUI laws, driving under the influence remains one of the most prevalent crimes within states in the US. For instance; at least 3 in every 20 persons are convicted of DUI in California. To be more particular, 1 in every 20 persons has been accused of driving under the influence in Imperial Beach. These numbers keep on increasing each day.
The crime of DUI is said to be ‘high risk.’ DUI is deemed to be a risky crime, due to the level of danger it can bring to society in general. When a person drives under the influence, that person is more likely to cause fatal accidents which can lead to loss of lives, and destruction of valuables.
When Are You Suspected for Drunk Driving
When you are driving recklessly, a police officer may think that you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is this suspicion that will make the law enforcement officer motion you to pull over. After you have pulled over, the police officer may interrogate you to find out if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When they make a finding of you being unsober, they will arrest you and charge you for a DUI.
Additionally, there are many sobriety checkpoints that you may encounter. If you reach a DUI checkpoint while driving, you are expected to stop. Never make a mistake of failing to stop at these sobriety checkpoints; since you may be automatically arrested for contravening the traffic laws of California. If you stop at these checkpoints, you will go through under a thorough assessment and evaluation to find out whether you are sober or not. If a law enforcement official finds you not to be sober, you will be arrested for driving under the influence.
The law does not expect you to consent to take a sobriety test, but this test is mandatory for a police officer to ask you to take if he/she reasonably suspects you to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Furthermore, a police officer can put you under custody for DUI regardless of whether you have taken the sobriety test or not.
When you are taken to custody for DUI, never make a mistake of refusing to take the sobriety assessment. If you are not willing to take the sobriety assessment when in custody, the authorities may revoke or, suspend your driving license for a year.
The DUI Laws of California
California, just as any other state in America, has prescribed BAC limits. The alcoholic level limit for adults is at least 0.08%, while for underage drivers it is 0.01%. Furthermore, convicts of charges which are related to driving under the influence who are on probation should adhere to the alcoholic level limit which is equal to that of underage drivers, i.e., 0.01%. However, you won’t be charged for DUI when in probation if your blood alcohol level limit is over 0.01%. In such cases, the only penalty which you may face here is the suspension of your driving license for up to one year. Also, according to vehicle code 23140; persons who drive commercial vehicles have a prescribed BAC limit of 0.04%.
The Penalties for a DUI Conviction in California
Many people believe that the penalties for driving under the influence are not severe. This belief is false. DUI is held to be one of the most grievous crimes in California. Driving under the influence has some serious punishments such as a record of criminal history, a term of imprisonment and, heavy fines. These penalties can affect your well-being plus, that of your family members and friends.
Generally, DUI is categorized as a misdemeanor. However, this offense can also be termed as a California wobbler; since it can be charged both as a felony or a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor DUI may be elevated to felony DUI in regard to certain extremely serious situations. For instance, if you had a child in the vehicle and you drove that vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol; then you will be charged with felony DUI. Furthermore, if there is a fourth DUI charge which occurs for a period that does not exceed ten years from the third DUI charge; then the fourth DUI charge will always be categorized as a felony DUI.
The Punishments for a Misdemeanor Driving Under the Influence Conviction
Generally, per California’s laws, the punishments that accrue to misdemeanor DUI are:
A jail term which does not exceed one year
A probation term of three to five years
Court order for mandatory participation in a California DUI school which has been certified
Court order for the payment of a fine which may be between $390 - $5000
Court order to suspend your driver’s license for up to six months
Also, there may be enhancement penalties if you are charged with misdemeanor DUI under aggravating circumstances. Examples of these aggravating situations are:
If the level of alcohol in your bloodstream was too high when committing the crime
If you were driving a child when under the influence of drugs or alcohol
If you are a past DUI convict
If, due to driving under the influence; you were reckless, and caused a severe accident which caused the loss of life and physical injuries to another person or destruction of property
If you are a previous felony convict
Here are some examples of the penalties for an enhancement:
Your driver’s license may be suspended for a term which does not exceed one year coupled with a term in jail of two days and a court order for the mandatory attendance of AA classes for DUI offenders who have been convicted for the first time
Your driver’s license may be suspended for a term which does not exceed two years coupled with a jail term of four days for DUI offenders who have been convicted for the second time
Your driver's license may be suspended for a duration which does not exceed three years coupled with a jail term of ten days for DUI offenders who have been convicted for the third time
Furthermore, if you had refused to take part in a sobriety test at the time of arrest or while at custody; then you may be sentenced for both DUI and refusing to take a sobriety test.
Steps to Take When in Custody for Driving Under the Influence
You should know what to do if you have been taken to custody for driving under the influence within Imperial Beach to avoid aggravating your already bad situation. Of course, you will have a high probability of being arrested for driving under the influence in Imperial Beach if you drive recklessly. When you engage in reckless driving, a police officer will suspect you of hiding some mischief.
