Facing charges and convictions for DUI can be life-changing. Worse still, the penalties may be severe when you commit another crime on top of your DUI. Surviving a DUI charge requires a great deal of experience, which the San Diego DUI Attorney will provide should you face a DUI case in Irvings Crest. Dismantling the evidence and looking for loopholes to let you off the legal predicament is our priority.
What is Driving Under The Influence?
Driving under the influence is the offense of being in control of a vehicle while intoxicated with alcohol or any other drug substance beyond the legal limit. Generally, in all states, the permissible blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08%. Exceeding these limits makes you answerable to DUI per se charges. However, this does not mean you are free from all charges when you have a lesser BAC or level of other drugs in your system. Even a slight amount of intoxication that makes you impaired to operate a vehicle can make things worse for you.
One can be charged for DUI impairment charges after confirmation of the impairment and a subsequent arrest by a police officer. According to the Californian law, one qualifies to be driving if they move the car out of their discretion. Putting the vehicle in motion accidentally is not termed as driving.
The distance does not matter so long as the driver moves the car out his/her volition. Even running a car for a few inches is considered driving. Tuning the car to the neutral state and letting it roll on a few steps is considered driving since your volition is present. The engine may be turned off, and the gears disengaged to go down a slope, but the motion is still termed as driving.
Steering the car as well as sitting at the driver’s seat, operating the brakes and accelerator is considered driving since one is in physical control of the vehicle. However, if one does not move the car but sits in the driver’s seat, this does not qualify to be a driving activity.
One can be charged for the following crimes as mentioned above:
- DUI impairment charge
- Per se DUI charge
These charges can be leveled against you even if the officer never saw you putting the car in motion. The officer can rely on evidence from circumstantial or direct sources. The prosecution is supposed to prove that the driver was driving while intoxicated. The direct evidence comes from:
- A witness who saw the suspected driver putting the car in motion
- Traffic surveillance cameras indicating the presence of the driver in the driver’s seat
- The defendant may give a hint through their statement that the vehicle was moving in during interrogation
Circumstantial evidence often is relied on when there has been an accident. The accident could be like hitting a pedestrian, with other vehicles, running over a traffic installation or self accident. Being in the spot of the accident is proof of having been in control of the car. Irvings Crest DUI attorney will evaluate the weaknesses in the charges from the prosecution to check for viability of “no driving” defense in your case. You are not guilty of a DUI offense if this defense is effective enough since the car was never in motion.
Lack of a Probable Cause
It is unlawful for the police to arrest you, probe for evidence, and without a sufficient probable indication that you are intoxicated. Below are some instances when the officer has no probable cause in their DUI investigation or case:
The Officer was Absent from the Scene
The police have no right to arrest you for DUI if they are not at the scene but follow you to your residence. He/she may depend on a botched description of the driver from a third party who allegedly identified your car registration. Even if you have signs of intoxication observable and you fail to admit or talk to the police, he/she cannot legally arrest you for DUI.
The Vehicle Never Moved
If you are drunk and the engine of your car on, but the vehicle does not move, the police cannot arrest you for DUI. Further, if you were not about to engage the vehicle to move on, then no DUI probable cause can exist here.
However, a reason for the DUI probe exists if you are found sleeping inside a car amidst a red light. The circumstantial evidence strengthening the DUI probe is the fact that you drove to this point while drunk.
The Police Saw You Leaving a Tavern
The police officer has no legal reason to stop you merely for seeing you come out of a bar after spending hours there. The officer should wait until you show signs such as dangerous changing lanes or over speeding.
Driving Late at Night
Officers tend to stop drivers just because the watershed of operating hours for bars has expired. These stops do not stand the test of a probable cause. The police officer should wait for signs of intoxication from your driving habit, not just picking on you for cruising at night.
Probing for DUI Due to Tinted Windows
The police officers should never elongate the reason for DUI for having tinted since they are legal to have. Driving a car with tinted windows should not be stereotyped as getting away with a crime.
