Many people arrested for drunk or drugged driving in San Luis Rey Heights feel confused, stressed, and overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed, results in clouded judgments, which may deter you from thinking clearly. Others fail to take the charges seriously to ignore the consequences. At the San Diego DUI Attorney, we understand that taking DUI charges lightly or making clouded judgments can result in harsher penalties. Thus, we have highlighted the biggest mistakes people make in DUI cases below so that you can avoid more significant penalties.

Common Mistakes People Make in DUI Cases

The police are not the only people who make mistakes that cost them a DUI case. Even drivers arrested for drinking and driving make big mistakes out of confusion or failing to take the arrest seriously. While making mistakes is common to humans, making the following mistakes will jeopardize the chances of avoiding DUI consequences:

Treating the Drunk Driving Arrest like a Typical Traffic Ticket

DUI is a crime prohibited under Vehicle Code 23152 of California statutes. For this reason, if you are found guilty, you will be subject to severe penalties based on the type of offense. In case it’s your first time to face a drunk driving arrest, you will face misdemeanor charges. A misdemeanor might appear like a minor offense, but it is a serious crime with the following penalties:

  • Probation for up to 60 months

  • Up to six months of jail incarceration

  • Fitting an IID on your vehicle for not less than four months

  • Six months license suspension if the court denies you a restricted license

  • Penalty assessment and court fines no more than 2000 dollars

The offense also has indirect consequences like increased car insurance premiums and barriers to finding meaningful employment. The offense will also count as a prior during subsequent sentencing resulting in harsher penalties.

In the event it’s your second time to face a DUI arrest, you should take the charges more seriously because the first offense will count as a prior if it occurred within the last ten years. A previous conviction for this crime results in enhanced sentencing. The unfortunate consequences of a second offense DUI are:

  • Misdemeanor probation for at most five years

  • Two thousand dollars court fines and penalty assessment fee

  • Two and a half years in a DUI program

  • Fitting an IID in your vehicle

  • A jail sentence of at least 96 hours and no more than twelve months

If your arrest was for a third DUI within the past ten years, you have more reason to panic because you will be facing severe implications than your 1st and 2nd DUI. The prosecution has the discretionary action to register the offense as a misdemeanor or felony. If they file the case as a misdemeanor, you will be facing the following penalties:

  • Summary probation for between 36 to 60 months

  • Jail incarceration for at least 120 doors but not more than one year

  • Two and a half years of court-ordered DUI classes

  • Penalties, court fines, and assessments of about 2000 dollars

  • Two years of IID installation

When the preferred charge is a felony, a San Luis Rey Heights DUI Attorney can help you avoid punishments which include:

  • 36 months prison incarceration

  • Driver’s license revocation for 48 months

  • Prolonged DUI classes

  • Habitual Traffic Offender status for 36 months

  • Court fines

Remember that if your charge is a felony and you caused injuries to another person, the ramifications will be worse. You will be sentenced to four years in prison if there is another victim in the DUI accident other than you. Besides, if the victim suffers severe physical injuries, the court may impose the same sentence of four years.

Underage persons also tend not to take DUI arrests seriously. They fail to understand that the Zero Tolerance law prohibits persons 21 years or younger against consuming alcoholic beverages. The law further forbids underage drivers from operating a vehicle with a maximum BAC of .01%. The reason many people tend to assume underage DUI is that it is an infraction, which means there is no jail time. But they fail to understand that the offense has other penalties that include:

  • A fine of at least $100

  • Compulsory classes in a DUI school

  • Impoundment of your car in case it’s your second or subsequent sentence

  • Suspension of driving privileges

Apart from drunk driving, a person may be arrested for DUI of drugs. Drugs are defined as any substance that impairs your brain and muscles. They include marijuana, OTC medicines like antihistamines, and prescription drugs that might get you high. Many people assume these arrests because they don’t know the consequences of a conviction. First-time offenders are charged with a misdemeanor whose conviction might attract the following repercussions:

  • Informal probation for between 3 to 5 years

  • Court fines

  • Driver’s license suspension for a half a year

  • 90 days of DUI sessions

For a repeat offender with a 2nd or 3rd DUI, the punishment includes:

