If you’ve been charged with a DUI or under investigation for a DUI in Modjeska Canyon, you will require a reliable and experienced Modjeska Canyon DUI attorney who has in-depth familiarity with all the local court processes in this area. We at the Orange County DUI Attorney have the deep familiarity you are looking for, and we will help you fight aggressively to obtain the most favorable outcome.
Over the years, we have helped numerous defendants for a DUI, obtain an acquittal or a dismissal, or have their charges reduced. Our attorneys have extensive experience in defending all types of DUI charges, including first DUI, repeat DUI, commercial DUI, and felony DUI. We can even represent you at your DUI DMV hearing to ensure you do not lose your driving privileges. Contact us to learn more about our services.
What is DUI?
You will be charged with the offense of driving under the influence in the state of California if you operate a motor vehicle while impaired. Just like other states, California has a prescribed BAC limit, which all motorists should not exceed. This limit is 0.08%. If you exceed this limit, the prosecution department will charge you with per se DUI. The term 'per se' is a Latin word that means ‘of itself.’ If the prosecutor charges you with per se DUI, the court will not require him/her to demonstrate that you were physically impaired.
Holders of commercial driver's licenses should not exceed a BAC limit of 0.04%. Individuals who are below 21 years old and those who are serving probation terms for prior DUI offenses should not have a BAC, which is or over 0.01%.
How a Law Enforcement Officer can Arrest you for a DUI
According to California’s driving laws, a police officer should only motion you to pull over if he/she has a probable cause to do so. A law enforcement officer can flag you down if he/she notices that you are driving carelessly or violating a particular traffic law.
When you stop, the police officer will approach you. He/she may inspect your vehicle and even ask for your driver's license. When the law enforcement officer becomes suspicious that you were driving under the influence, he/she will subject you to a BAC chemical breath test or a field sobriety test. The police officer may become suspicious if he/she notices certain signs that show you may be intoxicated. Some of these signs include:
- Having a bottle of alcohol inside your car
- Slurred speech
- An alcoholic stench
- Giving incoherent responses to the officer’s questions
- Red eyes
- Flushed face
If the test results come out positive, the officer will arrest you for a DUI. Sometimes, the officer may request you to take a BAC chemical test when you are in custody.
Also, there are several DUI checkpoints in Orange County. All motorists who come across these checkpoints while driving must pull over. It is at these checkpoints where police officers may request you to take a field sobriety test or chemical breath test to assess if you are impaired. If you fail the tests, you will be arrested for a DUI.
What to Do After Being Arrested for a DUI
What should you do after you have been arrested for a DUI? Often, most individuals who have been arrested for a DUI had subjected themselves to a BAC chemical or field sobriety test, and they 'allegedly' failed it. Some of them may have refused to take this test, and the police officer arrested them simply because they believed that they were impaired. Regardless of whether or not you took a field sobriety or a BAC chemical test, you should know the legal steps you should take after you have been arrested for a DUI. These steps include the following:
The law enforcement officer will take you to the police station after you have been arrested for booking. During the booking process, the police officer will record your personal details such as your name, contact, and residential address, gender, among others. He/she will also assess your criminal background, and jot down the offense you have been arrested for.
After you have been booked, you will be taken into police custody. For you to obtain your freedom, you will have to post bail. However, some individuals may be released without bail, per the police officer’s discretion. You can post bail by using a bail bond agent, or you can pay the full bail amount in cash by yourself. Using a bail bond agents is the most popular method of posting bail because most people cannot afford the full bail amount in cash.
Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney
Immediately after you are released from custody, you should speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney. Make sure you hire an attorney who is well-versed in the local court processes of the area where you have been charged for a DUI. Such an attorney has the technical know-how on the best way to navigate DUI charges, and they are always updated on how local laws influence the outcome of DUI cases. This makes them be in a much better position to help you obtain the most favorable outcome. For instance, you should look for a skilled Modjeska Canyon DUI Attorney if you have been arrested for a DUI within the Eastern parts of Orange County.
