A DUI arrest in the state of California is always a complex process. For this reason, many people who get arrested for DUI do not know what to expect after their detainment. You may have many questions about what to do and how to get yourself out of that situation. That is why we recommend the help of an experienced DUI attorney.
At San Diego DUI Attorney, we do our best to make the process smooth for our clients. If, therefore, you or your loved one is facing arrest for drunk driving in the state, get in touch with us today. Through our skills and experience, we may be able to help you in every DUI process. Our dedicated team of Stuart DUI attorneys will not only ensure that you have competent representation but also guarantee the protection of your rights.
Reasons to Hire a DUI Attorney
If you have never been arrested for DUI or any other offense before, your first arrest will always come with a lot of confusion. One minute you are free and living your life, and the next, you are facing a conviction for a serious offense like driving under the influence. Things get even worse when you try to navigate the legal system on your own. However, a DUI attorney can make a whole lot of difference in the way you feel at that instance and also in the outcome of your case. Here are some of the reasons why you need to hire a Stuart DUI Attorney:
To Understand the Complex DUI Laws
California DUI laws may be apparent for people who are familiar with the state legal matters but not to an ordinary citizen. They will also be complicated even for someone that has been arrested before for the same offense. Only an experienced attorney can understand the legalities involved with all kinds of DUI charges. It is because DUI attorneys have studied these laws in and out, and with their experience, they can apply them in different situations. California DUI laws have changed so much over recent years, and only an experienced attorney will know about these changes and how they might affect your case.
It is, therefore, advisable to get in touch with a DUI attorney as soon as your arrest. This way, you will get clear guidance on what to do and what not to do to help your situation.
To Fight Your DUI Charges
The only chance a person has of avoiding the harsh DUI penalties in California is to fight your DUI charges. Alone, this may not be easy, but it is possible with an experienced DUI attorney. Other than getting a jail term and paying a hefty penalty if you are found guilty of the offense, a person convicted of DUI in the state might also lose his/her driving privileges. Again, a DUI conviction is one of those records that remain permanently in a person's criminal history. It means that a DUI conviction is life-changing, the more reason you need to fight your charges.
To Complete and File Necessary Forms
There is a lot of paperwork associated with all arrests in California, including a DUI arrest. Courts are stringent on how these documents should be completed and when they should be filed. This information may be unknown to an ordinary person, but attorneys are well-aware of these things. Working with an experienced attorney means that you will get it right in the paperwork to complete as well as meet all the court deadlines.
For Legal Representation in Court
Dealing with the judge and the prosecutor is not an easy thing, especially for a person who is facing a first-time arrest. You may not know how to answer the questions directed to you. Sometimes a simple utterance may implicate you further, causing the court to announce more penalties, even in a case where most of these penalties would have been avoided. An experienced attorney knows how to handle criminal trials. He/she will, therefore, know how to argue your case and defend your charges for a fair outcome.
DUI Issues a Stuart DUI Attorney Can Help You With
The good thing about working with an experienced DUI attorney is that he/she can guide you through all legal processes associated with DUI cases. There are so many of these processes in California, the most common ones being the following:
The Complex DUI Process
The DUI process is complicated in most states in the country. It leaves most arrestees confused about what needs to be done to ensure that nothing goes wrong while they are in detention. An experienced DUI attorney is exactly what you need if you want to enjoy a smooth process. He/she will take you through the legal process and ensure that everything works out in your favor. The most important thing your attorney will explain to you is the stages you will have to go through after arrest. These are:
The DUI Investigation
DUI arrests must start with suspicion for drunk driving. An officer may have stopped a suspect's vehicle because of a traffic violation. An officer could also have stopped the suspect's vehicle after noticing something wrong with their car. Lastly, investigations could start at a crime scene. If in any of these instances, the driver displays objective signs of intoxication, the officer will start a DUI investigation immediately.
The DUI Arrest
A DUI arrest will happen if the officer has enough reasons to believe that the driver was operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Once he/she is arrested, the officer will take them to a police station, jail, or hospital, where they will undergo a chemical test to determine their BAC. If it is over .08%, the driver will be charged with another DUI offense of driving with an excess alcohol level in their blood.
Hiring a DUI Attorney
If the police detain the offender, they will give him/her three options; to represent himself, be represented by a public defender, or hire their own DUI attorney. It is advisable to get yourself an attorney to avoid going through the intimidating and overwhelming legal process.
The DMV Hearing
When a person is arrested for DUI, their driver’s license is confiscated and sent to the state’s DMV. The department will then suspend it, and give you a temporary license to use for thirty days. The DUI arrestee is expected to request a DMV hearing within ten days, failure to which they will automatically lose their license to suspension or revocation. The underlying DUI case determines the period of suspension. You may not need legal representation in a DMV hearing, but an experienced attorney can influence its outcome.
The Criminal Court Trial
After the DMV hearing, the DUI arrestee is required to appear before a judge in a criminal court. During the trial, the prosecutor will use all the evidence gathered against you to prove to the court that you are indeed guilty of driving under the influence. Your attorney, on the other hand, will try to counter the evidence presented against you. From those arguments, the judge will pronounce his/her verdict.
In the state of California, BACs are used as a standard measurement for drunk driving. The first thing the police will do once they stop you on suspicion for drunk driving is to try and administer a BAC test on you. If you agree and your BAC results show a .08% concentration or more, you will be arrested and charged for DUI in a criminal court.
BAC results are used to determine the amount of alcohol in a person's blood. When the police conduct a breath test, they measure the grams of alcohol in a person's 210 liters of breath. If it is a blood test, it weighs the grams of alcohol in the person's 100ml of blood. The level of a person's BAC goes up with the amount of alcohol he/she consumes.
