When you are planning to go out with your friends for a party across the Barrett Junction, you may need to figure out a plan of commuting to and from the venue. You need to have a designated driver among you. Therefore, if you choose to hire a taxi, opt not to drink while at the party, or maybe take a walk, it may come in handy to avoid severe offenses such as DUI. However, if you failed to make plans and decided to drive, there is a high probability, if not lucky, you may meet up with the law enforcers. In case this happens, demand to speak to a San Diego DUI Attorney without delay. The proficient DUI defense attorney will advise you on the claims levied against you and ensure to build up a prominent defense strategy to beat the case.

Meaning of DUI Under State Law

According to California law, under the California Vehicle Code Section 23152, Driving under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs:

  • It's illegal for an individual to drive or operate a means of transportation while under the influence of any intoxicating drink or drugs that may cause impairment; and
  • It's illegal for an individual to drive or operate a means of transportation with a BAC level of 0.08 percent or higher of alcoholic substances in their bloodstream. 

In this case, a means of transportation involves anything that moves by machine and is controlled by a human to commute. If you reside in the state of California, especially within the Barrett Junction, you must be aware of the severe impaired driving laws that are available. It is essential to be keen, especially with DUI laws, as they may be stressing if you happen to be the accused.

Therefore if you reside around Barrett Junction and have no clue about the California DUI laws or any other legal affairs, affirm the services of our proficient San Diego DUI attorney for advice and consultation. We guarantee to enlighten you of your rights as well as answer any legal grievances you may be experiencing.

A meager DUI offense may seem like a joke to a drunk driver, who is always lucky to evade the authorities. However, it comes with a lot of pressure and baggage. For instance, if you happen to fall, culprit, you are prone to facing criminal charges based on various circumstances. Apart from the criminal charges, you are likely to spend a lot of time resolving the charges levied against you, together with spending a lot of money on the payment of fines and, if any, the damages caused. You shall cover more on the side effects of DUI violations later as you delve deep in the article.

Types of DUI Charges and Their Penalties

A DUI violation is punishable as either a DUI misdemeanor or a DUI felony crime. These convictions may be chosen in each individual case by the court based on several factors, as well as the severity of the violation. For a first time offender, he/she is likely to face charges as a misdemeanor offense. However, based on the severity of the case, this may not be treated lightly. If the DUI violation was aggravated, then he /she is likely to be prosecuted as a felony DUI. This is a more severe offense, as you will learn later on.

1st Offense DUI

As the name suggests, it is a first drunk driving arrest. First time offenders are likely to face charges based on California Vehicle Code 23152, related to driving while not sober. The defendant may be lucky not to serve in state prison. However, the penalties are harsh. A first offense DUI attracts a jail term of not more than 180 days, inclusive of fines accumulating to $1,000 or more.

Also, you will more likely face a license suspension, plus have an interlock ignition device installed on your vehicle. The offender may also face additional sentences, such as participating in mandatory drug test assessments and alcohol education programs.

2nd and 3rd Offense DUI

If the accused is caught in violation of the DUI laws for the second/third time within ten years from the first arrest, then he/she is likely to be charged with a second/third offense DUI. In this case, the defendant will be charged as a misdemeanor offense in both instances. 

For a second offense, it attracts sanctions including facing an obligatory jail time ranging from ten days to as much as 12 months, payment of fines, punishments and appraisals that may sum up to $2,000 or more, suspension of the defendant's license for two years, attending the Level II DUI school program, and in some cases, an installation of the interlock ignition gadget on the automobile. 

For a third time offender, the charges and penalties are a little bit different from a second offender. The accused risk serving jail time ranging from 3 months to as much as a year. Payment of penalties, fines, and appraisals may sum up to $3,000 or more. In addition, the accused is likely to lose his/her license for a period of three years, face a level III DUI 18-month school program as well as have an interlock ignition gadget in your automobile.

