California operates under clear traffic laws that prohibit the use or operation of cars while impaired by alcohol consumption. While the statutes applicable in Los Tules equally forbid drivers from indulging in alcoholic drinks before handling a vehicle, every once in a while, you may find yourself on the wrong side of the law. There are numerous reasons why you could be guilty of a DUI offense, the most rampant being driving a car while drunk. However, mind-altering drugs that may impair your sight and reasoning while handling a vehicle can also land you in trouble for a statutory violation.
Facing the numerous events that follow a DUI arrest by yourself can prove very tasking and draining. Thus, we recommend getting in touch with the San Diego DUI Attorney in Los Tules. Your lawyer will give you trusted professional guidance on matters to do with subsequent hearings and with gathering evidence that will serve as defenses. We are well equipped with the legal experience that our clients deserve, and dedicate our practice to providing the best services we can to you.
What Laws Prohibit DUIs?
In case an officer apprehends you or your loved one for breaking the traffic regulations set against drunk driving, you need to be well aware of the statutory provisions that they hold you liable for breaking. The vital knowledge ensures that there are no false allegations made against you. The vehicle code applicable in California prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle if your mental or physical capacity is distorted by alcohol. The information falls under section 23152(a), which gives the basic definition of a DUI as well. Secondly, subsection (b) of the same article provides for the strict per se traffic regulations that set the minimum requirement that officers check before arresting you for a DUI violation. The minimum alcohol content that qualifies you for a DUI apprehension is 0.08%.
An officer can make this verification by lawfully administering an oral alcohol test, commonly known as the breathalyzer test. However, you should note that the officer must have reasonable cause to stop you and require you to take the test. A failure to state the consistent purpose for stopping you may amount to an illegal arrest, as it compromises your rights as a citizen. Every person has the right to be aware of the reason for arrest, and in this case, the only way for an arrest to be made is by confirmation that the police had to stop you.
Moreover, the alcohol test results must be accurate and verified by the required authorities. The requirement thus means that you should not get arrested if the traffic police on duty simply used assumptions to warrant an arrest. Thus, the traffic authority is responsible for ensuring the correct procedure in calculating your alcohol content before taking any subsequent steps.
How is Your Blood Alcohol Content Calculated?
There are several requirements for a correct BAC examination to portray your results. Firstly, the officer needs to record your weight. The data is put as a measure against several other factors. Secondly, the person administering the test may ask you how many drinks you had before driving, as well as the duration between your drinking session and the current situation when she/he stops you. The information collected gives him or her some information that can help determine whether the alcohol content in your body has risen significantly in your bloodstream to prevent assumptions of rapid rising levels. Additionally, other physically evident details are crucial in calculating your BAC. They include your gender, height, and in some cases, your age.
Age also plays a vital role in determining what category of DUI violations you fall. Any person who is below twenty-one years and is in violation of a DUI regulation will face more severe penalties because of the strict administrative rules that prevent underage drinking. Besides, these offenders are often in violation of two or more offenses, mainly the DUI and juvenile indulgence. If you fall under this category, it is essential to reach your DUI Attorney to discuss the available options for handling your case.
Related Offenses to DUI Violations
Sometimes, you may break the law by including the element of alcohol consumption or possession in your vehicle. However, the offenses do not always amount to a DUI charge because of the varying circumstances. Alternatively, you may face subsequent charges that involve these related offenses as well as a DUI offense. All these outcomes heavily rely on the situation that led to your arrest. Some of the crimes associated with DUIs are:
Consuming an Alcoholic Drinks Inside The Vehicle
Section 23221 of the vehicle code expressly interdicts drinking any alcoholic beverages inside a car. The prohibition covers both the drivers and passengers. Therefore, the elements that must be present for the creation of the crime of drinking inside a vehicle are:
- You were inside the car in question
- You were a passenger or a driver inside the car
- You were driving or in a moving vehicle that was on the highway
- You owned an alcoholic drink
The prosecutor in charge of your case has to satisfy the due process of law. He/she does this by ensuring that there is adequate proof, and all the requirements are met. Equally, your Los Tules DUI attorney, who will handle your case, will do his/her best to make rebuttals and disprove any claims made against you. These counters and challengers of fact shake the prosecutor’s foundation of the case, which will lead to a lack of concrete evidence against you. Consequently, a failure to satisfy these vital elements by the prosecutor or officer presiding over your DMV hearing could lead to your acquittal or reduced penalties.
