In most cases, the offense of driving under the influence is a criminal offense with very few exceptions. Therefore, after you commit a DUI charge, the offense will show up in your criminal record as either a felony or a misdemeanor. On some rare occasions, the court might charge a DUI charge as a non-criminal offense. In California, DUI is a severe crime, and the consequences for the crime include jail time, hefty fines, and revocation or suspension of your driver's license. If you are facing DUI charges, San Diego DUI Attorney can help you handle the charges. Our experienced DUI lawyers can assist you in facing the prosecutor and the jury.
California DUI Laws
It is dangerous to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drunk driving poses a danger to a driver and other road users. It is an offense in California to get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You might violate the California DUI laws in two ways. First, you might violate the law if you drive with an alcohol level in the blood that is above the allowable limit, not exceeding 0.08%. This limit is applicable to drivers who are above 21 years.
If you work as a commercial car driver, you might violate the law if you drive with an alcohol level in the blood of 0.04%. For underage drivers in California, it is an offense to have any amount of alcohol in the blood. Therefore, even if an underage driver records a BAC of 0.01%, he/she will have violated the California DUI laws.
California has stringent DUI laws for underage drivers. Most vehicle accidents in California involve drunk driving. The accidents resulting from driving under the influence of alcohol mainly involve young people. Therefore, young people in California often engage in drunk driving, and this often leads to many premature deaths. The state came up with strict DUI laws to discourage underage DUI to help reverse this trend.
Misdemeanor DUI Convictions
In California, the first and second DUI charges are usually misdemeanors. For a misdemeanor offense, the possible jail time does not exceed one year. The fines associated with misdemeanor offenses do not go beyond $1,000. However, you might end up paying more because you have to pay court fees and other costs as well. When you commit a misdemeanor offense in California, the California DMV might suspend your driver's license for several months to one year.
After you commit the first or the second DUI charge, you might still be able to continue operating your vehicle. However, you would have to install an ignition interlock device, commonly abbreviated as an IID in your vehicle. With an IID, you are free to drive to any place. Every time you try to start the car while intoxicated, the IID will sense the presence of alcohol in your breath and refuse to start the car. You have to blow into the IID every time before you start the vehicle. The device functions the same way as the breathalyzer, which senses the presence of alcohol in a person’s breath.
You should contact a Kentwood-In-The-Pines DUI attorney immediately for a DUI charge. You should never overlook the importance of an attorney even if you consider your DUI charge to be minor. An attorney will go a long way in determining the outcome of your case.
Felony DUI Convictions
Under California law, a DUI charge might be a felony under certain circumstances. You might face felony DUI charges due to multiple DUI convictions on your record. For instance, with three previous convictions for DUI on record, a fourth DUI charge would be an automatic felony
Felony DUI charges might also apply if you drive while intoxicated and cause the injury of another person, or you end up killing another person. If you have a prior conviction for felony DUI on your record and you commit a subsequent DUI, you might face felony charges automatically.
The penalties for felony DUI offenses in California are more severe than the consequences of misdemeanor DUI charges. The penalties for a felony DUI charge might differ based on the circumstances of your case. For instance, for felony DUI causing injury or death, the penalties might include hefty fines of up to $5,000. Other consequences include imprisonment in a state prison in California, mandatory suspension of your driver's license, and attending DUI School.
For felony DUI charges arising from multiple DUI convictions, the penalties might include fines not exceeding $1,000. You might also have to serve imprisonment of up to 3 years in a state prison in California. The California DMV might suspend your driver's license for four years. You might also be subject to California DUI School for 30 months.
Other Consequences of DUI
Other than imprisonment, fines, and license suspension, a DUI conviction might affect other areas of your life. Therefore, it is imperative to seek the help of a Kentwood-In-The-Pines DUI attorney to help you fight DUI charges. An attorney can negotiate for a reduction of your charges to a lesser offense. An attorney might even fight your DUI charges leading to the dismissal of the charges.
