DUI offenses are serious crimes in the state of California. If you are charged with driving under the influence and get convicted, it may result in costly fines, jail time, loss or suspension of your driver’s license. The punishments that one would face can negatively impact your life. If arrested on a DUI charge in California, you can be charged with many other related charges that will affect you in more ways than one. If you love being able to drive because it makes your life easier and want to avoid a criminal record, getting a lawyer to defend you is crucial. If you get arrested on a DUI charge and need a local lawyer in Del Dios that is experienced in DUI cases to represent you, our lawyers will work tirelessly to help you fight these charges and help you avoid a criminal record.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer?
An experienced Del Dios DUI attorney will be able to explain the process, the possible charges you may face as well as the possible outcomes. The lawyer will also discuss with you possible defenses and the strategies they will use to avoid your conviction. Or if there is a conviction, to enable you to get the lowest punishment possible. When facing DUI charges, you are going to be stressed and anxious about the process. With an experienced lawyer, you will be able to relax because you know you are in safe hands and can continue with your daily duties as the trial continues.
Your attorney will start by gathering all the evidence available. This will include a testimony from a witness if possible, your testimony, lab reports, and arresting officer’s report. If there are any video or audio recordings that can be used as evidence for or against you, the lawyer will also gather them. With all the evidence, your Del Dios DUI attorney will review and analyze it to try and establish any weak points and strategize how to weaken the prosecutor’s case.
Each case a lawyer handles is different from the next. Based on your case, your lawyer can opt to ask to suppress some evidence provided by filing a motion to suppress the evidence. If the motion has merit, it may result in getting your case dismissed altogether. Should the case proceed to trial, your attorney will present evidence before the court to challenge the prosecutor’s case. This is aimed at showing the prosecutor was unable to produce evidence that will lead to a conviction.
In some cases, your Del Dios DUI attorney can opt to seek a deal with the prosecutor so that you avoid imprisonment. He or she may also negotiate to reduce the criminal charges leveled against you, which will help you avoid serious felony convictions.
Why You Should Not Plead Guilty of a DUI Offense
Many of the people arrested on a DUI charge in California believe that there is enough evidence against them and think it easier just to plead guilty. In most cases, the evidence is not that strong, and instead of pleading guilty, call a local Del Dios attorney to help you with the charges. It is essential to know that blood testing and breathalyzers often make mistakes. If a person has an underlying medical condition, BAC reports in some cases may also be influenced by that.
It makes more sense to fight against a DUI charge instead of taking a guilty plea. Various reasons exist as to why this is so. Some of these may include knowing that:
- Underlying medical issues, various interfering substances, malfunctioning of equipment can result in breathalyzers giving high readings that in many cases, are inaccurate.
- Blood Alcohol Concentration tests are often subjected to error. Most lawyers when they test the blood of their clients in independent labs, most of the time they get different reports. Other times, it has been found that the original samples may have been contaminated, giving false results.
- There are standardized procedures that arresting officers should follow when conducting a roadside investigation of a DUI case that many fail to comply.
These are some of the areas that having a lawyer will help you check thoroughly to avoid wrongful convictions. An experienced local Del Dios DUI attorney will be able to establish all this to giving you the best defense possible.
What a DUI Arrest Entails
DUI arrests in California start with a checkpoint or a traffic stop. The police officer will request you to do various sobriety tests done outside. They will also ask that you flow two times into a breathalyzer that is handheld. If the field tests indicate that you may be intoxicated, they will arrest you and do more tests at the police station, hospital, or in jail. If requested to take a breath or blood test, you should do it because the law expects you to. Should you refuse to accept the chemical test, it may result in firmer penalties as well as a suspension of your driver’s license for a year.
If the DUI arrest were a misdemeanor, in most cases, the police would take a few hours to book you then release you. However, if the arrest is on a felony DUI, you may be required to post bail. Once the bail is posted, you will be released and be issued with two documents: citation or notice to attend court and a temporary driving license. The law enforcement officers usually take your original driver's license and mailed to the DMV.
As a defendant on a DUI charge, you can apply to get an IID driver’s license. This is a restricted license for individuals that agree to install an Ignition Interlock Device in their vehicle. This device or the IID is a breathalyzer that refuses your car to start when it detects alcohol. With an IID in your car, permits you to get a restricted license that allows you to drive with no limitations.
After getting arrested for a DUI offense, you are expected to get in touch with the DMV in ten days upon your arrest to request a hearing. If you do not do this within the given time, you will forfeit your hearing right, and your driver’s license will automatically be suspended in 30 days. Hiring a local Del Dios lawyer can get him or her to ask for a hearing on your behalf. This may be the best approach because your lawyer is able to ask for a further date that will allow for time in preparing your defense. The lawyer is also able to influence which DMV officer gets to hear your case.
Your attorney, in this case, will conduct the hearing on your behalf and you can attend the hearing or not depending on the request. The objective of your Del Dios DUI attorney is to convince the DMV why they should not suspend your license. At the same time, your lawyer can in the process collect evidence from the DMV officer that may be useful in your defense before a judge or jury.
For example, your lawyer can decide to subpoena the logs for breathalyzer calibration and maintenance. These logs are essential because they reveal the history of inaccurate readings and equipment malfunctions. It is also possible to subpoena the policeman that arrested you to the DMV hearing to testify. In so doing, your lawyer will be looking at eliciting testimony on below-average DUI training as well as other mistakes made during the investigation.
Once the hearing is concluded, the hearing officer for the DMV case considers and reviews the matter to issue a written report on the findings later. The final decision from the hearing is typically mailed in not more than 30 days. If the final DMV findings are in your favor, your driver’s license will not be suspended. However, if you get a court conviction on the DUI charge, it may trigger a suspension that is separate from the DMV. If the DMV findings are against you, your driver’s license is suspended in a couple of days after receiving your notice.