  • Hefty court fines and penalty assessment fees

  • Probation

  • Mandatory DUI classes

  • An extended driver’s license suspension

DUI of drugs is a felony if you have a fourth or subsequent offense. If you have a prior felony sentence, a third party died as a result of your DUI of drugs or sustained severe injuries, and the current case is your third time to be involved in a DUI of drugs causing injuries, the offense is a felony too. The penalties for the offense are:

  • 16 to 48 months jail or prison incarceration

  • No more than $5,000 court fine

  • License suspension

The reason people don’t take DUI cases lightly is that some of them are not aware of the above consequences. But if you understand how these penalties can adversely change your life, then you have a reason not to make the mistake of taking these arrests like traffic tickets.

Failing to request a DMV Hearing within Ten Days

After a drinking and driving arrest, you have up to ten days to request a DMV hearing; otherwise, your driver’s license will be suspended. This is one of the biggest mistakes people make because by not requesting the hearing within the window, because after 30 days, you will face automatic license suspension. The license suspension extends for at least 90 days.

The reason a lot of people don’t request a hearing is that they feel the case is hopeless. They assume that the cost of hiring a San Luis Rey heights DUI Attorney is high and the whole process is expensive hence not worth it. However, there are a lot of reasons why you should request a DMV hearing. These are:

  • You get to save your driver’s license

  • You can win the hearing if your San Luis Rey Heights DUI Attorney puts up the right defenses

  • The hearing is an opportunity for your attorney to gather evidence and question the arresting officer, which would help build your case in court

You don’t want to be taking a bus or bicycle going to work, school, or attending court because of a license suspension. Protect your driving rights by requesting a DMV hearing within the provided time.

Representing Yourself at the DMV Hearing

Very few people among those that elect to represent themselves in a DMV hearing end up retaining their driving privileges. The few opt to represent themselves because it is not mandatory to have an attorney for this hearing. The only persons who should represent themselves in this hearing are DUI attorneys or people with knowledge about California DUI laws and Title 17 regulations. If you don’t know these regulations, the DMV will suspend your license. You might apologize to the DMV officer or explain how much you need your license, but this will not protect your license from suspension.

Failing to Consult with a DUI Attorney

Most people arrested for driving under the influence for the first time don’t know who to talk to for guidance. Some get advice from the arresting officer on what to do. Others talk to friends, family members, or relatives who have had a similar experience in the past. It is a mistake to consult a family law attorney or any other attorney who doesn’t specialize in drunk or drugged driving laws. Note that a criminal lawyer who has never handled a DUI case before might cost your case instead of helping.

First, DUI statutes in California are complex, so if the attorney doesn’t understand these laws, you won’t have competent representation. Such an attorney will not know the right defenses to use at different stages of the case. The equipment and evidence used in DUI cases are very scientific and complex for an attorney who doesn’t practice in this field to understand. You are therefore encouraged to hire a San Luis Rey Heights DUI Attorney because he or she has been actively representing clients facing drunk driving charges. The advice by a DUI attorney will also guide you through the process and ensure the outcome of the case is in your favor.

Getting advice from friends or jailhouse lawyers is also wrong because DUI cases are unique for each person. Their experiences are different from yours, so you should seek advice from the right people. The right person to consult with is a DUI attorney. Make sure you hire one immediately after the arrest.

Hiring an Attorney Based on Fees

Hiring the right attorney requires a lot of considerations. One of the things you must put into account is cost. Usually, attorneys who promise to offer their services at the lowest rates in the market cannot be trusted. Most of them are novices who don’t understand the complex DUI laws and how they affect chemical testing, scientific principles, and medical issues relating to blood and breath testing. A DUI attorney who has not been in the market for long will not be up to date with case laws in San Luis Rey heights or even understand the legal proceedings properly. Having such legal representation is a dangerous move because you may end up with a conviction.