DUI and Employment
In the current competitive world, finding employment in the tight job market is hard enough. However, having a DUI conviction on your record could make the process of getting a job harder for you. Particularly, a DUI conviction might greatly affect the ability of a young driver to land employment. In some instances, employers might terminate longtime employees due to a DUI conviction. Therefore, even if you have a stable career, a DUI conviction might take your career back to square one.
Depending on the career path you want to pursue, a DUI conviction might prevent you from getting your dream job. For instance, if a job involves driving, you might not get the job if you have a history of DUI. Therefore, you might not have the chance to pursue careers like truck driving, food delivery, cab operation, sales, and catering. Employers might fear that you will end up causing an accident and make them incur costs in replacement vehicles. A DUI conviction might also hinder you from pursuing a career in the medical field, legal, government agencies, and law enforcement.
When hiring new staff, most companies run background checks on the applicants. Many employers might also request the applicants to provide a clean criminal or driving record. As you apply for a new job, most employers will require you to disclose any prior convictions, including criminal convictions and DUI. If your prior DUI conviction appears on the background check results, the recruiters might pass over your application. Therefore, you might never make it to the shortlisting stage.
Is a DUI Attorney Worth the Cost?
Yes, a Kentwood-In-The-Pines DUI attorney is worth it irrespective of the circumstances of your DUI charge. An attorney would do his/her best to help you beat a DUI even if your BAC was above the legal limit. A DUI attorney will analyze your case from the beginning to the end and identify any legal flaws, which might be present.
An attorney fully understands the legal procedures, and this increases your chances of winning a DUI case. Your attorney understands all the loopholes in the legal system, which can be used to your advantage. An attorney also understands how to deal with prosecutors and the jury.
It is advisable to involve an attorney in your case immediately after your arrest for DUI. With an attorney, you will avoid missing important deadlines, including booking a DMV hearing with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV allows up to ten days from the time of arrest for you to schedule a DMV hearing. Failure to book a hearing within this period leads to the suspension of your driver's license.
If your case proceeds to trial, you must have an attorney to represent to you. It is not advisable to go to trial on your own. If you are unable to hire a private DUI attorney, the court will assign a public defender to handle your case. However, a public defender might not be as effective and might not give you personalized attention like your own DUI attorney.
In court, your DUI attorney will challenge the evidence the prosecutor presents against you. The prosecutor’s evidence has to be convincing to prove that you indeed committed the DUI charge. It is common for errors to occur during DUI testing. It is also common for officers to mishandle DUI samples. These factors might lead to misleading BAC results.
Your attorney will check the condition of the DUI testing equipment. For instance, the attorney might consider the maintenance and calibration of the breathalyzer equipment. If it is evident that the testing equipment was faulty at the time of DUI testing, the attorney will question the credibility of your BAC results.
Reduction of DUI Charges
If you have a competent Kentwood-In-The-Pines DUI attorney, the prosecutor might be willing to reduce your DUI charges. It is possible to reduce a DUI charge to a wet reckless, which is a lesser offense. After an arrest for DUI in California, one of the smart moves that your DUI attorney can make is to ask for a reduction of your charges.
After an arrest for DUI, you should contact a DUI attorney immediately. An attorney will advise you on the way forward and increase the chances of a reduction of your DUI charges. It is advisable to comply with the requirements of the law enforcement officers.
After a DUI arrest, you should submit to a chemical DUI test. Refusing to submit to a DUI test might have detrimental consequences and might make the prosecutor unwilling to reduce your DUI charges. However, you do not have to submit to a PAS test, which is a preliminary test, which is not mandatory in California.
The way you behave after DUI arrest also matters. For instance, the arresting officer might use what you say after a DUI arrest against you. You should not panic after a DUI arrest; you should compose yourself and speak coherently if you can. Avoid disrespecting the law enforcement officers because this might also work against you.
