After getting a DUI charge in California, your situation may not be hopeless. The police officers might make errors when conducting roadside drunk-driving investigations. There might be some errors in the DUI breath testing equipment or blood test equipment. You might record high intoxication levels due to underlying medical conditions and not intoxication. With a good DUI attorney, you can challenge the prosecutor's evidence against you. San Diego DUI Attorney can help fight the drunk driving accusation. If you are in Pine Valley, our experienced Pine Valley DUI attorney can help develop the best legal defense strategy.
The Role of a DUI Attorney
After an arrest for drunk driving, you might assume that the prosecutor's evidence against you is insurmountable. However, coming up with a legal defense for a drunk driving charge always makes more sense than pleading guilty to the offense.
Regardless of the type of your DUI case, an experienced Pine Valley DUI attorney can make all the difference in your case. An attorney takes time to analyze the location of the DUI arrest as well as the background and the qualifications of the arresting officer. By examining the maintenance records of the breathalyzer and cross-examining the arresting officers at the California DMV hearing, your attorney can come up with a good defense.
The DUI Process in California
After a DUI arrest, you might progress through various legal processes. The DUI process in California entails:
A DUI Arrest
Most DUI arrests in California occur at DUI checkpoints or when police officers stop vehicles at traffic stops. According to the law, the police officers should have probable cause for stopping your vehicle. If the officer feels that you are intoxicated, they might request you to blow twice into hand-held breathalyzer equipment. The police officers might also subject you to several field sobriety tests to determine whether you are sober or impaired.
The police officers might recommend a DUI chemical test, either a breath test or a blood test. As outlined by the implied consent law, every driver must submit to a DUI test. If a driver fails to submit to a DUI chemical test, it might lead to the suspension of their driver's license alongside other tough penalties.
After a DUI arrest, the police officers might not hold you for long. You will be free to go several hours after the arrest and the booking. Depending on the type of DUI case, you might have to post bail before your release. For instance, in case you are guilty of committing a DUI offense, which qualifies as a felony, the police officers might hold you for longer. The police officers might only release you after posting bail.
Upon releasing you, the police officers might provide you with a temporary driver’s license and a notice to show up in court at a future date. The police officers might also confiscate your license and forward it to the DMV. The officer cannot take your driver’s license if you are a non-resident driver.
If you want to continue operating your vehicle normally after a DUI arrest, you have to apply for an (IID). This device is almost similar to a breathalyzer and functions in the same way. The police officers attach the ignition interlock device into your vehicle. You will have to blow into the device before you start the vehicle. If the device detects traces of beer in your breath, your vehicle cannot ignite. Repeatedly trying to ignite a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol might trigger the vehicle's alarm.
You might have to retain the ignition interlock device for several months or even years. The period for which you have to retain the device will differ based on several factors, including the kind of DUI crime. Your DUI record will also influence the period of retaining the IID.
The DMV Process
It is imperative to hire a Pine Valley DUI attorney immediately after an arrest because the attorney can advise you about the DMV process. After an arrest for DUI in California, many drivers are often unaware that they have to contact the DMV within ten days from the date of arrest. If you do not contact the DMV within ten days and request a California DMV hearing, you will lose your right to a hearing. Failing to request a hearing will lead to an automatic suspension or revocation of your California driver's license within thirty days.
You don't need to be present at the California DMV hearing personally. Your Pine Valley DUI attorney can represent you at the hearing. At the California DMV hearing, your attorney will aim to persuade and persuade the DMV to allow you to retain your driver’s license. At the California DMV hearing, your attorney might gather some necessary evidence, which he/she will later use to support your case.
During the hearing, the attorney might investigate the condition of the breathalyzer, including the calibration logs and maintenance. If there is a history of inaccurate readings and malfunctions of the breathalyzer, it might render the DUI test results unreliable. As the arresting officer testifies during the hearing, it might give your attorney a chance to determine whether the officer is qualified.
