The state of California takes driving under the influence (DUI) seriously and has established severe consequences for that crime. If you are arrested with this offense, you can be imprisoned, fined, or face other penalties provided by the law. That’s why it is vital to have a DUI attorney who can help you with your case. San Diego DUI Attorney offers credible legal services and ensures that your charges are dropped or reduced.
Legal Definition of DUI in California
DUI is an acronym for Driving under the Influence. Under California laws, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The term Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is used to describe the amount of alcohol content that defines whether one is under the influence of alcohol or not.
When one is arrested for DUI in California, he or she can be charged with two charges. These charges fall under Vehicle Code 23152(a) and 23152 (b). Under Vehicle Code 23152 (a), it is unlawful to drive or operate any motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
Under Vehicle code 23152 (b), it is unlawful to drive a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more. These are separate charges that can be charged individually or both.
Please note, if you are arrested with any DUI, you will face two government agencies. This includes the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) and the local criminal court. Once you choose to face the criminal court, it means that you have decided to file a lawsuit. If you decide to go for a DMV trial, you should submit a request for a hearing within ten days after your arrest.
Difference between a DUI Court Case and DMV License Suspension Hearing
Once you are arrested with a DUI, the DMV can suspend your driver’s license. In such a case, you should file for a hearing within the first ten days to have your license reinstated. It is not automatically guaranteed that you will have your license reinstated through the hearing. However, with the help of our Sunnyside DUI attorney, there are high chances of getting your license reinstated.
On the other hand, a court-imposed trial can also lead to a license suspension as part of the consequences that follow. You might also face consequences such as jail time, fines, and probation.
Penalties for First-time DUI in California
There are a couple of penalties that follow after a first-time DUI in California. These penalties are as follows:
Informal probation for three to five years. ( In most cases, the probation takes three years)
Mandatory attendance to a DUI school for three to nine years. (Typically, the period is usually three months)
License suspension for six months with the possibility of changing it to a restricted license with mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlocking Device ( IID)
First- time DUI with Injuries
A first-time DUI is considered a misdemeanor unless the accident involved any serious injuries or someone was killed. At such a point, the DUI will be charged as a felony. A DUI felony is charged under Vehicle Code 23153 and is considered as a wobbler offense. This means that it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. In a misdemeanor, the kind of penalties that might apply are:
Summary probation for three to five years
Imprisonment in a county jail for five days
Fines that range between $390 to $ 5,000
Mandatory attendance in an alcohol program for three, eighteen or thirty months
Restitution to every injured party
If the prosecutor charges you with Felony DUI with injuries, the kind of penalties that apply are:
Imprisonment in the California State prison for sixteen months to ten years
Possible addition of one to six years in your prison sentence depending on the extent of the injuries sustained by the third party, and the number of people who were injured
The possibility of including a strike on your criminal records as provided under California’s Three Strike Law.
Fines that range between $ 1,015 to $ 5,000
Inclusion in a mandatory alcohol or drug program
Restitution of all the injured parties
Aggravating Factors in First-time DUI
There are a couple of factors that are described as aggravating factors in a DUI offense. These factors might enhance your penalties to a possible license suspension or awarding of the maximum penalties are available. These penalties enhancements are as follows:
DUI with a passenger below the age of 14 in your vehicle
Having a BAC of at least 0.05%
DUI with injuries
Traveling 20mph more than the speed limit
Conditions for Informal Probation
The court might impose informal probation on the offender, depending on the nature of the crime. If one gets probation, this means that he or she will spend less time in jail. However, there are a couple of conditions that result from informal probation. This includes:
Refraining from driving with any amount of alcohol in the blood
Mandatory submission to a chemical DUI test once requested by a DUI officer
Mandatory installation of an IID on the defendant’s vehicle for six months
Mandatory requirement not to commit any additional crime
There are other conditions that the court might impose on the arrestee, depending on the circumstances of the case. These conditions include:
Participants in Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) program
Attendance at a Narcotic Anonymous ( NA) or Alcoholic Anonymous ( AA) meetings
Restitution of the victims involved in a DUI with injuries
Failing to comply with any of the above-stated conditions might prompt the judge to reinstate the sentence, which is usually the jail time that one was initially required to serve.
