Most individuals know of someone that has been flagged down due to driving under the influence. Unfortunately, not many know what follows. Neither do the majority of the general population understand the consequences of a drunk driving charge. Luckily, your Escondido DUI attorney is here to debunk all the myths or clarify the DUI charge on your behalf. First, we will start by informing you on the basics, why you need an attorney’s help, and what techniques they would use to ensure the best outcomes.
Defining DUI Charges
DUI charges are mainly based on the impaired capability to drive. Stringent punishments have been put in place in California for any drunk driving case. Perhaps due to the numerous injuries and fatalities caused by the reckless driving of people under the influence. That said, a DUI charge in Escondido must fulfill two essential elements.
Driving Under the Influence: being one of the most popular DUI charges, you probably have an idea what it entails. Generally, it denotes the act of driving or operating a motor vehicle in an impaired state. The impaired state could be caused by ingesting either drugs or alcohol and leads to poor judgment. At first, the decision on whether or not you are capable of making valid judgment rests with the arresting officer. If they determine you are not in a position to operate a car safely, you could get charged for driving under the influence. At this point, even blood alcohol levels do not count.
Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content above 0.08: California has the legal limit for BAC at 0.08. Consequently, you are not allowed to drive if the blood alcohol levels in their system are above the limit. One could get charged with a DUI for doing so. Normally, a first time DUI is considered as a misdemeanor punished lightly. However, some factors may aggravate the intensity of the punishments preferred. Here are examples of situations that could lead to stricter penalties.
- Cases where driving under the influence caused bodily harm or death of the victim
- Resisting to undertake in the blood or breath test after arrest
- Individual under the age of 21 (underage) driving under the influence of alcohol (whether BAC levels exceed 0.08 or not)
- BAC levels at 0.15 or higher
- The absence of a driver’s license at the time of arrest
- Going above speed limits while under the influence. Exceeding by twenty miles per hour above the limits could increase jail time or any penalties preferred
- Presence of an underage passenger (below 14 years of age) at the time of DUI arrest
Please note, in cases where severe bodily harm or death was caused to the victim an additional felony charge accompanies the DUI offense. Nonetheless, first-time offenders may get some reprieve, depending on various circumstances.
Therefore, each case is unique in its way owing to technicalities. That is why you need the help of your Escondido DUI attorney. Having dealt with varying cases, they are the best, as far as reliable legal advice is concerned.
What Happens After the Arrest?
After an arrest, the police officers will most likely confiscate your driving license. A pink slip is issued in place of the taken license. Referred to as Admin Per Se, the pink slip serves as a temporary license and is an Order of Suspension. The sheet serves to show you have a pending DUI charge. You can, therefore, use it as a license in the period leading to your trial. The expiry period is thirty days, after which you cannot use it anymore. Those with invalid licenses at the time of confiscation do not enjoy this privilege. The same case applies to those whose license had been suspended for some other reason.
Alternatively, you can choose to contest the suspended status of your driver’s license. Here, the DMV applies and should be scheduled within ten days, weekends included. Should you forego this chance, your license gets suspends for 4-12 months as you await the trial outcome. If you decide to make the DMV application and it goes through, your driving rights are reinstated throughout the hearing period. Some pertinent questions will determine the direction hearing takes. They include:
- Did the arresting officer detail the consequences of refusing or consenting to a blood test?
- Did you cooperate or resist in undertaking the blood test?
- Did the arresting officer have valid and sufficient reasons to flag you down?
- Did the arresting officer have credible reason to warrant a DUI arrest?
An Escondido DUI attorney would be able to help in unearthing weak links by sufficiently scrutinizing the above concerns. If any of the conditions were not met, you could be a step closer to an acquittal or a charge reduction. Meanwhile, you get to keep your driving rights as the DUI charges progress.
