Being accustomed to regularly drinking and driving behavior can get out of hand. Driving while intoxicated can have far-reaching consequences. The penalties are aggravated by any accompanying crime that you commit alongside your DUI charge. The San Diego DUI Attorney is the seasoned defense you need to come out victorious when you are charged for drunk driving in Johnstown.
Definition of DUI According to California State Law
Drinking under the influence is the offense of driving a vehicle:
- When you are too impaired to control the car safely
- When the blood alcohol concentration is beyond the legal limit
A driver is expected by all state laws never to operate a vehicle when their BAC is 0.08% and above. This regulation applies regardless of whether they are in total control of the car or not. However, the driver may have the BAC in the right legal limit but still get arrested and charged for a DUI offense if the slight and legal amount of intoxication is making them unable to control the vehicle reasonably.
The two charges brought against you are:
- An impairment DUI for being unable to drive the vehicle safely even at legal intoxication levels
- A per DUI charge for driving with excessive blood alcohol concentration or content of other drugs
The officer arrests the driver based on reasonable suspicion. This suspicion may come from anything that hints that the driver is intoxicated. The procedure for determining BAC follows afterward. The arrests may also occur at DUI checks erected at the various points on the highway, where the officers may routinely determine the driver’s BAC. These stops may be founded within a reasonable suspicion. Still, others could be merely when the ill-fated hour clicks on the driver. The officer constructs reasonable doubt later. The Johnson DUI Attorney will investigate whether you were just stopped randomly or out of bias
However, apart from the officer’s bias or random picking, another set of laws imposed by the department of motors exists in which the driver is mandated to be scrutinized.
The Consent Laws
In most states, these laws are written behind the driving license. The consent laws require the following:
- Complying with producing the license and emblem of auto insurance when requested
- Giving the sample for BAC scrutiny when the officer demands it without violating your privacy laws
Flouting these laws puts you into the risk of having their driving license suspended since driving in the United States is a privilege extended to a driver by the department of motor vehicles on the following conditions:
- Compliance with the consent laws
- Passing the driving tests and proving qualified and not detrimental to other motorists
The arresting police should legally explain to you the consequences of refusing to take the BAC screening. The officer should inform you that the refusal to take a BAC test aggravates the DUI offense. The officer should also tell you that you have no right to talk to an attorney before taking the intoxication test.
The Application of Zero Tolerance Laws
The privileges for drinking and driving discussed above only apply to the driver over the age of 21 years. Any driver below 21 years is considered a minor, so they cannot drink and drive. It is worth noticing the differences in the majority ages since the underage driver is regarded as a major to acquire a license but cannot drink and drive.
The zero-tolerance laws require the driver aged below 21 to drive with no alcohol content in their blood. The young drivers can risk having their license suspended for being drunk. This implies driving with a 0.01% BAC for a young driver and a per se DUI offense is chargeable in court.
The law is intolerable for underage drinking and driving since the drivers tend to be more negligent when drunk. They are easily distracted, especially by the phones and exhibit road rage as well as speed exhibition. The influence of alcohol on the young driver’s mind is dangerous to them since they often drink without control and may prove unsafe for other motorists.
Exceptions to Underage DUI
Some states have laws that accept the consumption and possession of alcohol to minors. Some other states’ laws allow minors to possess alcohol but not consuming it as part of their employment. The employment could be doing personal deliveries to their alcohol outlet or transporting when employed by a brewing company.
Other laws allow parents and guardians to supervise drinking of their children in their residence or private place. However, they should not drive. These laws also allow underage people to consume alcohol during religious feasts.
It is outlawed to for any person of legal age to buy an alcoholic drink on behalf of the young person
The Psychology Behind DUI
So what happens that a driver can confidently get into the road and drive knowing that they are inebriated? It begins with consuming a couple of drinks and driving. At this BAC level, nothing happens, and they can be able to make judgment well. Since nothing happens after driving, they are convinced that they can add more drinks and still drive safely.
Driving under the influence repeatedly desensitizes the fear of driving while intoxicated. In the future, it becomes a norm since the fear of getting behind the wheel is scraped off. The driver learns to lose the fear of DUI, kills intuition, and the judgment gets skewed.