Wet reckless is a minor offense, and the associated consequences are lesser than the consequences of DUI. However, despite being a lesser offense than DUI, a wet reckless is a priorable offense. This means that the offense will count as a prior DUI charge. If you commit a wet reckless and you commit a subsequent DUI charge, you will become a repeat offender.
Dismissal of DUI Charges before Trial
Certain factors might lead to dismissal of your DUI criminal charges in California before trial. At times, prosecutors might dismiss cases on their own, especially if they feel that they do not have enough evidence to support the case. If the cases have some known defects, the prosecutor might dismiss it before it proceeds to trial.
Your attorney might also present a persuasive motion and argument, leading to the dismissal of your DUI charges. In most cases, the prosecutors drop charges for DUI cases. However, a judge might also dismiss a DUI charge. After the dismissal of your DUI charges, you are free to continue with your life; you do not have to worry about the criminal conviction or court case.
Some of the factors that might lead to the dismissal of DUI charges include:
The prosecutor or the judge might dismiss your DUI charges if it is apparent that you are a victim of police misconduct. For instance, your DUI attorney might point out that the police had no proper grounds for stopping your vehicle. The police must have a probable cause for stopping your vehicle. The police might order traffic stops if you have violated a traffic law. Traffic violations include reckless driving, speeding, and running the red light. If you are changing lanes abruptly while driving, the police might consider your driving risky to other road users and order traffic stops.
However, if your Kentwood-In-The-Pines DUI attorney establishes that the police had no probable cause to stop you, the attorney might file a motion for dismissal of your charges. This argument might apply if, at the time of arrest, you were following the law and driving with the traffic flow. In this case, the police have no probable cause to stop your vehicle.
Illegal Search and Seizure
For the police to search your vehicle for alcohol and drug paraphernalia, they should have a probable cause. In some instances, the law requires the police to have a valid warrant before conducting a search. It is rare for law enforcement officers to obtain warranties before searching the vehicles of suspected drunk drivers. Therefore, the police must have a genuine suspicion or probable cause to search your car. If you are a victim of illegal search and seizure, your attorney can fight for a dismissal of your DUI charges.
Illegal DUI Tests
After stopping your vehicle on suspicions of DUI, the police officers might administer several field sobriety tests to determine whether you are under the influence. The law has identified some standard field sobriety tests, which the officers should administer. The officer should only administer the tests under certain circumstances. The law also outlines that only a qualified officer should administer the field sobriety tests. Therefore, if the police fail to adhere to the set guidelines for administering the field sobriety tests, the tests might be invalid.
The police also have to follow some guidelines while administering chemical tests for DUI. The law requires all drivers in California to submit to chemical tests, including breath and blood tests. Before administering the tests, the officers should explain the rights that a driver has. The machines used in administering the tests need to be in good working condition. The officers also have to be careful while handling the test samples and results. If your DUI attorney identifies a lapse in DUI testing, the attorney can use it as a ground for seeking dismissal of your DUI charges.
After a DUI arrest, the officer should also inform you that you have the right to speak to an attorney. After your attorney raises concerns regarding your case, the prosecutor might be willing to negotiate a plea bargain.
DUI convictions in California can have detrimental effects on your life. You might get severe penalties like fines, jail time, license suspension, increased insurance premiums, and other consequences.
An experienced DUI attorney could come up with a defense to convince the prosecutor to reduce or dismiss your charges. The judge handling your case might also dismiss your charges on the grounds of insufficient evidence. An attorney works aggressively to ensure that the outcome of the DUI case is to your advantage.
Find a kentwood-In-The-Pines DUI Attorney Near Me
There is always hope for a DUI case even if your BAC is above the legal limit. A competent DUI attorney could turn a case around and influence its outcome. At San Diego DUI Attorney, we have helped many clients in fighting DUI charges. Talk to us today at 619-535-7150 and speak with an expert attorney.