Alternative Sentencing in a First-time California DUI
There are two things that one needs to know when it comes to alternative sentencing. One can choose to reduce the charges to a lesser or separate offense or consider alternative penalties. When it comes to lower charges, one can contest for:
An exhibition of speed
Drunk in public
If you are seeking for alternative sentencing, you can consider the following:
Residency in a sober-living environment
Cal- Trans roadside work
House arrest with electronic monitoring
It requires the intervention of our Sunnyside DUI attorney to contest for alternative sentencing in a first-time DUI.
Expungement for Your First-time DUI in California
An arrestee can have his or her case dropped if he or she convinces the court that there was no reasonable cause to stop the arrest for intoxicated driving. Also, if no evidence or little evidence is showing that you were driving, the court might even decide to expunge your case. Once the charges are dropped, your lawsuit will enter a “ not guilty,” and it will be dismissed.
Legal Defenses for DUI Cases
Once you hire our Sunnyside DUI Attorney, he or she will employ relevant legal defenses to ensure that your case is dismissed. The kind of defenses that our attorney will use depends on the nature of your case. Here are a couple of arguments that our attorney will use.
Illegal Search and Seizure
Under the United States Fourth Amendment, a police officer should have a valid reason to pull you over. If one does not have any valid reason, the state attorney will end up dismissing your case. The police officer should have a probable cause, beyond doubt that shows that you were drunk, hence the stoppage. This means that you probably displayed concrete evidence of being drunk such as watery eyes, bloodshot, slurred speech, an odor of alcohol, and breath test results.
Please note, the fact that you display particular symptoms of being drunk does not entirely prove that you were DUI. The officer is expected to undertake an alcohol test to prove this fact.
Ideally, a police officer should provide a 15-minutes observation period to assess a driver before continuing with several sobriety tests. However, if one takes more than the required timeline, this will be considered a violation of the law. Therefore, you can use this legal defense and have your case dismissed by the court.
Violation of the Miranda Warning
Once a police officer arrests you, he or she is obliged to read the Miranda warning to you. After reading the Miranda warning, the officer can proceed into arresting you or conducting the DUI investigation. However, if one fails to observe this requirement, the case can be subjected to dismissal by the court.
There was No Proof that You Were Driving
Under Vehicle Code 23152, the prosecutor should prove to the court that you were driving while at the same time, your BAC level was above the recommended limit. If there is no proof that you were driving, then the court cannot consider your case as valid. For instance, if you were found in a parking lot and your engine was not running, this does not prove that you were driving.
Non-Compliance With Administrative Requirements
There are a lot of administrative requirements that apply in a DUI Investigation. This applies to the way that the testing is conducted and how further testing is carried out as well. If there is some sort of violation in these processes, then you can challenge the results presented to the court. Another common non-compliance factor that you can consider is how the breathalyzer was utilized. It should be re-calibrated and kept under certain conditions to guarantee its efficiency.
Falsely High BAC Results
Mouth alcohol can lead to false-positive results. That’s why the DUI officer is recommended to allow fifteen minutes of observation before proceeding to a breath test. Some of the things that can lead to false-positive results include mouthwash and spray, drinks, and medicine. These products contain alcohol and can lead to a positive effect on your breath result.
You Had a Rising BAC
It takes about forty-five minutes for blood alcohol content to rise in an average person’s body. Therefore, if the DUI officer delays you more than the expected timeline, your BAC level would increase to 0.08%. In such a situation, it does not mean that you were DUI since your BAC rose while in detention. Therefore, you do not deserve to be charged with DUI, and your case should be dismissed as well.