But, an experienced San Luis Rey Heights DUI Attorney understands various DUI laws and how they affect your specific case. They will take their time to prepare your case and ensure a favorable outcome. However, their services don’t come at low costs. You must be willing to part with a reasonable amount of money to get quality representation. Remember, you get what you pay for, so if you prefer a cheap attorney, you will end up with poor representation. But if you are willing to pay good money even though not the highest rates in the market, you will get value for your money.

Thinking that the Prosecuting Attorney is on Your Side

The objective of every prosecutor is to get a DUI conviction. To do this, they pretend to be your friends and to have your best interests at heart. But their only aim is to close the case and move to the next. A lot of innocent people, especially those not represented by an attorney, fall into the tricks of prosecutors and end up being convicted. The only person who cares about your interests is your DUI attorney so he or she should be the only person you trust.

Forgetting to Exercise your Fifth Amendment Right

Failing to exercise the right to remain silent is a common mistake among many people arrested for drinking and driving. Many people will try to argue themselves out of the arrest or try to apologize. Unfortunately, attempting to explain yourself out of this never works. Instead, you end up saying things that might incriminate you further. The things you say will be used against you in court, so practice silence and only speak to your attorney about the events that led to the DUI arrest.

Testifying in Your Case

DUI arrestees are encouraged not to take the stand to testify unless their attorney deems the move necessary. The reason for this is that whenever a suspect takes the stand, prior DUI convictions might become admissible in court. The only time you are allowed to testify at your hearing is if you want to refute the false allegations by the arresting officer.

Another reason why defendants are not allowed to take the stand is that most of them are nervous, meaning that they rarely create an impression on the jury or judge. By the time the prosecutor is done interviewing you, the court will be wondering if you are talking the truth or hiding something. If this happens, you will be doing more harm than good in your case. It is advisable to observe your fifth amendment rights to remain silent and let your San Luis Rey Heights DUI Attorney do the talking.

Failure to Appear in Court

Most DUI offenders, especially those arrested for a misdemeanor, are released after being held for a few hours. During the release, they are issued with a citation requiring an appearance in court at a specific date. When this happens, you might feel as if the police have no way of tracking you down if you fail to show up in court. Many people do this, and the next time they are stopped even for a traffic infraction, they end up with an arrest for the outstanding bench warrant, contempt of court, and the initial DUI offense. They end up with long incarceration because of an offense that didn’t require any jail sentence.

Driving on a Revoked or Suspended License

Having to live a life where your driving privileges have been suspended is not an easy thing. You have to rely on friends and family to drive you to work or school. Other people rely on public transport, which is difficult, especially if you are not used to it. Some people might be tempted to get behind the wheel even if they are aware of the license suspension or revocation. It is illegal to drive on a suspended license, and an arrest will result in higher penalties. The offense is a misdemeanor and may result in car impoundment and a fine of 1000 dollars.

Assuming You are Already Guilty

It is common for people to feel that with all the evidence of the arresting officer, they are already guilty of DUI. What they fail to understand is that one is innocent until proven guilty. No matter how strong the evidence against you looks like, a San Luis Rey Height DUI Attorney can negotiate with the prosecution for a plea deal. They will also challenge the prosecution’s evidence, which increases the probability of the outcome of the case being in your favor.

Not Having a Back-Up Strategy

No one hires an attorney to be found guilty. Everyone wants a not guilty verdict, but it doesn’t always happen. If you have a felony DUI or you have multiple prior convictions in your look-back period, your case will go for sentencing. You will have no control over such things, which is why you need a back-up plan or a way of mitigating your losses. If you have a profound and experienced attorney, they will prepare witnesses who will testify about the good that you have been doing in the community. The witness will also testify about the way you have changed or reformed after the DUI arrest and how much a sentence will affect your family’s life in case you are jailed. Such mitigating factors may not prevent sentencing, but they will lead to a lesser punishment. Therefore, you should always have a backup plan.

Find an Experienced San Luis Rey Heights DUI Lawyer near Me

Simple mistakes after a DUI arrest can jeopardize your DUI case. Fortunately, at the San Diego DUI Attorney, we understand the mistakes that people make after these arrests. Contact us right away after a DUI arrest at 619-535-7150. We will provide the legal guidance you need to avoid the mistakes listed above.