DUI laws are complicated and sometimes confusing. An individual facing a DUI charge may find themselves in a losing battle if an experienced DUI attorney is not helping them. To worsen the situation, you only get ten (10) days after a DUI arrest to request a DMV hearing, failure to request a hearing will result in losing your driving privileges for a period of time. The truth is that there are many ways in which you can successfully fight a DUI charge in California, but you need a competent legal expert to help you achieve that outcome. This is without a doubt what we offer as experienced DUI lawyers at Orange County DUI Attorney. If, therefore, you or your loved one has been arrested in Laguna Niguel for a DUI, get in touch with us for advice and legal support.
About Our Firm
Our law firm is comprised of a team of professionally trained and experienced criminal defense attorneys. Over the years that we have been operational, we have delivered top defense representation to all the clients we have served. We have an exceptional team of attorneys who have successfully handled cases, giving us an outstanding record of success. This has led to prosecutors, judges, and other experts in the Laguna Niguel legal community to regard our firm highly.
This is a firm that is dedicated, respectful, and one that shows high integrity to the legal processes in the county. If therefore, you or your loved one is caught up in a DUI situation, this is the firm that should come to mind. We work alongside our clients and their families throughout the legal process to ensure that they adhere to the due process. With our exceptional skills and experience, we have come up with several DUI defense strategies that can get you a much lenient sentence, or have your DUI charges dropped altogether. Some of these strategies include a possibility that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) results were inaccurate or a chance that you were not under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the arrest.
We understand the seriousness of DUI charges in this state and how possible it is for someone to pay for a DUI crime for an extended period. If convicted with a more severe form of DUI, for instance, you may serve a long time in jail and even lose your driving privileges for the rest of your life. That is why you need the help and support of a competent DUI attorney. Choosing the right attorney is what you need to do first. An experienced Laguna Niguel DUI Attorney will provide the best legal representation throughout the legal process and the best advice to help you make the right choices.
Types of DUI Cases We Handle
Stringent DUI laws in California call for an aggressive defense, and this is what you get with an attorney from a Laguna Niguel DUI attorney law firm. We handle several DUI cases, including:
First DUI Offense
Whichever way you look at it, a first DUI offense is still a serious crime and can be severely punished in California as a way to discourage drunk driving. After your first DUI arrest, you may find that the police have gathered enough evidence to convict you, which can be quite scary. You can easily panic, especially since it is your first DUI arrest, and you have no way of predicting the outcome. Things could even get worse when the breathalyzer or blood test used by the police gives astonishing results, to show that you were indeed driving with a BAC that is way above the legal limit.
If this is your situation or you have failed the sobriety test provided by the police, the law will still give you the benefit of the doubt. California DUI law allows protection for anyone arrested for DUI to make sure that the police have not, by any chance, tampered with the evidence or violated their rights. If, for instance, your rights were violated in the process, any evidence that may have been gathered against you can be suppressed or disregarded, and this only means that your case may be dismissed.
Again, a person who has been arrested for DUI for their first time may not be familiar with the state's DUI laws. Working with a DUI attorney will ensure that you understand the rules better to know the possible charges you could face. You will also be informed about the DUI process, what to expect, and what you can use to build a strong defense. An attorney will also guide you on what to do and what not to do concerning the court's process.
A first DUI offense in the state is punishable by up to six (6) months in county jail and a fine of between three hundred and ninety ($390) dollars and one thousand ($1,000) dollars. The first DUI could also result in the suspension of your driver's license for not more than six (6) months. In addition to that, you may even get an administrative suspension of four (4) months, and if you refused to submit to a sobriety test, the suspension might go up to one (1) year. A more severe form of DUI will be severely punished, which could be avoided if you are well represented.
Second DUI Offense
After the first DUI offense, many people promise themselves never to make the same mistake again. However, it happens again, when you least expect it. Some people even go through more than two (2) DUI convictions in the same state. What you must know is that the second and subsequent convictions will be punished more than the first offense. A DUI crime will be considered a second DUI offense if it happens within ten (10) years after the first conviction. Since the second conviction will be more severe than the beginning, it is advisable to seek legal help as soon as possible.
In the state of California, a second DUI offender will be required to pay penalties of between three hundred and ninety ($390) dollars and one thousand ($1,000) dollars, which could go up to four thousand ($4,000) dollars if there are other additional costs included. In addition to, or in place of the fines, you may face a jail term of up to one (1) year, and your driver’s license may be suspended for two (2) years. Again, you will get an administrative suspension of one (1) year as well as a mandatory requirement to have an ignition interlock device (IID) system installed in your car for one (1) year.
After getting arrested for a second DUI offense, all hope is usually lost, but an experienced and knowledgeable attorney can significantly change the outcome of your case. The good thing is that there are several defense strategies that a Laguna Niguel DUI attorney can use that could result in your charges being reduced or even getting dismissed altogether.
Third and Subsequent DUIs
If you are a third time DUI offender, it means that you have committed three (3) DUI offenses within ten (10) years. A third and subsequent offender is not new to the DUI process and so, will probably know how to proceed once they have been arrested. What you may not be aware of is that the penalties for an individual who has committed the same offense three (3) or more times are much stiffer.
Even if the third DUI charge is still a misdemeanor, the court will not be lenient with you once it realizes that you are continuously committing the same offense and putting the lives of other road users at risk. You may get fined between two thousand five hundred ($2,500) dollars and three thousand ($3,000) dollars. The amount could increase to up to eighteen thousand ($18,000) dollars if you add the penalty assessment fees. You also get a jail term of up to one (1) year in state prison and still lose your driving privileges for three (3) years.
