Penal Code 23152(a) clearly explains the crime of driving while under the influence of alcohol. It not only poses a danger to the driver but also poses a threat to other road users. That is why if you are found operating a car while drunk, you are arrested and charged in a court of law. There is nothing that brings an anxiety-inducing experience like being arrested for a DUI. Particularly, if it is your first time, you may probably not know what to do or what to expect. Worst still, if it is not your first time, you would face more severe charges. Fortunately, you do not have to go through mental distress if you hire us. If you are charged in La Cresta, contact the San Diego DUI Attorney team as soon as you can. We will build a strong defense based on the elements in your case to fight your charges and avoid a conviction.
Definition of DUI Under The Law
In San Diego, drunk driving is an offense of operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol, which makes it impossible for the driver to drive safely. Even though the charges of a DUI is a misdemeanor in most cases, even a first time DUI can lead to severe consequences. A DUI offender risks jail time, steep fines, and driving license revocation.
DUI offenders include anyone operating a motorized vehicle. Any type of motors such as mopeds, lawnmowers, watercraft, bicycles, trucks, buses to name but a few. You will get apprehended by a police officer if you are operating any of the motor types while under the influence.
The officer would be the one to determine whether or not an individual is legally intoxicated. The police would use various types of field sobriety tests to check on the suspected person for impaired driving. The analyses include standardized and non-standardized sobriety tests. The standardized ones are like blood or urine tests and measurement of blood alcohol concentration(BAC) using a breathalyzer. The non-standardized ones are physically determined like the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, presence of an open alcoholic container in the car, not able to stand on your feet for long, and bloodshot eyes.
Those individuals who display a BAC of 0.08% or more, get challenges in debating the offense in court. As an offender, you cannot convince the jury of your innocence without the help of an attorney. You need a La Cresta DUI attorney to be able to argue the method used to measure the BAC. A fruitful debate may lead to charges dismissal or reduction. Nevertheless, even testing below the BAC level limit may lead to an arrest and be charged with some other offense like public intoxication.
What Happens in a DUI Arrest Process
Upon arrest, you are handed a pink slip of paper by the law enforcers. The slip acts as a temporary driving license. Most probably, the police took yours. It would work for a month from the date of arrest. You are also instructed in the slip that you have ten days to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to defend the impending suspension of your License. To professional drivers, driving license suspension is the most stringent punishment for DUI.
After the police arrest you for DUI, you are automatically taken to the police station. How long you will initially spend in jail depends on your situation. On a first offense in the most common scenario, you will probably spend a night then get released the following morning. That is if the arrest took place on a Sunday through Thursday. But if you were arrested on Friday or Saturday, you have to be bailed out or wait for Monday when the court would be in session.
It would make an enormous difference to have contacted a proactive La Cresta DUI attorney to help you navigate through the DMV process. You would repossess your License and get your driving privilege as fast as humanly possible. Even if it is past the set ten days of the DMV hearing, our attorney will get you back on course.
Introduction To The DUI Case Process
Once you are arrested for DUI, you are going to face two processes. They include DMV hearing and the criminal Court Process. The two-process may run simultaneously and are entirely independent of one another. A local La Cresta DUI attorney can represent you in both hearings.
The Criminal Court Process
This legal process begins with the initial arrest by a police officer. The police would have arrested you for DUI after observing your misconduct while driving, signs of intoxication, and failure to pass field sobriety tests. You are confiscated in a police station where you are asked to submit a breath or blood test to determine blood alcohol concentration.
With our attorney, you might be found not guilty in this process, and your license revocation reserved as well as charges reduced or dismissed. After a case dismissal, you still have to deal with the DMV. Currently, the law permits a driver a renewed right to a hearing within a year from the date of arrest.
The DMV Process
At this process, you are given ten days to contact the state DMV and schedule a hearing. It is here where our attorney challenges your license suspension. You have the right to be represented by an attorney, review the evidence, cross-examine witness testimonies, and request an administrative review of the decision by the department if the DMV is against you. Although such a request has a statute of limitations, the period given depends on the type of your hearing.
Your first court appearance will be an arraignment where the judge will inform you of your charges. At this juncture, you are supposed to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. We advise our clients to an appeal, not guilty. The main reason is to enable us to defend the charges tabled against you and file pretrial motions to extinguish evidence.
The prosecution might as well offer a plea bargain at this time to convince you that he or she has an airtight case. This is just to scare you from building your defense. We have dealt with such situations, and through the experience, we have gathered a lot of criminal defenses to use when our clients are faced with DUI charges. With each different case, we choose the best possible protection in arguing your case to prevent you from conviction.
We evaluate your case and use the following most common possible defenses and determine which defense best suits your DUI charges:
- The police officers had no probable cause to have made a traffic stop
- The law enforcers mishandled evidence on an administrative level, for example, the procedure followed in handling breathalyzers and blood tests
- The Defendant’s ability to perform the sobriety tests. Some sick people cannot pass the trials due to their medical conditions
- The police did not clearly state the Defendant’s Miranda rights
- The Defendant’s arrest and detainment was illegal
- There is no substantial evidence to support the charges against the Defendant
In case you succeed in the DMV hearing, the officer in charge sets aside the suspension and grants you your License. He or she can only set aside the administrative action against your driving privilege. The decision is separate and independent from any criminal charge. It is only the prosecutor who can handle the criminal case against you.
Drug DUI Defense Mechanisms
The primary issue in a DUI is operating a vehicle under the influence. It is not only limited to alcohol but may also involve drugs like controlled substances (heroin or cocaine), prescribed drugs (Adderall or Ritalin), or Marijuana.