The drunk driver knows that DUI is wrong but keeps on stifling the thought that it will lead to a dangerous end. Every time they get away with a possible arrest for DUI, they convince themselves that they will be fine. When the driver circumvents a likely failure of an FST, they resolve to curb the driving habit, and later the drinking habit is strengthened. The desensitization occurs when the repeated exposure to alcohol and fear of traffic patrol police becomes a regular action, psychologically called a stimulus. So the fear stops being produced whenever one drinks and anticipates driving afterward.
On average, a driver will drive under the influence 80 times before landing into DUI arrest. Getting away with DUI for this long convinces one that they will never be caught. Hence the amount of alcohol is increased or the urge to increase the amount of alcohol next time is built. Therefore, BAC shoots on subsequent drinking gradually until it gets illegal.
DUI and Negligence
The numbing influences of the useful fear for the DUI offense make people reluctant to obey traffic rules. The debilitated judgment when drunk makes drivers drive indiscriminately without adjusting their speed to the designated limits on various road stretches. They also do not change the speed to suit the vagaries of nature, such as slick roads and reduced visibility due to weather.
Try To Be Safe
Overestimating the ability to drive is only underestimating the injuries and damages that may potentially occur to one when they cause an accident. Never be confident in the ability to drive home when drunk. A drunk and impaired driver will never admit they are drunk but would rather drive and prove that they are composed enough. Get to a party with an extras amount for taking a cab home. It is cheaper to pay another driver though your ego tells you you can drive than compensating another person and paying your medical bills. You may also try limiting your drinking time or cut the amount of alcohol slowly. You may also consider attending cocktails or weekends drinking sessions with a non-alcoholic who would drive you home.
Defenses Against a DUI Offense
A DUI offense is charged in court through the two main charges mentioned above. After the police have determined the BAC during the investigation and conducted the Field Sobriety Tests, they may get a reason to arraign you for trial. As mentioned above, you can involve a Johnstown DUI attorney after you have complied with BAC scrutiny.
Thus if the BAC is at illegal levels or you are impaired to drive the BAC yet are within legal limits, you will never escape a charge. The prosecution needs to prove that you:
- Were driving a vehicle when the officer for a reasonable suspicion stopped you
- Were driving under influence or had exceeded the legal intoxication as provided by the law
The term driving has to be scrutinized for the prosecution to continue with the charge. In some states being in the physical control of the car is considered driving. If the driver was caught while using the steering wheel, applying breaks or accelerator, it means they controlled the vehicle. The distance that you purportedly drove does not matter so long as the car moved out of your discretion. Accidentally putting the vehicle into motion is not operating.
If the police did not see you putting the car into motion, then they can rely on other means of proving that you were driving. The driver may hint to have been driving in their written statement or during interrogation. In case the driver is arrested at DUI checkpoints, the officer may retrieve from the surveillance traffic cameras for the details of the car. Lastly, the unbiased testimony of a witness who saw you drive or was a victim of your DUI can be holding.
The margin of exceeding the BAC is itself a piece of evidence that cannot be denied but defended. The two charges brought against you can be defended using the following defenses:
The Probable Cause Was Never Valid
The driver can only be arrested for a very established reason you appeared to break the law or were breaking. Failing in the Field Sobriety Test (FST) and having the odor of alcohol can be the ground for stopping and consequently arresting you. Drivers fail in FST by exhibiting signs of intoxication that a sober person would not generally do. However, the roadblocks and DUI checkpoints erected to monitor intoxicated driving regularly do not need a probable cause.
The cues for failure in FST are:
- Using the arms to balance
- Forgetting unreasonably the simple test instructions
- Inaccurate counting using fingers
- Shaking and swaying while talking to the officer or going to the FST spot
- Leaving spaces when making heel-to-toe steps on a straight line
- Impatience that makes the driver begin the test before all instructions are given
- A wider margin of inaccuracy in estimating the lapse of the thirty seconds
Your Johnstown DUI attorney will combine all the evidence and defend you that the officer stopped you unreasonably. He will mention the instance of being arrested for having been based on a doubtful suspicion. Situations such as just being stopped for appearing to change the lanes once is for example, not enough ground for a probable cause.
