A DUI offense is treated harshly in California. Its conviction carries hefty fines, jail time, probation sentence, license suspension, etc.  However, you don’t have to be convicted of this crime. With an expert Mount Helix DUI defense lawyer by your side, you can fight to have the best possible outcome for your case, including a charge reduction or dismissal. There are defenses your lawyer can argue effectively to achieve this outcome. If you need expert legal representation after a DUI arrest in Mount Helix, call San Diego DUI Attorney as soon as possible, so our attorneys can work on your case. This article summarizes what to expect after an arrest and the drunk-driving defenses that could assist you in fighting and beating your DUI charges.

What to Expect After a DUI Arrest

If you’re placed under arrest for drunk-driving in Mount Helix, expect that you will need to defend yourself against the DMV, so they don’t suspend your driving privilege, and against the criminal charges that the prosecutor brings about you. The punishment, if convicted of your crime, depends on various factors like whether or not you have any previous conviction of a DUI crime, your criminal history in general, and the factors surrounding your offense.

However, with the help of an expert defense lawyer, it’s possible to avoid or minimize many DUI consequences. Speaking with a lawyer soon after being arrested is critical so that the attorney can defend your rights and fight for you.

Release From Incarceration

Most people will be released from detention within hours after their DUI arrest. Often, posting bail isn’t required, especially for first-time offenses with no deaths or injuries.

However, being released from jail should not deceive you into thinking that you are free from your charges. Even after being released, you should get an expert DUI defense lawyer, so he/she can give you guidance on what is still to come.

Protecting Your Privilege to Drive

Being arrested for DUI of alcohol will automatically trigger a DMV process that could lead to your license being suspended. This process is referred to as the Administrative Per Se Hearing.

For you to be granted a hearing so you can contest the suspension, you must reach out to the DMV within ten days of your arrest to request it. Failure to demand the hearing will result in your license being suspended thirty days from when you were arrested.

However, should you demand the hearing on time and it’s granted, you’ll be capable of continuing to operate your vehicle while waiting for the hearing since the automatic license suspension will be stayed. The stay could be for several weeks or months.

During the hearing, your possibility of thriving will be lower if you choose to proceed by yourself. But if you hire an attorney, he/she may present proof that shows the suspension of your license isn’t justified. For instance, the lawyer may be able to show that you were illegally arrested, or your BAC level was below 0.08% when you were pulled over. If this is the case, the automatic license suspension could be canceled.

The period of your license suspension depends on various factors. It could range from up to four months for first offenses for non-commercial motorists that are twenty-one years and above and agreed to chemical testing to suspension for life for second DUI offenders commercial motorists.

Obtaining a Restricted License

Even if the DMV or court suspends your privilege to drive, it’s generally possible to acquire a restricted license if you’re a first DUI offender. This implies you could still drive lawfully to & from work, school, or treatment program.

For you to qualify for a restricted license, you should be twenty-one years and above, you should also have submitted to chemical testing, and you shouldn’t have caused injuries during the commission of your crime. Also, you should have enrolled in a first-offense alcohol program, provided proof of insurance to the DMV and paid a reissuance fee to the DMV

For second-time DUI offenders, it may still be possible to obtain this license after ninety days. The offender must agree to have his/her vehicle installed with an IID, and he/she should have enrolled in an alcohol program for multiple offenders.

Penalties For a First-Time Drunk Driving Offender

Criminal DUI charges are distinct from the Department of Motor Vehicle process, whose aim is suspending your privilege to drive.

For first DUI offenders in Mount Helix, punishment for a conviction usually includes informal probation for up to five years, up to about $2000 fine and penalty assessment, and a DUI program that comprises a thirty-hour class, costing approximately $500.

There’s no jail sentence for first offenders when subjected to probation. However, you can serve jail time if specific aggravating circumstances are present in your case, for instance, DUI with a minor,  DUI over the speed limit, etc.

While it’s negotiable, first offenders may also be subjected to participation in community labor, community service, or victim impact panel.

Repeat Offenders Face More Severe Penalties

A second, third, fourth, and subsequent DUI offense carries severe punishments. For instance, if you are a second offender, you will be subjected to at least ninety-six hours and a maximum of a year in jail. Your license will also be suspended for two years, and you will face a fine of up to $1,000 and penalty assessments fee. The penalties get more severe, depending on the number of DUI convictions you have had. For example, third offenders face harsher consequences than second offenders. 

