Driving while drunk, however much you have disciplined drinking habits, can lead you to trouble since everyone is prone to be tempted to exceed their drinking limit depending on the event. Casual glasses of alcohol from your house on a Friday evening or a cocktail with your drinking buddies can cause problems after you risk driving while inebriated. The San Diego DUI Attorney defends DUI suspects in Potrero, aiming at their freedom. Our experience in DUI offenses has given us the reputation of winning many DUI cases for our clients.

What Is Driving Under the Influence?

Driving under the intoxication of alcohol or any other drug substance is illegal in all states. Intoxicated driving is legally known under different names such as driving under the influence, operating while impaired, and driving while intoxicated. However, the three forms of naming imply:

  • Actual control of an automobile

  • Being drunk while physically controlling it

Being in real control of a vehicle goes beyond having a car in motion. It may imply that even taking a nap in a car while drunk is an offense since stopping the car may mean controlling it. The level of impairment or intoxication differs in definition according to various states’ laws. The Potrero DUI Attorney will help you understand the multiple consequences of varying degrees of BAC depending on the state where you committed the DUI offense. The general threshold for determining driving under the influence is having 0.08% blood alcohol concentration.

Common Reasons for Driving While Intoxicated

The fatalities associated with being in actual control stirs reasoning into investigating why would one consider driving when they know well that they are drunk. Below are the reasons why people drink and drive:

  1. Stress Relieving

People experiencing turbulent psychological symptoms are likely to engage in alcoholism to avert the weight of anxiety temporarily. They dupe themselves into escaping the nagging gravity posed by these disturbing emotions in their lives. The drinking patterns become ingrained into their lifestyle and may find themselves driving under the influence of alcohol. This exposes them to accidents and DUI charges.

  1. Environmental Factors

People often are likely to drink and drive when there are cues in their environment that would stir the craving for alcohol. Such environmental factors could be staying in places where alcohol prices are affordable or are subsidized. These individuals get accustomed to alcohol such that they can drink and drive since getting alcohol is easy. Staying or keeping the company of alcoholics influences people into irresponsible drinking. The motivation to drink can be to relax when a day is well spent with peers, or the budget for alcohol does not exceed the expectations.

  1. Impairment due to Intoxication

Most people do not have a proper conception of how impaired they are when they are drunk. They do not perceive they are unable to control the vehicle. They do not understand the driving limitations when behind the wheel. The people at risk of underestimating their vulnerability when they drive while intoxicated are less experienced drivers or drivers not seasoned in drinking. One always convinces themselves that they are invincible and cannot make mistakes; however, one cannot always trust themselves behind the wheel.

  1. Escaping Financial Responsibilities

People sometimes opt to drive home or their destination. This option is preferred when one lacks the cash to go home after spending on drinking. The cost of taking a taxi is higher than that of fueling a personal car. However, the costs of paying the fees to hire a Potrero DUI Attorney or compensating an injured party are higher than those of hiring a taxi. The best option is to make sure that you have the best back-up plan for going home once drunk.

  1. Social Incentives

People drive after drinking after answering to the social norms of their environment. Social expectations, such as attending cocktails parties on Friday evening, make people drink. People immerse themselves in the tide of wining and dining, forgetting the need to be sober behind the wheel. The bouts of reveling are followed by the most challenging journey home while in this tipsy condition.

People also sometimes drink and drive because they do not want the embarrassment that they are too intoxicated to drive. This desire to prove that they are in actual control of themselves is often dangerous. Hiring a taxi or calling a relative to drive is better than the embarrassment of having to compensate those who you injure after an accident.

  1. Past Alcohol Intoxication Experience

Past experiences as an alcoholic shape one’s future drinking patterns. Reminiscence of recent good times spent with buddies in drinking may strengthen the motivation to drink. Previous positive feelings such as the absence of a flush reaction makes people more lenient in alcohol consumption.