Moreover, expert DUI defense attorneys who practice locally continually receive training on the latest techniques for BAC and field sobriety testing that law enforcement officers use. This continuous training enables them to devise useful tactics to convince the court that the results were not accurate.
You may be undecided to hire an attorney, and you may even believe that you can win your case without one. It can be challenging to fight DUI charges without an attorney. If you don’t have an attorney by your side, some of your rights may be violated during a hearing. You may also be more prone to facing the most grievous DUI penalties upon conviction.
Request a DMV Hearing
You should request a DMV hearing within ten days after you have been arrested for a DUI to protect your driving privileges. When a law enforcement officer arrests you for a DUI, he/she will suspend or revoke your driver’s license. The officer will then issue you with a pink slip, which will act as your temporary license for thirty days. When this period lapses, the authorities may not permit you to drive if you don’t request a DMV hearing.
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Modjeska Canyon, you should look for a Modjeska Canyon DUI attorney to represent you at your DMV hearing. Typically, DMV hearings are informal, and they can even be conducted over the phone. Despite their informality, you will face severe consequences if you lose. Also, the outcome of the DMV hearing will significantly affect the outcome of your DUI court case. For instance, if you win your DMV hearing, your attorney may succeed in convincing the prosecutor to drop your case; or at the very least – reduce your charges.
The entire procedure, from being pulled over, through BAC field sobriety and chemical tests, an arrest, to custody release, can happen so quickly that you won't be able to remember it clearly. This is why you should document all you can about the incident, to help your attorney build for you a strong defense strategy. Make sure you jot down the following:
- What happened at the time when the law enforcement officer flagged you down
- How the law enforcement officer requested you to take a field sobriety test or a BAC chemical test, and how the test was executed
- What happened after you have been arrested, and how you were taken to police custody
If you were actually intoxicated, you might not remember all these details. In such a situation, just document the little that you can remember because it will still be useful to your attorney. This information will help your DUI attorney to explore various defenses that he/she can use in your court case and even in your administrative license DMV hearing.
Preparing for Arraignment
The term 'arraignment' refers to the first court session that you must attend after you have been charged with any criminal offense, including DUI. During the arraignment, your charges will be read out to you, and you will be asked to take a plea. Per your situation, you can plead guilty or not guilty.
It is prudent to consult a DUI defense attorney before you are arraigned in court. This will enable you to get advice on which plea you should take, and its pros and cons.
The Penalties for a DUI
Typically, DUI is charged as a misdemeanor in California, though a prosecutor may charge it as a felony in certain circumstances. Some of these circumstances include having more than three prior DUI convictions on your record and injuring another person while driving under the influence.
DUI is a priorable offense, and its penalties tend to become more severe with each subsequent charge. The penalties for a first time DUI include a jail term of a maximum of six months, and a fine that may range from $390 - $1,000. A second time DUI is punishable by a jail term of up to one year, and a fine that may be between $390 - $1,000. A third time DUI conviction may attract a jail sentence of at least one year, and a fine ranging from $390 - $1,000.
If you are convicted of felony DUI, you risk facing a jail term of up to three years; and the court will order you to pay a fine whose value may be between $390 - $1,000. A conviction of felony DUI causing injury may result in a jail term of up to 16 years, and a court order to pay fines ranging between $1,015 - $5,000. If you are convicted of misdemeanor DUI causing injury, you may serve a jail term of a maximum of one year and pay a fine between $390 - $5,000.
For you to find out the total cost of your DUI charges, you should reach out to a DUI defense attorney. Several penalty and court assessments can raise how much fine you will be required to pay, depending on the facts and circumstances of your case. Apart from jail terms and fines, DUI convictions attract other penalties such as:
- Mandatory suspension of your driver’s license
- An order to attend a DUI educational program for a specific period
- An order to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle
- Increased auto-insurance costs
- Bad criminal records that may prevent you from accessing opportunities like jobs, scholarships, university admissions, among others
- You may be ordered to sign a Watson Advisement, which the prosecution may use against you if you are charged with DUI causing an accident in the future
- Foreign nationals may risk deportation and revocation of visas
How to Fight DUI Charges
The burden of proof in a DUI criminal court case is on the prosecution, and the standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. This extremely high standard may make it challenging for the prosecutor to convince the court to convict you of DUI.