You will be required to join a mandatory DUI program and complete it as part of your punishment. A probation period of between three (3) and five (5) years may also be granted. Don't forget about the mandatory installation of an interlock device in your car and a requirement to contribute to the state's Victim Restitution Fund.
A third DUI offense will not be taken lightly, and proper defense is what you need if you are to successfully fight the charges or have some of these penalties reduced. Remember that after the third DUI, any DUI charge that you get afterward will be charged as a felony, and carries severe penalties.
DUI Hit and Run
A hit and run charge in itself is a severe offense in California, but the consequences can get harder if it is established that you committed a hit and run when driving under the influence. The punishment for such an offense will include hefty fines and incarceration. There are mainly two types of hit and run crimes that a person could face alongside DUI:
- Hit and run involving physical injury, abuse of California Vehicle Code Section 20001, and
- Hit and run involving property damage, a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 20002.
Remember that you do not need to be liable to face a hit and run charge in California; the charges will come if you leave the scene of an accident even when another person is totally at fault. If the police find out that you were driving under the influence and you left the scene of the crash, you will face severe penalties even if you were driving well and did not cause the accident.
If the accident resulted in an injury, you should be there to provide the needed information to the relevant parties, even if the injured person was driving in the same vehicle with you. This should also be done if that other party does not want to file an accident report. If, however, you fled from the scene of the accident to get medical treatment, you may not be charged with hit and run.
A DUI hit and run crime can be treated as a misdemeanor or felony in the state of California. As a misdemeanor, you will be penalized according to the seriousness of the accident. You could face incarceration for a period of up to six (6) months, with fines amounting to one thousand ($1,000) dollars.
Considering the seriousness of DUI hit and run, it is essential to have an experienced Laguna Niguel DUI attorney by your side to guide and advise you on what you should do to avoid the stiff penalties.
Some circumstances of DUI could be aggravated, and in such situations, the penalties get even steeper. A first DUI offender may, for instance, not get a jail sentence, but if there are aggravating factors, they may end up serving a term in jail. Similarly, a second or following DUI offender will get a more severe punishment when these aggravating factors are present. If therefore, you are facing an aggravated DUI charge in Laguna Niguel, it is essential to have a proper defense in place if you want to avoid jail and other consequences such as loss of your driving privileges. Some of these aggravating factors include:
- A higher than legal BAC level
When deciding a DUI sentence, judges consider many factors. One of those factors consists of the amount of alcohol in the driver's blood at the time of the arrest. California has a legal limit of 0.08% for a regular driver above which; the driver will have to face more severe penalties. According to Section 23578 of the California Vehicle Code, the courts are allowed to take a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.15% or more as an aggravating factor that could justify a stiffer sentence. With such a factor, the driver will still get stricter conditions even if they receive probation, making their life more complicated.
- Refusing to submit to a sobriety test
A sobriety test is an integral part of the investigation which the police will carry out to support a DUI arrest. If you fail to submit to a blood or breath test, you may worsen your situation. Refusal to take the test is a specific factor in itself, which can heighten your DUI sentence. The judge will also not have your BAC results and may assume that your blood-alcohol concentration was extremely high, which is the reason why you did not want to take the test. For that reason alone, you end up getting a higher penalty.
Speeding when intoxicated is a form of careless driving and automatically shows that you have total disregard for human life. If you exceed the speed limit of thirty (30mph) on the highway or (20mph) on other roads, and you are driving under the influence, you automatically get an enhanced DUI penalty. According to Section 23582 of California’s Vehicle Code, you deserve an extra sixty (60) days to the first DUI sentence. A driver on probation for DUI charge will also get a further 60-day punishment as a condition for their parole. The said driver is expected to serve the new sentence after the first so that it will not overlap with the penalty imposed on the underlying DUI charge.
- DUI with a minor in the car
Drunk driving with a minor below fourteen (14) years is another severe crime in California, and this could give you an extra forty-eight (48) hours in jail. The additional penalty is a must, even if you get probation on the underlying charge.
Other aggravating factors include:
- DUI resulting in an accident,
- DUI with reckless driving,
- DUI on a suspended license, and
- Multiple DUIs within five (5) years.
Defense Strategies We Use to Fight Our Client’s DUI Charges
If you have been arrested for a DUI offense, our Laguna Niguel DUI attorney will do their best to fight those charges and get your charges reduced or dropped. We have various defense strategies that we use, depending on the circumstances of your arrest and the type of DUI charge you are facing:
No probable cause
For the police to stop and arrest you for DUI, they will need a good reason to suspect you for drunk driving. If they are not able to prove probable cause for your arrest, the case could be dropped.
The police failed to read your Miranda rights
If the arresting officer proceeded to interrogate you after arrest before they could read your Miranda rights, any evidence they may have gathered may not be admissible in court and therefore could not be used against you.
False positive results
An inaccurate blood or breath test reading cannot be used to convict you of DUI. If we can prove that the test results were incorrect, the evidence so far gathered may be thrown out, and that means your case may be dropped.
No evidence of drunk driving
There could be a possibility that you were not intoxicated at the time of arrest, or you were not under the influence of any drugs.
Find a Laguna Niguel DUI Attorney Near Me
Any DUI conviction is enough to alter your life permanently, tainting your reputation. If you or your loved one is facing a DUI charge, you need to quickly seek the help of a well-skilled and experienced Laguna Niguel DUI attorney. The Orange County DUI attorney will be with you every step of the way and could get you the best possible outcome. For further inquiries or to book an appointment, call us at 949-377-2280.