In most instances, driving under the influence (DUI) is a crime. Drivers are expected to exercise extreme caution before pulling out into the road. There is no excuse for drunk driving, even if you have the right of way. The law is clear and contains harsh punishment for DUI violators. The defendants face penalties such as hefty fines, imprisonment, and losing their driving privileges. So when you are convicted of a DUI, it would generally show up on your criminal record. Fortunately, you can eliminate the negative consequences of criminal convictions. Contact San Diego DUI Attorney, and your charges possibly may be reduced or dismissed altogether. We will not rest until your criminal records are left with a better outcome.
Definition of DUI Under The Law
California vehicle code 23152 VC has various sections under this code, it is illegal to operate machinery under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. Some theories are required for one to be prosecuted for a DUI. The two main ones are legal impairment and above the legal alcohol level limit. Both have specific definitions, and thankfully your Mesa Grande DUI attorney can help you challenge your DUI charges no matter what theory the prosecutor uses.
In terms of impairment, the prosecution determines whether you can operate your vehicle with the caution regarding features of a sober person who is under similar circumstances. Impairment can occur at any drug or alcohol level. For instance, if you were unable to control your car, and your alcohol level was below the legal standard, you will still be convicted. Your charges would be regulated under Penal Code 23152(a).
The law enforcers created a bright line at 0.08%. It applies to people who are 21 years and above. For commercial drivers, the alcohol limit is 0.04%. For those who are below 21 years, their alcohol level limit is zero-tolerance. The most common determiner of these issues is the initial condition of the driver at the time he or she was pulled over. It does not count the later time of testing, which should be within three hours. That is why, as a defendant, you should know what should happen after a pullover.
What To Do When Stopped for a DUI
If you are pulled over by a police officer, park your car on the side of the road, not to obstruct traffic. Cooperate and do not give any information. The worst scenario is to lie that you had nothing to drink. Your statement would be used in court against you, mainly if your alcohol level was beyond the limit. It is good to be honest and better still keep quiet and request to call your attorney.
The police would ask several questions but do not answer them, and you don’t have to. If they ask for your driving license, give it to them. If, for instance, you smell alcohol, the police would ask you to exit your car as they perform their seizure. Exit your vehicle and allow the cops to do their search.
The cops would then proceed to ask a series of field sobriety questions. These questions are on the arrest report. They would use the answers you give to incriminate you and accuse you at the trial. The wise thing to do is to decline to provide answers respectfully. Do not fall victim to self-incrimination. It is your right to remain silent as it is a legal principle.
Legal Requirements for a DUI Sobriety Checkpoint
Those who are arrested at a DUI sobriety checkpoint may be able to challenge their arrest on constitutional grounds. The police officers may not need to have a fair justification to have stopped you at the checkpoint. But the inspection should meet specific standards. Those legal requirements include:
- The supervising officers must make all the operational decisions
- The criteria used by the police to stop the drivers should be neutral
- The sobriety checkpoint should be located at a perfect place where it is visible
- There should be adequate safety measures taken
- The time is taken, and the duration should reflect good judgment at the checkpoints
- The checkpoint should exhibit its official nature
- The drivers should be given the minimum penalty amount
- A roadblock should be publicly announced in advance
A driver arrested at the checkpoint can form a strong defense if the checkpoints do not meet the above standard requirements. Failure for the police to follow the procedure, the jury might render the specific DUI checkpoint unconstitutional.
Expenses Incurred When You Get a DUI
If you happen to be arrested for DUI, there are specific costs that you have to pay. Court fees, fines, and appearances are just the beginning. For instance, if you get convicted and need your driving license back, you have to attend a DUI class to get it back. There are other expenses like an evaluation of the drinking problem, treatment for the project, paying higher insurance covers, and installing an interlock device in your car.
Once you get arrested, you are put in a police car and taken to the nearest police station. In there, your photograph is taken as well as fingerprints. You can be released by a Mesa Grande DUI attorney who will come to court and help bail you out.
At the arrest time, you are given a summon that explains the date and time that you need to appear in court. You are to face the court and plead guilty or not guilty. If you deny the charges, you have to challenge the charges.
You might lose your driving license even if it is first-time. The license is revoked for a period of a particular time. You might get a slip that is to be used as a temporary license for driving. If you have refused to take the tests, the driver’s license is automatically suspended.
Part of the sentence after conviction includes fine payment. Minimum fines are depending on the type of DUI you are facing. However, those penalties can be enhanced by the turn of events. For instance, if a property was destroyed, another person injured or a minor was in danger, your drunk driving charges can be increased.
Due to the growing number of states, the jail terms have become a must even for a misdemeanor. Although a first-time violator is jailed for 24 hours or two days, it is still jail time. For the subsequent offenders, jail is mandatory with longer terms. On top of that, if there are aggravating circumstances connected to your DUI case, the punishment can increase.
If you are not sentenced to any jail time, you probably get a probation sentence. The presiding judge gives the terms and conditions. If you do not meet the probation terms, you are sent back to jail no matter who you are in society. The probation is another expense that you have to bear, mostly paid every month. The fee paid is for the administration and supervision of your probated sentence.
In San Diego, you have to attend a drunk driving school for your driving privileges to be returned after a DUI conviction. You have to complete the school known as alcohol and drug education program. The costs of the classes are an expense you have to consider.
As part of the drunk driving classes, a trained counselor appointed by the court is ordered to monitor and evaluate your alcohol pattern. His/her role is to determine if you have an alcohol abuse disorder. The evaluator will do this by asking you a series of questions, including how alcohol affects your life. In case the counselor finds out you are alcohol dependent, you have to undergo a court-approved alcohol treatment program to get your driving license back.
