It is not rare for someone to be arrested for a DUI offense in California. These types of criminal cases are prevalent during holidays and weekends. The Orange County DUI Attorney firm is available in La Palma, CA, to ensure we provide the best defense to drivers that have been arrested for driving under the influence. The attorneys from the firm are well versed in the various arguments to raise during your court case and the penalties you are facing. By hiring an attorney, you have the best chance of avoiding jail time or significant penalties.
How is DUI Defined Under California Law?
In California, it is considered a misdemeanor to drive under the intoxication or influence of drugs or alcohol. If there are aggravating factors, the DUI is not considered as a misdemeanor offense. Instead, it is regarded as a felony. A DUI will become a felony if it causes injuries, fatalities, or deaths. In the event a person suffers an injury or death because you were driving under the influence or due to your negligence, you can be charged in three different ways.
The first charge that you will be facing is under the California Vehicle Code 23513 VC, which is driving under the influence. The second charge will be vehicular manslaughter under intoxication in Penal Code 191.5(b.). The second charge also comes under Penal Code 191.59(a) which is gross vehicular manslaughter under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The third charge will be Watson Murder.
DUI is considered a simple DUI if you have committed the offense the first, second, or third time. However, if you have been arrested more than three times, it becomes a felony DUI because of the frequency of the same crime being committed multiple times. A person with more than three DUI offenses in ten years will face high penalties or charges because DUI in California is considered a priorable offense. The first three charges for similar DUI offenses will be regarded as misdemeanors, but the fourth one and above will be considered felonies. A prior DUI can be an arrest outside California, California wet reckless and California (DUI) driving under the influence.
If you have a prior DUI felony, even though you are arrested with a simple DUI, it will still be considered a California felony DUI. It happens in the event where the person facing the DUI conviction has been previously arrested for a DUI offense that caused injuries or death. The other circumstance that will make the simple DUI arrest turn to a felony is when you have been charged with multiple driving offenses under influence convictions even after one decade or ten years.
How Do You Fight a DUI Felony Case?
When you are facing a DUI felony because of the three reasons mentioned above, it is wise to hire a La Palma DUI Attorney. The reason the penalties of DUI felonies are very severe. Some people end up facing long jail time in California state prison, hefty fines or penalties and license suspension in California for several years. Instead of risking your future, consult a La Palma DUI Attorney because these legal practitioners know the most effective defense techniques to apply. Escaping a DUI felony is not a cake walk, but with the right legal representation, you can end up within a simple penalty. Under the California Bill 1046 for the year 2018, a person facing a felony for driving can face a simple penalty of having an (IID) ignition interlock device fixed in their vehicles. It means one can continue driving even after the DUI felony conviction. Do not risk your freedom by just hiring anyone to offer legal advice and representation when being convicted of a DUI felony.
What Happens After You Get Your First DUI in California?
Driving under intoxication is a severe offense in California, and it might be considered as a serious traffic violation or a criminal offense. The penalties are harsh in these situations. You can face a total of $2000 and a two-day sentence. The sentence can be spent on community services or doing actual time in jail as an alternative.
After your case has been processed, you should expect probation of between three to five years. For minor offenses, you can receive informal probation, which is not bad. A DUI is also considered a binary offense based on the number of entities that are involved in it. The local county criminal court and the department of motor vehicles are involved. The department of motor vehicles is likely to reinstate your privileges of driving if you write to them in ten days.
What are the Penalties of First, Second, and Third DUI Convictions in California?
The penalties you will be facing for these offenses depend on the aggravating and mitigating aspects. They determine if you will get a plea or verdict from the jury. The fines and penalties given by the judges must stick to the statutes. For the first conviction, the penalties are $390 to $1000 plus penalty assessments that can increase the amount. Judges are not tough on first offenders in the first DUI conviction; you are likely to get probation or two days to six months of jail time. On the issue of license suspension, a driver will be facing four months of administrative suspension in the DMV determines that his or her BAC was 0.08%. The typical suspension is, however, six months, and in some cases, you can face the two suspensions. For those who are against restricted driving, installing (IID) is the best option. Those who get penalties in terms of probation go for a DUI school program for a period of 3 or 9 months based on the blood alcohol concentration.
Second time DUI convictions, on the other hand, face fines of $390 to $1000 plus additional fines due to penalty assessments. Jail time for these people is four days to one year. The alternative or substitute for jail time is house arrest. A two-year license suspension is given by the criminal court while the DMV gives an additional eight months to the four months administrative suspension you received as a first-time offender totaling to 12 months. IID’s for this case are compulsory for a period of up to 12 months. They also get three years of probation plus a condition to complete 18 or 30 months DUI School.
Third-time conviction fines are similar to first and second time DUI convictions; jail time is 120 days or a substitute of 30 days probation plus 30 months in DUI program. License suspension would be three years in addition to a one-year administrative suspension from the DMV if the blood test showed BAC was 08%. A person will also have an IID installed in their car for more than two years.
For those people that cause injuries, the penalties will be jail time of 16 months to 4 years. The fines will range between $390 and $5000. For those who cause death, the person will be convicted under murder laws. The fine paid is up to $1000 and 12 months jail term. If it is second-degree murder, you will be facing 15 years imprisonment. With these penalties, it is wise to try your best and avoid them through employing an attorney in La Palma. They can assist you in lowering the consequences.
How Long Does your DUI Conviction Last on your Records Before they are Washed Out?
The penalties for DUI offenses depend on many factors. One of the things that influence the consequences is the number of previous DUI convictions faced. If for instance, you are a first DUI offender, there will be no time spent behind bars. However, for the second and above convictions, one must stay behind bars for a specified period. It shows that the number of prior convictions has considerable effects on the consequences.
