Any driver who has to face the process that comes after getting arrested for a DUI related offense can tell you how stressful it often gets. While there are several violations related to DUIs in California, like having an open drink in a vehicle, the most common is driving under the influence of substantive levels of alcohol. We often tend to make a few indulgences once in a while, regardless of their range in the spectrum of extremes. Thus, you may order a glass of wine to accompany a good meal or go all out with friends for night experience. While these scenarios are often harmless in themselves, driving a car afterward can change the outcome of your day or night dramatically. The result amounts to a traffic officer stopping you and probably arresting you for offending DUI regulations.
While there are some cases where you are entirely innocent of the crime, a typical DUI hearing may prove overwhelming to you as the defendant. It is immaterial whether a judge handles the hearing process or a DMV hearing chaired by a DMV officer. You are better off with the services and assistance of a San Diego DUI Attorney lawyer who will guide you through the ensuing events that unfold after yours or your loved one’s arrest. We believe in efficient and client-friendly services that are set to guarantee you satisfactory results in your DUI case.
Understanding Your Rights and The Officer’s Legal Authority After Being Stopped
Usually, suspected drunk drivers are stopped by an officer who has the legal authority to do so. There is no jurisdictional timeline to restrict the traffic officer from stopping you, although most DUI arrests and operations run at night. The frequency occurs because most drunk drivers are prone to indulge after working hours, and therefore, are more likely to violate DUI guidelines at this time.
When you are stopped, you should try your best to comply with the officer’s requests, mainly regarding taking a chemical breathalyzer test. A failure to follow the guidelines may result in aggravated charges on your side, especially if your resistance had no solid ground. However, the police officer must ensure that he/she has a probable cause for stopping you and requiring you to undertake the test. The cause must entail a credible reason that prompted the officer to identify you from other motorists and order you to stop. Some of the probable causes are:
- Using excess speed and breaking set limits on the highway
- Losing control over the steering of the vehicle and causing a commotion on the road
- Ignorance of traffic light regulations, often by running a red light
On top of these causes, the officer may observe specific physical characteristics after stopping you that prompt the admission of the test. You may exhibit signs like:
- Red eyes
- Uncoordinated body posture
- Bad breath
- Slurred speech
It is important to note that most, if not all, of these actions or behaviors, is rebuttable in a hearing. Explaining or disclosing any medical conditions you may have to you, Pine Hills DUI Attorney, helps rebuild a strong defense against allegations of such physical characteristics.
However, if your behavior is extremely aggressive towards an officer, it often lands you in further trouble with the hearing officer or judge who will handle your case. Consequently, this means that you could face higher penalties than expected. Some of the actions to avoid are:
- Using vulgar language toward the traffic officer
- A refusal to undertake the breathalyzer test
- Using or attempting to use physical force to resist arrest
After establishing that the traffic officer had probable cause for stopping you, there is no reason to refuse to take the alcohol breathalyzer test. Thus, officers operate under an implication of consent of submitting to the test from any motorist that they stop. Often, the test entails blowing into a portable gadget that measures the alcoholic chemical levels in your bloodstream at that time. The law has set a specific limit of the blood alcohol levels that are required to make an arrest. Therefore, an officer has no right to enforce an apprehension if your BAC falls below this set percentage, even if he/she is unconvinced of your sobriety.
When you pass the breathalyzer test but are still under an officer’s suspicion of being drunk, he or she may order some field sobriety tests. These tests are mental and physical checks to prove that your mind can still coordinate thoughts and actions correctly. For example, the officer may require you to walk in a straight line for some distance. Also, he/she may ask you to try out some acrobatics like raising one foot or even give mathematical problems for you to solve. It is important to note that you have no obligation to partake in these sobriety tests, especially if the breathalyzer kit indicates that your BAC levels are within the restricted percentage. After all, most officers will often use records of the sobriety tests as evidence against you in a hearing, which is not fair on your end. Contacting your Pine Hills DUI Attorney if an officer forces you to undergo these tests helps prevent an unjust system of legal dispensation.
The Scope of a DUI Breach
Similar to any other criminal provisions in the law, there are several ‘elements of crime’ that must be present for a hearing officer or judge to find you guilty of breaching DUI laws. However, the scope is broader specifically for this offense because different groups of motorists operate under divergent guidelines.
