The San Diego DUI Attorney is a premium law firm that protects the rights of defendants who are under investigation for DUI or facing DUI charges. We have experience handling many types of DUI charges such as first and subsequent DUI charges, felony DUI, Watson Murder, DMV-related cases, expungement of your criminal record, among other areas. These services are tailored for Oceanside, California residents.

DUI Overview

DUI is a serious offense in California. It becomes even more serious when you have subsequent DUI arrests within ten years. California laws prohibit driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You will be considered to be driving under the influence if you have a blood alcohol concentration of more than .08%. When you have a BAC of more than .08%, it means that the drugs or alcohol, or a combination of both, have a substantial effect on your judgment.

A DUI offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the aggravating or mitigating circumstances in the case. The penalties and sentencing for DUI charges depend on the type of charge and can range from fines, jail or prison sentence, suspension of your license and the requirement to install an interlock ignition device.

When you are facing DUI charges, it is best that you hire an Oceanside DUI attorney to help you with your case. DUI defense attorneys understand the DUI process and can help find loopholes that will work well for your defense. Our DUI attorneys will come up with a defense strategy that could possibly help you:

  • Avoid a conviction
  • Prevent a license suspension
  • File for reduced bail
  • Reduce penalties and sentencing
  • Expunge your criminal record

Some of the DUI aspects we handle include:

  1. First Offense DUI

A first offense DUI is often charged as a misdemeanor. Since it is your first time DUI offense, you may feel overwhelmed and intimidated. The DUI court process can also be complicated and make it hard for you if you chose to represent yourself.

Hiring an Oceanside DUI attorney will save you the stress of having to gather all the evidence yourself or challenge the prosecutor’s claims. Since these lawyers are in close contact with the prosecutors, judges and are aware of the local court system, they will adequately represent you by drawing from their experience and intuition.

  1. Subsequent DUI Offenses

Subsequent DUI offenses often attract misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the circumstances of the case and whether there are any aggravating factors. The fine and penalties for subsequent misdemeanor DUIs attract additional penalties and a possible requirement to register as a habitual traffic offender. Like with all other DUI offenses, representation by a DUI attorney will make a lot of difference.

  1. Vehicular Manslaughter

When driving under the influence results in the unlawful death of another person, you will be charged with vehicular manslaughter. A conviction for vehicular manslaughter will result in imprisonment for a long time, which could affect the quality of your life.

The prosecution will have to prove that your ability to control the vehicle was impaired by alcohol intoxication or drug use, and you had a BAC of .80% or more.

To protect you from the severe penalties, your DUI attorney will fight for your case to prove that the arrest was illegal, the death did not result from the accident, you were not grossly negligent, or you were not under the influence at the time of the accident.

  1. Felony DUI

You can be charged with a felony DUI under several circumstances including:

  • A fourth DUI arrest within ten years of the first offense
  • A DUI offense resulting in serious bodily injuries or death
  • You have at least one prior DUI felony conviction

A felony DUI conviction requires representation by an experienced DUI lawyer who will challenge the prosecutor’s allegation. A strong legal defense will help you avoid the severe penalties of a DUI felony conviction. Some of the penalties you are likely to get include imprisonment in state prison, loss of driving privileges for some years and significant fines. You may get additional punishment such as the requirement to register as a habitual traffic offender and enroll in a court-approved alcohol education program.

Your attorney will help you by looking into different perspectives from which to approach your case, to reduce the penalties or avoid a DUI conviction.

  1. DUI Hit and Run

The laws of California require that all motorists involved in an accident stop and exchange the relevant information. This requirement applies even when you have no fault in the accident. You can be charged with a DUI hit and run if you willfully left the scene of the accident without identifying yourself to the other parties involved, there was damage of property, and you knew that the accident resulted in property damage.

Your attorney will argue the case on your behalf by bringing forth defenses that show you were not aware of the accident/damage, no property was damaged, or you were not driving the car at the time of the accident.

