Law enforcement officers in California are strict regarding DUI offenses, and you can be arrested out a mere suspicion that you are drunk. Since you have the right to a lawyer following a DUI arrest, the San Diego DUI Attorney can be at your service. We offer legal advice and representation on DUI related charges to residents of Poway, CA, as detailed in this article.
What it Means to Face a DUI Charge
DUI, which is the abbreviation of “driving under the influence,” is usually associated with offenses related to drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs. Law enforcement offices use checkpoints or traffic stops to spot DUI drivers before arresting them. You may be asked to take a breath test by blowing into a breathalyzer to determine whether you are intoxicated. The officer will also take you through a series of field sobriety tests meant to test physical impairment.
Failing a breath test or field sobriety test might indicate that you were driving under the influence of alcohol. The arresting officer may book you and release you within a few hours of the arrest if your charge was a misdemeanor DUI offense. If the officer arrested you for a felony DUI offense, you might have to post bail for you to be released. The officer will issue you a pink temporary driver’s license and a citation requesting you to appear in court following your release by bail.
DUI Court Proceedings
Your lawyer can attend (on your behalf) and represent you on the DUI court proceedings. You will be mandated to attend the proceedings if there's a hearing that requires your testimony or if your case proceeds to trial. While most DUI cases take months to solve, they may involve several court dates. Your Poway DUI attorney will be collecting evidence, filing motions, and negotiating with the prosecutor and judge for either a charge reduction or dismissal.
It may be possible for your attorney to reach a settlement involving you pleading to a lesser charge or a DUI. You may have to appear in court and make this plea before the judge or sign notarized documents outside the court. If you sign the notarized documents (also known as a Thai waiver), your lawyer will execute your plea for you after bringing them to the court.
Your DUI case may be set for a jury trial if both parties fail to settle. California judges and prosecutors usually offer defendants better deals once a criminal case proceeds to trials to reduce the workload of prosecuting the cases. All in all, the outcomes of your case depend on your lawyer's skill set and experience.
Type of DUI Cases We Handle
Your main concern following a DUI arrest is to seek legal representation and advice for your pending criminal charges. Our Poway DUI attorney handles DUI cases ranging from aggravated DUI to DUI homicide. We can also help you fight DUI causing injury, DUI hit and run and DUI with drug charges and prevent the charge from affecting your immigration status. Explained below are the types of DUI offenses handled by us:
First Offense DUI
Committing a DUI offense for the first time may attract a first offense DUI charge. You risk paying a fine of up to $1,000 or facing a jail sentence for 48 hours for this crime. Your arresting officer may base the charge on offenses such as drunk driving with a minor, military DUI, or underage DUI.
Subsequent DUI Offenses
Subsequent DUI offenses include second offense DUI, third offense DUI, and fourth offense DUI. You will face these charges for committing a DUI offense twice, thrice or four times after your previous DUI arrest. A second offense DUI charge attracts a maximum one-year jail sentence and up to $1,000 in fines. You can be enrolled in an alcohol education program and considered a Habitual Traffic Offender by the DMV for subsequent DUI charges.
Police officers in California treat aggravated DUI as an offense stemming from various factors. Some of these factors are operating your motor vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.015 or higher and causing an accident while under the influence. You may also face this charge for having a passenger below the age of 14 in your vehicle or causing property damage while under the influence.
A Poway DUI Attorney can help you have your DUI charge be reduced to a lesser criminal charge. For instance, if one of the aggravating factors of the offense is reckless driving, the charge can be reduced to a wet reckless one. Wet reckless, itself, is not a criminal charge since it is used as a bargain for less probation time, less jail time, and less DUI school enrollment term. You may not face a mandatory license suspension when the prosecutor agrees to this bargain.
