A DUI conviction in San Diego can have life-altering consequences. If arrested with a high blood alcohol concentration, you could spend time in jail, notwithstanding it is your first offense. Moreover, DUI conviction consequences go beyond the courtroom. A conviction can prevent you from getting professional state licenses, securing employment, and being admitted to a university or college. It can also have a financial impact like restitution, cost of enrolling in DUI school, increased motor vehicle insurance premiums, and fines. The fact is that DUI is a severe offense. San Diego DUI Attorney in Ranchita is experienced and can work to protect your future, life, freedom, and rights.
Understanding Court Process in Your DUI Case
The section below gives answers to the most common questions that many defendants ask our attorneys at the beginning of a DUI court process.
Investigations are the initial phase in the drunk driving case process. It will start with either of the following:
- A defendant is pulled over due to traffic violations
- The defendant had a car accident, and police officers were called to the accident scene
- The defendant was pulled over due to something linked to their vehicle
Irrespective of how the investigations started, the police will report that after talking to you:
- They observed an alcoholic odor emitting from the breath
- You showed objective intoxication signs
Depending on the police's observation, you'll be detained for violation of driving under the influence laws (VC 23152(a)).
What Takes Place After an Arrest?
After your arrest, you will be taken to a police station, jail, or hospital for a chemical test to measure the BAC.
While breath test results are available immediately, blood sample results take a couple of days.
If your breath test shows a BAC greater than 0.08%, you will be accused of driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher (VC 23152(b)).
Should you refuse to take a breath, urine, or blood test, you'll still be arrested for DUI. You will also have refusal allegations added to the DUI charge. The refusal is punishable by a two-day jail sentence and withdrawal of driving privileges for a year.
After the chemical test, the defendant will be booked and then released. Based on the criminal history and case facts, the defendant can be released on their own recognizance or bail.
Then the police will complete their report and submit it to a prosecutor for review. Following the investigation, the prosecution can:
- Prosecute you with DUI, or
- Decline to press the charges
Department of Motor Vehicles Hearing Process
Immediately after the arrest, the police will inform the defendant that their driving privilege will be withdrawn within thirty days. The police officer will also cease the license and give them a temporary license.
The driver's license will be sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The California DMV will suspend the license unless the defendant requests a hearing in ten days of the arrest. Requesting the hearing within the ten-day timeframe delays the withdrawal of driving privileges until the hearing's outcome is determined.
Although the California Department of Motor Vehicles hearing is not dependent on the court case, a Ranchita DUI attorney can still represent you. The lawyer increases the chance of saving the driver's license and prevailing at the hearing.
If you lose the hearing, your driver's license will be suspended. The suspension can last between four months and three years. It depends on:
- The number of your previous convictions
- Whether you refused to submit a blood, urine, or breath test
Drunk Driving Court Process
Irrespective of the DMV hearing outcome, you will still face a criminal court process.
During the arraignment, the prosecution team gives you an offer. The offer is the penalty that the prosecution endorses and approves in case the defendant pleads guilty to an alleged charge.
Arraignment allows you to plead not guilty, no contest, or guilty to the charges. Should you plead guilty, you'll be sent to jail, and the case closed.
If the defendant pleads not guilty, their Ranchita DUI attorney has a right to analyze and challenge the prosecutor's evidence, including chemical test results and police reports.
How a Pretrial Motion is Related to Plea Bargaining
While the prosecution team says, the most effective deal is given during arraignment as an incentive to admit accountability, that is not the case.
Typically, the attorney starts to review the case after receiving the prosecution's proof during the arraignment. The attorney can negotiate better since they are aware of the prosecution case's strengths and weaknesses.
The more issues and proof in your favor, the higher the chances of the judge dismissing or reducing the charges against you. The attorney can achieve this by:
- running a pretrial motion like a probable cause hearing, Pitchess hearing and motion to suppress hearing, or
- plea bargaining.
A jury trial involves the following phases:
- Jury selection
- The prosecutor case
- Opening statement
- Defense case
- Closing statements
To be found guilty, the prosecution should convince all jury members beyond any reasonable doubt of the guilt.
For many years, the legal team at San Diego DUI Attorney has offered outstanding criminal and DUI defense services to thousands of clients. We have navigated criminal cases involving the following:
Excessive Speeding and Reckless Driving Enhancement
Vehicle Code Section 23582 VC is an excessive speed and reckless driving enhancement.