At times, and dependent on factors surrounding arrest, you may be taken to a police station. One situation that would necessitate custody are instances where serious injuries or death occurred. Another reason for taking you to the police station is when you decline to take the test to determine your intoxication level. Once you get there, tests should be conducted. If a misdemeanor offense, you will be released within 24 hours and required to make an appearance in court. Felony cases give the police a mandate to hold you in custody, but present you in a court within 48 hours.
Once in court, the judge will set bail terms, as you are entitled to one. Again, your attorney needs to be present just in case things do not go as stipulated. Shortcomings on the prosecutor’s part are an advantage for the defense.
Escondido DUI Penalties
First time DUI offenders face fines, penalties, and jail terms for cases where the effects were severe. Below is a list of some of the penalties as stipulated in the law, for first time DUI offenders.
- Attending an alcohol or drug-related program for a period between 3-9 months
- Limited driving allowed, to and from work. Other allowable driving distances include to and from the DUI program assigned
- A jail sentence for 48 hours in county jail. It is extendable to 6 or 12 months depending on varying factors
- Suspension of driver’s license for 6-12 months
- Probable probation
- A fine in the range of $380-$2000, capable of going higher due to penalty assessment charges
The lesser the gravity of the DUI charge, the slighter the penalty. Where no death or injury was recorded, one can get away with minor penalties. The same case applies for cases with an absence of speeding.
That said, it is important to note that punishment varies for other cases depending on intensity. For instance, refusing to take tests, a BAC content exceeding 0.15, and causing harm or death could lead to license suspension and jail time. Other penalties apply as per the judge deems appropriate.
In worst case scenarios, you might be required to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed. The device is similar to a breathalyzer and is installed in your car and stalls the car from starting should it detect a BAC level beyond the recommended limits. Once the Ignition Interlock Device is installed, you have to blow into the IID device before you can start the engine.
What are the Consequences of a DUI Conviction?
Getting arrested for a charge of any kind will bring a myriad of worries and concerns. Such concerns would escalate, should you get convicted. Your Escondido DUI attorney is here to help you understand what to expect, it is essential to know what consequences you would face if convicted. Still, there are possible mitigation measures attorneys can take to lessen the burden.
- Hiked Insurance Charges: After a DUI conviction it is only natural that your insurance provider will raise their premiums to match the risk. Such increments are subject to your age, place of residence, criminal history, and driving experience. Please note that in cases where a license is suspended, the law requires you to reinstate your driving rights by way of taking an SR22 insurance certificate. Your insurer then submits that certificate to the DMV. Automatically, that classifies you as a high-risk case and comes with an increased cost of premiums. Mind you, DUI history stays on record for 10 years.
- Civil Charges: In cases where loss of life or severe injury was involved, you are obligated to make payments. It is possible for the victims to use the DUI conviction as evidence in a civil lawsuit. Then, you would be required to pay for any damages suffered.
- Entry into the Criminal Registry: As hinted above, a DUI charge stays on record for a period of ten years. It applies whether you have previous convictions or not. Unless expunged, the charge will remain in your criminal records. This will lead to discrimination in background checks, housing, and employment opportunities.
Other people that stand to lose a lot are holders of a commercial driver’s license. A DUI conviction automatically renders them jobless. The main reason for job loss is the suspension of the CDL on account of a DUI charge. Those driving company cars are held to a higher standard when it comes to a DUI.
- Suspension or loss of Professional Licenses: Regulatory licensing agencies could sometimes punish their members that get convicted of a DUI. Such professionals include teachers, doctors, lawyers, and any other profession that requires licensing by an established body. In severe cases, the license could get revoked. As for minor incidents, the use of a professional license is restricted. Those not yet in the professional occupations but with the intention of joining may have a rough time applying for a professional license. A look into your past, revealing a DUI conviction might deter your path towards acquiring a professional license.
- Social Stigma and Other Consequences: Since news spreads fast in the digital age, your colleagues and neighbors might hear of your DUI charge. At times, you might see people staring or mumbling things when you pass by. Some may generally label you as reckless, especially where injury or loss of life was involved. For immigrants, it is even worse as the process of acquiring citizenship could prove expensive and hard. In extreme circumstances, one could also face deportation. Another privilege that you might have to give up is owning a firearm.