You can fight DUI charges by identifying certain flaws in the evidence of the prosecution, or using legal arguments, motions, and objections to exclude some specific pieces of evidence. Here are the most efficient ways to fight DUI charges:
Inaccurate BAC Test Results
The BAC test results may be incorrect, and they may indicate falsely-high positives. Various issues may bring about false positives in BAC chemical breath tests, including improper calibration, use, or maintenance, presence of mouth alcohol, and radio-frequency interference. Blood tests can also result in false positives, especially if the law enforcement officers failed to observe the proper protocol in the collection, storage, and maintenance of the blood sample.
Most BAC experts assert that, mostly, the chemical test results have an error margin of 0.005 to 0.2%. Therefore, even if the breathalyzer test showed that you blew a BAC of 0.08% or higher, your defense attorney can argue that the results were inaccurate and that you did not exceed California's blood-alcohol legal limit.
You could utilize the defense of 'necessity' if you had to drive while under the influence in a situation of emergency to protect yourself from much greater harm. For instance, maybe armed goons stormed into the party you were attending, and the only way to protect yourself from harm was fleeing using your car, even though you were intoxicated. According to California criminal jury instructions 3403, a jury can acquit an individual of DUI if he/she:
- Had an emergency and had to drive while impaired to protect themselves or another person from significant evil or bodily harm
- No other legal alternative was available
- The harm avoided was more significant than what the DUI would have created
- The defendant had not substantially contributed to the occurrence of the emergency
Ketosis from Diabetes or Atkins Diets
Low-carb diets and conditions like diabetes may trigger ketosis. When your body enters into ketosis, it will rely on ketones as a source of energy instead of glucose. Individuals who have diabetes use up ketones for energy because they do not have sufficient glucose. These ketones are converted into alcohol upon excretion, and they may result in a falsely high positive when you take a BAC chemical breath test.
Mistake of Fact
This is the most commonly used defense in DUI involving prescription medication. Here, your attorney will assert that you honestly believed that you were not intoxicated. For you to utilize the defense of ‘mistake of fact,’ you must have a provable reason to convince the court why you believed you were not impaired.
The Police Officer Did Not Have a Probable Cause for Motioning you to Pull Over
According to California’s traffic laws, a police officer should only motion you to pull over if he/she has a probable cause. For instance, he/she may suspect you of violating a traffic law or notice that you were driving recklessly.
If the law enforcement officer did not have a probable cause, your attorney could apply for a suppression hearing to exclude all the evidence the officer obtained when you stopped. This will significantly reduce the evidence of the prosecution, and your case may be dismissed. However, this defense will not apply if you were motioned to pull over in a DUI sobriety checkpoint.
The defense of 'involuntary intoxication' is most effective when another person had drugged the defendant without his/her knowledge or when he/she had unknowingly drunk intoxicating alcohol. Note that you can only claim involuntary intoxication if you didn't take the alcohol or drugs voluntarily.
Rising Blood Alcohol
The defense of 'rising blood alcohol' will apply in your case if your blood-alcohol was below the prescribed limit when driving, but it exceeded it at the time when you took the BAC chemical test. This defense is most effective in instances where there was a considerable time gap between when you were pulled over and when the BAC test was administered. It can also be applied if the test results were close to the prescribed limit, if you did not exhibit other physical symptoms of intoxication, or if you were almost reaching your destination.
Find a Modjeska Canyon DUI Attorney Near Me
We at the Orange County DUI Attorney can help you to have your charges reduced or dropped. Our skilled team of Modjeska Canyon DUI Attorneys has won countless DUI cases. Call the Orange County DUI Attorney today at 949-377-2280 to protect your future and record.