After gathering all the necessary facts at the California DMV hearing, the California Department of Motor Vehicles hearing officer will issue written findings. It might take up to thirty days before the DMV comes to a decision. If you win during the hearing, the DMV will not suspend your driver's license.
However, even if the DMV does not suspend your driver's license, the DUI court might still suspend your license after a DUI conviction. If you do not prevail during the hearing, the DMV will suspend your license several days after making the ruling.
A California DMV hearing can only take place after a DUI arrest. The hearing aims to determine whether a suspect operated a vehicle while the alcohol content in your blood is at 0.08% or above, which is the legal limit in California. In the case of an underage driver, operating a vehicle with any positive BAC is an offense. According to zero-tolerance laws in California, an underage driver should not have any alcohol content in his/her system.
It is crucial to know that a California DMV hearing does not occur in the case of an arrest for operating a vehicle while intoxicated with drugs. For instance, if the officers accuse you of operating a vehicle while intoxicated with Vicodin, Ambien, or Marijuana, you are not entitled to a California DMV hearing. A DUI of drugs triggers a court conviction, which might lead to suspension/revocation of your license.
Acquiring a Restricted Driver's License
After the DMV suspends your driver's license, you can acquire a restricted license within thirty days. With a restricted driver's license, you can be able to drive to work or any alcohol program imposed by the court or by the DMV. Your Pine Valley DUI attorney can arrange to get you a restricted license immediately after the revocation of your regular license. It is crucial to know that after the suspension of driving privileges, you have to adhere to the suspension requirements. You will get further charges for Driving on a revoked license. The crime of Driving on a revoked license in California is serious, and the penalties might include an extension of the license suspension, jail time, and probation.
In California, every DUI case carries a license suspension. However, you can continue operating your vehicle if you install an ignition interlock device.
Even after undergoing the California DMV hearing, and even if the DMV suspends your driver's license, you might still have to undergo a DUI conviction in court. Operating a vehicle with an alcohol content of .08% or above in the blood may render you guilty, according to California VC 23152(a). This statute prohibits the operation of a vehicle under the influence. You might also be guilty, according to California VC 23152(b). This statute prohibits vehicle operation with excess blood-alcohol content. The primary aim of your attorney is to help you avoid a DUI conviction.
Just like in the case of a DMV hearing, you do not have to be present in court. Your DUI attorney can represent you at the court hearings. If you have to testify in court, usually when your case progresses to trial, you might have to attend court personally.
You might have to attend several court sessions before the conclusion of your DUI case. The case might extend to several months. As your DUI, the case progresses, the role of your attorney will be to collect evidence, run motions, and negotiate with the prosecutor and the judge. Your DUI attorney will do anything for dismissal or reduction of your charges.
Your case might not proceed to trial if your attorney settles with the judge or the prosecutor. Settling might involve you pleading guilty to a lesser DUI charge. There are two ways of settling by pleading guilty. You might go to court and plead guilty before the jury. You might also sign some notarized documents known as a trial waiver and give them to your attorney to present them to the judge for you. You can sign the notarized documents out of court, and your DUI attorney will carry out the plea for you.
Your case will proceed to a judge trial if your attorney is not able to reach a settlement with the judge and with the prosecutor. There might be more pending DUI trials than the courtrooms available to accommodate the trials. Therefore, when your case proceeds to trial, the judge and the prosecutor are likely to give you a better deal. The prosecutor might also fear that problems might arise in the prosecutor’s evidence during the trial if a District attorney scrutinizes the DUI case.
Consequences of a DUI Offense in California
The consequences of committing a DUI offense in California will depend on whether it is your first DUI offense or a repeat offense. A repeat offense carries more serious penalties than a first-time offense.