The main issue about the consequences is how long the DUI conviction is going to stay in your record. In California, the washout period for a sentence varies from other states. The washout or look back period is ten years. So, in the event you are facing a new charge after ten years of your previous conviction, it will be considered as a first DUI offense or charge. The offense date is used to determine the washout period or second offense. Remember the past can haunt you in the present. If you are arrested driving under the influence today and you had committed a similar crime less than ten years ago that might affect your consequences. However, if the period is more than ten years, then the prior offenses become stale or are dropped. Even if they might appear in your criminal records, they might not count.
The washout or look back period varies from one state to another. Therefore, if you are in Orange County, California, you need to get in touch with a La Palma DUI attorney so that they can explain to you better about the period it takes for your DUI convictions to be dropped off.
What are the Laws Related to Aggravated DUI Charges in California?
When people arrested for driving under the influence undergo a BAC test, the alcohol concentration doesn’t necessarily mean additional penalties or extended jail time. However, the DMV will need you to stay in a DUI school program for a more extended period if the blood alcohol concentration or content is more than 0.15%. Those with 0.20% spend nine months in school. The DMV, however, allows offenders to negotiate the school time.
It is possible to negotiate an aggravated DUI offense and reduce it from a felony to a misdemeanor DUI causing injury, which can be further settled to a simple DUI. The outcome, however, depends on many things like the severity of the injuries and the experience of the DUI attorneys by your side. Enhanced DUI charges are not as standard as simple charges. Simple DUI charges can occur to anyone who takes alcohol and drives. Learning about the alcohol percentage that is right for you will help make a huge difference. Women who drink are at a higher risk of facing simple DUI charges because their BAC percentage will always tend to appear much higher than that of men because of higher fats and less water in their bodies. If you have an interest in having a more in-depth insight about the laws that relate to aggravated DUI charges, you should contact a La Palma DUI attorney for more information.
What are the Recent Changes in the California DMV Laws?
At the beginning of the 2019 year, California State Department of motor vehicles announced changes that took effect 01/01/2019. Some of the laws that changed include:
Temporary paper plates (AB 516)
All California car dealers that are recognized by the law must fix paper plates on every vehicle sold. These temporary number plates should contain the vehicle number and expiration date to help enhance safety in roads and significantly lower the number of DUI offenders going through tolls. Until a person receives license plates issued by the DMV, the license plates will remain operational.
Gender Identity (SB 179)
The issue of gender during DUI charges has been facing many challenges. The new law that has been enacted will ensure that license or identity card applicants choose their gender, either male, female, or non-binary. For those who fall under the non-binary category, their cards or license will fall under the X category.
Breathalyzer on engine start (SB 1046)
Anti-DUI devices will be installed in vehicles of people facing repeat DUI offenses. Additionally, those with DUI charges that caused injuries or fatalities must also connect these devices for a period between 12 to 48 months. If the judge is not lenient with a first time DUI offender, they can order a Breathalyzer on engine start to being installed in the offender’s car for six months.
What are the Most Common DUI Defenses?
With the changes that have happened in DMV laws, getting an experienced La Palma DUI Attorney is the best way to ensure you get the right defense. Some of the top arguments are listed below:
Bad Driving Doesn’t Guarantee a DUI
Your lawyer can argue that even though the offender was driving carelessly, it doesn’t automatically mean he or she was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The defense will, however, be relevant if you are facing charges under Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC. The arresting officer is brought in court by the prosecutor to testify that how you were driving portrayed someone driving under the influence. Your DUI attorney can argue that most traffic rules are violated by sober drivers and that the driving patterns should not be relied upon as a DUI predictor.
Objective symptoms of intoxication are not equal to DUI
The prosecution that uses physical appearances as part of the evidence for poisonings like red or watery eyes, flushed face, unsteady gait, or slurred face can be challenged using this defense. The DUI attorney can argue that these symptoms are due to cold, eye irritation, allergies, and fatigue.
FST’s do not accurately measure impairments.
Field sobriety tests are compulsory when one is arrested on the suspicions of driving under the influence. The test results highly rely upon the prosecution if you fail the test. A reasonable attorney can, however, argue that the results from the analysis by several issues like nerves, fatigue, and the way you were dressed. The essence of this argument is to prove the unreliability of the test results.
The officer didn’t conduct a proper 15 minutes observation period
Before a breath test, the arresting officer is required to observe you for 15 minutes to ensure that you don’t take drinks, medicine or substances like mouthwash that might affect the results of the breath test. Most officers don’t conduct this observation. Instead, they jump to completing paperwork and setting up the machine. With this evidence, a defense lawyer can argue that the right procedure for investigation was not conducted.
The arresting officer was not compliant with the California Code of Regulation Title 17.
The code governs how blood and breath tests should be done. If any of these requirements like 15 minutes observation period, proper testing, regular maintenance and calibration of the testing equipment and adequate training for the persons administering tests are violated and the lawyer proves it, you win the case.
Rising blood alcohol
After drinking, the BAC levels do not rise immediately. They often take up to 50 minutes before reaching the maximum. If you were arrested within this duration, the attorney could argue that the results were wrong.
Find a DUI Attorney near Me
For those people facing DUI charges for first, second, third, or forth time, it is wise to consult experts in this field. Call 949-377-2280 today and speak to a La Palma DUI attorney. Our legal practitioners at Orange County DUI Attorney law firm are highly qualified and trained to guide you and offer the best defense. We don’t charge initial consultation fee so feel free to contact us today.