Getting arrested and charged with a crime of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be devastating. This is because of the severe legal penalties that accompany a conviction for this offense. Also, your professional and personal life will be affected since the Department of Motor vehicle will suspend or revoke your driver’s license. Fortunately, you do not necessarily get convicted for a DUI even when you get arrested. With competent legal help and representation, you have a chance to be successful in your case and evade the consequences that accompany a conviction. At San Diego DUI Attorney in Lakeside Farms, you get the best advice, guidance, and representation to increase your chances of success in the case.

Overview of Drunk Driving Offenses

Driving while intoxicated is a violation of California DUI laws. Intoxication may be a result of alcohol intake or the use of drugs. When you are drunk driving, there are several offenses for which you can get charged and convicted, including:

  • Underage DUI

  • Commercial DUI

  • Standard DUI

If you are accused of any of the above crimes, you are at a risk of facing severe legal consequences. The legal penalties that accompany DUI related crimes include a prison sentence, fines, and probation. Also, you can suffer a driver’s license suspension from both the court and motor vehicle department of California. While driving under alcohol influence, you could commit other offenses such as Watson murder, vehicular manslaughter, or even hit and run. This will enhance penalties that you receive if you get convicted.

Watson Murder

Watson murder, which is also known as DUI murder, is a form of second-degree crime. In California, you will get charged with this offense if, while drunk driving, you caused an accident that resulted in the death of a third party. The following are some factors that are common to individuals who face charges for DUI murder.

  • You have a history of drunk driving convictions

  • Your BAC at the time of driving was very high at least 0.15%

  • You had an intention to drive when drinking or using other drugs

  • You knew the risks of drunk driving. The knowledge could be obtained from a prior Watson advisement or attendance to DUI School.

  • You exhibited a high level of recklessness when you were driving.

Before you get convicted for the crime, the prosecutor is expected to show the following elements of the crime to indicate implied malice:

  • It must be apparent that you committed an intentional act that caused the death of another person. For Watson murder, the deliberate act is often drugged or drunk driving. Therefore, it is vital to know that an intention to commit murder is not necessary when proving DUI murder.

  • The consequences of your actions were dangerous to the life of other people. When proving that you committed DUI murder, the prosecutor must show that your acts of driving while intoxicated pose an inherent danger to other people.

  • You acted in disregard of the life of others. By drinking and later operating a vehicle, it is clear that you are disregarding the fact that you risk causing an accident.

DUI murder is considered a second-degree murder and if you get convicted for this offense attracts severe legal penalties including:

  • State imprisonment of fifteen years to life

  • Fines that do not exceed $10,000.You may also be required to pay an additional amount for assessment.

  • You will receive a strike in your criminal record should you get convicted for Watson murder. Individuals who have a hit on their record will suffer enhanced penalties in case of a future conviction for a felony offense.

If you left a trail of other injuries when committing the offense of DUI murder, the court would serve an enhanced penalty as follows:

  • You get an additional sentence of up to six years for each victim who sustained severe bodily injuries.

  • A maximum of three years imprisonment will be handed for each suffering minor injuries after an accident caused by drunk driving.

Should you find yourself or a loved one facing DUI murder charges, it is wise to contact a Lakeside Farms DUI attorney for proper legal guidance. With competent legal defense, it will be difficult for the prosecutor to prove implied malice, which is a crucial element of Watson murder. When the evidence is insufficient, your DUI murder charges may be reduced to vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. When you are facing charges for DUI Watson, the family of the deceased will likely file a personal injury claim against you.

In California, Watson murder is charged under California Penal Code 187. With the guidance of your attorney, there are possible defenses you can present in an attempt to evade the harsh penalties that accompany a conviction. Arguments against Penal Code 187 include:

  • Disputing the fact that you were drunk driving. If it is not sure that you were intoxicated at the time of driving, DUI murder charges cannot stand. A knowledgeable DUI attorney will help you find fault in any evidence that suggests that you were drunk driving. By disputing chemical test outcomes and the way through which procedures were carried out, you will have a chance to fight your charges. 

