In the state of California, DUI cases are a daily occurrence. You will likely get involved in the case of driving under the influence at least once in your life as a driver. You are also probably likely to be cornered at an unexpected time, where an emergency warranted you to operate a vehicle after consumption of alcohol or any other drug. Other times, it is typical to have a drink or two while in the company of friends, afterward having to drive home.
Despite the strict liability that comes with arrests from these kinds of circumstances, you can seek legal help to avoid or have the consequences reduced. The San Diego DUI Attorney in Tecate have vast experience with DUI charges, and is an excellent option to turn to, should you be faced with a DUI charge.
What is a DUI Charge?
A driver who is found to drive under the influence by a traffic officer is charged with a DUI offense. The common name of the charge, ‘DUI,’ is simply an abbreviation for the crime created, which often consists of drunk driving. The cost is issued because of the prevailing laws that prohibit a person from driving or operating a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08% or more.
When an officer stops a suspected driver, he or she has the right to make a test for the level of intoxication that the driver is operating on. Usually, a DUI charge has to be entered after successful completion of a breathalyzer test. The test displays the alcohol content in your body system. Consequently, it acts as a gauge of the threshold required for the test to be entered.
Additionally, if the officer who has stopped you suspects that your intoxication is not from alcohol consumption but other drugs like marijuana, codeine, or even narcotics like heroin and cocaine, he/she is permitted by law to arrange for administering of blood work tests.If the results of the test are positive, they will be the evidence used to place a DUI charge on you.
In most cases, the charges are treated as misdemeanors, attracting small penalties that will often not land you in jail. However, there are some instances in which aggravating factors make your case more dangerous, making the issued penalties heavy on you as the suspected offender. All these factors depend on the type of DUI charge you are facing, which will further be discussed below.
Types of DUI Charges
Necessary observations of a road scenario are enough to establish that there are different types of motorists and other road users present at any given time. Further, motorists fall under different categories of drivers, some involving commercial drivers, while others are primary personal car users. Cyclists and motorbike riders are also considered road users. All these categories of people operating vehicles or bikes on the road are therefore susceptible to DUI charges if they happen to drive or ride under the influence. The different kinds of commands issued on them will then give rise to the different types of DUI charges.
Misdemeanor DUI is a basic DUI charge issued on first-time offenders who have been found guilty of the offense. Typically, the charge carries penalties that may be hefty on the driver. A DUI misdemeanor may lead to the payment of fines as well as suspension of driving privileges for up to a year. Your Tecate DUI Attorney will be beneficial in negotiating your case in a DMV or court hearing, especially if you have no record of any charges related to the DUI offense.
The DUI charge is applicable to repeat offenders of the crime of driving under the influence. It affects people who have had a past DUI charge and now face a new charge within ten years of the previous one. The number of prior DUI charges considered is three. Attainment of the three DUI charges automatically warrants the classification of the next charge as a felony DUI.
Felony DUIs also affect drivers who cause serious injuries or even death to other persons on the road resulting from road accidents. If the cause of the accident is linked to a driver who was intoxicated at the time of the occurrence, he or she is highly likely to face a felony charge.
Drivers under the age of 21 years are the target of this type of DUI charge. This particular category of people is governed by stricter laws relating to driving while intoxicated. The state of California has implemented strictAdministrative Per Se laws that operate on a zero-tolerance policy.
What the policy means is that a driver under 21 who is found guilty of driving under the influence with a blood alcohol concentration of as low as 0.01% may be arrested and face DUI charges. The strictness of the laws has a purpose of deterrence, to keep underage persons from consuming alcohol or any other drug that leads to intoxication. However, the regulations create exceptions in cases where the alcohol consumed was from a religious ceremony practice, or from medication that could cause slight drowsiness. It is vital to note that despite the allowed exception, a BAC above the provided 0.01% will still warrant arrest.
The most commonly abused intoxicating element in Tecate is alcohol. As a result, a lot of emphasis and preventive measures are placed on curbing drunk driving. However, it does not mean that intoxication from other drugs will not warrant a DUI arrest.