A drunk driving conviction leads you to acquire an insurance policy called SR-22 insurance for you to drive a vehicle. The cost of the insurance can either double or triple your premiums. The court will require you to carry the most expensive auto insurance for almost three years.
You have to install an ignition interlock device on your car. The device always requires the driver to take an alcohol-free breath test before the vehicle starts. The installation of these devices and their monthly fee is costly.
All those expenses can be avoided if you only retained a professional attorney. Hire a Mesa Grande DUI attorney and reduce your costs. They will be there for your court hearings to fight for your rights.
Possible Defenses that Convince the Prosecutor to Dismiss Your DUI Case
There are misconceptions that you need to understand that you do not persuade the prosecutor in dismissing your charges. One is to show how you are a law-abiding citizen or your good moral character. Maybe you have never been to court for any offense. These cannot move the prosecution. The second one is to show how you are going to suffer severe penalties if convicted like losing your job or unable to cater for your family. These are also known as collateral consequences.
What would convince the jury to dismiss your case is:
- Problems of proof
- Deficiency in the evidence
- Improper maintenance of breathalyzers
- Your medical condition which is documented that causes high readings on the breathalyzers
- Mistakes by the arresting officers
- Blood and breath analysis equipment malfunctions
- Unreasonable length of detention
- Coerced compliance with voluntary tests
- No reasonable cause to arrest
- Violation of Miranda rules
- A flashlight was shined into your eyes and concluded you were drunk
- Non-compliance with administrative rules
Types of DUI Charges
In San Diego, drunk driving is prohibited. In case a minor under 21 years is arrested for driving with any prescribed alcohol content in the system, a underage DUI can be charged. When you are charged with a underage DUI a Mesa Grande DUI attorney can fight for your interests.
It is not the best situation for someone to wake up to face criminal charges. There are various DUI offenses with cumulative impact. Such effects include loss of your driving license, rare chances to graduate in a school of your choice, or lack of jobs.
Aside from mild offenses, any other type of crime will cause financial havoc. The fine is up to $2,000 for a standard first offense. The penalty for a second offense is $4,000, which has a blood or breath that meets the standard limit. The cost goes up to $10,000 for a criminal offense. Moreover, a conviction could also cost you additional money for automobile insurance.
The type of offense of which you have been arrested can also trigger a jail or prison sentence. Time taken in jail is between 72 hours to 10 years. Luckily, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Being charged with one of the DUI’s does not automatically translate to conviction. You have the right to challenge the charges with the help of an experienced DUI Attorney.
Levels of DUI Offenses
Several levels of DUI offenses are usually considered as misdemeanors. Especially the first and the second. Provided there are no other circumstances that can lead to a felony charge. A good example is where a misdemeanor can turn into a felony when a victim of DUI gets injured or dies as a result of the DUI.
The first offense is prosecuted as a misdemeanor. If you get charged with this offense, you’ll face two separate legal actions. The first one is an administrative action that involves your license suspended. The act requires at least ten days to apply for an administrative hearing. The second action you are going to face is a criminal case whereby you have to follow the court proceedings.
In general, the third and subsequent conviction is charged as a felony. If found guilty, you could be convicted and run the risk of losing your driver’s license, a $10,000 fine, 2 to 10 years imprisonment.
Other types of DUI charges attract a misdemeanor or a felony. Such multiple DUI charges include:
- Irregular arrest when there is a child under the age of 15 years. The fees can escalate from a first misdemeanor to judicial abuse.
- Another crime is an intoxication assault which means that the driver caused bodily injuries of another person while driving under the influence
- We have intoxication manslaughter, which is a second-degree felony. It comes with harsh penalties.
- If the DUI is in a fourth offense and is committed within ten years, you face hefty fines and prolonged imprisonment
If you are charged with some form of DUI crime, retain your excellent legal counsel first. During the arrest, the law enforcer is not always right. Your future is not to be destroyed by the errors of others. Our professional Mesa Grande DUI attorney will look at your case and potentially find violations or inappropriate police actions that might lead to your case being dismissed.
Expungement of Criminal Records After a DUI Conviction
Expungement is the process of getting a release from the adverse effects of DUI convictions. You do not need to go to court, and our Mesa Grande DUI attorney will represent you in the process. If you are an adult, that is 21 years and above, who was granted probation, you must have completed all the terms of probation successfully for you to be eligible for relief under statute Penal Code 1203.4. Additionally, you are also eligible if you were denied parole as long as you are not serving a sentence for any other case.
As soon as you clear court probation for a DUI, you may petition the court to expunge the record for conviction. If the judge grants you the petition, you can withdraw your plea of guilty and re-enter a not-guilty request. Otherwise, if you were found guilty after a criminal trial, the judge sets aside the verdict. Afterward, the judge dismisses the case.
The main advantage of expunging a DUI conviction is how easily you can grab job opportunities. A prospective employer can no longer use the criminal record as a basis for employment. Once the case is expunged, it does not need to be disclosed. If found out by mistake, it cannot be legally right to use it to make employment decisions.
Once your DUI criminal record is deleted, you can comfortably say you have never been convicted of any crime. However, the DUI record will remain in court for ten years. That means you should not pick up any offense within the ten years. If you happened to bend the law within the ten years, it would be treated as a repeated offense even though the previous DUI was successfully expunged.
Find a Mesa Grande DUI Attorney Near Me
If you have been arrested for DUI, do not underestimate the severe consequences of your arrest or conviction. Contact our team at the San Diego DUI Attorney at 619-535-7150 for your free case analysis. We want to hear from you about everything that transpired and led to the arrest. We will offer you our candid opinion as to the likelihood of your case prevailing in court. We will also review your entire record and determine what relief you are eligible for.