Driving under the influence is an offense that’s broad and covers many aspects. Additionally, several statutes guide the sentencing and the penalties imposed if you are charged with it. Therefore, you need to understand most of these aspects and laws so that when you get arrested, you would know the best steps to take. For you to understand more about DUI, you need the help of a DUI lawyer who can explain in detail everything that has to do with this offense. In this article, attorneys from the San Diego DUI Attorney answer most of the frequently asked questions about drunk- or drugged driving in San Onofre and how it is handled. Also, if you need legal representation after a DUI arrest, do not hesitate to reach out to us as soon as possible so we can start working on your case without delay.

What is Driving Under the Influence (DUI)?

DUI means operating a motor vehicle when you have a BAC (blood alcohol content) that’s above the stipulated legal limit. It can also mean driving an automobile when you are under the influence of an illegal or legal drug that impairs your ability to drive. The latter is commonly known as driving under the influence of drugs (DUID). There are various forms of DUI of alcohol that you can be charged with depending on the level of alcohol content in your blood, your age, and the kind of vehicle you drive. They include:

  • VC 23152a, standard DUI

  • VC 23152b, driving when you have a BAC of 0.08% or more.

  • VC 23152d, commercial DUI

  • VC 23152e, DUI for a limo, taxi, Lyft, or Uber drivers

  • VC 23152f, driving under the influence of drugs

  • VC 23140, underage driving with a BAC of 0.05% or higher

  • VC 23136, Zero-Tolerance law (BAC 0.01% or more)

Who Can Get Stopped for Suspected DUI?

Any person can be placed under arrest for driving while intoxicated with alcohol or drugs, irrespective of the real reason that made the officer stop the car. Generally, an officer needs to have a probable cause to pull over a vehicle. This means that the officer ought first to identify a violation of traffic rules, any pattern of suspicious driving, or breach of vehicle equipment safety rules for him/her to pull over the car. An exception is when it comes to DUI checkpoints whereby all drivers may be pulled over and scrutinized for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs without any probable cause.

What Steps Should I Take After Being Pulled Over for DUI?

Upon being stopped for suspected DUI, you should be courteous and polite to the officer. However, remember that the law safeguards you from self-incrimination. Therefore, if the arresting officer asks you incriminating questions like whether you have been drinking alcohol or using drugs, you do not have to agree, neither do you have to lie. Your best move would be to say that you need to talk to your San Onofre DUI attorney before you can answer any question.

Must I Take Field Sobriety Tests?

You don’t need to take field sobriety tests. The idea here is that you should not submit to the tests if you know or think you may fail since doing that would only create more proof against you.

Must I Undergo a PAS Testing?

The answer to this question is no. You don’t need to undergo PAS testing unless you’re below the age of twenty-one years, or you are on a DUI probation. However, in case you decline to take the test, you could still be put under arrest then taken to the police station, hospital, or jail, where you’ll be required to undergo chemical testing (a DUI breath, blood, or urine testing).

What Will Happen if I Refuse to Undergo Chemical Testing?

If you decline an officer’s order to undergo chemical testing to establish the level of your BAC, you could lose your privilege to drive for a year. Before the suspension of your license, the DMV must prove that the officer that requested you to undergo testing had a valid reason to believe you were driving under the influence and that you failed or declined to complete any of the required BAC tests.

Are There Any Penalties for Evading a Sobriety Checkpoint?

Avoiding a sobriety checkpoint alone isn’t considered a reason for an officer to pull you over. However, if in the process of evading a DUI checkpoint, you break traffic laws or display patterns of impaired driving, you could be pulled over and get assessed for driving under the influence.

Can an Arresting Officer Confiscate My License?

California law gives officers the mandate to take away your driver’s license and give you a notice of suspension in case you fail your chemical test. This surprises many people since, in the real sense, it is a penalty being imposed before you’re found guilty in a court of law.

Will I Automatically Be Granted a DMV Hearing Concerning the Suspension of My License?

The answer is no. Should you fail to reach out to the DMV in ten days from when you were arrested for DUI, you will lose the right to this hearing. This also means you’ll forfeit the chance of having your suspended driving privilege reinstated. We highly recommend that you reach out to your San Onofre DUI attorney who will help you through the procedure for requesting the DMV hearing. The attorney can also represent you in this hearing.