  1. Aggravated DUI

Aggravated DUI is a DUI charge, which is made severe by aggravating factors. Factors that can result in an aggravated DUI charge include:

  • DUI causing property damage
  • DUI causing injury to another person
  • DUI with a BAC of .20% and above
  • DUI with a passenger under the age of 14; this can attract additional charges for child endangerment
  • Refusal to take the administered chemical tests
  • Committing a DUI offense while on probation for another DUI conviction
  • Committing a DUI offense with a suspended, revoked or expired license
  • You have two or three prior DUI offenses within a short time
  • DUI with hit and run

These aggravating factors can lead to additional punishments, which may impact your ability to lead a normal life and access job and educational opportunities. The lawyer representing you understands the seriousness of aggravated DUI. The attorney will, therefore, offer you the best advice and protection to help in achieving the best and less damaging outcome.

  1. DUI Causing Injury

A DUI charge on itself has serious consequences. Injuries complicate the offense and can result in severe penalties for you or your loved one. You can either be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. A felony DUI with injury attracts severe penalties including fines of up to $5,000, a DMV license revocation of 5 years, 2-4 years in state prison with additional years for great bodily injury and for every additional person that was injured in the accident. When you are facing charges for a DUI causing injury, your lawyer will examine the case to determine whether:

  • You were under the influence
  • You acted negligently or illegally
  • Your BAC was greater than .08%
  • Your ability to control the vehicle was impaired by alcohol consumption

The sentence you receive depends on aggravating and mitigating factors such as a prior DUI offense. Your lawyer will work with you in preparing a defense that will help in reducing your charges from a felony to a misdemeanor and if possible, a reduction in your sentence and penalties.

Due to the seriousness of DUI charges where an injury occurred, our Oceanside DUI attorneys will engage the services of an accident expert to reconstruct the accident scene. Reconstructing the accident scene is important in determining who is at fault.

Some law enforcement officials may automatically assume that you are at fault since you were driving under the influence. Therefore, your lawyer will examine witness statements and police reports to avoid a wrongful conviction.

  1. Juvenile and Underage DUI

If you are under the age of 21, the zero tolerance laws apply to you whenever you are driving. These laws prohibit driving with a BAC above zero. When you are arrested for breaking the zero tolerance laws, you risk several severe penalties including suspension of your driver’s license. In addition, a zero tolerance conviction will appear as a criminal record with a significant effect on your future employment and educational opportunities.

Due to the seriousness of underage DUI charges, you need to contact an Oceanside DUI attorney who will represent you to have your charges reduced, dismissed or to help you avoid a wrongful conviction. In some cases, you may be convicted for additional DUI related charges such as minor with a BAC of .05% or higher and a California DUI.

Your lawyer will help you in requesting a DMV hearing to restore your driving privileges or obtain a restricted license. He or she will also advise you on the severe consequences of subsequent DUI charges.

  1. Watson Murder

A Watson murder is a form of second-degree murder charged when you have prior DUI convictions, and a person died as a result of the driving under the influence. In a Watson murder charge, the prosecution must prove that you had implied malice.

Implied malice refers to committing acts that could endanger human life. Driving under the influence is considered an act of implied malice since intoxication impairs your ability to control the vehicle and adhere to traffic rules, thus, endangering other motorists.

In most cases, a prosecutor can refer to a previous DUI conviction in which you were given a Watson warning. Other factors that may increase the chances of being charged with a Watson murder include:

  • Multiple prior DUI convictions
  • A BAC level of more than 0.15%
  • You engaged in extreme acts of negligence that show wanton disregard for human life

The penalties for a Watson murder can be anything from a state prison term of 15 years to life imprisonment.

  1. DUI Checkpoints

DUI checkpoints in California have to adhere to a set of guidelines set by both the federal and state governments. When you are arrested at a checkpoint in or around Oceanside, your lawyer can investigate the checkpoint to determine whether the checkpoint met the legal requirement and whether your interaction with the police officer proceeded lawfully.