The specific factors of a case always affect what one can anticipate after a drunk-driving arrest. If you are facing misdemeanor charges, your lawyer can appear in court on your behalf, so you do not have to miss work. But if you have past DUI offenses or your DUI caused injuries or death, the stakes increase. However, regardless of the circumstances, you can anticipate better results if you have an experienced Mount Helix DUI attorney by your side.

Legal Defenses You Can Apply to Fight DUI Charges

You cannot afford to give up fighting a DUI case in Mount Helix, especially at the early stages. Regardless of the kind of accusations against you, there always will be a defense strategy you can apply to try to win your case.  The prosecutor may claim you operated a vehicle with a BAC of .20%, which is above the lawful limit of .08%. Or, he/she might allege that your act of driving while intoxicated resulted in a crash, or you were overly intoxicated that you hardly completed the field sobriety tests that were requested of you.

Even if the allegations were true (they aren’t usually), still, several drunk-driving defenses could convince the prosecution to lower your charges or dismiss them altogether. Most defendants enter a guilty plea to DUI charges because they feel the proof against them is insurmountable. However, if you have an experienced DUI attorney by your side, you will find that no proof is insurmountable.

Law enforcement officers mishandle investigations for DUI constantly, and the prosecution always tries to use the fact that a defendant is scared to their advantage. If you are arrested for DUI in Mount Helix, your best move will be to talk to a skilled Mount Helix DUI attorney instead of trying to handle the arrest on your own. The legal defenses you lawyer may help you argue in court include:

  1. Errors in Drunk-Driving Breath Test

A breath test is subject to different mistakes, which include but aren’t limited to:

  • Being improperly handled by law enforcement
  • Instrument malfunction
  • One’s physiological conditions, like the diet an individual takes or GERD.
  • Environmental factors like radio frequency interference

Even though a breath test is the most commonly used way of measuring a person’s BAC, it is not always accurate; the reason being a breath test does not directly calculate the alcohol amount that’s in the blood. Rather, it detects the alcohol amount that’s present in the breath and converts the amount to establish the alcohol amount in the blood.

Consequently, breath tests usually generate falsely high BAC readings. Understanding how this usually happens may be the ground of a winning defense strategy.

  1. Applying the Mouth Alcohol DUI Defense

Breath testing devices are meant to record a breath sample from a person’s deep lung tissues (alveolar air). However, the breath testing instrument may record mouth alcohol instead of simply recording the alcohol in the alveolar air. Capturing of mouth alcohol may occur in these situations:

  • You regurgitated or burped after having drunk a little amount of alcohol
  • Your teeth trapped little alcohol-soaked amounts of food
  • You utilized a breath spray or mouthwash that contains alcohol
  • You took chewing tobacco
  • You suffered from acid reflux, heartburn, or GERD

Consequently, mouth alcohol may trigger an erroneously high BAC level on breath testing equipment. If this is what happened in your situation, you can contest the results of the breath testing as a way of defending yourself against the DUI charges you are facing.

  1. Ketosis Which Results from Having Low Carbohydrate Diets or Diabetes

Bodies that do not get enough carbs will end up using stored fats for energy, a process that generates ketones. When removed from your body through urine or breath, ketones change to isopropyl alcohol. The breath testing devices can mistake this isopropyl alcohol to be ethyl alcohol. Ethyl alcohol is the type of alcohol we drink.  Ketosis occurs due to diabetes or high protein or low-carbohydrate diets.

Therefore, if you get arrested for drunk-driving when on a high-protein or low-carb diet or if you’re suffering from diabetes, ensure to inform your Mount Helix DUI attorney about the situation in which you are. The lawyer may consider using this defense to challenge your drunk-driving charges.

  1. The Defense of Rising Blood Alcohol

Contrary to mouth alcohol, a ‘rising blood alcohol’ defense is relevant irrespective of whether or not you underwent a breath or blood testing for DUI. After you consume alcohol, it takes a particular period (generally between fifty minutes & three hours) for it to get absorbed into your body system.

Thus, suppose immediately you finished taking your alcohol, you got into your vehicle for a drive. A police officer stops you, puts you under arrest, and you are driven to the station for chemical testing. In case the level of your blood alcohol was still increasing when you got arrested, the results of the chemical testing will indicate a higher blood alcohol concentration level compared to the level you had at the time you were driving.