How to Beat a DUI Charge
In a bid to contest DUI charges, there are a number of defenses that have worked quite impressively over the years. Of course, your experienced attorney knows what strategy best serves you. Here is an overview.
- Inaccurate Tests: In contesting the validity of the test, the top approaches include operator and device error. It is possible for the arresting officer to mishandle the preliminary alcohol testing device. The instruments have also been known to fail, give erroneous readings, and other types of malfunctions in the past. Your physical condition could also contribute to inaccurate readings. Those suffering from conditions such as GERD would obviously fall under this category.
- Rising Blood Alcohol: Alcohol levels in the bloodstream rise with time. Therefore, it is entirely possible not to have exceeded the BAC limit at the time of arrest. Regrettably, due to delays in administering tests, your BAC levels exceed the limits on testing. Such readings are irrelevant as the proper reading should have been taken at the time of driving.
- Title 17 Violatio: In California, there is a code of regulations. Title 17 of this code gives clear cut guidelines as pertains to the gathering, storage, and transportation of DUI samples for analysis. If any of the regulations were not followed as indicated, there is a considerable level of reasonable doubt. You might get your sample excluded as evidence, and the charge dropped due to such violations.
- Incorrect DUI Bodily Indicators: Arresting officers often attest to having seen symptoms linked to DUI. Such indicators include unsteady gaits, flushed face, alcohol odor, slurred speech, and watery/red eyes. Fortunately, there are other valid explanations for such symptoms. They are fatigue, physical injuries, exposure in the sun, allergies, and illness.
- Reasonable Doubt as to Whether DUI was the Cause of Bad Driving: Speeding, swerving, and erratic driving does not always occur in direct relation to a DUI. Sometimes, other factors might be the cause. Some of such causes include eating, trying to pick fallen stuff, distractions from passengers, and trying to avoid an accident or other erratic drivers.
- Illegal Checkpoints: Most people often fall prey to illegal DUI checkpoints in Escondido. Some failures that may constitute illegality include the absence of a supervising officer. The Supervising officer’s role is the overseeing of the general running and organization of the checkpoint. The checkpoint should also be publicly advertised and measures put in place to outline the protocol to warrant a stop. A lack of either or all of these elements would spell the illegality of a DUI checkpoint.
- Inaccurate Blood Tests: In the case where a blood test takes place, samples get stored. In cases where the blood is not stored correctly, the blood may ferment, giving a higher BAC reading. Also, there is the likelihood of the blood getting exposed to contaminants.
- Radio Frequency Interference: Though a bit technical; this is a highly valid defense. All of the equipment used in conducting DUI tests are susceptible to radio frequency interruptions. It so happens in Escondido there is quite a number of reported cases of RFI and electromagnetic interferences (EFI). The effect is prevalent in areas near train tracks. Thus, if you were stopped anywhere near one, there is a likelihood of some interference in the field sobriety test conducted. Other sources of EFI and RFI include cell phones, fluorescent lights, police patrol cars, buses equipped with Wi-Fi, and magnetic/electronic door locks.
- Arresting Officer did not read Miranda Rights: If the arresting officer conducted a custodial interrogation, they should have read Miranda rights to you. A custodial interrogation happens when the officer asks questions that are meant to get some incriminating responses. Hence, if you were arrested and a custodial interrogation is undertaken, your Miranda rights ought to be have been read out to you.
Acquiring the Services of an Escondido DUI Attorney Near Me
The most critical step after a DUI charge is getting the best possible representation from an experienced DUI attorney. Your Escondido DUI attorney will play a vital role in getting you the best possible results. With many years in practice, San Diego DUI Attorney knows when to execute the proper defense. Furthermore, we are capable of analyzing evidence in an accurate manner. Call our San Diego DUI Defense Lawyer at 619-535-7150 and schedule a free consultation regarding your DUI case today.