If you have been drinking and driving habitually and have not been caught with the offense, you need to rethink your drinking and driving habits. Unknowingly, you have been exposing the other motorists to hazards. However, you may feel sober enough and find yourself on the wrong side of the law. When you have a DUI case to answer to while in Pala Mesa, the San Diego DUI Attorney has all the experience you need to win your case.
What is DUI in California
DUI is the offense of driving or operating a vehicle while intoxicated with drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine, among others. Some of these drugs are sometimes legal to use. If the drugs intoxicating the driver are legitimate, then they should not exceed a certain level. The levels of intoxication allowed by the law for you to drink and drive is below 0.08%. Beyond this BAC level, one is ripe for a criminal case when caught operating a vehicle. The case brought against one for exceeding the legal limits is called a per se DUI charge.
However, other drivers cannot maintain driving sobriety even at the level of intoxication below 0.08% BAC. Thus, you can be charged for being too drunk to control a vehicle with a reasonable level of ensuring safety to other motorists. This charge is preferred against other DUI charges. It is called a DUI impairment charge. So failing to be over the legal limit is also costly if caught endangering other people's lives.
The Basis of Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause
Even while drunk, the traffic police cannot just pick you and begin creating a basis for committing the crimes mentioned above without unquestionable evidence. The cues that indicate that you are drunk beyond the legal limits form the basis of reasonable suspicion. From the reasonable suspicion, the officer begins creating the ground for the probable cause.
Once the probable cause is established, the officer has the mandate to search for evidence to proceed with the potential DUI cases.
The state governments install in different sections DUI checkpoints as a measure to deter drunk driving in the United States. In California, the inspections are legally upheld by both state and federal law. The officer is not mandated to have a probable cause or reasonable suspicion when stopping a driver. To avoid any possibility of the DUI victim claiming bias or being picked on the officer in the sobriety checkpoints stops the cars following a specific sequence or pattern.
Although, if you are not arrested for DUI scrutiny using the established pattern, the manifestation of a hint of intoxication can make you vulnerable to being stopped for DUI investigation at the DUI checkpoint. Exhibiting any other sign of intoxication at any other road section where the traffic police can see you makes you equally ripe for the DUI examination. The police do not always stop the vehicles for suspecting drivers are drunk but rather for getting indications that they were flouting some traffic regulations. Keeping intoxicated drivers off the road is more beneficial than inconveniences stemming from their traffic misconducts.
All the time, the police keep the sequence of stopping cars in progress. However, they are highly operational on specific times:
- On weekends due to the heightened drinking patterns
- During holidays as people get to the various destinations after partying
- At night after the expiration of watershed specified by the law when taverns close.
The sobriety checkpoints remain controversial in most states, although the federal law upholds their legality. It remains the duty of a DUI Attorney to inspect the specific state law to check whether the DUI checkpoints are legal to defend you in your DUI case.
As stated above, reasonable suspicion is any circumstance or facts indicating that a driver is flouting a traffic law, has committed an offense, or is likely to commit one. Therefore reasonable suspicion is based on probability rather than particular details.
With this reasonable suspicion, the police can stop a driver and detain them for questioning. The DUI offenses are detected on these stops, not meant for curbing intoxicated driving. Statistics show that drunk drivers can get away with drunk driving for averagely 80 times before they are caught.
A probable cause is more hard evidence that the crime was committed, is taking place, or has a greater chance of happening. Therefore, the officer is more empowered to act, such as obtaining an arrest warrant from the judge, making an arrest, and searching for a person or their property. The stronger the probable because, the more the officer can legally act on the solid facts obtained.
Since drunk driving crimes are susceptible to happen during the holidays, weekend, and at night, the judges stay put into preparing search and arrest warrants for the traffic police. They can also provide them in advance to help curb drunk driving.
All in all, reasonable suspicion exists when an officer feels that you are committing a DUI offense, or you are at the threshold of doing so. It is subjective to a certain extent. Probable cause, on the other hand, is the objective facts that any reasonable person can establish that you are flouting a law, committed an offense, or you are about to break the law. The probable cause for search also must be separately stipulated before the officer establishes the basis of searching.
