The laws in California forbids drunk or drugged driving. California has harsh penalties compared to other states when arrested for driving under the influence. A conviction attracts jail sentences and fines, among other steep penalties. The consequences that come after are equally devastating. If you were seeking college admission, a conviction can cost you entry into your favorite college or even deny you financial aid. Some of these, among many others, make it crucial to fight against DUI allegations and avoid a conviction.
For you to increase your chance of an acquittal or to receive lesser penalties, getting an experienced attorney to represent you is critical. If you are in Lakeview, look for the San Diego DUI Attorney who is experienced in DUI cases and offers the critical defense required.
How Do You Get Arrested for a DUI Offense?
Most individuals assume they can drink and drive without being noticed, especially when they feel they are not impaired enough for an officer to see. Although this may be true in some cases, you may violate other traffic offenses that may lead to a DUI arrest. The most important thing, however, is to understand that an officer must have a probable cause to stop you before charging you with this offense.
It is within the law in California for various police departments to put up checkpoints at multiple destinations. These checkpoints are usually communicated earlier. Their purpose is to discourage drunk or drugged driving as well as to arrest those violating the law. There are rules on how a checkpoint is operated and are critical to your defense if arrested.
Ideally, a checkpoint is designed with a formula on how to make the arrests. The department may decide to stop four cars and let three pass. This is a random formula to avoid complaints that a person was targeted for the arrest. When arrested at a checkpoint, the police department will often show how they were making the arrests to warrant fairness.
When stopped at a checkpoint, an officer will engage you in an interview to ascertain if you are impaired or not. He or she will also be looking at any symptoms indicating intoxication such as bloodshot eyes or slurred speech. When the officer feels it is necessary to carry further investigations, you will be asked to step out of the car as they also demand your license and registration. Should you fumble as you present the license or stumble as you get off the vehicle, it is an indication of intoxication.
An officer will ask you to submit to FSTs that may include a PAS. A PAS test, although not as reliable as a chemical test, serves to give the police an indication of your intoxication level. Some of the standard field sobriety tests you will be asked to include:
Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN)
One leg stand and
Walk and turn
The PAS typically records your BAC levels while the FSTs indicate impairment along with the physical symptoms that you display. Failure in these tests often prompts an officer to arrest you and carry out further investigations at the station.
DUI arrests do not only happen at police checkpoints. An officer would have other reasons to stop you and end up arresting you for a DUI. Most drivers are stopped for a violation of traffic rules. For instance, when you disobey traffic lights, drive carelessly or over the speed limit, or even have a broken tail light, you will get stopped by an officer. Once stopped, the officer may observe intoxicated symptoms or smell marijuana or alcohol.
This will prompt them to search your car to find evidence indicating you have been drinking or taking drugs. Whether the evidence is there or not, the officer will ask you to subject to FSTs or a PAS. Depending on the results, the officer may arrest you for more testing. At this time, you must know that there is a high possibility you will get charged with the crime of drunk driving. This should prompt you to find a local Lakeview DUI attorney to represent you during the trial.
When an accident occurs, police officers are typically called to the scene. One of the roles of the officer is to establish the cause of the accident and give a report. All the drivers involved in the accident are subjected to a chemical breath test to determine alcohol intoxication. If a driver is not conscious or is unable to give a breath sample, blood is drawn and tested for intoxicants. If found to have a BAC above the legal limit or drug intoxication, you get charged with a DUI offense.
What Happens After a DUI Arrest?
Once arrested for a DUI, the arresting officer will want to carry out further investigations before formally charging you with the offense. The investigations, in this case, include chemical tests that act as a confirmation of intoxication. It is, however, essential to know that even when the results do not show intoxication, you can still get charged with a DUI offense, according to VEH 23152(a).
According to the law of implied consent, you are expected to submit to a chemical test that involves testing your breath or blood for intoxication. When a person obtains a driver’s license in California, they are subjected to this law. This implies that when you are legally arrested for a DUI, you need to agree to a chemical test, failure to which your consequences are enhanced.
After the tests, you will be cited for the offense. Your license will be taken away and, in its place, a temporary one issued. In most cases, you remain in custody until bail is set and paid, or the judge lets you go on your own recognizance. You will, however, be given the notice to appear in court for your trial, which you should share with your Lakeview DUI attorney.
The Per Se Hearing in Your DUI Charge
Usually, a DUI arrest would trigger two types of charges, the court trial and per se hearing. After the legal arrest and charges are made, you get a court date where you will come with your lawyer to take a plea and the trial to commence.
Aside from the court trial, a DMV hearing is also triggered, which is the per se hearing. This happens when your chemical results indicate intoxication by drugs or alcohol. When your level of intoxication is beyond the legal limit, you trigger an automatic per se hearing. The legal alcohol limits in California are what is known as Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). These limits are:
Driving when your BAC is at 0.08% or above for regular vehicle drivers
A commercial driver operating a vehicle when their BAC is 0.04% or more
An underage driving with a BAC of 0.01%
A driver serving a DUI probation driving with a 0.01% BAC.
You are having drugs in your system, causing intoxication or impairment.
It is essential to note that there is no indication of a measure of drugs that must be present for you to be charged with a DUI offense. If an officer can establish other signs of impairment and your blood chemical test indicates you were high on drugs or had taken medication to cause impairment, you will get charged.
A per se hearing is where the DMV carries out a hearing to determine the suspension of your license. When the officer takes away your license, he or she sends it to the DMV together with a detailed report of your arrest and the results from the chemical test.
The DMV upon receiving the report and your license will use registered mail to inform you of the possible suspension of your license. However, they will allow you to request the per se hearing, which is carried out and presided over by a DMV officer. This hearing is, however, not automatic, but you must request it in ten days from receiving the notice. When you fail to ask for the hearing, the DMV will go ahead and suspend your license.