To be found guilty, the prosecutor should prove the following:
- You drove while drunk,
- You drove with an excess speed at the time of the DUI crime,
- You operated your car recklessly while intoxicated, and
- You Drove with Excess Speed
Per Vehicle Code Section 23582 VC, excess speed means:
- Twenty miles per hour or above the posted speed limit, prima facie, or maximum on public streets, or
- Thirty miles per hour or above the posted speed limit, prima facie, or maximum on a freeway
Posted, Maximum, and Prima Facie Speed Limit
The posted speed limit is the speed limit indicated on signs which line streets and freeways. They show the maximum speed for a given roadway.
Prima facie and maximum speed limits, on the other hand, are those that apply where there are no posted speed limit signs. The most common include:
- Twenty-five mph on public streets
- Sixty-five mph on highways
- Fifty-five mph on two-lane highways
Moreover, per VC 22350, it is unlawful to operate your car faster than it is safe given road, traffic, and weather conditions.
Please note excessive speeding alone doesn't result in sentencing enhancement. It must be committed together with reckless driving.
You Drove Recklessly
Reckless driving can be defined as wanton or willful disregard of property or persons' safety. Wanton or willful disregard means you were aware that your conduct was likely to hurt somebody else, but you intentionally ignored the risk.
Penalties for Excessive Speeding and Driving Recklessly While Drunk Driving
If the above elements of the crime are established, you risk facing an additional sixty days in county jail.
If the judge suspends the execution of a sentence or grants probation, you will still serve the sixty days in jail alongside other penalties the court imposes.
And, if it's your first VC 23582 conviction, you must complete DUI school.
Fighting Excessive Speed and Reckless Driving Enhancement
To fight Vehicle Code Section 23582 VC enhancement, your Ranchita DUI attorney will take either of the following positions:
- You were not intoxicated.
- You weren't driving 30 miles per hour above the speed limit.
- You weren't driving recklessly.
You don't have to establish these things. Instead, it is the prosecution's burden to show that all three facts were present. Usually, any experienced DUI defense attorney will raise a reasonable doubt about one of the elements.
If your evidence is weak, your attorney can still request plea bargain negotiations to your driving under the influence charges. However, Vehicle Code Section 23582 VC speeding and reckless driving DUI enhancement doesn't apply to the following reduced charges:
- Vehicle Code Section 23103.5 VC (wet reckless)
- Vehicle Code Section 23103 VC (dry reckless)
- Vehicle Code Section 23109 (c) VC (speed ex)
Underage DUI with a BAC More than 0.05 Percent (VC 23140)
Under VC 23140, it is an offense for:
- A person below 21 years of age,
- To drive,
- Under the influence of alcohol, and
- Their BAC is .05 percent or more.
Underage drunk driving is proved by a breath or blood test. You can choose which test to submit.
All California motorists irrespective of age are believed to have agreed to a chemical test provided they were legally arrested for drunk driving. Refusal to submit to a chemical test will lead to the withdrawal of driving privileges for a year.
Violation of Vehicle Code Section 23140 VC is charged as an infraction. Usually, an infraction doesn't carry a jail sentence. Its penalties include:
- Suspension of the driver's license
- One hundred dollars in fines
- A three-month alcohol education program (if you are above eighteen years)
On top of that, your car will be impounded for five (5) days if:
- You refused to submit a chemical test or the blood alcohol concentration is more than 0.10 percent, or
- You have a previous conviction for standard DUI or violation of VC 23140
How to Fight Underage DUI Charges
Beating VC 23140 is complicated. Fortunately, any experienced defense attorney should be in a position to use either of the following legal defenses:
You Were Not Driving
If a defendant was not driving, they can't be sentenced for violating VC 23140. A seasoned Ranchita DUI attorney can claim the defendant was sleeping in their car.
The Defendant Wasn't Intoxicated
A chemical test has an inherent rate of error.
With the assistance of an expert witness, an attorney can convince the judge that there was reasonable doubt as to whether the BAC was at or above the limit for VC 23140 (0.05%).