California courts find BAC results objective enough to determine whether or not the person was fit enough to drive at that time. There is a legal limit, which makes it illegal for any person to drive with a BAC level of .08% or more. Even with that, an experienced DUI attorney can still find a way to defend his/her client against their DUI charges. Your attorney can, for instance, use such strategies as incorrect procedures in the collection and storage of blood/breath samples to counter the evidence.
Again, there is the state’s Title 17, which offers guidelines for making sure that all breath tests conducted on DUI defendants are accurate. For that to happen, the person administering the tests must meet all the requirements provided under this law. If the provisions of Title 17 were not adhered to during the testing, the test results might not be admissible in court. Some of these requirements include:
That the person administering the tests must wait for at least fifteen minutes before collecting the defendant’s sample
That the defendant must not vomit, regurgitate, drink or eat anything before providing the breath sample
That the person administering the test must ensure to collect alveolar air, which is deep from the lungs
The testing device must be calibrated after every ten days or after 150 uses
Errors in a DUI Arrest
The role of your DUI defense attorney will be to improve your chances of getting a favorable outcome out of your case. There are several strategies he/she can use to achieve this, including finding errors on your arrest. An experienced Stuart DUI Attorney will be able to analyze your case, find any errors in police reports, and produce those in court for a charge reduction. Some mistakes are even capable of having your charges dismissed altogether. Some of the common mistakes that the police make during DUI arrests include:
Stopping and Arresting Motorists for DUI with No Probable Cause:
California DUI laws require law enforcement officers to have probable cause for arrest before they can stop and arraign a motorist for drunk driving. The court will want to know what reason the police had to stop the motorist in the first place. If the cause is not legitimate enough, all the evidence collected against the driver will not be used to convict him/her in the criminal court.
Issuing a Field Sobriety Test with No Probable Cause
In addition to the requirement to have a probable cause of arrest for DUI, police officers are not allowed by law to administer field sobriety tests without a legitimate reason. If the driver was randomly stopped at a DUI checkpoint, there must be other tell-tale signs to suggest intoxication, which should prompt the police to conduct a sobriety test. If no such flags existed, evidence gathered against the motorist will be inadmissible in court.
Failing to Read The Offender’s Miranda Rights
The law requires the police to read the defendant’s Miranda Rights during arrests. It informs the drivers of their rights to remain silent so as not to make incriminating statements that might worsen their case. If, however, your Miranda Rights were not read to you, and you made an incriminating statement, your attorney can use this error on the part of the police to have that statement inadmissible in court.
DUI Over .15%
As mentioned above, the standard BAC level that is allowed for motorists in California is 0.08%. If therefore, you have been found with a BAC of .15% or more, it is considered as an aggravating factor that could attract enhanced penalties. These penalties might include a longer jail term, increased fines, and a mandatory requirement to have an IID installed in your vehicle as well as a long time in a court-ordered DUI program. An ordinary DUI case is severely punished in the state. It means that an aggravated case will attract a harsher penalty, which will require the best legal representation to avoid.
In determining the right sentence for a DUI offender in California, judges consider a lot of other factors other than the underlying DUI case. These factors could either be mitigating or aggravating factors. Mitigating factors will lighten your sentence, and may include a clean criminal record. Aggravating factors, on the other hand, will heighten your punishment. Other than working on your defense, an experienced attorney will ensure that your rights are not violated in the process of heightening your sentence, even in the presence of aggravating factors.
An ordinary DUI offense is convicted as a misdemeanor in California, attracting a jail term of less than a year and fines of not more than $1000. If your BAC were way more than the allowed BAC for motorists in the state, the prison term would be more than a year, the fines will be increased, and other penalties will be added to your sentence. Several other aggravating factors could increase your DUI sentence in California. They include:
Causing an accident while operating a vehicle under the influence
Causing property damage or physical injuries to other people while driving under the influence
DUI with a minor of below 14 years in the vehicle
Refusing to submit to DUI chemical testing
Operating under the influence while on probation for a DUI-related offense
DUI while using a restricted or suspended driver’s license
Reckless driving or over-speeding while under the influence
DUI Hit & Run
A prevalent penalty for most motorists who have been arrested for drunk driving in California is the possibility of losing their driver's license to revocation or suspension. While other DUI penalties are still severe, not being able to use your vehicle again for a short or long period is devastating. This is so especially if you depend on your car to get to work, school, or to run your business or errands. This is another area where you need the help of the best DUI defense attorney. With the best defense strategies, you may be able to retain your driving privileges.
California drivers' licenses are usually issued out by the DMV. It is also the body that suspends or revokes your license if you are under suspicion for DUI. The department will not wait until you are proven guilty of DUI in a criminal court as the suspension takes effect immediately after your arrest. You are, however, given a chance to defend your license through a DMV hearing, which you must request within ten days of your arrest. If you fail to make this request or you do not win in the hearing, the suspension will take effect 30 days after your arrest.
The length of time the suspension will take depends mainly on your criminal record and the facts of your current DUI case. It is advisable to work with an experienced DUI attorney at this instant, as he/she can help ensure that you are not losing your driving license.
Find a Stuart DUI Attorney Near Me
If you have been arrested for DUI in California, there are many DUI processes you may not be aware of. We recommend the help of an experienced DUI attorney. At San Diego DUI Attorney, we will not only take you through all the legal processes but also defend and protect your rights against violation. Call us at 619-535-7150 if you are arrested in Stuart, CA, and let us help you