The state of California is among the many states that treat drunk driving with much seriousness. It is evident in the lengthy prison terms and hefty penalties offenders get after conviction. For that reason, you might feel scared and in total disarray after getting arrested for drunk driving. The legal system in itself is not easy to navigate on your own.

That is why it is advisable to have a competent DUI attorney by your side. Our experienced Wynola DUI attorney from the San Diego DUI Attorney law firm will ensure that you have fair representation in court to help fight the charges you are facing. He/she will also ensure that your rights are respected throughout the legal process. It also feels good to have an understanding person by your side when you are going through a tough moment in your life.

An Overview of DUI Laws in California

California DUI laws are some of the most stringent in the country today. An offender is likely to get a hefty fine and time in prison, even if they are just first-time offenders. In addition to time in jail and the penalties, DUI offenders in the state get their driver's license suspended for a specified period. The time is determined by their past criminal record and the severity of the DUI offense. There are other additional penalties, too, including completing a court-ordered DUI program. It is, therefore, essential to understand these laws to plan your next course of action after a DUI arrest.

California DUI laws are under California Vehicle Code 23152. Within this law are various subsections which help provide a more detailed understanding of a particular DUI offense and its implications. The first subsection of this law only applies to DUI offenders who are believed to be operating a vehicle under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. In this case, the offender's Blood Alcohol Content is not required. However, the second subsection involves the determination of the offender's BAC. The standard Blood Alcohol Content that is allowed for California drivers should be below 0.08%. A BAC level of.08% or higher calls for an immediate arrest for DUI.

The state of California has a zero-tolerance law that pertains to underage drunk driving. The state has stringent regulations when it comes to drivers who are below the legal drinking age of 21 years. According to this law, it is unlawful for persons below the age of 21 to buy or possess alcohol in most states in the country. It means that even the slightest amount of alcohol in the driver's system could get them arrested and convicted for DUI provided that they are below the age of 21. The primary intent of this law is to fight the actual dangers of underage DUI.

California DUI penalties are not standard for all DUI-related offenses. Aggravated DUI offenses, for instance, have enhanced penalties. An aggravated offense is on in which serious factors are surrounding a standard DUI offense. These are, for example, an extremely high BAC level, DUI with a minor in the vehicle, getting more than three DUI convictions within ten years, and excessive speed while driving under the influence. A typical DUI conviction carries severe penalties. These only get worse if there are aggravating factors surrounding your DUI arrest. An aggravating DUI offense is, therefore, likely to get you an even longer prison term and heftier fines.

Lastly, the state of California has implied consent law regarding submission to BAC testing. According to this law, the police have a right to conduct DUI testing on any driver that is arrested on suspicion for DUI testing. In this case, drivers could face additional penalties if they fail to submit to DUI testing. These penalties may include an automatic suspension of their driver's license. DUI testing is an essential procedure in obtaining the driver's BAC reading, which is a necessary piece of evidence in confirming that indeed the driver was operating under the influence.

Reasons to Work With a DUI Attorney

There are many concerning DUI laws and the California legal system that an ordinary driver may not be aware of. That is why our Wynola DUI attorneys offer help to people arrested for DUI to ensure that their rights are not violated and that they are justly convicted in the end. There are several reasons why you need the help of an experienced attorney immediately after your arrest:

California DUI laws can be very complicated, and only an experienced attorney can help you understand your situation after an arrest. A competent DUI attorney will know the ins and outs of DUI and any ambiguities that could affect your situation. He/she will also take time to investigate your case to get ready to fight the charges you are facing.

An experienced DUI attorney has enough experience in the courtroom; therefore, you have nothing to worry about. Again, courtroom matters are usually left in the hands of defense attorneys. The fact that you will not have to represent yourself in court is comforting, especially if you think of how complex the legal system is.

Your attorney will also be there to prepare and file essential documents in court on your behalf. There are strict timelines that have to be met when submitting court documents, which an experienced DUI attorney is aware of. It is a guarantee that nothing will go wrong and that you will not be facing additional penalties for not honoring court dates and other requirements.

You also need someone that can prepare a strong legal defense against the DUI charges you are facing. An experienced DUI defense lawyer will be the best to work with. Fighting the charges is the only chance you have of not meeting the harsh penalties that comes with every DUI conviction. Again a DUI conviction remains in a person's criminal record for the rest of their lives.

Types of DUI Cases That a Wynola DUI Attorney Will Handle

There are several types of DUI charges that a person can face in California. They depend on the number of previous DUI convictions a person has in the last ten years and whether or not there were aggravating factors surrounding their case. Some of the standard DUI cases you can get help with include:

  1. First Offense DUI

If it is your first time to get arrested for DUI, you may not be expecting much. But the truth of the matter is that the law is not lenient even for first-time offenders. You may have to face full charges for a misdemeanor DUI and the penalties that come with it.

The first thing that happens after every DUI arrest is that your driver’s license is confiscated. It means that the driver will not be allowed to drive freely as before. In its place, the police will give you a temporary permit, which is only valid for 30 days. The temporary license is a clear indication that you have a pending DUI case, and will only serve you until you go to trial.

Driver's license suspension for between six months and one year is just one of the penalties you receive after a first-offense DUI conviction. Other penalties include court fines ranging between $390 and $2000, inclusive of all penalty assessments. The offender could also face a jail sentence for a minimum of 48 hours to a maximum of one year, depending on the circumstances of your case. 1st-DUI offenders could also be required to attend a court-ordered DUI program for between 3 and 9 months.

Such penalties are enough to interfere with a person’s personal and professional life in more ways than one. That is why you need the help of a competent DUI attorney by your side.