Being in Possession of an Open Container Inside the Vehicle
Your Los Tules DUI attorney is also responsible for making sure that the officers and prosecutors handling your case do not exploit you for a crime you did not commit. The process involves clearing out any doubts you may have, including those related to definitions. Thus, in this case, the offense of having an open container of alcohol and consuming it inside the car means that the can or bottle should:
- Be open, and without a cap or cover
- Have a broken seal, indicating that it has been opened at least once
- Hold content that is partially or almost wholly consumed
Thus, if an officer simply finds a container that is out of a compact pack like a six-pack, the revelation is not enough evidence to show that the drink container was open. Moreover, it is up to the prosecutor to prove that you owned the drink, especially where you are the driver in a car that holds more passengers. If he/she cannot prove this factor, you could find it easier to get your case closed.
The crime falls under a simple infraction under California law. Therefore, it does not affect your criminal record and is not severe enough to warrant a jail penalty. The general penalty for a violation of the law preventing drivers and passengers from having open alcoholic drinks is a $250 fine.
While this is a punishment that many may consider lenient, section 23224 imposes more substantial sanctions on a person under the age of twenty one who faces the same offense. For such a suspected offender, the penalties are higher, and the charges they face are misdemeanors. Consequently, the penalties are also higher, with a guilty defendant facing up to six months imprisonment in county jail, a $1,000 fine, or both if the judge sees fit. As mentioned earlier, the reason for a higher penalty is that the law does not condone alcohol consumption by people who are below the set age limit.
Violating a DUI License Suspension Order
While it may be unintentional on your part, sometimes you may operate your car even after receiving a license suspension order. If you ignore the suspension orders and drive under a non-functional license, the DMV officer or judge presiding over your case may hold you guilty of violating section 14601.2 of the California Vehicle Code. Commonly, you will become a receptor of such suspension records indicating that you are a repeat DUI offender. Such a scenario means that you have committed a DUI related offense more than twice within ten years.
Moreover, an aggravated first-time offense that translates to a misdemeanor or a felony could also get your license suspended for varying periods. While the duration is less for misdemeanor charges than in felony DUI charges, the suspension orders still stand. Another essential point to note is that the suspension, in this case, must be related to a DUI, or a DUI related accident that caused severe injuries or damage to property.
If the judge finds you blameworthy of the crime, he or she will hold you guilty under misdemeanor charges. Therefore, you could face a six-month imprisonment penalty in the Los Tules county jail, a $1,000 fine, or both in aggravated instances. Since you are a first time offender in such a case, your Los Tules DUI attorney can manage to provide several defenses to your favor and help lower the severity of the penalties issued. However, you must ensure that you give an accurate record of events, to prevent providing the prosecutor with an available loophole to trap you and prove your guilt.
Where you commit the offense more than once, it is inevitable to face more severe penalties. Thus, a subsequent offender may receive a one-year imprisonment term or an alternative of paying a $2,000 fine or both. These increased penalties apply where the offender commits the crime of violating the license suspension within five years since the first violation. These guidelines, therefore, call for strict compliance with the rules set.
What is the Purpose of an Ignition Interlock Device?
Most DUI offenders found guilty of the crime often face the penalty of installing an Ignition Interlock Device in their vehicles as part of a probation program. The requirement is prevalent in misdemeanor charges, where the DUI offender will face a misdemeanor charge that does not warrant license suspension and revocation or serving time in jail. Thus, orders to install an IID are among the more lenient penalties you may receive after a DUI hearing that finds you guilty of the offense.