Once you receive the date of your per se hearing, your Lakeview DUI attorney starts the process of preparing your defense. This will include obtaining the police report, studying it, and analyzing it for any inconsistencies. Your lawyer will also interview you extensively about the events leading to the arrest and how the investigations were carried out.
During the hearing, your lawyer will question the officer and present a convincing argument against the suspension of your license. The DMV officer, after listening to your side, and the evidence brought against you, will decide to suspend or not to suspend your license.
It is also essential to understand that not everyone qualifies for a per se hearing. If you refuse a chemical test, you automatically lose your right to a trial. Equally, if you do not request a hearing within the given time, you also lose this right. This means, the DMV will suspend your license, and the court outcome will not affect its decision.
What to Expect of You as a DUI Suspect and Defendant
What you do from the point you are stopped by an officer to the trial time determines the punishment you receive or the consequences of your offense. Some essential things you must do include:
When stopped by an officer, do not attempt to speed off. Obedience and cooperation are vital for your case. When an officer stops you and requests for field sobriety tests, cooperating with him or her is critical. However, you do not have to submit to these tests as opposed to a chemical test when arrested. An officer is inclined to be lenient with you when you respect them and their work.
If you are currently on DUI probation or are below 21, you must agree to the FSTs. These include submitting to a preliminary alcohol screening test. When you decline, the refusal will result in the enhancement of your penalties. If you are serving probation, your sentence may get revoked and a jail sentence imposed in its place.
Never resist arrest even when you feel the process was not legal. Instead, agree to it and take note of all the happenings. This is essential information that you will share with your Lakeview DUI attorney while preparing for your defense.
Do not decline to take a chemical test because of the harsh consequences of your refusal. However, take note of the procedure used and how it has been carried out. Inform your attorney of everything that happened, being careful not to leave some details out. This is important because the tests must be carried out according to the regulations set out under Title 17. When your lawyer notices the right procedure was not used in the testing, this is crucial evidence that can lead to the dismissal of the allegations against you.
Upon receiving a notification from the DMV, request for a hearing and inform your lawyer. Although you can represent yourself during this hearing, having a lawyer represent you increases your chance of winning the trial.
Tell your lawyer and arresting officer if you have an underlying medical condition that could be making you display intoxicated symptoms. Some situations, such as allergies, may result in bloodshot or watery eyes. Flu can also show similar signs and fatigue. Additionally, some medical conditions such as diabetes can result in a person producing a breath that has alcohol like properties. All these are crucial in your defense and avoiding a wrongful conviction of the crime.
Why You Need an Attorney
Of all these requirements, the most important one is to find an attorney to represent you during your trial. Your experienced attorney understands what to look for, the questions to ask the witnesses. He or she will also identify inconsistencies in the evidence against you. Some of the things your Lakeview DUI attorney will look at while preparing your case include:
The Police Report
The report prepared by the arresting officer is crucial to your lawsuit. It is the central document used in raising charges against you. Your lawyer has a right to get a copy of the police report and speak to the arresting officer before trial. Through the report and during the interview, your lawyer will ask critical questions that will assist in your defense.
Your lawyer will want to check if the officer had a probable or legal reason to stop you. This is crucial because if you were illegally stopped and arrested, it is against the law and can lead to your acquittal. Your lawyer will also look at how the FSTs were carried out and the report of the results. Field sobriety tests are known not to give valid, or the most accurate impairment results and are an excellent area for defense.
Chemical Test Procedure
The correct procedure of taking a chemical test must be followed according to Title 17. For instance, before taking the chemical breath test, did the officer observe you for at least 15 minutes to make sure you ate or did belch? If you eat anything or belch, the results from your breath test are likely to be influenced and result in false recordings.
If blood was drawn for your test, there is a procedure and requirements under Title 17. One of these is that there must be another sample stored to carry out further tests if required. If no blood was set aside, this violates the rules. Additionally, your lawyer will check if the blood may have been contaminated as well as making sure the correct procedures were followed.
If you are involved in an accident, the police may have a statement from a witness indicating you were drunk. For instance, the bar attendant from the pub you were at may suggest that you were drunk and refused to take a taxi. Also, a witness of the accident may claim that you seemed drunk, and you were driving recklessly, causing the accident. These witnesses may be called to give evidence against you during the trial. Your lawyer will analyze their statements before and identify any inconsistencies that may help your case.
One of the main goals of having an attorney represent you is to avoid incarceration or receive lenient penalties. It is the role of your attorney after analyzing the evidence to advise on the likely outcome. Your lawyer can also encourage you to consider a plea bargain. This means, when the evidence against you is overwhelming, your lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor for a deal.
The prosecutor, after convincing persuasion, may offer to lessen your charge by demanding a guilty plea for a lesser charge. A lesser charge, in this case, will result in lower penalties that will be favorable to you. You can also get lesser penalties by pleading guilty to the offense instead. All these will work together to your advantage, and your lawyer is the one that will facilitate the negotiations.
Ideally, a lawyer increases your chances of getting the charges against you dropped by presenting a convincing argument. For instance, after establishing the loopholes in the prosecutor’s case, your attorney will have valid points to argue against your conviction. If these arguments are convincing enough, the charges against you are dismissed, or you receive a lenient sentence.
Find an Attorney Near Me
No one wants a conviction in their record with the multiple repercussions that follow. The primary aim, when faced with DUI allegations, is to escape a conviction or incarceration. This becomes a possibility when you engage an experienced attorney that understands the requirements for a successful representation. When in Lakeview, you can find the skilled San Diego DUI Attorney to stand with you and fight the allegations on your behalf. Call us at 619-535-7150, and we can schedule an appointment to discuss your case.