As law enforcement officers become more vigilant on the road, drivers are likely to be arrested at the mere suspicion that they are drunk. The Orange County DUI Attorney understands the stress drivers go through when they are arrested for a driving offense. Our Buena Park DUI attorneys have helped drivers fight charges of DUI crimes, driving offenses and suspended license violations among others.
Vehicle Codes 23100 to 23135 highlight the various driving offenses you are likely to get charged in California. Each Vehicle code lists the elements of a driving offense with its potential penalties. You can seek help from our Buena Park DUI attorney when you are charged with the following offenses:
A reckless driving charge can stem from willful disregard for other motorists or pedestrians’ safety when driving. You may be arrested for this offense whether you committed it in an off-street parking facility or a highway in California. Potential penalties for this charge include a fine (up to $1,000) or imprisonment in the local county jail.
Engaging in a speed contest while driving on a highway can attract a driving offense charge. You will face the charge for abetting or aiding in a car speed contest on a highway. A conviction for this crime attracts fines (which range from $355 to $1,000) or a jail sentence. The court may also order a driving privilege suspension ranging from 90 days to six months.
Hit and Run
A hit and run offense can result in criminal prosecution and civil action against you. For a criminal charge, you will be accused of either causing bodily injury on someone else or destroying property in through the hit & run accident. A lawyer can help you avoid hefty penalties by proving that various elements of the hit and run crime were not satisfactorily proven. These elements may include evidence of property damage and having knowledge of the crime among others.
A vehicular manslaughter charge can stem from negligence on the driver's side that leads to the death of someone else. This charge may attract either a felony or misdemeanor punitive measures. Your attorney can argue about a lack of intent, lack of negligence or lack of causation to help challenge the prosecutor's allegations against you.
Driving Offenses Involving Alcohol and Drugs
Driving offenses based on the use of alcohol or drugs (pursuant to Vehicle Codes 23152 to 23229.1) are commonly known as DUI (driving under the influence) offenses. Of all the charges drivers in California face, DUI ones are the most common. We help clients understand and maneuver through the legal options for DUI charges. Highlighted below are the DUI crimes drivers may commit:
Driving Under the Influence of an Alcoholic Beverage
Alcoholic beverages are known to impair people’s cognitive functions if consumed above the recommended limits. Your BAC (blood alcohol content) should not exceed the 0.04-percent mark when you want to drive a motor vehicle. Drivers are also prohibited from operating vehicles after taking a combination of various alcoholic beverages and drugs.
Causing an Injury to Someone Else Under when you are under the Influence of Alcohol
Car crashes caused by drunk driving usually result in fatalities and deaths. A drunk driver might face both “DUI” and “DUI causing an injury” charges if someone else sustained an injury when he/she was driving. The arresting officer will have to conduct a chemical test on you within three hours to prove whether your BAC was high at the time of the accident. You should contact a Buena Park DUI attorney to help challenge the test results and prove your innocence.
Driving with a BAC of 0.01 Percent or Higher When on Probation for a DUI Offense
Drivers who are on DUI probation are prohibited from operating a car with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or higher. You are mandated to submit to a chemical test such as a preliminary alcohol screening test to have your BAC measured. Refusing to submit to the test will result in your driving privileges being revoked or suspended for one year to three years.
Drinking an Alcoholic Beverage or Smoking/Ingesting Marijuana While Driving
Ingesting/smoking marijuana or drinking an alcoholic beverage may only be permitted if you are not driving. Operating your car under the influence of alcohol or marijuana can make you a DUI offender. You should not be intoxicated with alcohol or marijuana when driving on state highways. Violating this law may subject you to infraction (minor charge) penalties.
Driving While Intoxicated with a Drug
Since drugs impair people’s mental and physical abilities, driving under the influence of drugs is unlawful in California. You might face either a misdemeanor or felony charge for this offense. Your lawyer, on the other hand, can argue that your body was free of drugs or that you were falsely accused in your favor.