Your lawyer will look at whether the following guidelines were met:

  • The supervising officers made the operational decisions for the checkpoints
  • A neutral criterion was used in stopping motorists
  • The checkpoint was in a reasonable location
  • The checkpoint was reasonably safe
  • The checkpoint was set at a reasonable time/day and lasted for a reasonable time
  • The checkpoint should appear official
  • The checkpoint was publicly advertised
  • You were stopped for only enough time to investigate the probability of a DUI

If the DUI checkpoint does not meet the set guidelines, your attorney can argue that your charges don’t have a legal basis because the checkpoint was unlawful.

  1. DMV License Suspension

When you are arrested for a DUI, your license may be automatically suspended under the administrative per se license suspension (APS). After the suspension, you are provided with a temporary license valid for 30 days. You can request for a DMV hearing to reinstate your driving privileges or have a lawyer do so on your behalf.

When you enlist and retain the services of an Oceanside DUI lawyer, he or she will request for a DMV hearing within ten days of your arrest. Your lawyer will then collect the relevant evidence, subpoena witnesses, and possibly cross-examine the arresting officer.

Your lawyer will do this to prepare a defense for your DMV hearing, which is often presided over by a DMV officer. During the hearing, your lawyer will answer questions to determine whether:

  • You were arrested legally
  • The arresting officer notified you of the consequences of failing to take a chemical test for BAC
  • The arresting officer was certain that you were driving under the influence
  • You complied to taking the chemical tests for BAC
  • Other factors led to a false BAC reading

During the hearing, your lawyer will work towards restoring your driving privileges or getting a restricted license. A restricted license will give you restricted driving privileges. Your lawyer will help you through the process of applying for the restricted license using the SR-22 form.

  1. Help With SR-22 Insurance

The Safety Responsibility (SR) form is one of the requirements when applying for the re-issuance of your driver's license after the expiry of the suspension period. When you are convicted with a DUI, you may be required to present an SR-22 to get a restricted license after yours is suspended. Your Oceanside DUI attorney will help you file for the SR-22 form and advice you on whether you will need to maintain your SR-22 status.

  1. DUI Offenses By Commercial Vehicle Drivers

The state subjects commercial vehicle drivers to stricter DUI standards. As a commercial vehicle driver, you should not drive a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or higher. Since a commercial driver can also drive non-commercial vehicles, they are still subject to the standard .08% BAC level.

Committing a California DUI can lead to the suspension of your commercial driver’s license permanently, especially where you have subsequent convictions.

Due to the serious penalties, particularly the risk of permanently losing your driver’s license, your lawyer will fight aggressively for you.

  1. The Military Diversion Program

Members of the military who commit DUI offenses will find themselves facing both civilian and military charges. You can get penalties such as incarceration, negative performance reviews, reduced ranks, and monetary fines. You can also be discharged after multiple DUI convictions. It is essential that your DUI charge does not lead to a conviction. With the help of your Oceanside DUI attorney, you can be enlisted into a military diversion program.

Members or veterans of the US military are eligible for enrolling in a military diversion program. If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor DUI, you can request for a military diversion program. A diversion program is an alternative form of sentencing that removes military veterans from the court system.

Your lawyer could request for you to be enrolled in a military diversion program if you have an alcohol use disorder that is a result of your service. When you successfully complete the program, the charges against you will be dismissed, and you will not have a criminal record.

Why You Need A DUI Attorney in Oceanside

You may choose to represent yourself in a DUI offense, especially for the first offense with no aggravating circumstances. However, due to the complicated nature of most DUI convictions, it is best to have a DUI lawyer representing you.

Furthermore, you can find a DUI charge attracting related charges, which may increase your sentence and penalties. In other cases, you can avoid a conviction and a criminal record. However, without the legal knowledge of an experienced DUI attorney, you are likely to suffer more than you should for a DUI offense.

Our DUI lawyers understand the local court system and have close relations with local prosecutors and DMV officials. We can leverage these networks to your benefit.

Contact A DUI Attorney Near Me

If you are in Oceanside, CA, and you need legal help for any DUI-related services, contact the San Diego DUI Attorney at 619-535-7150 to speak with one of our lawyers. We are available 24/7 and ready to help you.