Facing a DUI arrest as well as the charges that follow is a common occurrence throughout the country, including in the Mount Laguna area. Traffic officers make numerous such arrests per day, targeting people who drive after a significant consumption of alcohol or drugs. A DUI arrest does not always fall under the severe spectrum of crimes committed. Most times, the judge or officer listening to your case will issue penalties under a misdemeanor charge or a mere infraction. However, if your offense of driving under the influence causes severe damage to property or injury to other unsuspecting road users, you could face more severe penalties. Thus, it is essential to seek the services of a qualified DUI attorney who will help you out in the arrest and hearing process.

The San Diego DUI Attorney has well-experienced lawyers who serve in different locations. Our DUI Attorneys in the Mount Laguna area have brilliant knowledge and skills related to DUI defense as well as legal advice that we offer our clients. Additionally, we assure you that professional representation in court or DMV hearing will bring positive results.

The Nature of DUI Charges

Typically, when a traffic officer stops you in suspicion of your drunken state, he /she derives this conclusion from the way you appear to control the vehicle. For example, if you are unable to control the car steadily, it will swerve from side to side and may potentially cause chaos on the highway. Additionally, the officer may observe your use of high speed from a distance and decide to issue an alcohol test for any levels of intoxication. Once the traffic police officer stops your vehicle, the officer proceeds to issue a breathalyzer test that serves to measure and display the amount of alcohol in your body. It is from these figures that the traffic officer can determine whether he or she can make a DUI arrest or not.

Where the BAC displayed on the screen is higher than the maximum percentage regulated by the California statute, the officer has the right to arrest you. When the officers arrest you, they then proceed to enter charges based on the circumstances leading to your offense. Therefore, there are different types of DUI charges that you could face. If you have caused severe damage or displayed high resistance to cooperate with the officers, you could face a more significant DUI charge. Also, the different DUI charges depend on the age group you fall, whether or not you have faced previous arrests or whether you are on driving probation. Depending on the category you fall, here are the different charges you might encounter.

  • Felony DUI

  • Misdemeanor DUI

  • Under 21 DUI

  • Commercial DUI

  • Motorcycle DUI

There are more charges you could face, while sometimes the prosecutor or DMV officer handling your case could combine costs to create even more significant penalties against you. Regardless of whatever accusations you face, your Mount Laguna DUI Attorney will work to ensure that you undergo a fair hearing.

What To Do After An Officer Stops You For a DUI Test

The conduct that a DUI suspect exhibits after the traffic officer stops you worsen a majority of the aggravated cases that attract more significant penalties. Thus, it is imperative to remain calm and cooperative to prevent any report that could complicate a simple DUI offense. Your Mount Laguna DUI lawyer advises you to:

  1. Cooperate In Taking Breathalyzer Tests

The only way to prove your guilt or innocence is by accepting to undergo the alcohol test that a traffic officer issues. It consists of a portable device that has a tube for you to blow. The breath from your mouth is enough to provide a sample that displays the alcohol levels present in your blood. When the officer stops you and asks you to breathe into the machine, we recommend that you follow the instructions even if you are sure of your guilt. You do not have to worry about what happens after the calibrator reads a higher percentage than the law requires, as your Mount Laguna DUI Attorney can negotiate some plea deals for you later.

  1. Avoid Answering Questions That May Incriminate You Further

The law gives you no obligation to provide any self-incriminating evidence, including answering any questions that may land you in more trouble. For example, you do not have to answer if an officer asks you how much alcohol you have had, or how long it has been since you took the last drink. Moreover, questions relating to your whereabouts, like whether you have come from a club or a bar, are irrelevant to such an officer. You do not have to answer them as long as you remain respectful and cooperative in taking the test. Hence, you should not fall for any intimidating acts that a traffic officer pulls on you since you have no obligation to answer to his or her questions.

  1. Show Your License

One of the first requirements that the officer asks of any driver is to produce the driver’s license. This step is critical because it proves your identity and shows that you are competent enough to operate a vehicle after completing driving classes. Therefore, if you fail to cooperate and produce the license, the traffic officer may suspect that you stole the car by joyriding, or may not even have requisite qualifications to operate a vehicle. Moreover, failing to produce a driver’s license is an offense under vehicle law, which may attract more penalties.