Prescribed drugs are legal, but there are some restrictions for driving while undertaking them. You may get a DUI depending on the drug amount in your system. The two levels of the drug are therapeutic and abuse. If your level of intake is abuse, you may be charged with DUI if you are impaired due to the drug.
Controlled substances are illegal, as they always hurt our bodies. You can be charged for a DUI for driving under the influence of a controlled substance. You can also be convicted if you possess, sell, distribute, or use them. You also risk deportation if you are an immigrant in the state.
Marijuana, also called cannabis Sativa (a plant where Marijuana a controlled substance comes from) can be classified both as a prescribed drug and a controlled substance. Using Marijuana makes you feel high from the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) 9. The chemical leaves the body within three hours. THC 9 can turn into THC 11, which takes months to go through the body system. Depending on your level of THC 9 level while driving, you can be charged with a DUI. The side effects of Marijuana while driving involve impaired judgment and reaction time.
Sometimes, you may be under the influence of more than one drug or a combination of both the drug and alcohol. It does not matter whether the liquor was below the standard limit you can get charged. A mix of drugs reacts to alcohol causing impairment. The main issue is whether you are impaired by the combination of all the differences in your system.
Potential Factors that May Influence Penalties for a DUI Conviction
Some specific penalties vary depending on the nature of the offense. It could be your first, second, third, fourth, or subsequent times. Each particular DUI crime has its stipulated punishment. And to avoid severe punishment when charged with a DUI, hire a La Cresta DUI attorney. Here are other factors that may play a role in your DUI conviction:
- The Defendant’s blood alcohol concentration if it is more than 0.08%
- Whether the accused caused an auto accident that resulted in injury or death
- Any prior DUI criminal record
- Whether the Defendant had a minor under the age of 14 years as a passenger
- If the accused refused to take a blood or breath test
- If the Defendant violated probation rules
- If the Defendant was over speeding
- If the offender was under 21 years and had any blood alcohol concentration in the body system
Facing DUI Charges While on Probation
Most DUI convictions come with a five years probation. This term is so long that most criminal cases have three-year maximum probation. In short, you are not expected to commit any offense within those five years. They are picking up subsequent DUI results in an increase of severe consequences.
While on probation, you are not supposed to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system. If you are attempted and get caught, the judge and the prosecutor revoke your probation and sentence you to custody time. It implies that you will face a new misdemeanor charge and go back to court for your original DUI, this time for probation violation.
Vehicle Code 23154(a) regulates the crime of driving under the influence while on probation for a prior DUI. It is wrong for any person who is on probation to drive with a BAC of 0.01% or higher at any time. You will be charged for this crime for violation of Penal Code section 23153. The judge need not prove your BAC, as long as there was a 0.01 percent of alcohol in your system while driving.
The best you can is to hire a skilled attorney to help you avoid DUI probation at all costs. After getting probation, it affects your daily routine and hinders your freedom. Violating probation affects whether you can get off probation early and eventually obtain an expungement.
DUI When You are Younger than 21 Years Old
Standard charges for DUI are meant for people who are over 21 years. If you are charged with a DUI under the age of 21, you will face a longer suspension of one year. On top of that, you face some hurdles, if not a restricted license. The harsh punishments can impact negatively on a person under 21 years—notably, one who commutes employed and lived at home.
If you are under 21 and your BAC shows 0.05%, you will face a baby deuce. It has nothing to do with a child but comes with unintended consequences. Vehicle Code 23140 states that it is a criminal offense for one who is under 21 years of age to drive a vehicle with 0.05 percent in the blood. The court clerk prepares a record and forwards to the department an abstract to be publicly available for infection like any other records.
In a baby deuce, a PAS (Preliminary Alcohol Device) is used as the first chemical test. The BAC should not be higher than 0.01% if not would be charged under section 23152 or 23153 provided by the law. California state is a zero-tolerance state where people under 21 years are prohibited from driving a vehicle with a BAC of 0.01%. The minors are also prohibited from possessing alcohol containers in their cars, whether opened or closed.
Similar to adult DUI cases, an individual under 21 years caught with DUI risks driving license suspension by the DMV for a specific time. Moreover, you face other charges like hefty fines, court-ordered treatment programs, or court-ordered participation in youthful drunk driving visitation programs. In case the 21-year-old youth refuses to take the chemical test could be punished for an automatic one-year license suspension. Note that minors, whether driving or passengers in a vehicle and are found in possession of alcohol in the car, face a maximum fine of $1,000, six months in county jail, one-year driving suspension, or vehicle impoundment for one to 30 days.
Frequently Asked Questions About DUI
DUI arrest is a challenge to many, and here are the most commonly asked questions:
What Happens if the DMV Suspends My Driving License, Will I be Able to Drive?
If the DMV suspends your driving license, you will have a period of one month “hard” suspension of which you cannot drive. After the 30 days, your License is given back only if you have completed the necessary terms.
If My Bac Was Over The Limit Of 0.08%, Can I Still Win At The Dmv Hearing?
Yes. The facts, in your case, can give rise to a credible defense. With our help, we exploit the weaknesses of the case against you and find opportunities in your favor.
Will I Have To Attend My First Hearing If I Hired An Attorney To Represent Me?
If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you do not have to be present for the court arraignment. Your attorney will represent you. However, if you are accused of a felony, your presence in court is mandatory. In either way, our attorney will be there for you at your arraignment.
Contact a La Cresta DUI Attorney Near Me
Being charged in court for DUI can be embarrassing, and at the same time, you risk losing future earning potential due to criminal records. You will need an attorney to represent you in the DMV proceedings and the criminal trial. It would be good to contact the San Diego DUI Attorney team to help you maintain a clean record. Give us a call at 619-535-715, and an attorney will be waiting to hear from you.