Immediately after you've been arrested for driving under the influence, you should call an experienced Imperial Beach DUI Attorney. A skilled criminal attorney will try to exempt you from being convicted with DUI by identifying certain loopholes in your arrest which can serve as great defenses.
You should never make a mistake of failing to stop when a law enforcement official tells you to do so. Also, you should never hesitate to stop at a sobriety checkpoint. If you fail to stop after being flagged down by an officer or at a sobriety checkpoint, the police officer will suspect you. Moreover, never fight back a police officer, even when you think that he or she is on the wrong; be courteous, calm and, polite instead.
However, you can choose to keep quiet or refrain from answering any questions which are being asked by the police officer. When you are arrested, you will end up in a police station and locked up there till you are presented in court the next day.
Contacting an Imperial Beach DUI Defense Attorney is a great idea which you can use to jumpstart your case. An Imperial Beach DUI Attorney has comprehensive knowledge of the various laws, procedures and, regulations that are applicable within San Diego and the whole of the California area including Imperial Beach. Therefore, a DUI attorney will use his or her legal expertise and skills to put up a defense for you in the best way possible.
Defenses to the Charge of DUI
There are many defenses that are applicable in driving under the influence in California. Some of these defenses are:
There have been many instances of racial profiling within California, and it is a growing concern among many human rights activists. Also, it is your constitutional right to be protected from discrimination. If your defense attorney can successfully prove that you had been arrested for DUI just because of racial profiling; then you will be acquitted.
No Probable Cause
The prosecution must prove that the police officer motioned you to pull over because the said officer had a reasonable cause. If your defense attorney can firmly assert that the law enforcement official didn't have a reasonable reason to flag you down; then you may end up being acquitted. It doesn't matter even if you were indeed under the influence of drugs and alcohol when the police officer flagged you down without a probable cause. This is because in US jurisprudence; illegally obtained evidence is inadmissible.
Maybe the police officer wrongly perceived you to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Maybe you were overexcited, sick or, just fatigued. If these circumstances apply in your case; then your defense attorney can assert that you had not been intoxicated at the time of arrest, and this way you won’t be convicted for DUI.
Faulty BAC Kits
Many BAC kits tend to produce inaccurate results because they can be faulty. If your Imperial Beach DUI Attorney can prove before the court that the BAC kits which were used upon you at the time of arrest were faulty; you will be acquitted due to insufficient evidence.
Violation of Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
If your defense team can prove successfully that your rights and fundamental freedoms were infringed upon, denied or violated when you were arrested; then your criminal charge will be dismissed. Maybe you were not told your Miranda rights which you are entitled to during the arrest. Alternatively, maybe you were not permitted to call your defense attorney at the time of the arrest.
What is the Role of a DUI Attorney?
Besides defending you, a DUI Attorney has some specific functions. All these functions relate to the central role of a DUI defense attorney – preventing you from being convicted of DUI.
If you can contact an attorney when being arrested, the attorney should explain the implications of a DUI and guide you as to what you should or should not say. Since you will be presented in court within 24 hours after the arrest, your attorney starts gathering evidence in your favor right from the word go. Furthermore, the defense attorney may advise you on the strategies you can use to prevent aggravating your situation.
Also, an Imperial Beach DUI Attorney will ensure that there will be no infringement of your rights and fundamental freedoms during arrest and in court proceedings. With the help of a DUI attorney, you will be treated with respect and dignity during arrest and, during court proceedings.
If you select the right DUI Attorney, she or he will use all available resources to ensure that you are acquitted. Your defense attorney should examine all the witnesses and that of the prosecution, peruse through files, gather and collect more evidence and, even hire a suitable private investigator.
Your attorney will support you throughout to the conclusion of your case. Your DUI attorney will not miss any court hearings which are related to your lawsuit. During court proceedings, he or she will be there to defend you and to give legal advice. Your DUI attorney will be responsible for the drafting of all the documents which are relevant to your case; such as witness statements, defenses, submissions, among others.
All in all, if you choose the right attorney; there will be a high probability of you being acquitted. It is better to hire someone who has the technical know-how to defend you instead of just talking it out for yourself blindly. If you decide not to be represented by an attorney, the prosecution may take advantage of your helplessness, and even adduce false evidence against you.
Find a Defense Attorney Near Me
The offense of DUI is held to be a serious crime in California, due to the harsh penalties, one may face upon being convicted of it. However, if you happen to be arrested for the suspicion of DUI; don’t panic but contact an attorney right away.
We have reliable, skilled, and competent defense attorneys at our firm that can help you. With the help of our team, your DUI charges may either be dismissed or reduced. Our team of DUI defense attorneys will work hard and smart to ensure that you are defended with the best possible defense strategies. The members of our Imperial Beach DUI defense team are conversant with navigating around the charges of driving under the influence, and with their help – you will be sure of the best possible outcome. Call our San Diego DUI lawyer at 619-535-7150 and receive a free, no-obligation case evaluation today!