  • Claim that you did not act with implied malice. Implied malice is a critical element of DUI murder that a prosecutor needs to prove before you are convicted for the offense. However, this element is challenging to prove and can get quickly challenged. If you can show that your actions were not out of implied malice, your charges could be reduced to a lesser offense, such as vehicular manslaughter.

  • You can claim misconduct during the arrest or questioning. Even when you get suspected of committing a severe crime in California, your rights need to be observed. If the police violated your constitutional rights at the time of arrest by forcing you to take tests or coercing you, you could use the circumstance as a defense. With the guidance of your Lakeside Farms DUI attorney, any evidence collected unlawfully could be dismissed from the DUI criminal case.

  • Deny fault for the accident. Some accidents involve more than one vehicle, and it is easy to be mistaken for the perpetrator of the crime. If you are drunk driving, it does not always mean that you are at fault for all accidents in which you get involved. Your attorney can get back at the accident scene and collect information to prove you were not the fault party. If you are successful in using this as a defense, your charges may get dismissed and instead get punishment for driving under alcohol or drug influence.

How Our DUI Attorneys Handle Your Case

In the unfortunate event where you get arrested and face DUI charges in California, you will likely face serious legal consequences. Therefore, contacting a DUI attorney is one of the wisest decisions you can make at this moment. Attorneys from Lakeside DUI Attorneys help ensure that the outcome of the DUI case is favorable. Immediately you contact us, we will get to your situation by:

  1. Guiding you on proper decisions during an arrest. Getting arrested is often very devastating, and anything you say could be twisted and used against you. By contacting an attorney, you will get professional guidance on how to answer the questions.

  2. Collecting more information about accidents in which you are involved when DUI cases involve accidents, our attorneys will go back to the scene and find any evidence that could work out in your favor during the trial.

  3. Providing legal representation in the hearing. When you hire an attorney for your DUI case, they will help present evidence in your case. Also, we find defenses that are suitable for your situation in an attempt to help you avoid the consequences of a conviction. Sometimes your attorney will negotiate better deals such as getting a plea bargain for your criminal charges.

Mistakes You Need to Avoid During a DUI Arrest and Case Proceeding

The immediate moments after an arrest for DUI are very crucial to your criminal case. Mistakes made during the arrest could cause you to get convicted for the offense. The following are common mistakes you should avoid in DUI arrests:

  • Avoid assuming that you will not win the case. During a DUI arrest, a criminal defender is likely to give you the options that only lead to pleading guilty. You need to always keep in mind that an arrest will not necessarily end in conviction. Also, you should contact your attorney as soon as possible to avoid making statements that could incriminate you.

  • Avoid accepting the BAC used against you in the case. Your blood alcohol content is one of the most substantial evidence that can be used to convict you for a DUI related offense. Before you identify the accuracy of these results, it is crucial to refrain from accepting the consequences. Especially when the results indicate that you were exceeding the legal limit, you should question what the officers present.

  • Failure to question the legitimacy of field tests is not a wise move. Before you get arrested for DUI, the officer will observe any visible signs of intoxication. Also, a field test will be carried out to check your stability and coordination. Field tests are not always an accurate indicator of drunk driving. Therefore, having a competent attorney who will fight back is crucial for the case.

  • Failure to use expert testimonies. In certain circumstances of your case, testimony from expert witnesses can go a long way in ensuring you win the case. When the breath and blood tests are not entirely reliable to prove DUI, the expert can tell whether or not your case is being handled appropriately. Therefore, ensure that you utilize the testimony given by the experts.

  • You are returning to the accident scene. When you get arrested for a DUI after an accident, you may be too shaken to notice anything at the scene. You may not even remember how the accident occurred and your involvement. If you get arrested and are in police custody, ensure your attorney goes back to the scene. This will help identify any challenges that the prosecutor could use against you in the case.

