Typically, drunk driving or driving under any other mind-altering drugs attracts a penalty under California law. The circumstances surrounding your arrest and charge could be reasonable and understandable. For example, you could have passed by a friend’s house and taken a drink before heading home. In other instances, you may have to attend to emergencies that require you to drive after consuming a reasonable amount of alcohol. Despite the justifiable reasons, committing a DUI offense results in strict liability in most cases. Such liability means that even if you had a valid cause for driving while drunk, you do not need to prove it. All the police officer in charge of your arrest needs to prove is that you had surpassed the required blood alcohol content.
At the San Diego DUI Attorney, we understand the stressful nature of DUI arrests. Our Jamul area offices consist of well-trained lawyers with vast experience in handling DUI matters. Our goal is to ensure that our client receives the best legal services and advice that he or she can get. We endeavor to engage you fully as we guide you through the various legal procedures you will follow after a DUI arrest.
Definition of DUI
An officer enters a DUI charge against you when you are guilty of driving a vehicle while drunk or high. Once an officer suspects that you are driving under the influence, he or she is authorized to stop you and administer a test. The alcohol test determines whether your blood alcohol content falls within the designated amount allowed for motorists under the law. After arrest, you will face DUI charges followed by the bails and booking process. Facing a DUI charge may be confusing, especially if you are sure that your alcohol consumption was very little or none. Once you are arrested, it is advisable to contact your Jamul DUI Attorney, who will guide you through the next steps to take.
Variations Of DUI Offences
There are many road users, all who use different modes of transport. Therefore, if the motorists or riders happen to operate their automobiles under the influence, charges are categorized differently, giving rise to different forms of DUI charges. These classifications are also based on age groups, as well as the kinds of penalties issued for each. Thus, there is no blanket list of requirements applicable to refer to when entering the charge. Instead, a judicial officer will examine the characteristics and nature of your arrest, and decide what DUI charges you will face. Some of the different kinds of DUI charges are:
Non-Alcoholic Drug DUI
Mostly, DUI arrests are made based on alcohol test results. However, sometimes an accused person might have been under the influence of other drugs like heroin, marijuana, or even cocaine. In this case, the officer who stops you may be unable to prove your level of intoxication through accurate numerical reports. However, he or she may conclude that you are under the influence of the way you conduct yourself. If you exhibit rowdy, disorganized behavior, as well as slurred speech or an evident lack of recollection of where you are, the officer can still arrest you. Additionally, your physical appearance may offer all evidence needed to justify the officer to make an arrest. Commonly. If your eyes are bloodshot, it is an indication of intoxication. You may also smell of smoke, which may link you to drugs like marijuana.
Facing drug DUI charges could carry worse penalties than alcohol DUIs because most drugs are illegal in the state of California. Therefore, on top of the DUI penalties, you could be charged for possession and use of these drugs.
DUI Offenses For People Under 21
California law is stringent on prohibiting people under twenty-one years from indulging in alcohol consumption. Consequently, there are strict guidelines and requirements that traffic officers follow when arresting such a person for driving under the influence. In Jamul, the administrative per se laws apply to prohibit alcohol consumption for people under 21. The zero-tolerance policy governs traffic police by providing for the minimum blood alcohol content for anyone under 21 as 0.01%. Such a requirement means that if such a person drives a vehicle with a BAC higher than 0.01%, he or she can get arrested and face severe DUI charges.
However, the law is lenient and accommodates specific valid reasons for people under 21 consuming alcoholic products. For example, if the person partakes in a religious function that requires the consumption of wine, he or she may present the reason and excuse himself or herself from the following action. Also, if the person takes medication that has significant alcohol content, he or she is absolved from any arrest or reprimanding action. Despite these allowances, if such a person exceeds the set maximum figure of 0.01%, he or she is at risk of arrest. The rationale behind this is that you cannot consume too much medicine or a religious drink to produce such a great record. In such instances, the officer in charge of DUI arrests may doubt your reasons and order for further investigations regarding your claims.