When an officer is in suspicion of a driver’s sobriety, he/she will require a blood test on the suspect. Your behavior at the time of drug intoxication is a common give away to the officer in charge of your arrest. The evidence can be recorded and used as a corroborative factor in your DUI hearing. Some of the common behaviors exhibited by ‘high’ drivers include:
Uncoordinated automotive operations
Self-incriminating statements made that may be admissions of the intoxication
A surprisingly calm or jovial nature that undoubtedly shows high levels of intemperance
Despite the collection of all this evidence, your Tecate DUI Attorney will bring forth the best possible and available defenses for your case, to avert the DUI charges.
As mentioned, cyclists are not exempted from DUI charges because any possible occurrence of an accident could pose a threat not only to them but also to other innocent pedestrians on the road. On top of that, the cyclists could even swerve into the main road, leading to gruesome accidents involving other vehicles. Their inclusion in punishment for DUI offenses is, therefore, warranted.
Typically a bicycle DUI is charged as a misdemeanor, provided that the cyclist in question does not hold a previous DUI record. The penalties faced are usually the payment of small fines by the offender.
However, according to the strict zero-tolerance policy, the misdemeanor charge leads to the suspension of licenses for riders under 21. Such a suspension period is typically for one year.
Statutory Provisions and Penalties for a DUI Offense
The California Vehicle Code is the law applied by Tecate DUI Attorney when handling DUI cases presented. Several statutory provisions create the offense of driving under the influence, as well as sentences available for such offenders.
Section 23152 -Driving Under the Influence
Section 23152 of the vehicle code makes it an offense for a person to drive under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both. The minimum BAC-0.08% required to enter a DUI charge is a measure of 100 millimeters of blood per 210 liters of breath exhaled by the suspect. The provision also extends the offense to persons addicted to drugs, who drive or operate a vehicle while intoxicated.
Section 23152 (d) -Driving Under the Influence for Commercial Drivers
Section 23152 (d) creates a provision for commercial drivers, also prohibiting them from driving under the influence. Section 15210 defines what a commercial vehicle is. It is described as any vehicle that requires a Class A or B form of licensing. Any commercial vehicle driver found guilty of a DUI charge faces a license suspension, which prevents him/her from driving for one year. This provision is created under Section 15300. The consequences may be very severe for the commercial driver found guilty of the offense, because driving may be the primary source of income for the person. Reaching out to a Tecate DUI Attorney for legal representation and advice will give your litigation process a better chance of positive outcomes because your lawyer will include your probable loss of income as a mitigating factor.
Section 23154(a) - Probation Drivers
If you are on probation for a previous DUI charge, you may face a more substantial penalty when found in a repeat offense. The zero-tolerance policy extends to drivers on probation, who are not expected to drive with any measurable alcohol content in their bodies. Section 23154(a) makes it an offense for such a driver to violate the probation restrictions issued from DUI charges. The essential terms to be enforced on a driver on probation restrict him/her from driving with any detectable blood alcohol content, driving without valid car insurance, as well as expanding a criminal record by committing other crimes.
Section 23536 - First-time DUI Offenders
Section 23536 of the vehicle code creates the penalties for the first time offender. A person guilty of a DUI charge may face jail time, ranging from four days in prison to six months. Alternatively, a judge may issue a fine to be paid by the offender, ranging from $390 to $2,000. The extent of the implications will depend on several factors involving your arrest. The most crucial consideration factor is whether you showed co-operation when given instructions by the arresting officer, especially concerning the taking of the tests. If it is established that you resisted taking the test, the penalties will be more.
Repeat DUI Offenders
The vehicle code creates higher penalties for an offender who obtains four or more DUI charges within ten years. Section 13352(a) and 23550 create the sanctions to be faced by drivers with subsequent DUI charges. The repeat offenses are treated as wobbler crimes and may be charged as felonies or misdemeanors, depending on circumstances relevant to your arrest.