  1. Decline Field Sobriety Tests, If Possible

On top of administering a DUI breathalyzer test, a traffic officer may require further proof of your alleged sober state, if you claim to be. Consequently, the officer may issue additional sobriety tests like asking you to walk for some meters in a straight line to see if you will stagger and fall. Moreover, some officers are prone to issue mind tests, like crossfire mathematics questions, or visual tests that require a high level of concentration even for an average person. While it is not illegal for an officer to administer such tests, you are also not obliged to undertake them, mainly because they are highly inaccurate. For example, it is not fair to issue a suspected drunk driver with tests that even an average person who is not intoxicated could fail.

  1. Remain Calm To Avoid Losing Your Temper

Whether you are aware of it or not, anything you do before a DUI arrest may become incriminating evidence in a trial process. Some of the behaviors that may build up the prosecutor or DMV officer’s case against you are:

  • Being loud and uncooperative to the instructions that the officer gives you

  • Displaying unusual behavior like talking to yourself

  • Losing balance and staggering around as you try to prove your sobriety

  • Using abusive language while speaking to the officer

While a majority of the DUI offenders engage in these actions because they are drunk or high, the officer may record them and still introduce the evidence in a hearing against you. Therefore, your Mount Laguna DUI Attorney recommends that you remain calm throughout the interactive process with an arresting officer, to avoid any instances of justification to your intoxication.

Law Provisions Against DUI Crimes

Like any other offense, drunk driving is prohibited under statutory provisions. The state of California has separate traffic laws that fall under the California Vehicle Code. The primary section related to DUI offenses is23153The rule prevents motorists from engaging in drunk driving with any alcohol content greater than 0.08%. Moreover, subsections of the provision further prohibit anybody who has not attained twenty-one years from driving with any alcohol percentage greater than 0.01%. The regulations that govern this category of people are more rigorous and specific to prevent young people from unauthorized alcohol consumption.

Also, the code prevents commercial drivers from operating vehicles after taking any alcoholic drink that may lead up to a blood alcohol concentration above 0.04%. The drivers also face stringent rules because of the impact their work has on a large group of people. The dependants of their work range from passengers in buses to wholesale traders who rely on transit drivers to deliver their goods, thus the drivers must provide service.

On top of this, drivers on probation also face a high level of scrutiny from traffic officers, mainly because they are likely to have undergone previous DUI arrests and penalties. Accordingly, they should follow the strict zero policy rules that do not tolerate a driver to operate a vehicle after consuming any alcohol or drugs. The policy applies to under twenty-one drivers as well, who are not legally allowed to take any alcoholic drink.

What Next After A DUI Arrest?

Driving under the influence is a fault classified under strict liability. This means that you are not required to prove any further action showing your innocence or guilt, as long as the breathalyzer test indicates higher levels of alcohol concentration than the law permits. Thus, if you have broken any of the rules available in the code, you will face arrest.

  1. The Booking Process

After the police officer takes you into police custody, your booking process begins a few moments later, depending on when you are arrested. However, if the officers at the station delay in starting a booking process, you could raise the issue later to your DUI attorney, who will follow up on the matter and bring it forth for deliberation before a hearing begins. Essentially, the booking process allows the officers to capture your details and store them for future reference. Here are the procedures you should expect to undergo:

  • An officer will collect your items like your phone, wallet, and jewelry to store them safely. You should not worry about the safety of precious items, because the police at the station are responsible in case of any losses or damages.

  • The officers will conduct a body search to ensure that you do not have any dangerous objects like pen knives or drugs on you.

  • Officers also record your details. These include your physical and email address, phone number, age, and the name of the next of kin.

  • You will also have photos taken for your identification, including mugshots. They have specified details of your height, weight as well as the date of arrest.

  • Lastly, the officers at the station will take your fingerprints and upload them to their system for your identification.