Dealing with DUI Charges

Once you have been arrested and accused in court for prosecution for DUI offense, two charges will be brought against you:

  • A per se charge for allegedly exceeding the lawful blood alcohol concentration, typically 0.08%, or a certain level of intoxication from other drugs while driving. This is preferred charge for exceeding limits since some drivers may not show the warning signs of intoxication but does not mean they are not dangerous to drive

  • An impairment DUI where the intoxication influenced the driver’s driving capability on the road

The arresting officer may raise evidence to validate your reason for arrest and being suspected. The officer may state the driver:

  • Scored negatively in a field sobriety test

  • Had bloodshot red eyes

  • Had alcohol stench

  • Acted as would do an intoxicated person

  • Had an uncoordinated speech while responding to the officer

A Potrero DUI Attorney will give an innocuous version of your behavior and appearance, as explained by the officer. The lawyer will put the following defenses depending on the specifics of your DUI cases and the applicable state law:

  1. You Were Not Driving

In some states, one must be driving for a DUI charge to be valid. Here the prosecutor needs to prove from the officer’s observation that you were driving the vehicle before being stopped. The lawyer will try demonstrating that the car was not in motion, and you were not in any way controlling the movement. The lawyer must be careful about how they defend you using this point of defense since, in many states being in physical control of the vehicle while under intoxication is enough for you to be charged.

  1. Giving an Innocuous Version of the Officer’s Observation

The lawyer should be careful to dispute the observations of the police as it is more dangerous to do so in defense. He could link some observations such as bloodshot eyes as arising from some allergic reactions with things such as light, a past medically prescribed dosage, old age, dust, or some other eye irritants. A disability or an injury of the defendant may be the reason for failing in field sobriety tests. The abnormal behavior such as slurred speech could be related to some form of mental impairment, which may be difficult to distinguish without a proper assessment. If the intoxication came from medically prescribed drugs, one may get some respite from the DUI charges but not entirely since you will flout other federal or state laws.

  1. Challenging the Accuracy of Intoxication Tests

The breathalyzers are not perfect and, therefore, prone to error when used by the officer. A defense based on the significant error may get a defendant off, especially if their BAC level exceeds the 0.08 by a small margin since prosecution cannot prove their exceeding of legal limits beyond a reasonable doubt. They cannot prove that the breathalyzer was accurate or erroneous.

The defense may raise issues that the breath sample was compromised in that it did not correctly measure the alcohol of the BAC according to the lung condition. The officer should allow some minutes for the drink to clear from the mouth of the suspect. The breath sample from the lungs is compromised and may increase the BAC reading if the mouth has some alcohol traces. Your Potrero DUI Attorney will show that the sample was compromised and cannot reflect the defendant’s BAC at the time of the arrest.

Sometimes the officer may administer the blood test instead of breath samples. The officer may challenge the validity of the blood test results.

Blood test results can be compromised by improper storage after collection. The fermentation that results due to improper storage may allegedly inflate the BAC results. The defense attorney can collect facts about how the blood sample was handled after collection and involve an expert in strengthening the basis of the defense. In addition to that, blood draws without a warrant violates the rights of the defendant. If the blood was drawn without the warrant or following the right procedures, then the evidence obtained is not admissible in court.

When the right procedures for collecting the blood sample have been followed by the arresting officers and the blood sample was not compromised through storage, the defense attorney still has the leverage still to defend the accused. The defense lawyer may argue that the BAC at the time of beginning the journey or actual control of the vehicle was adequately aligned to the legal limits but rose in the course of driving. This rise is perhaps because of alcohol metabolism, where at the time of driving, the BAC could be at legal levels but rise at the time of scrutiny. This would also gain respite by reduction of the charges.

Penalties for Driving Under the Influence

A conviction for DUI related offense can attract severe penalties and fines. However, the severity of penalties is dependent on whether:

  • The defendant had committed prior DUI-related crimes in the past according to the records

  • The defendant caused injuries to anyone when driving while drunk

In most cases, the DUI the charge brought against the defendant is always a misdemeanor. DUI offenses are charged as a felony when someone is injured due to your drunk driving or when you have had four or more DUI charges on the record.