The Ignition Interlock Device functions to prevent the car from starting until the driver blows into it. The device is fitted with a system that measures the level of alcohol present in your breath, if any, should be present. It is only after verification that you do not have any alcoholic content in your body system does the device allow your car engine to start. In summary, the IID acts as a barrier that prevents a recovering DUI offender on probation from having access to driving privileges if he/she violates the strict no-drink probation policies.
The information guiding you on the installation process of the device is often in the warning letter of revocation from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Among other things, the message from the DMV entails the guidelines you should follow to satisfy the requirements, and after that, repossess driving privileges in California.
Thus, the content of the letter gives instructions on how to install the IID together with the consequences of failing to adhere to the rules. If you have trouble accessing such information, it is advisable to inform your Los Tules DUI attorney of the challenge promptly. Seeking the help of your DUI lawyer ensures that you do not surpass the stipulated deadlines and other requirements set by the Department of Motor Vehicles, as it may lengthen your probation period.
What Aggravating Factors May Increase My DUI Penalties?
Doubtless, you face more severe penalties for any extra harm or inconvenience you cause by driving after alcohol consumption. While your Los Tules DUI attorney may make the best arguments to reduce the set penalties, here are some of the aggravating factors that may get you a severe punishment than expected:
Causing Severe Property Damage and Injuries
One of the expected outcomes of a driver who handles a car while drunk is that he/she will be unable to coordinate it as expected. Consequently, the driver may be the cause of a horrible accident that results in severe damages to unsuspecting road users. If such a scenario occurs, it is only natural that the judge will increase the penalties you face to a more significant severity, to allow you to cover for the harm done. While matters to do with compensation are often referred to civil courts, the judge may decide to increase the fines you need to pay to cover for some of the damages that resulted from your DUI accident.
Driving With a Blood Alcohol Concentration of Over 0.15%
The set level of measurable BAC is currently at 0.08%. Thus, any level above this will warrant an arrest because it is a violation of the set vehicle regulations. Therefore, imagine having a BAC reading over 0.15%. This would mean that you are incredibly drunk. Commonly, a driver with such a high reading may not even be aware of his or her environment, nor of his/her state of mind. Hence, the judge or DMV officer presiding over your case will have to consider your extreme alcohol levels and issue more penalties to prevent you from a future violation.
Surpassing the Stipulated Speed Limit
Due to the uncoordinated moves that an intoxicated driver makes on the road, it is highly foreseeable that he/she may exceed the speed limit set to govern cars on the highway. In San Diego, the law prohibits a driver from exceeding the set speed limit with over twenty miles per hour. For example, if the set limit is 70 MPH, driving with any speed above, 90MPH will automatically warrant an aggravation of an otherwise average DUI offense. Authorities give the rationale for penalizing such offenders to be that high speeds often pose a significant risk of danger on the road. Therefore, authorities go out of their way to prevent speed-related accidents.
Causing DUI Related Manslaughter
In extreme cases, an accident will result in fatalities. While the persons who succumb to the high impact accidents may not be directly involved in the actual accident, the court will still hold you liable for their death under the chain of causation. The prosecutors often apply the ‘but for’ test to pin the blame on you. While this argument may work, your Los Tules DUI attorney may equally present a case that demonstrates an intervening action. If your lawyer can make the argument successfully and show that you were not the direct cause of the accident, the aggravating factor will play a less severe role in your sentencing.
Find a DUI Attorney Near Me
We know how difficult it may be to handle all arising issues after you are found in violation of a DUI. While it may be an option to handle your case on your own, especially in DMV hearings, the prosecutors are always set on finding you guilty and find a loophole to ensure that the case is decided against you. Therefore, we advise our Los Tules residents to seek our services, should you face a DUI related charge. At the San Diego DUI Attorney, our team endeavors to offer the best services and secure you a win. Get in touch with us today at 619-535-7150.