  1. Second Offense DUI

A second DUI offense occurs if you have a previous DUI conviction within ten years. If that is the case, you are already familiar with the DUI process, but prepare yourself for heftier penalties than you received for the first offense. The second DUI offense is charged as a misdemeanor too, attracting the following sentences:

  • Fines of between $390 and $1,000

  • Incarceration for between three months to one year

  • Misdemeanor probation for three to five years

  • Enrollment in a DUI program for at least 18 months

  • Possible license suspension for one year

The last thing you need is to have a second DUI conviction in your criminal record. That is why you need the help of an experienced attorney in fighting your second charge. It will also save you the agony of losing your driver’s license. A smart attorney can have your charges either dropped or reduced, so you won't have to face the full penalties for a second DUI conviction.

  1. Third Offense DUI

A third offense DUI occurs when the offender has two previous convictions within ten years. Again, the third conviction will be a misdemeanor, though its penalties will be a little more than what you got for the first or second conviction. These penalties might include:

  • Fines ranging between $390 and $1,000. These could go up to $18,000 after the inclusion of penalty assessments

  • A one-year jail term

  • License suspension for two years or mandatory installation of IID for at least two years

  • Misdemeanor probation for between three and five years

A third DUI conviction within ten years will not look good in your criminal record. For this reason, you need to fight it and ensure that you are not getting convicted. An experienced Wynola DUI attorney can use several defense strategies such as an illegal arrest or violation of your rights during the arrest to help with your case.

  1. Felony DUI

Most DUI-related offenses in the state of California are usually charged as misdemeanors. However, there are instances when a crime can result in a felony conviction, carrying heftier penalties than listed above. There are four specific situations under which this could happen:

  • If the offender is arrested for a fourth DUI charge within a ten-yearperiod

  • If the DUI defendant caused a crash that resulted in serious bodily injury of another person

  • If the DUI offender caused an accident that resulted in the death of another person

  • If the offender has a previous felony DUI conviction

Penalties for a conviction for felony DUI will be more severe than what you get for a misdemeanor conviction. Some of the sanctions the offender is likely to face in this case include:

  • 16 months, two or four years of incarceration

  • Fines that could range between $1,015 and $5000

  • Mandatory requirement to register as a habitual traffic offender

  • Driver’s license suspension for between three and ten years, depending on the number of felony DUI convictions in your record

  • Mandatory requirement to register and complete a court-ordered DUI program for a minimum of18 months

  • Felony probation for a minimum period of five years

  • Mandatory need to install an IID system in your car for at least one year from the date you get the conviction

Due to the seriousness of this conviction, it is advisable to work closely with an experienced DUI attorney from the time of your arrest. Your attorney will not only offer you the emotional support you need but also work on your defense to ensure that the court reduces your charges.

  1. Aggravated DUI

When determining the best sentence for a person who has been arrested and convicted of DUI, California courts consider several factors such as the surrounding facts of every case they handle. Many factors could influence the court's decision; some could prompt the court to give a lighter sentence while others will call for more enhanced punishment. The former factors are what are referred to as mitigating factors. They are, for instance, a BAC that is only slightly above the standard level and a clean driving record. The latter, on the other hand, are what they call the aggravating factors.

Aggravating factors can change a person's sentence to harsher penalties, and sometimes cause a possible misdemeanor conviction to turn into a felony conviction. Some of these aggravating factors you should be aware of include:

  • DUI leading to property damage or an accident with another vehicle

  • DUI leading to an accident that causes another person injury

  • Driving with a BAC of 0.20 or more

  • DUI with a minor of below 14 in the vehicle

  • Refusing to submit to DUI testing

  • DUI arrest during the rime you were on a DUI probation

  • DUI and over-speeding

  • DUI and Hit and Run

Note that some of these aggravating factors can cause the court to include other charges in your trial. If, for instance, you were caught driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle, you could face child endangerment charges alongside DUI charges.

Possible Legal Defenses a Wynola DUI Attorney Can Use to Defend Your Charges

From all the penalties that have been listed above, it is clear that DUI is one of the highly punished offenses in the state of California. Facing a DUI arrest is, therefore, something a driver should avoid by all means. However, sometimes it happens, and after the arrest, you may feel as if your world is coming to an end. There is hope if you are working with an experienced DUI attorney. The good thing is that several legal strategies can be applied to help your case and cause the court to maybe reduce or drop your charges. Some of them are:

That Your Arrest was Illegal

You cannot stand trial if you believe that your detention was unlawful. There are set procedures that must be adhered to by the police during a DUI arrest. The police should, for instance, have a probable reason to stop you for drunken driving before they can arrest you. If there are no indications of drunk driving for the police to stop and arrest you for DUI, the court may consider your arrest illegal and drop all your charges.

Your Arrest Occurred at an Illegal DUI Checkpoint

Similarly, there are set guidelines and procedures that must be adhered to when the police are setting up a DUI checkpoint. If these are not adhered to, then any evidence collected at that checkpoint will not be admissible in court. The police must, for instance, announce a DUI checkpoint beforehand. The police must also have specific criteria for stopping the vehicles.

Your Miranda Rights were not Read

The law does not allow the police to start questioning you and gathering evidence against you before reading your Miranda rights. The arrestee has a right to remain silent and to get in touch with an attorney before the police can start questioning them. If you feel that the police violated your rights at the time of arrest, you might be able to convince the court to dismiss all the evidence gathered against you.

Find a San Diego DUI Lawyer Near Me

If you are facing arrest for DUI in California, there is a need to get legal help immediately. An experienced Wynola DUI attorney from the San Diego DUI Attorney law firm will need enough time to gather evidence and come up with a strong defense against your charges. Call us at 619-535-7150 if you are seeking quality legal representation. We might be able to influence the outcome of your case.