Being accused of DUI can be immensely stressful and carry grave, life-long effects. Finding the best-suited legal team capable of helping you combat these charges is essential for preventing any significant infractions that could have you facing jail time. License suspension, remediation school, and legal fees are all potential repercussions of a DUI charge. Finding a legal team that can assist you while facing a DUI charge is essential for ensuring the best possible outcome for your case, particularly if you face a more severe DUI term. The Law Office of Daniel P. Flores has been serving the people of Rancho Cucamonga for years, defending thousands facing DUI charges and helping those facing these accusations get back to their everyday lives.
Driving under the influence, or DUI, is the legal terminology used to describe operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a mixture of both, which leads to impaired and reckless driving. Sections 23152(b) and 23152(c) of the California Vehicle Code criminalize operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of any drug or alcohol, regardless of how fit to drive an individual feels they may be. Your blood alcohol content (BAC) will determine if you are considered intoxicated enough to warrant a DUI charge. A BAC of .08% or greater for persons over the age of 21 is defined by law as under the influence and, if tested in the field, can be used as evidence of a DUI in court. For minors and those who are younger than 21, a BAC of .05% or higher can constitute an underaged DUI charge.
Chemical testing constitutes any intoxication test that analyzes the fluids and products of the body, most commonly breath, blood, and/or urine, to determine BAC. Typically, a breathalyzer is the first of these tests to be used when assessing someone suspected of a DUI; however, the time at which you are tested will determine the kind of test you take. During a field sobriety test, an officer may attempt to use a breathalyzer because of its portability and ease of use; however, you have the option to decline these tests until after you are arrested due to California’s lack of restrictions on refusing chemical tests.
When you obtain your license in California, you are required to take any form of chemical test after a DUI arrest. Many officers may attempt to make you feel obligated to use a breathalyzer before your arrest, despite the language of the law allowing you to refuse these tests. If you are officially detained for a DWI, you are not prohibited by California State Law from refusing these tests in the field, but you must submit to any required chemical testing to keep your license.
After having your license suspended, you have ten days to petition the DMV and ask for the suspension to be delayed. The suspension of your license must be implemented within ten days after your arrest, but if you are granted a hearing for your suspension, the hearing will be set for a later date, and the suspension will not start until after. For instance, if your request for a hearing is approved, you will continue to be your license’s legal owner until your hearing decision. Similarly, if you are denied a hearing or do not ask for one within ten days of your arrest, the legally required 30-day suspension will take effect.
Any first-time, second-time, or third-time DUI conviction that is non-violent or non-destructive is often handled as a misdemeanor, with harsher punishments resulting from previous convictions. These charges may be upgraded to felonies after a fourth DUI or if your DUI charge is connected to any serious accidents or fatalities; however, depending on the time in between convictions, the penalties for a conviction may differ. For instance, if your first DUI was over ten years ago and you are arrested for another DUI, this second arrest would be considered the first conviction under California Vehicle Code Section 23622.
A DUI conviction may occasionally be deemed a felony depending on circumstances surrounding the first conviction. For example, if you are arrested for a DUI that resulted in another accident or the death of another person, your charges could be upgraded to a felony. A first-time DUI charge that results in minor injuries or accidents to another party will often carry less weight than one that results in vehicular manslaughter because these charges are typically dependent on the harm inflicted on others. For those facing a fourth DUI arrest, this will automatically result in a felony conviction.
Determining whether a DUI charge is a misdemeanor or felony is one of the main elements that affect the consequences. If you have more than three DUI arrests within ten years, whether they are pursued as felonies or misdemeanors, your fourth DUI arrest could result in a felony charge. The following is a simple overview of the predicted consequences for various DUI charge escalation levels:
For ten years following the initial conviction, the effects of compounding charges, like higher fees and penalties for your conviction, are only applicable to subsequent convictions within ten years of that initial conviction. For instance, if you were charged with a misdemeanor DUI for the first time eleven years ago, your subsequent misdemeanor DUI arrest will also be considered a first offense, and you will receive penalties on that level. Within those ten years, these subsequent convictions will be regarded as second, third, etc. charges, and the punishments for your second or third charge will change correspondingly.
According to California Penal Code Section 667 PC, also known as the “Three Strikes law,” anyone convicted of three or more violent felony offenses is subject to a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life in prison following their third conviction. DUI convictions that cause substantial physical harm to another person, mostly vehicular homicide cases, are frequently pursued as felonies and can be used as a strike that counts towards that sentencing rule. The only approach to avoid a harsh sentence that could result in more jail time is to hire a DUI defense lawyer who can help with your case
A: As with any case, the price attached to any legal services is determined by the length of the case and the severity of the charges. For example, shorter, more contained trials tend to cost less than large-scale trials due to the time it takes to settle the case, DUIs included.
A: One of the biggest determining factors for a lawyer’s fees is the case itself. For shorter cases, the amount needed to pay your lawyer will be less than that of a case that takes months to settle. For DUIs, depending on whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony, the length of the case may vary, causing the price for legal services to vary as well.
A: For all legal matters involving a court appearance, especially ones as nuanced as DUI charges, finding a lawyer to support you is crucial for helping create a positive outcome for your case. Between compiling evidence and sorting the facts of the case, a legal team has the knowledge needed to help you avoid a conviction.
A: Although not mandatory, the Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to legal counsel for those appearing on trial for any criminal charges or case, including DUI charges at any level of prosecution. If facing a DUI, you have the right to have legal representation from a public defender, and it is encouraged for you to seek representation before any court appearances.
Fighting a DUI charge may seem like a massive undertaking, especially when considering the stigma brought on by receiving criminal charges. After being charged with a DUI, your first step should always be contacting a defense attorney. In Rancho Cucamonga, the Law Office of Daniel P. Flores can provide expert services, especially specializing in DUI defense. For more information on our practice, including all our criminal defense practice areas, visit our website and contact us today.
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