If you commit a first DUI offense in California, the penalties might include serving misdemeanor probation. The period of probation will vary between three to five years, depending on the court's decision. You might also be subject to jail time of up to six months in a county jail in California. The court might require you to pay hefty fines of $390 to $1000. In some cases, you might have to attend a three-month or nine-month court-approved alcohol or drug education.
A first DUI offense will also lead to suspension of your driver's license. Therefore, it is mandatory to install an IID device to be able to continue operating your vehicle freely. You might also acquire a restricted license, which will enable you to operate your vehicle to limited places.
If you commit another DUI offense within ten years after committing the first offense, you will become a repeat offender. The penalties will include a summary or misdemeanor probation. The period of probation is similar to first-time offense probation; it will range from three to five years. You might also be subject to jail time for a minimum period of 96 hours. The fines for a second DUI offense will range between $390 and $1,000. The other penalty includes completing an 18-30 month DUI School Program, which is court-approved. You must install an IID to continue driving freely. You might also get a restricted license that will allow you to drive to limited places.
If you violated the third offense within ten years, the penalties include three-five years of informal probation. You will be subject to jail time of a minimum of 120 days. You might pay hefty fines ranging between $390 -$1,000. The court might have you complete a 30-month court-approved DUI education program. Other penalties include the mandatory installation of an IID device. For a third DUI offense, the California DMV might give you the title of an HTO (Habitual Traffic Offender)
Presence of Aggravating Factors
Aggravating factors refer to situations that might escalate your DUI charges and make you experience more severe penalties. It is crucial to have a competent Pine Valley DUI attorney by your side when aggravating factors exist in your DUI case.
Having an extremely high content of alcohol in your blood is an aggravating factor. You should not operate a vehicle if the alcohol content in your blood exceeds 0.08%. You may get severe penalties if you have a BAC of 0.15%, which is almost double the legal limit. You might be subject to more-extended jail time.
Every licensed driver in California must submit to a DUI chemical test. Therefore, refusing to submit to a DUI breath or blood test is an aggravating factor, which might escalate your penalties. Refusal of a DUI chemical test is a crime on its own. If you combine the offense with the offense of driving under the influence, the results can be detrimental.
It might be an aggravating factor if, in the moment of the DUI arrest, you were engaging in reckless driving. For instance, if you were speeding at the moment of the DUI arrest, you may get enhanced penalties. Engaging in reckless driving while under the influence of alcohol might lead to an accident with fatal outcomes. Therefore, the law is harsh on people who engage in drunk driving and reckless driving at the same time.
It is an aggravating factor to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol in the company of a minor. A minor is a person who is under 14 years, according to California DUI laws. Engaging in drunk driving while in the company of a minor person exposes the minor's life to danger. DUI with a minor might attract additional charges according to the California PC 273a for child endangerment.
Engaging in underage DUI is an aggravating factor in California. According to California's zero-tolerance, a person below 21 years should not consume alcohol or even possess alcohol in his/her vehicle. Engaging in underage DUI might affect a young person's life in the future. For instance, an underage DUI charge might show up on employment background checks making the defendant miss his/her desired dream job. California has strict underage DUI rules because the majority of accidents and fatalities that occur due to drunk driving involve young people. Young people below the age of 21 engage in drunk driving more than older people.
Unlike aggravating factors that might lead to severe DUI charges, mitigating factors might lead to a reduction of your DUI charge. Some of the mitigating factors in DUI cases include being a first time offender. If you have never committed a DUI offense in the past, you are not likely to face enhanced charges upon committing the first offense.
While defending you against a DUI charge, your Pine Valley DUI attorney will focus on bringing out the mitigating factors while fighting the aggravating factor. With a competent attorney, the court might give you a plea bargain and reduce your charges. The court might even dismiss some evidence presented against you.
Find a Pine Valley DUI Attorney Near Me
You should not try to fight DUI charges on your own without the help of an experienced attorney. San Diego DUI Attorney has helped many people to fight DUI charges. Contact us at 619-535-7150 and talk to an experienced attorney today.