Most people drink and assume they are not beyond the alcohol limit when they start driving. Many get surprised when charges on drunk driving are brought up against them. Unfortunately, even what one may assume to be a minimal intake of alcohol can result in a high BAC, resulting in DUI charges. People have various thresholds for BAC, based on their body size and sex, among other things. This means, just because one person drinks five bottles of beer and is within the limit doesn’t say it is the same for you.

To avoid prosecution on drunk driving, you need to choose either to drink and not drive or to drive and not drink. If you stopped on drunk driving suspicion, you might get DUI charges brought against you. The consequences, aside from the legal penalties, are severe and must be avoided. When accused of the offense, getting a lawyer to argue your case is critical in preventing various consequences. At San Diego DUI Attorney in Agra, we represent many motorists charged with this offense to get them an acceptable result.

Overview of DUI Offenses in California

The state of California discourages intoxicated driving by formulating strict punishments for those convicted of the offense. This is in line with one of the main objectives of the state, that of protecting its people. These punishments, although they seem to be against the defendant, are put in place to protect them as well as the general public.

When one decides to drive while drunk, they can end up causing an accident that would injure themselves, even without other people. A drunk driver can easily hit a stationary object or veer off the road and crash and only harm themselves. The state must protect the defendant from themselves, the reason for having strict penalties that deter drunk driving.

Impaired driving is also dangerous to others on the road. Many accidents on our roads are as a result of drunk driving. When one is intoxicated, it becomes impossible to react as fast as a sober person would when faced with a situation on the road. A drunk motorist can also sleep in the car, drive recklessly, or lose control over their vehicle, causing accidents.

The crime of drunk driving is a priorable one in the state of California. This means your driving record gets monitored over ten years with each repeat offense carrying more penalties than the previous one. For instance, if your first conviction resulted in a probation sentence of three years, a subsequent conviction, if sentenced to probation, will call for a more extended period. In fighting against these allegations, an Agra DUI Attorney will evaluate your case and come up with ways to defend you.

The first three convictions, if prosecuted as standard DUI offenses, carry misdemeanor penalties. However, a DUI offense can also get sued as a felony based on various circumstances. Some of the elements that cause the offense to become a felony are:

  • When you have committed the same offense for the fourth time

  • When your DUI crime resulted in significant injuries to other victims other than yourself.

A DUI simply means driving under the influence. Influence in California is either through the consumption of alcohol or drugs. It is essential to understand that even prescription medications can get you charged with impaired driving. When you know you are on medication that causes drowsiness, you need to avoid taking it before you drive.

The majority of the people assume that intoxication that leads to a DUI offense is only due to alcohol and controlled substances. This leads them to take intoxicating medicine leading to impairment. Unfortunately, the law does not distinguish between impairment due to narcotics and prescription drugs because the consequences if an accident happens are the same.

The Process of a DUI Arrest and Charge

Before a police officer stops you, they must have a probable cause. For instance, you could be over speeding, jumping a red light, or have a broken tail light. When stopped for any traffic offense, the officer in the process may find out you are intoxicated. If driving in a way to suggest impairment, you can get stopped as well. Other times, a police department may set up a checkpoint to find impaired drivers, and you get arrested at the checkpoint.

When you get stopped on any of the above, an impairment suspicion will cause the officer to ask you to submit to a field sobriety test. In case you fail, the officer will be within the law to arrest you and carry out further investigation. When legally arrested for driving while impaired, you will be expected to submit to a chemical BAC breathalyzer or blood test to ascertain that you are intoxicated.

California operates under the implied consent law, which expects any person holding a California driver’s license to agree to a chemical test. Before, chemical tests involved urine, blood, or breath. However, the Supreme court ruled that to do a blood test, a court order must be obtained.

Typically, when intoxicated by alcohol, a breathalyzer test is enough to determine if one is above the legal limit. A breath sample gets tested with a handheld gadget that measures the alcohol amount from the breath. If you are suspected to be intoxicated by drugs or medicine, the officers will seek a court order to run the test. When this is obtained, blood gets drawn and tested to determine the presence of intoxicants in your system.