The reasonable suspicion and probable cause matter legally since the police officer’s action should aim at uncovering or stopping crime. Meanwhile, the drivers are protected by the two legal requirements so that the officers do not just pick on them randomly and begin doing searches. This way, any predating officer is restricted from arresting any civilians driving in the road. It is, therefore, the duty of the Pala Mesa DUI Attorney to establish the existence of probable cause to increase more points of defense in your DUI case.
Signs Establishing a Reasonable Suspicion
The police officer may use the following indications to establish reasonable suspicion:
- The slurred speech where the driver mumbles, mispronounce words or exhibits variations in the pace of speech
- The smell of alcohol in the vehicle or the breath
- Odd grooming style
- Bloodshot eyes
- Sweating and shivering which cannot be explained by any other reason
- Hobbling and having balance problems standing on one spot
- Appearing disoriented in thought or showing signs of confusion
- Erratic moods swings
What to Do When Stopped
When the officers stop you at the sobriety checkpoints for a probable cause, the best thing to do is to keep quiet. This requirement is found in Miranda laws that the officer should inform you of. The less you speak, the better. Remaining quiet would lessen the possibility of the officer tricking you to compliance that you were drunk or committing any other traffic offense.
Of course, you have an absolute right to refuse the search of the vehicle. The refusal should only remain verbal without engaging the officer physically. Further, you have no duty of determining whether a probable cause for a search exists. You should only cooperate without doing anything that would increase the severity of the evidence against you.
Implied Consent Laws
The implied consent laws require all the motorists to submit to the traffic officer’s orders once arrested in a DUI checkpoint or after a reasonable suspicion. Apart from complying with the intoxication evaluation, the drivers should also produce their proof of insurance and their driving licenses.
The Effect of the Zero-Tolerance Law on DUIs
Everything that has been discussed above concerning drunk drivers applies only to drivers who are 21 years and above of age. The zero-tolerance laws dictate that drivers below the age of 21 should not drink and drive. The tolerable limit is only 0.01% BAC, which is close to having no intoxication. This limit implies total sobriety for anyone under the age of 21 years while behind the wheel.
The zero-tolerance laws are meant to reduce the number of injuries, damages, and deaths on the traffic. They are further meant to curb the increment of traffic negligence as the minors are likely to be more distracted and drive careless. The young drivers’ inexperience cannot be given a chance to deteriorate through alcohol.
If a slight intoxication can lead to a per se DUI charge, then the criminal offense can attract severe penalties for being too intoxicated to drive. Worse still, a minor cannot be allowed to have alcohol or any other drug unless it is legally justified. Such situations for possession of alcohol are such as when transporting it as a company’s employee.
What Happens If You Refuse to Comply with BAC Evaluation
Most drivers, the young and the old alike do not understand that driving is a privilege extended to them from the department of motors. They can thus defy BAC evaluation in exchange for their driving privileges. Refusing to take a BAC test can lead to a license suspension for 12 months. The drivers with past DUI convictions can have a more serious license suspension for a longer period. However, some drivers reason that a license suspension is less severe than being convicted for a first-time or subsequent DUI convictions.
Sometimes the driver fails to comply with the BAC test because the officers have no warrant to do so. They could be doing this genuinely for fear of their rights being infringed or to buy time for the intoxication to ease if there were no cues of impaired driving. As mentioned above, the judges stay put to issue warrants upon the requests of the officers. To avoid the delay associated with obtaining a paper warrant that allows the drivers to sober up and escape the hook of the DUI charge, the officers can obtain electronic BAC test warrants.
Refusal to take a BAC test when a warrant empowers it can lead to forceful blood draws by the police to affect the evaluation. However, not all states have the no-refusal enforcement regulations. Sometimes the state law allows the drivers facing a BAC test to contact a lawyer to help them in determining which chemical test to undergo in the BAC examination.
The prosecution may use the refusal to take the BAC test as an indication that you were intoxicated. If the law allows you to contact a lawyer, then be free to reach out to a Pala Mesa DUI Attorney for consultation.