False-Positive Results as a Result of High Protein
Particular medical conditions such as diabetes can be a basis of your DUI charges. Under specific conditions such as fasting, diabetes, and high-protein, the body usually tries to burn your fats for energy. In such a situation, the liver produces a byproduct known as ketones, which has similar chemical properties with isopropyl alcohol.
Ketones can also be excreted through the breath, which can be mistaken for a positive result during a DUI test. Ketones also lead to the exhibition of alcohol-related symptoms such as confusion, lack of coordination, and smell of alcohol in the breath.
Lack of Access to your BAC Test Results
Our Sunnyside DUI attorney is legally obliged to access all the BAC results that were acquired during your DUI investigation. If one cannot access those files, then there would be no element that the attorney can use to determine whether the results were valid or not. After all, knowing about the test results would be the only way that the attorney can cross-examine the information provided through expert witnesses.
Claim You Were Mentally Alert during the Arrest
There is a significant discrepancy between physical impairment and mental impairment. Often, officers have considered physical impairment as a manifestation of mental impairment. However, factors such as lack of balance, fatigue, and bloodshot eyes do not mean that one is mentally impaired unless the officer went ahead and took a DUI breath test. However, if the arrest was solely based on the physical manifestation of the arrestee, the court might consider the case invalid and dismiss it.
Inaccurate Field Sobriety Test
The prosecution team usually relies heavily on the FSTs results during a court trial. However, if the test was done poorly, then the court should dismiss the case altogether. Your tests might be affected by factors such as:
your physical coordination and
If the above-stated factors are true, then the court should not consider the case as valid and should dismiss it altogether.
This kind of legal defense is uncommon, but can still bring a lot of impact on your case. If a driver ingests alcohol without his or her knowledge, one can claim that he or she was unaware of his or her intoxication. This is common for drivers who take quite some time to be mentally impaired or exhibit alcohol-related symptoms after alcohol ingestion.
How an Attorney Can Help Fight Your DUI Case
Your attorney should have a significant influence on your case after your arrest. There are quite a lot of things that your attorney should consider other than considering which legal defense can work for your case. Let’s have a closer look at how our Sunnyside DUI attorney will help you.
Gathering of Evidence
It is the mandate of an experienced attorney to find and interview potential witnesses. He or she will get hold of photographs and videos of your arrest and assess them to determine whether they are viable for your case. Also, your attorney should check whether the evidence truly reflects the information provided by the prosecutor.
Do Relevant Legal Research and File Motions
There are quite a lot of traffic laws to consider in California. A reasonable attorney knows where to research and what to leave out to suppress the evidence presented against you. Also, an attorney knows the kind of motion to file, depending on the possibilities of success.
Most DUI cases hardly end up as a court trial. In most cases, it ends up as a negotiation between the attorney and the prosecutor. In such a negotiation, the attorney and the prosecutor might agree to:
Dismiss the case completely
Plea for a lesser charge such as wet reckless, dry reckless and exhibition of speed
Represent you in Court
If your case proceeds to a court trial, you are expected to hire an attorney. The attorney should answer every question presented on your behalf unless the court instructs you otherwise. The attorney is well versed with the court proceedings and would respond to any questions presented by the prosecutor with accuracy and clarity.
Every arrestee is expected to conduct himself or herself in a particular way. In such a case, your attorney is expected to instruct you on how to carry out yourself to avoid any instance that might affect your case. Some of the aspects that your attorney can advise you include responding to interrogation and conducting yourself in the court.
Find a Sunnyside DUI Attorney Near Me
Handling a DUI case can be complicated. It requires someone with a sound knowledge of the law to handle such a case successfully. A DUI attorney would be the best fit when it comes to such consideration. There are quite a lot of attorneys that one can choose from, but only a few can manage to offer the kind of services that one expects to get. San Diego DUI Attorney has the credibility and experience needed for any DUI case. If you are in Sunnyside, CA, contact us at 619-535-7150 and let us handle your case.