Once they complete these processes, the booking process is done, and you are put inside one of the available cells. It is important to note that through the process, an officer can determine if you have any previous criminal record by checking for any matches to your identification data. Although this may call for a more significant penalty, you should not worry about it because the matter is ultimately determined by the presiding judge or DMV officer handling your case.

After the booking process, you have a right to make a phone call to any person you may require to inform of your arrest. It is at this point that we encourage you to contact your Mount Laguna DUI Attorney because he or she is aware of the processes to initiate next. You should take your time to give important details that will help the attorney locate you. They are:

  • The location of the station where you are detained

  • Your full name

  • Your contact information

  • The contact details of your loved ones, for us to contact them

Moreover, if you are a loved one seeking services on behalf of the arrested person, ensure that you give us the above-mentioned details, as well as the arrested person’s details.

After the DUI Booking Process

Once your DUI lawyer takes charge of the situation, you will get released from police custody on a bail-bond agreement. Hence, after your release, your trial process begins. Based on the nature of your case, you could decide to have a trial process in the Department of Motor Vehicles(DMV) in San Diego, California, or proceed to a court trial. However, most cases are directed to a DMV hearing first, because they are often not very severe or complicated.

  1. The DMV Hearing

If you decide to proceed with a DMV trial, you need to make an application to the offices within ten days of your arrest and release. The time restrictions are stringent, and could quickly attract further penalties or delays in your case if you apply late. In the DMV hearing, the setting is more informal than in court proceedings. An officer who is not necessarily a legal connaisseur is put in charge of the DUI case and has to determine the outcome. While the setting seems relaxed, you still require a DUI attorney by your side, because the arguments from the opposing side may quickly become confusing and technical, much to your disadvantage. Another advantage of opting for a DMV hearing is that the accused does not have to be physically present in the office. Instead, you can request a phone call hearing if it is impossible to go for the actual meeting.

  1. Court Hearing

Alternatively, you may choose to proceed for a court hearing after release on the bail-bond agreement. Most cases that continue are where you genuinely believe that you faced unfair arrest, and are, therefore, seeking redress to the matter. The first process upon beginning the trial is the plea taking. Here, the judge presiding over your case requires you to answer to the charges by either pleading guilty or not guilty. Depending on the choice you make, the trial process either comes to a quick conclusion or continues to the evidentiary process.

When you plead guilty, the process may be more smooth and straightforward for you. This is because, in most cases, an officer enters a DUI charge. After all, such an officer is sure of your offense. Therefore, if you accept the charges, your Mount Laguna DUI Attorney can formulate a Plea Bargain For you. The bargain is very convenient for your case because it allows the judge to reduce the penalties you face significantly. The penalty reduction comes after your unconditional acceptance of the wrongs you committed by driving under the influence. Thus, the bargain saves a lot of time and resources that are used when a trial proceeds.

However, if you are sure of your innocence, your lawyer can still proceed to introduce evidence and witness statements in your defense. If he/she lawfully argues out your case, you are assured of acquittal.

Penalties To DUI Offenses

A first time offender faces more lenient penalties if the officer finds him or her guilty of a DUI offense. The available penalties to such a person are:

  • Payment of a fine that may amount up to $1000.

  • Face two to six days in jail.

  • Face a license suspension for up to six months.

  • Take up mandatory DUI program classes.

A subsequent offender may face more severe penalties, especially where she/he has committed a DUI offense multiple times within ten years. They vary depending on how many times an offender repeats the DUI offense, and whether the DUI caused any injuries or death. The penalties for the most severe offense are:

  • Four months to a year in jail

  • A four-year license revocation

  • Attendance of mandatory DUI classes for a specified period

  • $1000 fine payment

In extreme cases, a driver may face a complete license revocation, which means that he or she loses any future driving privileges.

Find A DUI Attorney Near Me

Establishing a course of action after a DUI arrest is not easy, especially if it is your first time. You require the guidance and expertise of a DUI attorney to help you through the various applications and hearing processes you will face. Should you or your loved ones face any DUI charges, feel free to contact the San Diego DUI Attorney serving in the Mount Laguna area. We will be happy to hear from you and offer our services. Reach us today at 619-535-7150.