The general regulation provided for in the California Vehicle Code under section 23152 prevents drivers with an alcohol concentration above 0.08% from operating a vehicle, regardless of how short a distance the motorist may be going. Due to the highly specific figure given in the statute, the rule is Per Se. The definition given for such a law is that an officer has the right to execute an arrest. The arrest can happen as long as the driver breaks the regulation of alcohol levels set in the statute. Hence, there is not much you can do to resist apprehension if this violation is clear. However, we recommend informing your Pine Hills DUI Attorney of the arrest as soon as it happens to allow us to begin your bailing process, if necessary.
The second DUI regulation targets drivers under 21 particularly, also known as the zero-tolerance rule. Under the law, any person under twenty-one years who drives with the BAC above 0.02% can be arrested for breaking the law related to DUI restrictions.
Lastly, the law also prohibits motorists from a heavy indulgence that may yield extremely high blood alcohol test results. Doubtless, findings that are way above the regulated limit may mean that you are drunk way beyond any possible mind-body coordination. A person in such a state is an inherent danger to other road users, and can easily cause a fatal accident. Thus, the law treats such a case as an aggravated offense, mainly where the driver also exhibits unruly and uncontrolled behavior when an officer stops him/her. If your breathalyzer results exceed a limit of 0.16% BAC level, you automatically fall under this category.
The officer may also consider other factors like whether you have an open drink inside the vehicle, and if you have a minor under fourteen years as a passenger. It often follows that such findings make your case more severe and will attract more substantial penalties. However, your DUI attorney will do the best he/she can to minimize the severity of the punishments you receive.
DUI Restrictions for Offenders Under Twenty-One Years
As discussed above, persons under 21 operate under the zero-tolerance rules that forbid them from driving with alcoholic content above 0.02%. The stringent rules are approved by the National Highway Systems Designation act that declares the rules as per se. Thus, an officer is not obligated to prove that the suspected underage driver was drunk, as long as the alcohol test results exceed the limit.
In essence, the strictness in the application of the rules means that any person under twenty-one years is likely to face a DUI arrest for even the slightest alcohol intake. Therefore, you should be very wary of driving if you may have ingested any food or drink that may spike your BAC levels to any figure above 0.02%. However, for reasonability purposes, the law makes exceptions for any validated alcoholic intake, like wine taken during a religious ceremony, or any medication that may increase your blood alcohol content. Your Pine Hills DUI Attorney holds the task of presenting any evidence in the form of documentation or otherwise, to prove that your alcoholic content links to such activities, and not from alcohol indulgence.
The rules related to underage DUIs follow such a strict line of arrest because of the alarming statistics that link young peoples’ deaths to driving under the influence. Out of all other causes of fatalities among people between fifteen to twenty years, DUIs cause around 35% of the incidents. This is quite a significant figure, considering that singular reason.
Thus, minors who violate the zero-tolerance regulations often face severe penalties, even if they did not cause any major accident or damage to property. The consequences of your actions may also follow you well into your adult life and hinder essential processes like applying for a job. If a DUI conviction record appears in your background check, your potential employer may be apprehensive about hiring you. Similarly, your insurance coverage may offer you fewer privileges and surety in case of a DUI accident, mainly because it may portray a level of negligence on your part.
Penalties for Under 21 DUI Violations
Drivers who are yet to attain twenty-one years make up a special category of motorists. They are always under extra scrutiny because of the stringent zero-tolerance policy that is often defied. The courts and DMV officers apply a different set of penalties for these minors, to fit their limited sources of livelihood while still giving the required punishment. While a DUI offender who is under twenty-one may face more lenient charges, other forms of reprimanding like license suspension are often severe. Moreover, some of the punishments that may be optional for motorists over twenty-one could be mandatory for the underage group. The following are some of the common penalties issued to under 21 DUI offenders:
Compulsory DUI School Attendance
For typical DUI violations, the penalties are less severe because the suspected offenders are of legal age. Thus, they can consume alcoholic drinks within a reasonable amount and fail to face any repercussions. The case, however, is different for minors who may receive a compulsory order requiring them to attend DUI school for a stipulated period. The order aims to rehabilitate you and prevent you from future alcohol indulgence, followed by a risky decision to drive. The DMV office or court judge may require constant updates of your attendance and progress, which means that you must take the orders seriously. A failure to comply with the requirements sets you back on receiving your license and driving privileges. Moreover, while the DUI offense may be an infraction, making a further violation of the orders to attend DUI school can tarnish your criminal record and cause a disadvantage in case of a future reference.