The aggravating factors known for making a DUI charge severe are as follows:
- Being below the age of 21 years at the time you faced a DUI arrest
- Having two or three DUI priors in ten years
- Failing to stay at the scene of an accident you caused while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Committing a DUI offense while under probation
- Refusing to be administered a breath or blood test following your DUI arrest
DUI with Drugs or Prescription Drugs
Just like alcohol, drug abuse may result in physical or mental impairment, making you incapable of driving your car. Your arrest for DUI with drugs will be based on Vehicle Code 23152(f) of the California laws. Drugs, in this context, may refer to illegal substances such as marijuana and prescription drugs such as painkillers. The penalties for this particular offense will vary with the events leading to your arrest and your criminal history.
DUI Hit and Run
A crime of hit and run is usually characterized by a driver leaving the scene of an accident in which he or she was a victim. A DUI hit and run case has similar characteristics but is based on a driver operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Instead of driving away, you should stop and check whether the other driver was injured. If you fail to offer help and contact the local police, you risk facing a DUI hit and run charge.
DUI Causing Injury
A DUI causing injury charge may attract misdemeanor or felony penalties such as license suspension, probation, imprisonment, and restitution to the victims. Vehicle Code 23153 helps prosecutors build a solid case against you for committing this crime. Your charge might qualify as a felony charge if you committed a DUI causing injury offense for the third time in California. Severe penalties for the crime include three strikes on your license, an HTO (habitual traffic offender) label and a license revocation not exceeding four years.
DUI homicide, commonly referred to as Watson Murder, stems from a DUI offense that leads to the death of someone else. You will be arrested for this crime based on the guidelines highlighted under Penal Code 191.5. The possible penalties for DUI homicide include imprisonment for 15 years to life, restitution to the deceased’s family and three strikes on your license.
California prosecutors treat DUI homicide cases as second-degree murder. A second-degree murder charge may imply that you had disregard for someone else's life unlike a first-degree murder charge that s premeditated and deliberate. The task of the prosecutors is to prove you knowingly and intentionally disregarded other people's life. You may also face allegations that your intentional actions resulted in someone else's death.
How We Can Help You Avoid Immigration Consequences and Challenge Blood Test Results Following a DUI Arrest
The US immigration law is tough on immigrants charged with crimes that increase their risks for inadmissibility and deportation. DUI offenses such as driving under the influence of drugs and DUI with a suspended license may affect your immigration status. Other DUI offenses with the same impact include DUI with a passenger under the age of 14 years and having multiple DUI priors in your criminal record.
Your best hope to avoid deportation and eliminate inadmissibility issues is to hire a Poway DUI Attorney when arrested for a DUI offense. Since prosecutors are usually strict when handling these cases, your fate depends on your lawyer's defenses. Your goal is to cooperate with your attorney as much as you can and avoid disclosing incriminating information to the police officers.
Blood Split Motions
Our firm helps clients file blood split motions to request a different agency to measure clients' BAC levels. Findings from the blood or urine tests help us defend your case when presented in court as evidence. We usually consider filing blood split motions to challenge the blood or breath test results produced to the court by the police. It is possible for the results to be inaccurate due to an equipment malfunction or evidence tampering.
California's DUI laws mandate police departments to withhold samples of your blood or urine, which can be used for independent tests. The independent test may indicate that your blood or urine sample was cross contaminated or improperly stored. If the police officers fail to save the samples or lose them altogether, our lawyers can request the court to nullify any test results presented as evidence.
The DMV Process
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) gives DUI offenders a maximum of 10 days to demand a hearing following their arrest. If you are facing a DUI-related charge, you may forfeit your legal right to the administrative DMV hearing if you fail to request it on time. You also risk having your license automatically suspended in thirty days. With a lawyer's assistance, you can request and schedule the hearing and stand a chance at regaining your driving privileges.
Expect your DUI lawyer to represent you during the hearing, which you can voluntarily attend or miss. Your attorney's goal is to give the DMV reasons to avoid suspending your license and gather evidence to be used in DUI court proceedings. For instance, our firm can subpoena the calibration and maintenance logs of the breathalyzer used to conduct a breath test on you. We can also elicit testimonies regarding mistakes in the DUI investigation or subpoena your arresting officer to give testimony at the hearing.