Felony DUI

A felony DUI is typically charged under the California Vehicle Code section 23550, which asserts that a person is guilty if he or she has a DUI and a previous DUI has been punished as a criminal offense. An accused may be charged with a felony DUI regarding a number of factors. For instance:

  • If you are caught in violation of the DUI laws for the fourth time within the ten years from your first arrest, then you will be subjected to felony charges
  • If you are found guilty of aggravated DUI, that caused injury or loss of life to other persons.
  • In a situation whereby you portray a subsequent DUI violation upon which you had been convicted earlier for a felony DUI charge, you will be convicted as a felony DUI.

A felony DUI attracts harsh sentences and penalties, not forgetting the severity of the crime. In a case whereby the transgression caused injury or demise, one is likely to face a minimum jail time of three months, payment of penalties, fines and assessment of the damages summing up to $3,000 or more, attending a DUI school program as well as facing a license revocation for a period of four years. In addition to the penalties, the accused is likely to have a permanent felony conviction on their record.

For a felony DUI whereby the accused caused injury to another party, he/she is likely to face a state prison time of 10 years or more, payment of fines summing up to $5,000 or more along with payment of the damages caused. This includes settling the medical expenses of the injured, covering the cost of the damaged properties, just to mention a few.

Underage DUI

If you take a walk along the streets of Barrett Junction, you are likely to see a couple of warning signs in pubs and bars over underage drinking. Therefore, if an accused living within the State of California is arrested as a first-time offender and is under the age of 21, then he/she is more likely to experience the stringent laws of the state. Such an offense means facing additional penalties along with a lower BAC, blood alcohol concentration, the threshold of 0.00 percent.

Minors caught in this offense, face a zero-tolerance policy in line with several supplementary restrictions. The accused faces an obligatory license suspension of twelve months. Depending on the level of BAC report, the underage defendant may serve time in state jail, face probation, pay fines for the damages and violation as well as serve an obligatory DUI school program.

Commercial DUI

This type of violation involves classes A and B commercial drivers. Their case is treated differently from a regular DUI offense. The blood alcohol concentration threshold is lower from the ordinary regular DUI with a low level of 0.04 percent. A commercial DUI is likely to attract increased and severe penalties.

Therefore, a commercial driver in Barrett Junction found to have violated the commercial DUI law for the first time is likely to have his/her commercial driver's license revoked for a period of 12 months. For a second time offender, which is either regular or commercial, the accused may suffer a permanent loss of the commercial driving opportunity that is total revocation of operating a commercial vehicle.

Common Defenses for DUI

Most people make the mistake of assuming that the fact they have been caught violating the DUI laws with a BAC level of over 0.08 percent, means they are totally finished and have no hope of winning the case. Truth be told, there are numerous ways in which you can beat a DUI charge.

If you are in Barrett Junction, you may need to affirm the services of an experienced San Diego Defense attorney without delay. Your attorney will guide you through your rights as well as enlighten you on the legal procedures for charging someone with a DUI case. Here are some of the common defenses that will save you from a misdemeanor DUI or a felony DUI.

If you were not read your Miranda rights

If a defendant is pulled aside by an officer and is found guilty of violating the DUI laws, California's law recommends the officers to read out the Miranda rights. If, in any case, the officer makes an error or doesn't read out the rights correctly to the accused, then the arrest will be illegal, thus leading to its dismissal. This means that any evidence or statement that was gathered against you will be rendered inadmissible by the courts.

You may not be aware of this; however, it is recommended to go into details of these by your proficient San Diego DUI Defense attorney. Your attorney will ensure that the law enforcer or officer warned you of your right to counsel before you were arrested for the violation.

Prosecution without counsel

Upon facing arrest, you are entitled to have counsel. Therefore, if a prosecutor tries to confront you without you having a counsel along with no waived Miranda rights, then you may have a case and choose to render any information given as inadmissible. You are not allowed to speak to any prosecutor if you have requested an attorney. Thus the charges will be withdrawn on the grounds of improper communication with the defendant.