It is important to understand that DMV hearings are only for individuals arrested with an alcohol DUI. This is to determine if, at the time of arrest, you had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. If arrested for driving under the influence of other substances rather than for alcohol, you will not face a DMV hearing meaning there is no suspension of your license. However, if you get convicted in court for driving while intoxicated by these other substances, the conviction may lead to a suspension of your driver’s license.
When your License is suspended
If you get your driver’s license suspended, you can apply for a restricted driver’s license within 30 days of the suspension. This license will allow you restricted driving such as to your place of work and back or other work-related activities. It will also allow you to drive to school and back or in case of a DMV or court given alcohol program. Your lawyer should also be able to help you with this, but you need to obey the suspension. If you drive with a suspended driver's license in California, it is a crime. And if convicted, you can face jail time, probation or have your license suspended even longer.
Court Proceedings for DUI charges
The California law on DUI charges falls under VEH 23152. Many of the individuals arrested driving with a BAC of over 0.08% face two types of misdemeanor charges:
- VEH 23152a DUI misdemeanor charges or
- VEH 23152b driving with a BAC of over 0.08%
If charged with any of these, your goal is avoiding a conviction for either offense. Your local Del Dios DUI attorney can attend the proceedings in court without you. But should you be needed testify or the case proceeds for trial, you will be expected to appear in court. Most cases of DUI involve having various court dates and can go on for months. Through this time, your lawyer will be collecting evidence, filing motions, and negotiating with the prosecutor or judge to have your case dismissed or reduced charges.
During the negotiations, a settlement may be reached where you are required to plead to lesser charges of the DUI. This is usually within a day or two and will require you to come to court and plead personally in the presence of the judge. In other cases, often your DUI lawyer will have you sign documents that are notarized or otherwise called Thal waiver away from the court. Your lawyer will take the documents with him or her to court and on your behalf takes a plea or executes them.
Should there be no settlement agreed on, the DUI charges will proceed for trial before a jury. Most of the time, better deals by the prosecutors or judges happen once the case has gone forth for trial. This happens because of the pressure of having many cases to proceed than available courtrooms to have them. At the same time, if the prosecution has holes in their evidence, it becomes more apparent during a trial after the District Attorney takes a deeper look at the case. At this time, the prosecutor will also be willing to settle and is likely to give the best deal.
Overview of the Consequences of a DUI Conviction in California
Penalties for a DUI conviction in California depend on whether the charges brought against the defendant are misdemeanor or felony charges. The type of offender also goes to influence the kind of penalties you will get. The penalties or punishment for first time, second time, third time, and fourth-time offenders are different and also prior conviction records matter. Some of the penalties a person will face include:
First time DUI offender
If the charges are a misdemeanor, the offender will be expected to pay fines of between $390 and $1,000, in addition to other fees and penalty assessment charges that can increase the total to about $3,600. The court can also sentence the defendant to jail time, not above 6 months. The court can also decide to suspend your driving license for six months while the DMV will issue an administrative suspension of 4 months. If you refuse to take a BAC test, the DMV will automatically suspend your license for a year. A first-time defendant can also face a probation time for DUI that can go up to 5 years in addition to a three month DUI school program. If your BAC were 0.02% or more, the DUI school program would be for nine months. The court can also ask the defendant to install an Ignition Interlock Device in your car for up to 6 months.
Second time DUI offender
The defendant will be expected to pay a fine of between $390 and $1,000 in addition to other fees in penalty assessment that can increase the amount to $4,000. There is also a possibility of a one year of jail time if convicted. The criminal court can also issue a suspension on your driver’s license for up to 2 years while the DMV will issue a one-year administrative suspension on your license. After a 90 day suspension of your license, you can apply for a restricted license, but if the conviction was drug-related, you could only apply for a restricted license after a year. A second-time offender can also face a three-year probation that may extend to 5 years in addition to a DUI school program of 18 months or 30. The defendant will also be issued a mandatory requirement to install an IID in their vehicle.
Third time DUI Offender
The fine for the defendant will be between $390 and $1,000 in addition to penalty assessment costs that can raise the amount to $18,000. A one year jail time or 16-month imprisonment in state prison is also possible. The court can also move to suspend your driver’s license for up to 3 years while the DMV will issue a yearlong administrative suspension on your license. After the first six months, the defendant will qualify to apply for a restricted license that affords them restricted driving. A probation period of between 3 to 5 years with a DUI school program of 30 months may also be faced. The defendant will also be expected to install an IID gadget in their car for two years.
Fourth Time DUI Offender
The fourth and any other subsequent DUI charges within ten years are prosecuted as felony offenses. The defendant is fined between $390 and $1,000, in addition to other penalty assessment charges that can raise the figure to $18,000. The defendant is also likely to face state imprisonment of between 16 months to 36 months. The driver’s license is suspended for four years with the possibility of a permanent suspension. The defendant may also be sentenced to a probation period of 3 years to 5 years, besides attending a 30-month program in a DUI school. If the defendant qualifies for a restricted license, he or she will be expected to install an IID for three years. With a fourth conviction, the defendant automatically gets a convicted felon record.
Finding a Del Dios DUI Attorney Near Me
A DUI conviction in California can affect your life in many ways. Apart from the legal implications, there are various consequences that you will face after conviction. It is important to avoid a conviction as much as possible, or if a conviction is inevitable, a qualified Del Dios DUI attorney should be able to help you reduce the penalties. Get in touch with us at the San Diego DUI Attorney at 619-535-7150, and we will tirelessly work on your defense to get the best possible outcome.