Mistake of Fact
Sometimes the intoxication may result from a regular social drink, a prescription drug, or a recreational drug legalized by the state. After getting drunk, they may be convinced that the drug has cleared from the system only for its metabolism to have malfunctioned. For instance, the driver may wait until the physician’s recommended time for driving, but the driver still registers at illegal levels of BAC upon investigation. Thus the driver drove honestly believing that they were not intoxicated. This can be a sure defense that can get you off the hook.
Sometimes officers operating in civilian gear try soliciting drivers to drink so that they can arrest them for some reason. The police may pose as customers in a tavern and solicit a driver to drink more or watch their movements from the bar for having escaped DUI arrests several times. The police then network or personally follow aiming to arrest the driver while driving. Your local Johnstown DUI attorney will be able to prove that if it were not for the police entrapment, you would not have been predisposed to DUI.
Sometimes one may get drunk without their will or knowledge. When people attend a party, sometimes an ill-intentioned person may spike their drink with date rape drugs. The date rape drugs may be liquid, tablet, or powder and have no smell or taste. They may include tranquilizers such as valium and ketamine. The food in a party may also be laced with a drug such as marijuana. So the rape drug may be tacitly put into the punch ball or when you leave your drink unattended.
The spiking may be meant for pranking the victim, sedating them to rape them, or taking a valuable item from them. So here the driver drinks involuntarily. A competent Johnstown DUI attorney will look for a loophole in the charge sheet and the statement you gave to see the validity of this defense. He must provide the chain of events that convinces the prosecution that you got intoxicated out of consent.
This defense can work best for first-time DUI offenses if the events can be tailored to prove involuntary drinking. The underage DUI offenders also can use this defense to show that they were drunk out of being deceived. Connected to this defense is the next one below.
Reasons such as Duress or Necessity
Sometimes you may be caught up in situations that may necessitate driving while intoxicated. For instance, one may drive from a party after knowing that their drink or food has been spiked to avoid further injury, such as being raped or losing their valuables. Sometimes a skirmish can arise among drinking buddies who may turn violently, necessitating you to drive to safety while still intoxicated.
Your Johnstown DUI attorney should prove that you had no intention of driving while drunk and did not have to flee. Having had a backup plan to get home, such as having a sober co-driver, could strengthen the odds of being acquitted. Further, the danger you were escaping from must be more perilous than the consequences of DUI conviction.
The emotional turmoil resulting from this escape can be cited to excuse some minor traffic infractions and failure in the FST when pulled over. The driver must also prove that they were arrested heading to safety, such as the nearest home or police station.
Blunders in BAC Determination
An experienced Johnstown DUI attorney will also cite the errors in BAC determination of BAC to invalidate your per se DUI charge. The officer’s training to qualify to take the samples and interpret the breathalyzers is questioned in the defense. The driver’s condition, such as indigestion or vomiting, will hike the BAC readings since traces of alcohol are picked by the breath to the device. The calibration and maintenance of the breathalyzers are also questioned since they are sensitive to mismanagement.
The officer’s authorization to obtain samples such as blood should also be questioned. Officers can only do this using a warrant and without violating the rights of the driver.
The handling of the samples, such as blood, can also give wrong BAC test results. When blood samples are stored wrongly, they can ferment and give false readings for the driver’s intoxication. The attorney will involve an expert in this instance. Challenging the BAC readings based on the design error of the breathalyzer or the other testing devices is only possible when the margin does not exceed 0.08% significantly.
Find a Johnstown DUI Attorney Near Me
If the weight of evidence shows the prosecution that you are chargeable, then the trial will proceed. However, you can be innocently charged for DUI. The San Diego DUI Attorney defends DUI offenders for the best outcome. Our experience promises a drastic reduction of charges should an acquittal be impossible. Call us today for inquiries and be represented by a world-class attorney by dialing 619-535-7150.