DUI Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some frequently asked questions about DUI arrests and convictions in California:

    1. What is the Meaning of Rising BAC in DUI Cases?

In California, the legal limit of blood alcohol is often 0.08% or higher. However, you will get arrested for exceeding the threshold at the time of driving. The body takes some time to absorb alcohol and reflect in the bloodstream. Therefore, the alcohol level could rise during the process of arrest. Rising BAC is a common defense used to dispute that you were driving with a BAC that exceeded the limit.

    1. Are There Consequences of Refusing to Take Chemical Tests?

Before and after an arrest for driving under the influence, you will be required to submit to chemical tests. For a Breathalyzer test, you can choose to refuse the test without any legal consequences. However, failure to submit to blood tests attracts some legal penalties, including a mandatory license suspension.

    1. Will My Driver’s License Get Suspended Automatically After a DUI Arrest?

After your DUI arrest, there are often two ways in which your driving privileges could be suspended. Even before your criminal case is concluded, the DMV will try to limit your driving privileges. However, your license suspension is not automatic. You will be allowed to defend the suspension by requesting a special hearing with the DMV. License suspension or revocation is also a penalty that accompanies a conviction in the criminal case. The period of suspension will depend on the factors that surround your case, as well as your criminal history.

    1. During the Arrest, Will I Be Allowed to Contact My Attorney before Making Decisions?

There are numerous decisions you need to make during an arrest. This will include deciding to take the tests and answers to give to the questions. If you get arrested at the accident scene, you could be misled to accept fault for the accident. However, during the arrest, you have a right to call your Lakeside Farms DUI attorney who can help you in making decisions that affect your case.

    1. How Intoxicated Do I Need to be for the Police to Arrest Me for DUI?

In California, you get arrested for drunk driving if the percentage of alcohol in your blood or breath exceeds 0.08%. Also, drivers who have not attained the age of twenty-one years face DUI charges for operating an automobile with a detectable level of blood alcohol. For offenses that involve drugs, there is no specific measure to tell the extent of drugs in your body until blood analysis is done.

Expunging a DUI Record in California

The expungement of a criminal record is a process where you are allowed to get rid of your criminal record by turning around your guilty plea. If you have been convicted for DUI in the past, you could be eligible to expunge the records and avoid the negative repercussions of the criminal record. However, not all individuals who are convicted for DUI will get their records expunged. Expungement is available to you if you complete your probation period.

Also, you need not have served a prison sentence for you to receive this privilege. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure your DUI case has the best outcome possible. Your Lakeside Farms DUI attorney will help ensure you receive a short probation sentence, which reduces the amount of time you need to wait and get an expungement. Also, if you can get your probation terminated early, you have a chance to petition the court for an expungement.

When DUI conditions appear in your background checks during job searches, the record may harm your ability to secure employment. If you manage to secure an expungement for your record, employers cannot use the conviction as a basis to deny you the job. Also, an expunged DUI record does not need to be disclosed.

However, it is essential to note that when your driver’s license is suspended for a DUI related crime, an expungement will not overturn the suspension. Also, even when your drunk driving charges are dismissed, it is still considered a priorable offense, and a future conviction attracts enhanced penalties.

Get Legal Guidance from a DUI Attorney Near Me

When your driving conduct is influenced by intoxication from alcohol or drugs, you put yourself and other road users at the risk of injuries. This is because drunk driving contributes to a significant number of severe injuries in California. DUI laws do not tolerate individuals who drink and drive and more stringent measures on drivers who have a history of DUI convictions over a specific time. Whether you were arrested at a DUI stop or after involvement in an accident, drunk driving has serious legal and personal consequences. If you are battling a DUI offense, you would greatly benefit from the guidance of our San Diego DUI Attorney team. Contact our Lakeside Farms DUI attorneys today at 619-535-7150.