Can I Represent Myself in the DUI Case?

Yes, you could represent yourself. However, doing that is not the best idea, and we do not recommend it. This is because DUI is a complex area of the law with increasingly severe consequences. There are complicated evidentiary, procedural, sentencing, administrative licensing, and constitutional issues.

We advise that you hire a qualified lawyer who can:

  • Review your case for any defects

  • Compel discovery of things like maintenance and calibration records for the breathalyzer machines

  • Suppress evidence

  • Have your blood samples analyzed independently

  • Negotiate for a reduced sentence or lesser charge

  • Challenge the DMV license suspension

  • Look for expert witnesses to testify at the trial, etc.

How Will a DUI Defense Lawyer Help My Case?

Apart from what we have mentioned above, your San Onofre DUI attorney can assist you in defending your rights during the proceedings of your DUI case. A drunk- or drugged-driving lawyer is specifically experienced in all or most of the technical elements of DUI. He/she knows how he/she can challenge the accuracy of breath tests, blood tests, and field sobriety tests successfully by using hard evidence as well as expert witnesses. In case the proof that the prosecution has against you is strong, your lawyer may still be capable of helping you by negotiating a reduced sentence and penalties.

Can My DUI Charges be Contested Successfully?

You can beat your DUI charges based on the circumstances and facts surrounding your case. BAC measurements, lapses, and discrepancies in arresting and testing procedures, disclosure of the testing method or device, the training of the person that administered the test, and lab certification can all be challenged during the proceedings of your case.

How Much Would a DUI Case Cost Me?

A drunk or drugged-driving charge may make you suffer costs in the form of fines. Apart from prison/jail time, another penalty you can face after a DUI conviction is a minimum fine of $390 for either a felony or misdemeanor DUI. The highest amount of fine you can be asked to pay for a misdemeanor DUI offense is $1000, while that of a felony crime is $5000. In all these cases, the amount of fine to pay is generally established after considering the assessment fee amount plus other penalties. The fines we mentioned above are only court-imposed. Apart from them, we have additional costs like the cost of installing an ignition interlock device in your car, an increase in insurance premiums, and the cost of SCRAM devices. All of these may cost you more than $10000.

What Does a Police Officer Look at While Searching for Under-the-Influence Motorists on the Roads?

Here are the various signs of the probability that you are driving under the influence that an officer will look out for. These symptoms are dependent upon the study carried out by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Administration). They include:

  • Weaving

  • Swerving

  • Almost striking another vehicle or object.

  • Drifting

  • Following another vehicle too closely

  • Headlights off

  • Turning illegally or abruptly

  • Braking erratically

  • Decelerating or accelerating rapidly

  • Stopping abruptly

  • Responding slowly to traffic signals

  • Driving at a speed of over 10 miles per hour below limit

  • Stopping without reason in a lane of traffic

  • Crossing or driving into opposing traffic

  • Turning with a wide radius

Incidentally, speeding isn’t a sign of driving under the influence. Because of reflexes and quicker judgment, speeding could indicate sobriety.

Can I Choose Which One to Take Between a Blood and Breath Test?

In San Onofre, you have the option of choosing a blood, breath, or urine test. However, if you opt for a breath test, you may again be requested to undergo urine or blood testing. This mostly happens if the officer suspects you to be under the influence of drugs. Also, unlike in blood tests, a sample of your breath can’t be saved, and thus the defense cannot re-analyze it later.

The results of blood testing are certainly the most accurate compared to others. Breath testing devices are prone to several problems making them less reliable. However, urine tests are, by far, the least accurate. Therefore, if you’re sure that you’re sober, blood testing is the ideal choice. Urine testing, being the least accurate, is the perfect choice if you think your BAC level is over the stipulated legal limit.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?

If you are a DUI offender, you may be required to install an IID in the vehicles that you use frequently. This device is installed to ensure that you do not drive unless your blood alcohol concentration level is lesser than the legal limits. Note that you will cover the cost of installing this device in your car. However, this gadget isn’t an assurance of safe driving since a driver can subject his/her friend to take the test, but it still helps for those motorists that are transparent.