Your blood alcohol content level during the period you took your breath or blood testing is irrelevant. What’s relevant is the level of your BAC during the period you operate your vehicle. If your lawyer is well-conversant with the rising blood alcohol concept, then he/she can use it as a legal defense to your DUI charges.

  1. Errors in DUI Blood Testing

The possibility of mistakes in drunk-driving blood testing is another common DUI defense in Mount Helix. Factors that could result in inaccurate results when it comes to DUI blood testing include blood contamination, blood fermentation, and improper blood sample storage.

Your Mount Helix DUI attorney could bring what we call a blood split motion to know more concerning how the test administrator conducted your blood testing and how he/she stored the sample of your blood. Based on the facts surrounding how your blood sample was collected and stored, your lawyer might be capable of having the results of your BAC excluded from the proof against you. In most cases, this could result in your drunk-driving charges being dismissed.

  1. The Police Did Not Have Probable Cause to Stop You for DUI

Before an officer can pull you over, withhold you to carry out a drunk-driving investigation, or place you under arrest for DUI, he/she ought to have a reasonable belief or reasonable suspicion that you’re involved in illegal activity. The reasonable suspicion/belief is the legal standard that we term as a probable cause.

In case an officer does not have any probable cause to take any of the steps we mentioned above, then the court will suppress any proof that the officer obtains from those stages. When the judge suppresses proof, it means the evidence cannot be used against you.

Therefore, the absence of probable cause is a powerful drunk-driving defense that usually leads to dismissed or reduced charges.

  1. Questioning Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) Accuracy

The truth is that even those FSTs that have proven to be most reliable are not accurate gauges of drug or alcohol impairment.  Those FSTs that have real data to back their reliability are only about 65 to 77% correct at determining impairment, and that is if only they’re precisely administered & scored, which rarely happens.

And the innocent explanations we looked at above, which can be said to be responsible for physical symptoms of impairment, could also explain one’s poor performance in FSTs. Other factors like poor lighting, intimidation by the officer, bad conditions of the weather, awkward footwear like boots, high heels, or dress shoes, and rough conditions of the surface may also make a sober driver fail their FSTs.

The key point here is, your defense lawyer should ensure that the prosecution is not capable of presenting FST performance results as reliable proof against you at trial.

  1. Blood Alcohol Content Level Above the Stipulated Legal Limit Isn’t Similar as Being Under the Influence.

BAC can be affected by several different factors and not only the actual alcohol amount in your body. The factors include, among others:

  • Errors in chemical testing devices
  • Mistakes in drawing your breath, blood, or in specific cases, urine sample
  • The time you finished taking alcohol
  • Your health conditions

We often assume that if a BAC is past the lawful limit, then it necessarily implies driving under the influence. However, this isn’t it, and it’s the work of your lawyer to convince the prosecution and jury this fact.

  1. The Sobriety Checkpoint Did Not Comply with the Law

Driving-under-the-influence sobriety checkpoints have to adhere to the stipulated legal requirements. A few of these requirements include:

  • Ensuring that field officers obey a predetermined procedure for pulling over cars
  • The supervising officers should organize as well as oversee the sobriety checkpoint
  • Advertising the drunk- or drugged-driving roadblock publicly

If the above requirements are not met, your Mount Helix DUI attorney may be able to contest your arrest and challenge the charges against you effectively.

  1. Police Misconduct When Handling Your DUI Case

If you are able to prove police misconduct, the judge may dismiss your charges even when you were guilty of drunk-driving.  The reason for this is that the correct police procedures have to be obeyed. For example:

  • The police report has to be accurate
  • Courtroom testimony should be truthful
  • The procedures under Title 17 regulations have to be adhered to at all times

If these and any other stipulated conditions are manipulated on purpose, the judge will suppress the proof that was fabricated or obtained illegally. Based on how significantly the suppression of this proof affects the prosecution’s case, it may opt to reduce or dismiss your charges.

Find a Skilled DUI Defense Lawyer Near Me

It is not at all impossible to beat DUI charges in Mount Helix. All you need to do after an arrest is ensure you have a competent DUI defense by your side to defend your rights. You should not make the mistake of rushing to plead guilty because every DUI case has a chance of being won if your lawyer effectively argues the defenses we have discussed above. Call San Diego DUI Attorney as soon as you are arrested at 619-535-7150 to be allocated an attorney that will fight for you to ensure you have the best possible outcome for your case.