When convicted for the first time in California for a DUI offense, these are the possible penalties:

  • A fine ranging from $390 to $1000

  • A jail term not exceeding six months in a county jail

  • Misdemeanor probation ranging 3 to 5 years

  • A court-monitored rehabilitation ranging from three to nine months

  • Other consequences associated with the first-time offense is the requirement to install an IID for six months to be able to drive without any restrictions. If the defendant does not want this option, they get their licenses suspended for a period of six months to ten months, which may be converted to a restricted license. A restricted license enables one to maintain the necessities of life, such as going to work, attend the probation or rehabilitation program

The California law requires one to request for a hearing of their offense within ten days, to evade the suspension of their driving licenses till the trial of their case. The Potrero DUI Attorney you hire will help you in requesting a hearing before the expiration of this period and also defend you in the court.

A second DUI offense within the ten years from the first one attracts the following penalties:

  • A jail term ranging 96 hours to 1 year in a county jail

  • Payment of fines ranging $390 to $1,000

  • Misdemeanor probation ranging from 3 to 5 years

  • Enrolment to a rehabilitation program in a Californian DUI school for a period ranging from 18 to 30 months

  • Compulsory installation of the Ignition Interlock device for a year which gives the convict the authority to drive anywhere. The alternative to this a suspension of the license by the department of the motor vehicle for two years which may turn out to be a restricted license after one year with consequences as mentioned above

A conviction for a DUI offense within ten years after the first attracts the following penalties to the convict:

  • Three to five years of a misdemeanor probation

  • A fine ranging $390 to $1,000

  • A jail term of 120 days to a year serving in a county jail

  • The convict is required to install IID that allows them to drive a car without restrictions. The alternative to this is a driving license suspension for three years. The suspended license may convert to a restricted license after 18 months which consequences mentioned above

  • The department of motor vehicles henceforth registers one as a habitual traffic offender

All these situations discussed above involved a pure DUI offense without injury caused to anyone apart from you. The following are the penalties of committing a DUI offense where another person is injured that is charged as a misdemeanor:

  • Compensation of damages caused by the injuries to the injured person

  • An alcohol rehabilitation program that runs from three months to thirty months

  • Payment of fines ranging from $390 to $5,000

  • A jail term in a county jail that ranges from 5 days to one year

  • Misdemeanor probation for typically three to five years

  • Installation of the IID for six months to be able to drive unrestricted. Alternatively, the license is suspended for one year

When the DUI associated with an injury to a third party and charged as a felony, the following penalties are imposed on the convict:

  • A drug rehabilitation program for 18 to 30 months

  • Registering as a habitual traffic offender for three years

  • Compensating the injured parties

  • Payment of fines ranging from $1015 to $5,000

  • Installation of IID on one’s vehicle for two to three years with an alternative of driving license suspension forever

  • Imprisonment for three to ten to years in state prison. A one to six-year prison sentence accrues to one immediately after the imprisonment as an additional sentence depending on the number of people injured and the severity of their injuries

Apart from the DUI offense that you are charged with the following factors increases the severity of your sentence regardless of the number of times you are being charged with a DUI offense:

  • Having a BAC of 0.15 or higher

  • Causing an accident while driving under the influence

  • Failure to comply with requirements of BAC determination by the arresting officer

  • Over speeding

  • Driving under the influence while having a child aged 14 or below as a passenger

  • Being below 21 years of age, which is the majority for drinking in California, at the time of DUI offense

Having looked at the applicable penalties, your Potrero DUI Attorney will try convincing the jury to give you alternative sentences as you would prefer if found guilty. The alternative sentences include:

  • Doing community service

  • Being put under house arrest and monitored electronically

  • Imprisonment in a private jail

  • Engaging in roadside work through the California Mandatory residence in a sober environment

Find a Potrero DUI Law Firm Near Me

You may be innocent, but your defense lawyer will decipher the weakness in the charges against you. The penalties listed above can be a tremendous pain in your life if found guilty. The San Diego DUI Attorney is top-notch in handling DUI offenses in Potrero and knows the penalties likely to be imposed once convicted. Your charges may be reduced or acquitted courtesy of our aggressive defense. Contact us today by dialing 619-535-7150, if you have DUI charges in Potrero, to get your case evaluated.