What Are the Various Legal Defenses I Can Use in My DUI Case?

Possible DUI defenses are almost unlimited because of how complicated this offense is. Here are the most common ones that your San Onofre DUI attorney can apply:

  • You Were Not Driving- Proving that you were intoxicated isn’t enough for you to be convicted of DUI. The prosecution must be capable of proving that you were driving for you to be found guilty. The prosecutor may find it difficult to prove that you were indeed driving at the time of the arrest if there aren’t any eyewitnesses to attest that they saw you driving.

  • Lack of Probable Cause- The judge will suppress any proof obtained against you upon being pulled over or getting arrested if the arresting officer didn’t have any legal reason or cause to do so.

  • You Were Not Read Your Miranda Rights- The arresting officer is supposed to read to you your Miranda right if he/she has arrested you and wants to conduct a custodial interrogation. A custodial interrogation happens when the police ask you questions that are meant to draw incriminating answers after an arrest. If the officer did not read to you your Miranda rights at the right time, any incriminating statements you provided upon questioning could be suppressed.

  • Implied consent warning- If the arresting officer didn’t advise you about the repercussions of declining to submit to chemical testing, or gave the wrong advice, it could invalidate a license suspension by the DMV based on the refusal to provide a blood or breath sample.

  • Challenging BAC results- Several possible problems may arise when it comes to breath, urine, or blood testing. For instance, most breath testing devices may register most of the chemical elements found on human breath as alcohol, which may lead to false results. Radiofrequency interference may also lead to inaccurate readings. Your San Onofre DUI attorney may bring out these and any other flaws in analysis during cross-examination of the prosecution’s expert witness, or the attorney can hire his/her forensic chemist.

What is the Rising Blood Alcohol Defense?

It’s illegal to have a higher BAC level during driving and not during testing. Because it takes approximately thirty minutes and three hours for the alcohol you consumed to get absorbed in the body, your BAC level may continue rising for a while after being pulled over and arrested.

Commonly, it takes about one hour after being pulled over when the breath, blood, or urine testing is done. Suppose that the BAC results are .10%. If you had continued absorbing alcohol from the time you were stopped, your BAC when you were driving might have been at only 0.07%. Simply put, the test results will show a BAC level that’s above the lawful limit, but your actual BAC during driving was lower.

What is Mouth Alcohol

Mouth alcohol is the alcohol that remains in the esophagus or mouth after consumption. If the alcohol is there during breath testing, the results may be falsely elevated. This is because the breathalyzer presumes that the breath is from your lungs.

Several aspects could cause mouth alcohol. For instance, burping, belching, vomiting, or hiccupping twenty minutes before submitting to the test could draw the vapor from the alcohol that’s still in your stomach up to your throat and mouth. Use of mouthwash, mouth spray, or breath freshener can also lead to falsely high BAC results.

How Do I Get Punished if I’m Convicted of DUI?

The punishments for a driving-under-the-influence of alcohol or drug conviction vary depending on the circumstances surrounding your situation. At least, you can be punished in the following ways:

  • License suspension by the DMV

  • A maximum fine of $2000

  • Three, six, or nine months of alcohol/drug school program

  • Probation of up to five years

  • Jail time

  • License suspension by the court

If your driving-under-the-influence offense resulted in an accident leading to injury or death, or if you’re facing a subsequent DUI conviction, you’ll face additional consequences. Also, sentence enhancements can apply if you’re under twenty-one, had a BAC of more than .20%, had a minor passenger in your vehicle at the time of DUI, or you were driving over the stipulated speed limit. Your San Onofre DUI attorney can inform you of the consequences you are likely to face depending on the DUI charge against you.

Ask an Experienced DUI Attorney Near Me

You still may have so many questions concerning your DUI in San Onofre and how it’s handled to which you need to find answers. If that is the case, you have lawyers at San Diego DUI Attorney at your disposal to ask any question you have or air your concerns. Additionally, if you are facing any DUI charges and need legal representation, we are also available to help. Call us at 619-535-7150 to schedule a free consultation so you can share the details of your charges. We will prepare a reliable defense that will yield the best possible outcome for your case.