The Police Did not Advise You of Your Rights
Certain obligations bound law enforcers during DUI arrests and investigations. These obligations include:
- Telling you that failure to submit to a breath or blood test will cause driver's license suspension
- Providing instructions during the field sobriety test
- Advising you of Miranda rights before asking you questions
If these procedures aren't adhered to in a DUI case, your defense attorney can use the situation to your advantage.
DUI Causing Injury
Another service offered by our knowledgeable lawyers is DUI with an injury.
To be convicted under Vehicle Code Section 23153 VC, the prosecution should prove the following elements of the offense:
- You were breaking DUI laws
- While breaking the law, you violated another law or acted with negligence while operating your vehicle, and
- Your negligence or illegal conduct injured somebody else
Penalties for DUI Causing Injury
The penalties you face will depend mainly on the case's circumstances and whether it is the first or second drunk driving offense within ten years.
Please note, a third-time DUI causing injury offense is a felony.
Discussed below are penalties you risk facing if found guilty of California felony or misdemeanor.
A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by:
- A maximum of five years of summary probation
- Up to a year in jail
- Fines that range between $390 and $5,000
- A thirty-month DUI school
- Suspension of the driver's license for one (1) to three (3) years
- Restitution to every injured party
A felony, on the other hand, carries the following penalties:
- A maximum of four (4) years in prison
- A 3- to 6-year state prison sentence enhancement if any person sustains severe bodily hurt
- An additional one-year sentence for every person who is injured
- A maximum of five thousand dollars in fines
- Revocation of the driver's license for five years
Defending against DUI causing injury starts with a similar approach of defending against any DUI charge. The defense lawyer will explore possibilities of establishing that you were not intoxicated, and your BAC was wrongly recorded.
Your Ranchita DUI attorney should also pay attention to the car accident and injury. The attorney will engage an accident reconstruction expert who will evaluate if you were responsible for the accident that led to the injury.
The reconstruction expert will reconstruct the accident and consider the following factors:
- Damage to the cars
- Road condition
- Any other proof that they obtain
When police reach the accident scene and see a drunk person, they tend to assume that the intoxicated individual is accountable. And they will write their report based on that presumption.
What Does it Take to Win a DUI Case: What is Expected of You as a DUI Defendant?
Defendants accused of DUI in San Diego often feel hopeless and helpless. The charges come with social stigma even before the defendant steps into the courtroom. Additionally, not all defendants are fortunate to have the support of their loved ones.
In the section below, our DUI attorneys are going to provide information on what it takes to win a DUI case.
Be Honest with Your Ranchita DUI Attorney
More often than not, a criminal case involves personal matters. Although you could be ashamed or embarrassed about the occurrences in your life, you should be honest with your lawyer. Any information you tell the attorney is confidential, and the lawyer can't divulge the information without your consent.
Nothing sinks a DUI case faster than when the defense is blindsided because the defendant lied about facts that looked unimportant then. When it occurs, the lawyer loses credibility with the judge.
If you have lied to your attorney and testified, the prosecution might notice the inconsistency in your statement. It can discredit you.
Pay Attention to Other DUI Trials
If you want a favorable ruling from the jury, then it is wise to focus on similar trials that are going on. It will assist you in anticipating things as well as getting ready with the process.
Express Yourself Clearly in the Courtroom
It is essential to express yourself straightforwardly and clearly. For instance, if you are requesting plea bargain negotiations, make the situation simple to understand. Do not waiver with statements.
Take Time to Answer Questions
It is essential to take time before answering questions in a courtroom. Think through your answers in detail. That way, you will not make a mistake of blurting out something you did not intend. Be calm, patient, and rational. Also, speak slowly and nuancedly. The more eloquent and persuasive you are, the higher the chances of prevailing in your case.
Avoid Social Media
If you are under investigation or facing a criminal charge, your social media presence can work against you. The prosecution team will search for information from social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to get proof to strengthen the case against you.
Your posts, including videos, photos, and comments could be used as proof in court. The information can be used to paint you negatively, mischaracterize you, and probably cause the judge to believe you are capable of violating DUI laws.
Find a Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me
Being found guilty of DUI can negatively affect your life in a matter of seconds. When your liberty, career, freedom, and life is at stake, do not discuss the case with police before speaking with a seasoned defense lawyer. The legal team at San Diego DUI Attorney is committed to achieving the best possible results for you. We have many years of experience defending DUI defendants in Ranchita. Contact us today at 619-535-7150 to arrange a free confidential consultation.