Commercial drivers operate under unique road regulations. They are more strict and particulate, to avoid recklessness or negligence of such drivers. Thus, if a commercial driver is guilty of a commercial DUI, he or she faces more repercussions for his/her actions. Not only will the driver face legal penalties, but also administrative punishment from the employer. Such measures are in place to ensure that the safety of the driver as well as passengers or goods in transit is upheld. When a commercial driver faces DUI charges, it means that there is a more significant risk for the goods or passengers he/she has to ferry.
Felony DUIs are applicable to repeat offenders. These may be people who have faced three or more DUI charges within ten years. The law does not take kindly to such repeat offenders, as it shows a lack of reform. Thus, they receive felony DUI charges to deter them from committing such crimes, as well as punishing them for their lack of remorse and change.
Besides repeat offenders, a person who causes death or severe injury because of driving under the influence is also eligible for a felony DUI. This serious charge is imposed in such cases because of the irreversible damage caused by a DUI accident. Causing death or severe injuries means that the offense broadens its scope into the lives of others. Therefore, the judge may require to impose a more substantial charge as an added punishment to the offender.
California Law On DUI Offenses
Most of the laws related to DUIs are enshrined in the California Vehicle Code because driving under the influence is a traffic offense. Section 23152(a) makes it unlawful for anyone to drive or operate a vehicle under the influence of any drug, beverage, or combination of the two. Subsection (b) stipulates the minimal blood alcohol content sufficient for your arrest to be 0.08%. When the figure is further broken down, the actual measurements considered are 100mm of blood alcohol per 210 liters of breath. Any fluctuations of this measurement could qualify or disqualify you from facing a DUI arrest. The administrative per se rules are also found under this subsection. They provide other BAC limits applicable to people under twenty-one years.
Further, subsection (d) of the same section gives specific regulations for commercial drivers. The definition of a commercial driver in California is under section 15210 of the vehicle code. It defines such a driver as one who requires a class A or B license to operate a vehicle. They are prohibited from operating commercial vehicles while under the influence with a BAC of 0.04% or more.
These regulations to guide commercial drivers are also closely linked to the zero-tolerance policy that seeks to prevent alcohol consumption for such drivers while within their scope of employment. The strictness of the rules arises because of the extra care that commercial drivers have to observe while working because they mostly handle large vehicles like trucks. Moreover, in cases like bus accidents, a driver will have endangered many other lives by driving under the influence. There is, therefore, a need to put stricter restrictive rules in place.
Section 23154(a) gives provisions for drivers on probation. It states that it is illegal for a driver who faces any probation penalties to break the law further and violate any DUI charges. He or she may do this by driving without supervision or required devices in the car.
Section 20200.5 restricts any bicycle rider from operating or riding the bicycle under the influence of alcohol or any other drug. Moreover, it prohibits the rider from using undesignated parts of the road that are restricted to vehicles while intoxicated.
Aggravating Factors After a DUI Arrest
Sometimes, you may face a more significant DUI charge, depending on whether you give the traffic officer in charge a hard time. Although it could be considered that you are under the influence at the time of arrest, specific behavior will aggravate the charges and penalties you will face, much to your disadvantage. Some of these factors are:
Refusal to Take The Breathalyzer or Bloodwork Test
Some drivers may already be apprehensive by the time an officer stops them because they are sure of their guilt in driving under the influence. Thus, such a driver may refuse to take the test administered or give an officer a difficult time. Others may make certain demands to consult their Jamul DUI Attorney, which is not procedural. We advise you to comply with the officer and do what he or she requires of you. Despite the results portrayed, we will have an easier time presenting your case in court or at a DMV hearing if you complied with the traffic officer. A failure to take the drug or alcohol test also shows your guilt and will raise the penalties you might face significantly.
Driving With a Child Under 14 Years in Your Car
Driving under the influence with a minor below fourteen years poses a considerable risk to the child’s safety. It is also considered careless and negligent if the driver is the child’s parent in this case. The presiding judge may add more penalties or fines if you are guilty of such an offense, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. However, your Jamul DUI Attorney can lawfully defend you if you were caught up in an emergency. For example, if the child got hurt and required immediate medical attention, you may have been compelled to operate a car under the influence. Nevertheless, such a defense is unlikely to absolve you of the charges, and may only serve as a mitigating factor.