What Happens After a DMV Hearing?
DMV hearings are concluded with the DMV hearing officer taking your lawyer's legal defenses into consideration and issuing written findings. The DMV will mail the decision to your lawyer in thirty days following your hearing. If the DMV finds fault in your driving, your license will be suspended for a few days after receiving a notice. Consequently, if the DMV finds your lawyer's defenses satisfactory, you will not face any DMV license suspension.
You may win a DMV hearing but still, have a pending DUI case in a California court. DMV administrative hearings are only held for drivers found driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. You will not attend or schedule the hearing if arrested for driving under the influence of drugs. However, a conviction for any of these charges in a criminal court may result in you losing your driving privileges.
What if Your Driver’s License is Suspended?
You have a legal right to getting a restricted license thirty days following a suspension on your California driver's license. The restricted license permits you to drive your car to and from any court, DMV-imposed alcohol program or work-related activities. A Poway DUI Attorney can arrange for you to obtain this type of license right away. Your lawyer will advise you not to drive with a suspended driver's license in California to avoid a longer license suspension and jail time.
License Suspension for Commercial and Out-of-State Drivers
Commercial drivers must obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL) for them to operate various types of vehicles. The DMV authorizes them to have a CDL for vehicles weighing 26,001 pounds, school buses, double trailers and vehicles with over ten passengers. You will need a CDL to operate a vehicle transporting hazardous substances. Committing a DUI offense may result in this type of license being suspended for not more than one year with zero entitlement to a restricted CDL.
California police officers cannot withhold driver's licenses belonging to out-of-state drivers when they stop them for driving under the influence. However, they can issue you (an out-of-state motorist) an Order of Suspension, which notifies you about your California driving privileges being suspended for more than thirty days. You can work with a lawyer to challenge this type of license suspension.
The California DMV only shares information regarding DUI arrests with states that comply with the IDLC (Interstate Driver's License Compact). The IDLC makes it possible for US states to share details regarding DUI arrests and convictions. As an out-state-driver, you risk paying heavy fines and facing probation time for a DUI charge in California. You will also be requested to enroll in a court-approved drug and alcohol treatment program and install an Ignition Interlock Device in your car.
Obtaining an SR22 Form
A driver's license suspension in California usually increases the need for filing an SR22 form, which is used to prove financial responsibility. The DMV offers DUI offenders 30 days to file the form following a license suspension. You must obtain and file the form if your license suspension was triggered by a driving or DUI offense. These offenses include reckless driving, causing an accident with an uninsured vehicle, drunk driving, and failing to pay parking tickets.
An SR22 form can be provided by your car insurer to verify your compliance with California's requirements on auto liability insurance. Once issued this form, your insurer should forward a copy of it to the DMV. You must seek an SR22 anytime you want your license reinstated following a DMV revocation or suspension. Obtaining the form is also a necessity when you want to continue operating your vehicle with an IID installed.
The process of obtaining a California SR22 form should begin with you contacting your car insurer. The auto insurance company will then review your DMV record to determine your reasons for seeking the form. Based on the information they find, they give you the certificate or cancel your policy. If your current car insurer offers you the form, your insurance premiums will likely increase.
We can help you obtain various SR22 forms, including the Owner's Policy Certificate and the Operator's Policy Certificate. Our lawyers can also help you when filing a Board Coverage Policy Certificate, which is part of the SR22 forms covering the financial responsibility of cars you own or do not own. If you do not own a vehicle, you will file an Operator's Policy Certificate. If you have a car registered under your name, you will need to file an Owner's Policy Certificate.
Hire a DUI Lawyer Near Me
Your likelihood winning a DUI case depends on your decision to have a DUI lawyer on board. Our lawyers at San Diego DUI Attorney are committed to helping you get peace of mind throughout your DUI case. We are the leading DUI law firm in Poway, CA, reputable for excellent services and quality legal advice. Contact one of our legal experts at 619-535-7150 for consultation on your case. Call today!