Having an Alcohol Odor
Having bloodshot eyes and smelling alcohol is not enough for the officer to consider arresting you. These observations should only give a hint to investigate further, which may include conducting you to field sobriety tests. The odor of alcohol, however, to an underage driver is a substantial probable cause for DUI arrest.
Your Irvings Crest DUI attorney will evaluate the situations involved in your arrest to determine if a probable cause for DUI stopping and arresting existed. From this point, he/she will defend you by challenging the evidence collected.
Adults can drink and drive so long as they neither exceed the legal limit of 0.08% BAC nor get too impaired to drive, which may attract DUI charges against them. However, the youth below the age of 21 years cannot drink and drive. Thus in all states, a teen can be charged for DUI without any hint of impairment or a reason to suspect them. Hence an officer doing the regular checks in the road can order them over to pull over to gauge their BAC. Any driver below the age of 21 years should have a BAC below 0.01%, which implies no alcohol at all is tolerable. Exceeding 0.01% BAC is a per se underage DUI charge.
All states have enacted zero-tolerance laws that regulate youth from drinking and driving. The purpose of zero-tolerance law are:
- Reduction of traffic accidents since young drivers are utterly negligence lack experience and alcohol heighten the weakness in their driving experience
- To save young drivers from the lack of access to insurance cover when they come of age as their driving offenses history is reviewed when acquiring a policy
- Early DUI offenses affect their future employment endeavors
- The laws are meant to instill the discipline of responsible drinking as they mature
There are exceptions to drinking and driving for teens in some states, such as the presence of parents.
The penalties for underage DUI vary depending on the circumstances of the arrest. Below are the general penalties that accrue to underage DUI:
- The department of motors impounds the vehicle
- The suspension of driving license till one attains the age of 21 years
- A combination of a short term with community service afterward
- A sentence to juvenile detention
- Payment of fine not exceeding $7,000
- Attending sessions in DUI school to learn about the effects of drugs
- Mandatory probation for rehabilitation purposes
The above penalties can be increased in severity depending on the following factors:
- When the levels of BAC is beyond 0.01%
- The number of underage DUI offenses on the record
- Driving on the car on a suspended license
- Causing accidents which result in injuries, damages or deaths
If the juvenile DUI offense is legally referred to in the future, it may affect the young driver in their future in the following ways:
- The young may not be considered for scholarships to some institutions
- The young driver may fail to secure financial aid
- Career-wise the underage offenders may not access some employment opportunities
- The insurance policies are made more costly to service in terms of premiums for being presumed risky to cause accidents
Crimes Charged Alongside DUI
The conditions of arrest for the DUI drivers may necessitate other charges being leveled against them. These additional charges come from the evidence collected by the investigators and legally compiled in the charge sheet. If the extra charges apart from the DUI charge materialize, the DUI driver faces additional consequences besides that DUI offense. Below are some of the crimes charged alongside DUI:
DUI and Child Endangerment
Having a minor in the vehicle when arrested for DUI only makes it more severe. The penalties are harsher. States have different laws regarding the age when a minor can make the charges to aggravate or enhance the penalties.
A child endangerment charge is brought against a driver arrested for allegedly exposing the minor to harm. The potential harm could be resulting from the anticipated injuries when an accident occurs since DUI is a major source of all distracted or negligent driving. Any accident can lead to injuries or death. Moreover, the child could also be spoiled morally and psychologically due to drug exposure. The child may be not harmed in any way, but taking them in the car while driving under the influence brings charges against you.
If the child endangerment charge calls for imprisonment according to the trial, then your children end up in foster homes or child custody if there is no available parent or relative to stay with them. If the investigation shows possible ongoing harm to the child, the parent loses custody, and child protection services take over.
If the child dies in the accidents, it becomes a possible manslaughter charge or a vehicular homicide. In case of an injury to a minor, the charge is termed as vehicular assault. It can be a separate charge or aggravate the current DUI charge. Your Irvings Crest DUI attorney will put possible defenses against this charge to ensure that you are not denied the custody of your children.