If the repeat offense attracts felony charges, you may face a term of three years imprisonment. As a misdemeanor, the crime attracts a jail term ranging from 4 days to 6 months in prison. Additionally, the judge may impose fines amounting from $390 to $2,000. With the help of Tecate DUI Attorney, you can plead with the court to lower your sentence, especially if your arrest process was smooth and resistance-free.
Factors Considered in Entering a DUI Charge
When classifying the kind of offense created by a DUI charge, several aggravating elements commonly enhance the severity of your case, leading to more significant penalties to be faced in sentencing. The factors are typically caused by negligent or careless actions done by DUI offenders, owing to their nature of intoxication.
One of the most crucial things to be established in entering a charge is whether your driving caused any damage to property. Accidents that cause chaos and destruction will consequently attract DUI charges that bear massive consequences. The loss may be on other people’s vehicles, structures along the streets, or even impact into personal residence buildings.
Secondly, if it is established that death was caused as a result of drunk driving, you will probably be charged with a felony DUI. The aggravated charges are highly predictable because of the wrongful death caused by an offender driving under the influence.
On top of that, having a passenger under the age of 14 years in your vehicle while intoxicated is treated as a severe offense in California. The risk exposure to such a child is greatly enhanced by the driver being drunk. Naturally, the law, therefore, sets very high penalties for such a DUI offense, which includes the revocation of a driver’s license and facing felony DUI charges.
Moreover, having an existing criminal record, involving a DUI record within ten years will significantly worsen the degree of charges imposed on you. The file includes probation, whereby drivers operate vehicles under strict regulations that should not be broken. Consequently, more considerable penalties are issued on a repeat DUI offender, as established in the penalty section of the California Vehicle Code.
Driving with excessive speed as well as careless maneuvers on the road just before being stopped for a DUI test will also serve as corroborative evidence that may be challenged in court by a Tecate DUI Attorney. The behavior of an intoxicated driver in terms of resisting arrest is also sure to attract
The mentioned added punishments may require an offender to enroll for special DUI classes, attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings as well as engage in community service. The requirements may end up taking a lot of time form a convicted offender’s daily schedule, which is how reform is developed as he/she indulges in rehabilitative activities.
Possible Defenses for a DUI Charge
A lawyer from Tecate DUI Attorney offices has to prepare strong defenses proving your innocence if your DUI case advances into a hearing. Mostly, the trial is carried out in the offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles. During such a hearing, legal representation is essential, despite the apparent informal nature of the environment. Hearings in court are also expected, and the defenses presented will play a key role in pushing for your acquittal.
Sometimes, a traffic officer may impose unreasonable rules and requirements on a driver, including warranting arrest for failing a breathalyzer test by exceeding the set Blood Alcohol Content required. The level of excess in the percentage may be an insignificant decimal that an officer may insist on considering. The consequent arrest may be argued out as unreasonable, by emphasizing on the driver’s ability to carry out all vehicle operations smoothly. However, in presenting the defense, it is crucial to ensure that you did not engage in aggravating actions like resisting administration of the test, which is bound to lower your credibility in court.
The defense is best suited in a case where blood work tests were carried out on the offender. There are probable chances that the medical professional in charge of handling your blood specimen could have swapped samples, intentionally or unintentionally. Besides, there may be cases of mishandling of the apparatus that result in altering the results and placing blame on an innocent suspect. The defense should be raised with caution and consideration of a genuine belief of such an occurrence because it insinuates the discrediting of qualified professionals.
In various DUI arrests, officers may lack the breathalyzer equipment required to test a driver’s BAC. Owing to this, the officer may make an arrest. The action may be based on the assumptions of how an intoxicated driver usually behaves. Due to the lack of concrete evidence, the defense is a strong one that is arguable in court. The argument may also extend to the unlawful arrest made on the offender by denying him/her the right of presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
Find a DUI Attorney Near Me
At San Diego DUI Attorney in Tecate, we understand the stressful nature of DUI hearings, which also often come with a lot of stigma and embarrassment. We believe in providing excellent legal representation to our clients, without any judgment or discrimination in regards to the nature of the crimes committed. If you require any form of legal assistance involving DUI charges, contact us today at 619-535-7150.