After a determination of your intoxication, you will get a written notice to appear in court to answer to DUI charges. Additionally, the officer will give you a temporary driver’s license for thirty days and take your license to report your arrest and impending trial to the DMV. Once the DMV receives your license, they will mail you a notice to put your license under suspension. You can, however, request a hearing to defend your license from suspension. This must be done in ten days, failure to which the DMV will go ahead and suspend it.

Once given the notification of the charges against you and the date to appear in court, you must find an Agra DUI Attorney to represent you in court. Various DUI charges are typically charged depending on the circumstances of the offense, as we shall discuss below.

DUI Offenses

The law discusses multiple kinds of DUI offenses that one can get charged for committing. The first three standard DUI offenses committed in ten years typically get prosecuted as misdemeanors. When you commit the crime for the fourth time within the stipulated period, the offense becomes a felony.

DUI offenses are also wobbler offenses when they cause injuries. When due to drunk driving, you cause an accident that results in injuries to other people, you will get charged with either felony or misdemeanor offenses. Below, we discuss the various types of DUIs and the penalties they attract upon a conviction.

First Misdemeanor DUI

When you get charged with a DUI for the first time, your ten year period starts then. This means for every other offense of impaired driving you face within the given period; the punishments will increase. When charged and convicted of your first misdemeanor, the below sentences are handed to you:

  • Summary probation for three years or more but not over five

  • Being jailed at the county jail for six months or less

  • Fines of $390 or above but not exceeding $1,000. Additionally, you get asked to pay penalty assessment charges that can raise the total amount to $3,600

  • The court and the DMV suspend your license for six and four months, respectively. For persons that decline to a breathalyzer test, the suspension extends to a year by the DMV

  • For you to get an IID restricted license, the court asks for the installation of an IID equipment in any car you drive.

Second Misdemeanor DUI

If convicted of another misdemeanor DUI after your initial one, your punishment gets harsher. The penalties include:

  • Summary probation longer than the first time but still within five years

  • Fines and other assessment fees amounting to $ 4,000 or below

  • Getting jailed at the county jail for a year or less

  • The court and the DMV both suspend your license for 2 years and 1 year, respectively. After completion of three months, you can request to get a restricted license as long as your vehicle gets fitted with an IID device.

Third Misdemeanor DUI

After having two prior convictions on this offense, a repeat for a third time will earn you harsher penalties that include:

  • Paying of fines and other penalties that would amount to not more than $18,000

  • Getting jailed at the county prison for a year or less. Sometimes, a defendant can get detained in the state prison for sixteen months.

  • The court suspends your license just like the DMV for three and one years respectively

  • When sentenced to informal probation, the period is more extended than that of the previous sentence but within the five years.

  • For a defendant to enjoy driving privileges, an IID device is fitted in their car for two years.

Fourth DUI

As earlier stated, after getting three convictions on the offense, a fourth standard offense becomes a felony. If one gets convicted on this offense, the penalties are as below: 

  • Fines and other charges amounting to $18,000 or less

  • State imprisonment for a minimum of sixteen months to a maximum of thirty-six

  • Your license gets suspended for four years, and the DMV may consider to revoke it permanently

  • You attain the status of a convicted felon.

A felony conviction carries even more consequences compared to the misdemeanor charges. It is vital to engage a DUI Attorney to fight these allegations to avoid felony prosecution.

DUI with Injuries

When a person is drunk driving, they may get into an accident that leads to injuries to their passengers or other motorists, even pedestrians. This kind of DUI can happen with any of the above discussed DUIs, meaning one can also face these charges with their first offense. This offense is a wobbler, depending on the severity of the injuries and the defendant’s criminal history.

