Being arrested and charged with drunk and/or drugged driving in California is often a scary and humiliating process. Most individuals in this position believe the evidence against them is unbeatable. After all, it involves law enforcement’s word against yours, roadside sobriety testing, and breathalyzers or blood testing. DUIs are supposedly based on scientific proof, among other factors, that most people think is irrefutable. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
DUI convictions are not inevitable. These charges can be fought on a number of grounds, all of which a good attorney will understand and pursue. Mistakes of all kinds can be made in DUI arrests and procedures that can weaken or nullify a prosecutor’s case. At Davalos Defense Law Firm, we understand how effective defense strategies can be used on your behalf to fight a DUI. If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI, we urge you to schedule a free, initial consultation in which we can listen to the details of your arrest, give you an honest opinion about where you stand, and advice as to how best to move forward.
Arrested for DUI? Contact Davalos Defense Law Firm online or at (213) 370-1630 for a free case review. Hablamos español.
DUI Charges in California
Like all states, California takes drunk and/or drugged driving very seriously. DUI charges carry many penalties and a conviction stays on your driving record for 10 years. Penalties will generally increase with each subsequent conviction within a 10-year time frame, with fourth arrests charged as felonies. Aggravating factors can also elevate a DUI to the felony level, such as DUI causing injuries or death to others.
DUI is defined as:
- Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher for adults over 21
- Driving with a BAC of .01 percent or higher for those under 21
- Driving with a BAC of .04 percent or higher for CDL drivers in a commercial vehicle
DUI in California also includes driving while under the influence of drugs. This includes over-the-counter drugs, prescription medicines, and illegal street drugs, all of which can cause drowsiness, dizziness, inability to concentrate, and other side effects that can impair one’s driving ability.
DUI arrests commonly occur after traffic stops or at DUI checkpoints. As a license holder in the state, you are required to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test under the rule of “implied consent” when asked to do so by law enforcement. If you refuse to do so, the DMV will automatically suspend your license for a year.
A first-offense DUI is charged as a misdemeanor carrying fines of up to $1,000 along with “penalty assessments” that can push your financial toll well above the initial fine. You may also face 48 hours up to six months in jail. This is often replaced by probation for three to five years, during which you will have to complete three months at “DUI school.” For those with BACs of .20 percent or higher, DUI school is generally ordered for up to nine months
Finally, your license will be suspended for six months unless you challenge it in a DMV hearing to a positive result. After a suspension, you may generally apply for a restricted license to be able to drive to work or school. However, this will require an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle at your own expense. This is an in-car breathalyzer that prevents your car from starting if alcohol is detected on your breath.
Many mistakes can be made in DUI arrests from violations of your Constitutional rights to police procedural errors, testing and laboratory errors, and more. Your health conditions and medical drugs can impact breath tests, breathalyzers can be poorly maintained or improperly calibrated, and field sobriety tests are notoriously inaccurate. At Davalos Defense Law Firm, we will thoroughly investigate every aspect of your case to uncover potential errors and violations that may reduce your charges or lead to a dismissal.
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