One of the consequences of refusing the BAC test in California apart from fines and jail term is the mandatory legal requirement to install an Ignition interlock device (IID).
The IID Installation
The IID is a device that is used by the authorities to curb drivers from driving after drinking. It is installed into the vehicle ignition system, and the car cannot start before the driver blows through the device with an alcohol-free breath. The IID is configured with the department of motors to ensure the driver complies with the regulation of sober driving.
The installation of the IID is the condition for the reinstatement of a suspended license. The IID may also be a requirement for one to acquire the privileges of a hardship license.
A hardship license, also known as the restricted, allows the drivers charged for refusing to submit BAC examination or charged with a DUI offense to maintain a basic lifestyle. This lifestyle may include things such as using the vehicle to earn a livelihood, driving to and from work and taking children to school.
The installation period of IID determined by the seriousness of the offense one was committing or was about to commit and the applicable state law. While a first time California DUI attracts a six months IID installation, a third DUI related offense may go up to several years.
As you contemplate refusing a chemical BAC test, think twice about the IID and its consequences. There are costs of acquiring and maintaining the IID, which you, as the driver, must pay. Such costs are leasing, installation, maintenance, and removal fee of IID. If you do not have the funds to finance the IID, you can ask a Pala Mesa DUI Attorney about whether the state law provides for funding unable drivers or the flexible payment plans.
After knowingly drinking with a driving duty, some drivers may try removing the IID from the vehicle. Removing IID is very risky as the authorities will detect its disconnection. The disconnection of IID may lead to damage of the device and also damage the vehicle. When caught having tried to disconnect an IID, then a criminal charge is filed against you, and consequently, you may lose all your driving privileges.
Lastly, you need to be informed that drinking and driving when IID is in your vehicle will only lead to more problems. You may succeed in circumventing the ignition trap by using another person to start your vehicle. Nevertheless, the rolling samples will always hint to the authorities that you drove while drunk, even though the car will continue moving. They will thus find out eventually.
Defenses for DUI
The following are some of the points that the Pala Mesa Dui Attorney will use to defend you once you have been arraigned in court and charged with a DUI offense:
The Stop Was Illegal
The Pala Mesa DUI Attorney will argue in your defense that the police officer stopped you illegally. This defense stands the chance of validity if the evidence exists that points out a biased pulling over by the police. The attorney will be keen to cite no existence of reasonable suspicion for other spots of arrest apart from the DUI checkpoints. The attorney should also be keen to unveil the irregularity in the pattern of motorist inspection to pick up on you.
If the attorney cannot establish anything the police used to derive reasonable suspicion, then he may file a motion to suppress the weight of evidence against you. The evidence is, therefore, not admissible for your trial.
Wrong Procedures in Field Sobriety Test
The FST is not proof per se that they represent clear evidence of intoxication once you fail in them. Remember that the police officer has been practicing this several times. Their experience and temperaments associated at the time of arrest may make them conduct FST appropriately. They may be too fast in giving instructions, intimidate you, or show disrespect to you.
As part of the defense, a local Pala Mesa DUI Attorney will cite this officer’s conduct and why you scored poorly. He will also ask you for the benefit of the doubt in your since even sober drivers have 68% success in those FST conducted reasonably.
Your Pala Mesa DUI Attorney will also cite medical conditions at the time of pulling over to provide an innocuous explanation about them. Health problems such as ketosis, a fermentation of blood glucose in the bloodstream, can cause an alcohol odor on a person and give wrong readings in the breathalyzers. The slurred speech could be caused by neuron disorder. Sinuses infection and crying before you were stopped could cause watery and bloodshot eyes, respectively.
Find a Pala Mesa DUI Attorney Me
As explained above, you can find yourself in trouble as far as DUI in California. The processes associated with arrest and collection of evidence, as well as defenses, can be handled well by an excellent Pala Mesa DUI Attorney. Therefore, if you are involved in a DUI in Pala Mesa, you stand a chance to win if you hire the legal expertise of the San Diego DUI Attorney. Do not hesitate to contact us by dialing 619-535-7150 to get timely help in your case.