DUI Charges on Members of the Military
Military members are subject to both criminal penalties and penalties from their employers when convicted for DUI charges. The punitive measures include fines, incarceration, limited access to the military base, demotions or pay cuts and negative performance reports. A California court can also order a soldier to pay fines, complete drug/alcohol classes, face jail time or undertake probation.
DUI Homicide and Watson Murder
A vehicular manslaughter offense committed as a result of intoxication is considered as DUI homicide. Watson Murder, on the other hand, is a DUI homicide committed when you had previously been warned about the DUI dangers. Murder charges stemming from intoxication require extensive help from a legal counsel.
Your lawyer can convince the California prosecutors to reduce your DUI (driving under the influence) charge to a wet reckless one. As a plea bargain, wet reckless entails driving recklessly while intoxicated with drugs or alcohol. You may use it when facing a DUI charge for driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more. Pleading for a wet reckless will not result in your driver’s license getting suspended.
DUI Conviction on a Non-Citizen
A DUI conviction for various offenses may attract the attention of the immigration authorities if committed by a non-US citizen. The offenses include multiple DUI convictions, suspended license violations, DUI with a passenger below 14 years of age and DUID (driving while intoxicated with drugs). Expert legal assistance can enable a non-citizen to avoid a DUI conviction and regain the right to live in the country.
Offenses on Underage Drivers Involving Alcohol
Under Vehicle Code 23140, persons under 21 years of age are not supposed to have a BAC of 0.05 % or greater in their system when driving a vehicle. You will be arrested for this offense provided that you are below 21 years and you were affected by or were under the influence of an alcoholic beverage. The police officer will still arrest you whether or not a chemical test was administered to determine your BAC.
Filing a Blood Split Motion
A police officer will ask you to submit to a breathalyzer before arresting you to determine whether your BAC exceeds the recommended limit. After the arrest, you will be asked to take a urine, blood or breath test at the police station. Your lawyer can file a blood split motion if you took a blood or urine test to challenge inaccuracies in the test results. Inaccuracies in blood or urine tests may form a basis for a wrongful prosecution for a DUI crime.
License Suspension or Revocation
Once arrested for committing a DUI offense in California, you risk having your license revoked or suspended for various reasons. The arresting officer may immediately confiscate your driver's license if you refuse to take a chemical test. The officer will also present you a pink sheet (an Admin Per Se) notifying you about a license suspension. Your Buena Park DUI Attorney can represent and offer you legal advice on any proceedings to get your driving privileges back as explained below.
The California DMV may impose a 6-month suspension on your license for a first-offense DUI charge pursuant to VC 13352(a). For this suspension to take effect, your blood alcohol concentration should have been 0.08 or more when you were arrested. An attorney can help you determine whether the arrest was lawful and your BAC was higher than the recommended limit. The legal counsel can also help establish whether the officer had sufficient probable cause to stop you for drunk driving.
A second-offense DUI charge can trigger an automatic suspension on your license for a period ranging from one year to two years. You may be permitted to use a restricted license as long as you attend a court-certified alcohol education program within California. A third-offense DUI charge may attract hefty penalties including a license suspension. A third-offense DUI offender will also need legal representation and advice to avoid this suspension and severe criminal penalties.
An Admin Per Se is usually issued to DUI offenders to serve as a temporary driver’s license. Following your arrest date, you will only have ten days for calling and scheduling a DMV hearing. If you fail to request one within this period, you will have your right to the hearing waived, and your license suspended once the Admin Per Se expires. Once you request a hearing within the given time, you may gain or lose your driving privileges depending on the outcomes of the hearing.
Before the DMV hearing commences, your Buena Park DUI attorney will collect facts to help your case. The administrative hearing will give your lawyer a chance to argue your case based on gathered evidence. Winning or losing this trial will not result in your DUI charge being dropped or dismissed. A win may help you regain your driving privileges and negotiate your DUI case while a loss will result in a license suspension.
