An Experienced Drunk Driving Attorney is important. In California, the Penalties for Drunk Driving can be very severe. So its very important to at least consult with an attorney before a court appearance.
There are many defense options available. Failing a chemical test or field sobriety test doesn’t mean you are automatically guilty, or that the prosecution’s evidence is irrefutable.
Drunk Driving (Defense)
- THE INITIAL STOP
- SYMPTOMS AN OFFICER LOOKS FOR
- THE OFFICER NEVER READ ME MY RIGHTS (Miranda)
- WHY TWO DUI CHARGES?
- DUI PUNISHMENT
- WHAT NOW?
The Initial Stop
If you were only stopped for a minor traffic infraction, can this give the officer probable cause to arrest you for driving under the influence? YES
The original reason the officer stopped you need not be related to driving under the influence. In fact, routine stops for broken taillights, out-dated registration or even cracked windshields have been upheld as sufficient cause for officers to detain individuals and then to check symptoms for driving under the influence. In any given case, however, there may be grounds to have the case thrown out by the filing of a motion to suppress the evidence based upon an initial bad detention.
DUI Symptoms an Officer Looks For
Certain symptoms seem to show up consistently. The following are some examples of what officers look for even when pulling a driver over:
The odor of alcohol on breath or person
Red, watery or bloodshot eyes
Fumbling with wallet to get license and/or registration
Staggering out of the vehicle
Failure to respond to officers directions
Swaying or stumbling
The Officer Never Read Me My Rights (Miranda):
Although you have certain rights upon being arrested, if you are not advised of these rights by the officer upon your arrest, the case will most likely not be thrown out. What is more likely is that the prosecution will not be able to use any of your answers to questions the officer asked you after having placed you under arrest.
Why 2 DUI Charges?
Most individuals charged with driving under the influence of alcohol are charged with violating both sections 23152(a) and 23152(b) of the vehicle code.
- VC 23152(a) is the traditional offense of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Basically, it means that regardless of the amount of alcohol you consumed, the alcohol affected your ability to drive such that you were not able to drive like an ordinary, reasonable, prudent person who had not consumed any alcohol.
- VC 23152(b) is the “per-se” offense. If your alcohol level is above .08%, you would be guilty regardless of how well you may have been driving. However, even though you may be charged with or even convicted of both, you can only be punished for one.
Generally speaking, a conviction for a first offense will involve the following:
- $1,500.00 fine
- License restriction
- “Driving Under the Influence” alcohol program for 90 days to 30 months;
- Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) lecture
- Hospital and morgue program
A conviction may also involve public work service for high blood alcohol levels, restitution in accident cases and increased penalties for prior convictions including jail, license suspension, and ignition interlock devices. Also, most individuals will find that the biggest financial cost of conviction will be from increased auto insurance rates. Depending on your driving record and how long you’ve been with your company, there is the potential they may drop your coverage.
After being charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you have only 10 days to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to set up an administration per se hearing. This will stay the four-month license suspension. The DMV hearing and suspension are completely separate from any punishment the court may later impose.
At the DMV hearing, the only questions the hearing officer will decide are:
- Did the officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
- Were you placed under lawful arrest?
- Were you driving a vehicle when you had .08% or more by weight of alcohol in your blood?
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