Those facing a driving under the influence (DUI) charge may feel like they are out of options. However, there are several ways that defendants can protect their rights with the help of an experienced defense attorney.
Learn about California’s DUI laws and how to handle the aftermath of a DUI charge.
California’s DUI Laws
Laws regarding DUI charges vary from state to state. However, all drivers in the United States may not operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08%. Those operating commercial vehicles including trucks, buses, taxis, and more may not drive with a BAC at or above 0.04%. Those under the legal drinking age may not drive with a BAC at or above 0.01%.
If caught operating a motor vehicle above your specified legal limit, you will be arrested and charged with a DUI.
The penalties for a DUI in the state of California are severe. A first offense is punishable by nearly $2,000 in fines, 48 hours in jail, several months of driver’s license suspension, and the completion of an alcohol education program.
The penalties for a second, third, fourth, or subsequent DUI within a 10-year period may result in $18,000 in fines, 16 months in prison, driver’s license suspension, and the completion of an alcohol education program. Additionally, your vehicle may be confiscated or you may have to install an ignition interlock device in your car.
Due to the potentially severe consequences for a first-time or multiple DUI charge, it’s in your best interest to contact our experienced DUI defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry to increase your chances of getting your charges dismissed or penalties reduced.
The DUI Process
Once you have been pulled over and arrested for a DUI, law enforcement will confiscate your driver’s license and you will be given a temporary driver’s permit. The driver’s permit will allow you to drive for up to 30 days, at which point your driving privileges will be suspended.
You will need to schedule your hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). During your DMV hearing, the following will happen:
The DMV representative will serve as the prosecutor, which means that they will present evidence against you and argue why you should not have your driving privileges reinstated.
Additionally, the DMV representative will serve as a judge, which means they will make a final ruling after reviewing the case facts. If the DMV representative finds that the allegations are true, you will lose your driving privileges. However, if the DMV representative finds that there are substantial legal or factual errors, your driving privileges will be reinstated.
Many people going through this process decide to represent themselves during the DMV hearing. This is not a good idea, as most laypeople do not have the knowledge or skills necessary to defend their rights successfully. In this situation, it’s in your best interest to contact one of our defense attorneys who can challenge evidence, question the arresting officer’s testimony, and more.
Protecting Your Rights After a DUI Charge
There are several ways that an experienced defense attorney can protect your rights after a DUI charge, such as taking advantage of the common mistakes that law enforcement makes during a DUI arrest. These include the following:
Not having probable cause before pulling you over: Before police officers can make a DUI stop, they must have probable cause to believe that a crime was committed in their presence. If the police officer did not have probable cause before pulling you over, your charges may be dismissed.
Failure to read your Miranda Rights: If police officers failed to read your Miranda Rights before placing you under arrest, anything you said before your arrest may not be admissible in court.
Inaccurate field sobriety test results: Oftentimes, people perform poorly during field sobriety tests for many reasons other than being intoxicated, such as slippery road conditions, poor lighting, confusing instructions, and more. If it can be proven that this was the reason you failed your test, your charges may be dismissed.
Why You Should Hire a Defense Attorney
Given the potential consequences surrounding a DUI charge, it’s in your best interest to contact a knowledgeable defense attorney who can use the aforementioned measures to protect your rights.
Trying to go it alone may result in monetary fines, jail time, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education courses, vehicle confiscation, the installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, and more. With a DUI conviction on your record, it can prove difficult to secure housing or get a job.
Facing a DUI Charge? We’re Here to Help
If you’re facing a DUI charge in California, it may seem like the odds are stacked against you. However, hiring one of our knowledgeable defense attorneys can greatly increase your chances of getting your charge reduced or dismissed entirely.
Virginia Landry, our managing partner, is one of only five attorneys board certified in DUI defense in the state of California. She’s who you want on your team when you’re facing a DUI charge. Virginia knows the ins and outs of this area of law, and she has gotten numerous clients’ cases reduced or dismissed.