Suspension for a Commercial Driver’s License
A vehicle with the capacity to carry ten or more people or hazardous substances is considered a commercial vehicle. The term “commercial vehicle” may also apply to double trailers, school buses or vehicles with a gross combined weight of about 26,000 pounds or more. Drivers operating these vehicles must not have a BAC of 0.04 percent or more when operating them.
Possible penalties for drunk driving a commercial vehicle include having your license privileges suspended for a year. You may get a lifetime suspension on your license following a conviction of two or more DUI offenses. A CDL holder does not qualify for a restricted license once convicted for a DUI crime. Your only way out of these harsh penalties is through legal help.
Out-of-State Driver Charged with DUI in California
The State of California imposes tough penalties for out-of-state drivers charged with DUI offenses. Having a BAC of 0.08 percent or more can give the arresting officer a probable cause for charging you with DUI. The California DMV will communicate to the DMV of your state about the arrest provided that the state complies with the IDLC (Interstate Driver’s License Compact). IDLC makes it possible for states to share information on DUI arrests and convictions with each other.
You will face separate penalties in California and your resident state following a DUI conviction. In California, the penalties may include having an Ignition Interlock Device installed and having an arrest and a criminal record. You will also face insurance penalties including SR22 insurance penalties, jail time, community service, probation or hefty fines.
Legal Advice on IID Installation
An IID (Ignition Interlock Device) is a small breathalyzer designed to fit on your car’s steering column. A California judge may mandate you to have this equipment installed professionally in your vehicle as part of your probation following a DUI conviction for various offenses. They include:
- First-offense DUI with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more
- Refusing to take a breath or chemical blood test for a first-offense DUI charge
- First-offense DUI with a BAC of 0.015 percent or higher
- Driving on a suspended driver’s license following a DUI conviction
You must have the device in every vehicle in your possession. IIDs are designed to take breath samples once a car engine starts and randomly (between 5 to 15 minutes) when you are driving. Failing an IID breath test will result in the device logging in the results, which are reported to a local court. Since an IID requires specific breath patterns, you cannot have someone else take the tests for you. Once installed, it is impossible to tamper with or disconnect the equipment.
Filing an SR22 Form
An SR22 form is usually provided by a car insurance company to verify that a driver has adhered to California's requirements for auto liability insurance. Once your insurer issues you this document, the company will send DMV a copy of the same. The goal of obtaining an SR22 form is to have your driving privileges reinstated following a DMV revocation or suspension. You will still have to drive your car with an IID installed as one of the requirements of the SR22.
The requirements for obtaining an SR22 form may be technical for an average driver to understand. With expert legal help, you can understand how long it will take you to maintain the SR22 status and how to avoid future license suspension. The State of California imposes strict auto liability insurance requirements, which may result in a new license suspension when breached.
Sealing Arrest Records
While an arrest is among the prerequisites for a criminal conviction, not all arrests result in a conviction. You can enlist a lawyer's help to seal your arrest record. Once sealed, the record will not appear in many criminal background checks excluding those conducted by law enforcement officers. Senate Bill 393, which was integrated into California Penal Codes including PC 851.87, makes it possible to seal an arrest record once you meet the following conditions:
- No criminal charge was ever filed against you
- The filed criminal charge filed against you was later dropped
- You (the defendant) was acquitted of the charge in a California jury trial
- You managed to vacate or overturn your conviction on appeal
- You completed the mandatory pretrial diversion program or pre-sentencing program
California courts make it difficult for defendants with prior arrests/convictions for child abuse, elder abuse or domestic violence to seal their arrest records. Even in these situations, your lawyer could prove that sealing the records will serve justice interests. A court may allow your request if this defense is solid enough to support your case.
Find an Experienced DUI Attorney Near Me
The Orange County DUI Attorney in Buena Park, California, helps drivers navigate through the complex DUI process. We offer DUI services ranging from DMV License suspension cases, sealing arrest records, minor DUI offenses, to serious crimes such as vehicular manslaughter and other services. Contact our experienced and affordable DUI lawyer today at 949-377-2280 if you need our services.