DUI and Possession of Drugs
You will be charged with drug possession if the police search and find drugs in your car. The DUI crime is the root of drug possession crime charges since after suspecting that the driver has been using drugs, they begin probing to get any evidence of drug possession. Any signs of drug use make a probable cause valid for searching even if the police have no search warrant from the judge.
Any evidence of drug possession collected after the police perform an illegal search is inadmissible in court. An unlawful search is done when the police search:
- Without a search warrant from the judge or jury
- When the jury or judge does not approve of the validity of the probable cause of search according to their discretion
An Irvings Crest DUI attorney can help you file a motion to suppress the evidentiary details. If the motion to suppress is successful, the prosecution will have no basis to continue with the trial.
A shred of illegal evidence which is inadmissible in the trial is obtained in any of the following ways:
- Without a search warrant when the probable cause for searches and seizures does not exist
- With a warrant that is legally not inclusive of obtaining evidence for drug possession
- With a warrant that was outdated and hence ineligible
- Through a search that flouts the rights of persons in both federal and state law
- When the search warrant was issued without a probable cause
The evidence obtained through the illegal means listed above can be legally challenged when the driver suspected of drug possession has a reasonable expectation of privacy in whatever item or place the search was conducted.
The evidence upon investigation can unveil other drug crimes such as drug peddling transportation, illegal manufacturing, and distribution. Drugs that can bring drug charges alongside DUI when found after a lawful search are cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, OxyContin, marijuana, PCP, and LSD.
Accidents Resulting from a DUI
Intoxication decreases the ability to concentrate and coordinate on the traffic. The vision of the driver decreases because of alcohol, and susceptibility to being distracted is high. When drunk, the conception of how dangerous you are on the road fades, and they can drive erratically.
It is one of the unluckiest moments when one commits an accident while driving in the intoxicated state. However, there is a possibility of being drunk, and the negligence comes from even another sober driver or pedestrian.
The driver is negligent and blatant for driving while intoxicated. Reasonably the driver breached the duty of care when they drove while too impaired to drive. The penalties increase, and financial consequences follow. The economic repercussions include compensating the injured persons in terms of the medical bills and lost incomes. A negligent driver is also required to pay the municipal authorities for damages to road equipment from the impact of the accidents.
In case a person dies, the costs of compensation increases. Further, the chargeable crimes increased since the representative of the estate of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim against the driver. Apart from the compensatory fines, the penalties for the charges increase for causing the accident. The sentences get more severe when one kills in a DUI accident.
Operating a Faulty Car
The prosecution can charge you if there is evidence you drove a vehicle with mechanical problems. The faulty car, besides your intoxication, can be detrimental to your safety and that of other motorists.
Driving faulty vehicles is primarily associated with a driver who has an alcohol use disorder. These drivers do not have time for servicing their cars or are too drunk to realize when a mechanical problem develops. The mechanical issues could also be a sure source of reasonable suspicion. Difficulty with stopping can imply a problem with the breaks. Further, problems when turning can indicate problems with the steering wheel when the driver orders you to pull for a routine investigation. Other issues like faulty lights are noticeable, especially at night. Over speeding and some other forms of erratic driving may hint to the traffic a problem with the speed tracking devices.
As mentioned above, a police officer needs a warrant or a legally acceptable probable cause to search and inspect the car. This search is meant to ascertain the existence of any mechanical problem in the vehicle to strengthen the evidence for a possible charge.
The driver should be careful if they have a mechanical problem, not to mention it as an excuse for careless driving. The admission causes the officer to look for more faults, and your Irvings Crest DUI attorney defense loses the advantage in your defense.
Find an Irvings Crest DUI Attorney Near Me
The discourse above has informed you of situations that can lead to a DUI offense and its aggravating charges. However, life is full of uncertainties and at an instance, you may find yourself faced with a DUI charge. If you find yourself brought to face a DUI case, do not hesitate to contact the San Diego DUI Attorney by dialing 619-535-7150.