Use of Excess Speed
If you are operating a vehicle while intoxicated, it can make you apply high speeds on busy highways. Speeding is very risky even when a driver is sober. As a result, using excess speed while drunk or high will aggravate the charges you face significantly. This is because you are less impaired to tackle incidents that require fast reactions. Therefore, the judge may order you to pay higher sums of money as fine penalties. However, your Jamul DUI Attorney may help alleviate such aggravated charges and penalties by proving that you were within the stipulated driving limit in the area, especially if you were on a freeway where speed limits are high. He or she could do this by showing road signs that indicate the maximum speed limit to be used.
Penalties for a DUI Charge
The DUI penalties issued depend on the type of charge you face. Therefore, some carry severer punishments than others, especially if entered as a felony DUI.
First-time offenders’ Penalty
For the first time DUI offenders, They could face four days to six months in county jail, depending on the different circumstances of each case. The range of punishment is at the judge’s discretion. Alternatively, first-time offenders may pay a fine ranging from $390 to $2000. The judge may also issue penalties on the offender. Moreover, Section 13353.3 of the Vehicle Code states that the offender may face a license suspension for a maximum time of 4 months.
Subsequent DUI Offender Penalty
An offender who faces multiple DUI charges may be charged with a wobbler crime. Therefore, the DUI charge could be a felony or a misdemeanor. A charge is aggravated into a felony DUI when the offender is found guilty of the offense four times or more within ten years. When charged as a misdemeanor, the offender may face 180 to 364 days of imprisonment. Additionally, he or she may pay a fine of $390 to $2000.
As a felony, the offender faces a 3-year jail term along with any other monetary fine that the judge may see fit.
Under 21 DUI Penalty
For this group of people, more punitive and severe punishments are issued, to deter them from engaging in such behavior again. Typically, your license is taken away, preventing you from driving for a specified time. However, your Jamul DUI Attorney can help you acquire specific documents that allow you to drive for an extra 30 days. After this duration, you are required to apply for an administrative suspension hearing, which determines whether you can keep your license or not.
If a person under 21 years is a repeat DUI offender, he or she faces a $100 fine, along with mandatory participation in a DUI class program. These penalties are also dependent on whether or not your BAC was above 0.05%.
Defenses For a DUI Charge
As an arrested person, you have several rights available to you, one being the right to a fair trial. Such a lawsuit requires the judge to listen to both sides of the case before issuing the final verdict. Hence, you can raise several defenses to help refute or mitigate the charges you face. Some of the arguments are:
Inaccurate Drug Test Results
When administering an oral test, the officer may contaminate the breathalyzer tube attached to the device. The contamination may alter the registered results, and display higher percentage figures that contradict the reality. Additionally, for blood work tests administered in narcotic drug tests, the technicians responsible for handling samples may also contaminate them or switch them. They may also have malicious intent to convict you and decide to add contaminant elements in your blood samples. Consequently, the results are sued to warrant your arrest based on the data. Such a course of action is unlawful and unfair for you. Thus, your DUI attorney should prove all these factors to prove your innocence.
Insufficient Evidence to Warrant Arrest
In other circumstances, an officer may decide to act on impulse or intuition and arrest you without issuing a breathalyzer test. Such a decision on the officer’s part is unlawful because he or she lacks the sufficient evidence required to authorize an arrest. Moreover, due to a lack of evidence, the officer may raise false claims against you even if you are innocent. Therefore, your lawyer can lawfully raise the defense and request for the proper process of the prosecution to follow.
Some officers pay very keen attention to negligible numerical details that are indicated on the breathalyzer display screen. Therefore, such an officer may arrest you based on such decimal figures based on the number qualifying you to the required BAC. In such circumstances, your Jamul DUI Attorney can raise a rebuttable presumption of fact as defense, questioning the validity that your BAC level was at 0.08% or higher as insisted on by the arresting officer.
Contact a DUI Lawyer Near Me
When you face a DUI charge, you may find it difficult and confusing to follow up on all the procedures and requirements you have to meet afterward. At the San Diego DUI Attorney, we offer quality legal services that help ease up the litigation process that follows a DUI arrest. Furthermore, we dedicate ourselves to giving our clients exemplary legal representation in court. If you face a DUI charge in Jamul, feel free to contact us at 619-535-7150.