Lack of breathalyzer accuracy calibration records

Police officers use the breathalyzer in gauging the alcohol consumption level of the accused. However, over decades now, the breathalyzers have been found to contain numerous faulty issues. As a result, the Prosecutor and the State are required to provide evidence that the device was accurate and legally tested at the time the defendant was arrested. Moreover, the defendant's attorney must be provided with these records by the state. Thus without this proof, it will be difficult for the test results to be validly accepted for prosecution.

Being stopped improperly by the police

In Barrett Junction, a police officer must constitute certain things which will influence his/her decision of pulling someone over for suspicion of DUI. Specific grounds and circumstances must be adhered to for one to be pulled over for the violation. According to California's law, a law enforcement officer must either issue a warrant to the accused or have a reasonable cause to pull one over. Otherwise, the failure of these actions will guarantee an illegal search and seizure. Therefore, the law enforcer must show a "just cause," which influenced their instincts over the defendant's driving habits that seemed suspicious.

Improper administration and protocol of the field sobriety test 

It is required by law that specific protocols be met while conducting the field sobriety test (FST). Any form of erring from the police officer can rapidly result in a suppression of the evidence gathered during the inspection. Failure of a protocol is easy to detect. These include intimidation by the officers, rude and disrespectful language by law enforcers, inappropriate conduct towards the defendant, and so forth. Again, the FSTs are merely a fraction of the evidence likely to be used by the courts. It may not necessarily be used as proof of intoxication.

The defendant's medical condition

Your DUI defense attorney may use your medical condition to beat the prosecutor's case. In a scenario whereby the defendant was ill, thereby appearing as drunkenness to the police may skew the results of the breathalyzer test, thus making the results inaccurate. The validity of the breathalyzer test may prove futile in a case whereby the defendant has diabetes. A diabetic side effect, referred to Ketosis, is known for creating an alcoholic odor, as a result of the glucose fermentation in the bloodstream. Therefore, with a breathalyzer test, it may show signs of alcohol, however much the accused is innocent.

What the Prosecutor Must Prove to Convict You of DUI

For an accused to be prosecuted and found culpable of the charges, the prosecutor ought to be armed with sufficient evidence to pin down the case to his/her favor. Fortunately, if you are located within Barrett Junction, you can make contact with our proficient San Diego DUI Defense attorney now, to help navigate through the criminal justice process and defend you from the prosecutor's case.

The violation must be broken down by the prosecutor, of which he/she must prove before the court that beyond doubt, you are guilty of the charges. Therefore, for the accused to be declared guilty of the charges, the prosecutor to provide evidence that;

The defendant was under the intoxication of alcoholic beverages or illegal substances

For one to be reported to be under the influence, the law states under California's law it is illegal for an individual with a BAC level of 0.08 percent or higher of alcohol in their bloodstream to operate a means of transportation. Thus the prosecution must submit proof showing the BAC result if it was at or above the required limit. Depending on the defendant's age and occupation, the prosecutor must be aware of the same. He/she must also prove that the defendant was actually impaired as a consequence of an alcoholic infusion, a drug, or a blend of both.

The defendant was in control of the vehicle

A DUI charge may, at times, be complex. In other States, you may be charged with DUI even if you were a passenger. This is due to the assumption that you may, in some way, have an impact on the operation of the vehicle while in such an impairment state. However, in California, that assumption is not considered by law. The judge, in this case, will make a ruling based on:

  • Whether the defendant was wide awake or asleep when confronted by the police
  • Whether the motor of the car was on
  • Whether the car keys were in your possession at the time of confrontation
  • Whether the headlights, if at night, were still on
  • Whether the accused was in the driver's seat  
  • Whether the car was legally parked and in an appropriate manner.

Find a DUI Defense Attorney Near Me

Being all alone in a DUI case may be frightening. Therefore it is safe to take on the services of an experienced DUI Defense attorney to help in defending you from wrongful conviction. If you have been charged in Barrett Junction, feel free to contact the San Diego DUI Attorney now at 619-535-7150, so we can be of assistance.