FIRST DUI - SAN DIEGO DUI ATTORNEY GROUP
A first DUI can be a traumatic, and very expensive, experience for many people. It is a criminal offense that may be committed by anyone who drinks and drives. You may be stopped for any number of reasons and scrutinized for signs of impairment. A DUI checkpoint nabs many drivers who were otherwise driving cautiously despite having had multiple drinks.
But just because you have been arrested and charged does not mean you have little to no chance of either getting the charges dismissed or reduced. In many DUI cases handled by attorneys from the San Diego DUI Attorney Group, we have had charges dropped or obtained acquittals at trial and our clients able to retain their driver’s licenses with no restrictions.
Though you may not do any more than a day or two in jail or at least some form of community service, it is the other consequences that make a DUI so stressful. You can lose your license for up to 10 months. Though you may get a restricted license, you can only drive to and from work and to your DUI class. You will probably be placed on probation so that any subsequent drinking and driving stop can subject you to jail time and extended loss of driving privileges. Also, your auto liability insurance premiums will increase substantially.
If you refuse testing, the officer will undoubtedly arrest you anyway and will take away your driver’s license and give you a 30-day temporary one. In this case, you can lose your license for one year with no restricted license eligibility.
If arrested, immediately contact a lawyer from the San Diego DUI Attorney Group as you have only 10 days to request a DMV hearing regarding your license suspension.
No motorist may drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08%. If you are under 21, your BAC must be zero. For commercial operators, it cannot be 0.04%. Even if you refuse testing or one cannot be administered for some reason, you can still be arrested for DUI based on other subjective factors.
The California Vehicle Code section governing DUI is CVC 23152:
“CVC 23152. (a) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.
(b) It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle. For purposes of this article and Section 34501.16, percent, by weight, of alcohol in a person's blood is based upon grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. In any prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.
(c) It is unlawful for a person who is addicted to the use of any drug to drive a vehicle. This subdivision shall not apply to a person who is participating in a narcotic treatment program approved pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 11875) of Chapter 1 of Part 3 of Division 10.5 of the Health and Safety Code.
(d) It is unlawful for a person who has 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in Section 15210. In any prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.
(e) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.
(f) It is unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle.
(g) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2014.”
Under What Conditions May an Officer Arrest You for DUI?
A law enforcement officer looks for certain signs of impaired driving:
- Driving too slowly or too fast for conditions
- Sleeping at the side of the road in your car
- Slurred or mumbling speech
- Bloodshot eyes
- Odor of alcohol
- Empty beer cans or bottles in car
- Fumbling for your license, registration and insurance information
- Stumbling on your FST or coordination tests
- Arguing with the officer or shouting
- PAS showing alcohol in your breath
- You admitted to drinking
Any one of these observations may not be sufficient to indicate impairment, but these are factors that your lawyer can discuss with you. Extreme stress, fatigue or a medical condition are common explanations for these factors that officers rely on.
The License Suspension Hearing
When arrested for a DUI, you are given a 30-day temporary license and advised you that you have only 10 days to request an administrative hearing before the DMV regarding the suspension of your license. If you do not request this hearing, you waive your right and your license will be suspended.
Our defense lawyers from the San Diego DUI Attorney Group have successfully contested license revocations in numerous cases so that our clients retain their driving privileges. The issues at these hearings concern:
- Was there probable cause to stop and detain you
- If you took a test, was your BAC 0.08%
- Whether you refused testing
- If your refusal was reasonable
Our attorneys will closely question each witness against you at the APS hearing and offer evidence challenging the breath test results or the actions of the officer.
First DUI Offense Penalties
First DUI offenders can expect the following sentence:
- 2 to 5 days in jail but up to 6 months in jail
- 2 additional days in jail if you refused chemical testing
- Fine of $390 up to $1,000
- Summary probation of 3 years
- Loss of license for 6-10 months
- Restricted license possible after 30-days
- 0ne-year suspension with no restricted license if testing was refused
There are alternatives to jail such as community service that one of our attorneys from the San Diego DUI Attorney Group can negotiate in many instances.
Conditions that Add to Sentence
Particular conditions that if present at the time of your arrest will enhance your sentence:
- 1. Having a passenger under the age of 14
- 2. A BAC result of at least 0.15%
- 3. Refusing testing of your breath or blood
- 4. Speeding at least 20 mph over the speed limit
Should any one of these aggravating circumstances have occurred, it can add 2 days or more to your jail sentence. If there was an accident or your driving conduct was especially egregious, the DA could charge you with felony child endangerment.
Our attorneys have decades of experience in defending those charged with DUIs. Typical defenses include:
- No probable cause to stop your car
- No probable cause to arrest you
- The officer’s conclusions regarding your impairment were flawed
- You were not properly advised of your rights
- There are over 50 ways to challenge your breath or blood test
Our attorneys have many years of successfully defending clients in all types of DUI cases. Contact the lawyers at the San Diego DUI Attorney Group if you have been arrested on a DUI.