A repeat offender may also have his/her vehicle confiscated by the Department of Motor Vehicles, on top of several convictions in jail. The punishment serves to deny the offender any driving privileges available until he/she concludes serving any probation time ordered by the court or a DMV officer.
Additionally, minors may face some court fines that vary depending on the level of alcohol content present when taking the test. For example, if your BAC was at 0.05% or more, it could attract a fine of $100.
How to Prepare for a DMV Hearing
For most DUI cases, the consequent action requires you to make an application for a hearing in the Department of Motor Vehicles within thirty days of an arrest. Since the procedures follow each other, it is vital to incorporate the guidance of your Pine Hills DUI Attorney to ensure you make prompt applications. Thus, you must also take the shortest time possible to reach your lawyer, since most of these applications take time to process and get approval.
After making a successful application to the DMV, there are several actions you can take to prepare yourself for the hearing. These steps will also be handy in securing the evidence you require during the hearing process to strengthen your case. You can follow up on:
Reviewing the Discovery Packet, You Receive from the DMV Office
After making the DMV application, the department of motor vehicles will send you several documents that confirm your hearing date is set, together with guidelines that help you prepare for the hearing. Also, apart from these documents, you will receive a folder of papers that include your previous driving record and the results of your chemical breathalyzer test or blood test, if any. Moreover, the folder will consist of an affidavit with a statement from the officer who arrested you. The statement entails the entire course of action before and after arrest, and details regarding your vehicle’s registration number.
Proofreading all these documents ensures that the DMV has accurate information regarding your case and prevents any future mishaps that can complicate the nature of your case. Your Pine Hills DUI Attorney is available to help you go over these vital documents, and detect any errors or altered information. Your lawyer can then raise a request of review before the hearing process begins, to ensure that you receive a fair trial.
Request for Witness Statements Early
In case you have any witnesses that may help to prove your innocence in a hearing, you should endeavor to contact them as soon as possible and send the subpoenas they should respond to. Prompt communication gives the witness ample time to respond on top of giving him/her a more flexible choice of schedule. A subpoena is an official letter you will send to your prospective witness used to request any relevant documents that are admissible in your hearing. The subpoena is also useful in requesting the presence of the witness in court to give an actual testimony.
You should note that where your witness works under the public sector, you have to pay a minimum $150 fee to his/her employer. This procedure secures an off day for the person appearing as the witness and grants him/her the requisite permission to leave work.
Follow Up on The Subpoena
When dealing with a difficult witness, your DUI attorney will help you to make constant follow-ups on the witness. The move will help to lawfully enforce your witness to reply by sending the documents you need or accepting to appear at the hearing. It is helpful for you to be accommodative and understanding of the witness’ schedule, to prevent putting unnecessary pressure on him/her.
Moreover, we encourage you to contact a DMV office and explain the importance of the witness statement for your hearing as a legal right. Your backing is under Section 3050.2 of the California Vehicle Code. The section gives provisions for the inclusion of witnesses for your case and encourages prompt action from the DMV to help bring on a witness to the hearing.
Lastly, it is always advisable to track and keep all records of communication between you and the prospective witness. Having evidence to show for the effort you made in requesting for a witness statement is helpful in a hearing. It also serves as a record of credibility that gives you a good image.
Find a DUI Attorney Near Me
Dealing with DUI accusations is never easy, especially if it may cost you your job, money, or liberty. Numerous DUI attorneys are operating in the Pine hills location, so why us? At the San Diego DUI Attorney, we consist of a network of DUI lawyers who have vast experience in DUI cases. We also offer our clients the best moral and legal support in the form of advice because we understand the stressful nature of DUI convictions. You can count on us to deliver excellent results and maintain a lasting relationship with you. Call us today at 619-535-7150.