When your DUI lead to injuries and are convicted on a misdemeanor offense, you face the punishments below:

  • Probation period that is not less than three years but not beyond five years

  • You will be asked to pay fines not exceeding $5,000 or below $390

  • You get ordered to attend an alcohol education program

  • Installation of IID for 6 months if one is to drive

  • You must pay damages to the parties injured

When the injuries are substantial, and you have a prior conviction such as a prior DUI, you face felony prosecution with these penalties:

  • State imprisonment for not less than sixteen months or above ten years. On the other hand, the defendant receives enhanced penalties of 1 to 6 years imprisonment because of the persons that get injured. The specific enhancement depends on how many victims were involved and how badly they got hurt

  • A defendant earns a strike in their record

  • The fine charged ranges from $1,015 to $5,000

  • Attending a DUI drug or alcohol education program

  • Your record at the DMV earns the HTO status for three years

  • The court will ask you to pay the victims damages due to the injuries

Other DUI Consequences when Convicted

Aside from the legal penalties a defendant faces, the repercussions of a conviction go further. Some of the common consequences are:

Financial Aid Ineligibility

When in need of federal financial aid, you will not qualify, especially if your DUI was as a result of drugs. This makes it even more important to fight and avoid a conviction on this offense. A local Agra DUI Attorney will help you to fight the allegations and avoid a conviction.

Lost Admission to College Opportunities

California discourages underage drinking by imposing strict penalties for persons found driving and drunk when below 21 years. Most of the persons that require a college admission fall in this age group. When convicted of a DUI, it is a criminal offense that is taken into consideration when admitting an applicant. Some colleges will refuse to accept an applicant to their institution when they have a criminal background.

Increased Insurance Premiums

When you get convicted of a drunk driving offense, you immediately become a high-risk client to the insurance company. Getting an Agra DUI Attorney to fight against your conviction is essential in avoiding the long lasting impact on your insurance premiums.

Difficulties in Getting a Place to Live

A conviction on a DUI means your criminal record becomes public. Many landlords avoid renting their houses to individuals with a criminal record. This makes it difficult to find housing even when you can afford it.

Challenges with Your Professional License

Most boards tasked in issuing professional licenses consider the criminal background of the applicant. If you have a prior conviction on your record, you may get denied a professional license. If you get convicted of a DUI while you already have your practicing license, you may get rejected to renew it when the time comes.

Having studied hard for your career and getting denied a license to practice is painful. You can avoid all these when you get a local Agra DUI Attorney to defend you in your DUI case.

Challenges in Finding Work

Potential employers always run a background check on possible employees before offering them a job. When one has a criminal record, the prospective employer may deny them an opportunity based on that.

Beating your DUI Charges

With all the consequences discussed above, it makes it imperative to engage anAgra DUI Attorney to fight these claims against you. After evaluating the case, your attorney will formulate various defense mechanisms that will get the charges against you dropped, or you may receive lesser penalties. In some cases, your lawyer may have a strong base to ask for a plea bargain from the prosecutor. All these are essential in ensuring you do not get severely punished for the office.

Some of the defenses used in DUI charges are:

  • Errors in the breathalyzer – there are requirements on when the breathalyzer must be calibrated and how it is serviced. When these are not met, mistakes happen when registering BAC results. Your lawyer will request the records indicating how frequently the breathalyzer gets calibrated. If it is not, the outcome from the gadget is not reliable.

  • Illegal arrest – before a police officer charges you with a DUI, they must have followed the right procedure in arresting you. If you got unlawfully detained, this is a solid defense for you.

  • Ketosis affects – individuals on an all-protein diet or suffering from Diabetes release ketones that have similar properties as alcohol. These elements, when found in the mouth, will result in high BAC results even when the person was not drinking.

  • Unreliable Field Sobriety tests – if the officer depended on the field tests to determine your impairment, you can challenge their accuracy in your defense. All these tests have a low accuracy rate and are unreliable. Additionally, failing on the tests does not mean you were intoxicated. Many conditions contribute to the failure of these tests. For instance, if you were tired, wearing uncomfortable shoes or clothes, uneven ground, and even noise. All these, among other factors, contribute to the failure in FSTs.

  • Violations of Title 17 – the rules describing how BAC tests get carried out are outlined in Title 17. If there were violations to the rules, then your lawyer will use this to your defense. When the argument is convincing, the outcome from the chemical test will not be used as evidence against you.

Find a Lawyer Near Me

Allegations on drunk driving and resulting conviction have significant repercussions on your life. Avoiding a conviction where possible is crucial in protecting yourself from these harsh and lasting consequences. For you to defend yourself adequately, you need to engage a lawyer to fight for you. When in Agra, contact the San Diego DUI Attorney and find the help you need. You can reach us at 619-535-7150, and we will readily defend you.