Protect your future, get your case dismissed.
Have you or someone you know been charged with a DUI, a criminal offense? If so, first things first: and you are navigating through the criminal justice system, you may be overwhelmed and terrified. Driving Under the Influence (DUI) can mean driving while under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, etc. Penalties for DUI offenders have become more severe, and DUI offenders may face jail time, license revocation, mandatory alcohol education courses, high fines, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device and parole. A criminal DUI conviction can severely impact your life. Many people who have been charged and convicted with a DUI failed to deal with it properly, and as a consequence, lost their jobs, their professional license, custody of their children, ruined their foreseeable future, and are still haunted by the effects. Don’t let a DUI ruin your future, contact our experienced, skilled DUI lawyers today. If you were arrested for a DUI while a child was in the car, while committing another traffic violation, after severely injuring or killing another person, after damaging their property, or if you are a minor yourself who was arrested for DUI, it is crucial to contact a DUI lawyer without delay.
California Vehicle Code Sections 23152(b) and 23152(b)
The two vehicle code sections that specify the required evidence of a DUI offense are CVC 23152(a), and CVC 23152(b). If a police officer has probable cause to believe that you are intoxicated with alcohol or drugs, you will be arrested and given the option to take a breath test or blood test. If you refuse testing, you can still be charged under CVC 23152(a), and if you refuse chemical testing, you will have your driver’s license suspended for a year, during which time you will not be eligible for a restricted license. If you are on probation with search and seizure conditions or a driver who is under the age of 21, you must submit to a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test. If you are not on probation and not under the age of 21, you may refuse to submit to a PAS test. If you are arrested for a DUI, you must submit to a breath or blood test. If you are suspected of driving under the influence of drugs then you will have to take a blood test and a urine test.
The San Diego Police Department or California Highway Patrol will refer the case to the local prosecutor, who will then determine what charges to file. Do NOT wait to contact an experienced DUI lawyer if you have been arrested for a DUI; you could lose your chance to intervene prior to charges being filed and potentially convince the prosecutor not to file charges in the first place.
If charges are filed, your case will go to court for arraignment. Most likely, if your case involves alcohol, you will be charged pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) VC and driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) VC, allowing the prosecutor to pursue two separate theories of guilt. We experienced San Diego DUI attorneys who are skilled in the technical defense of a DUI, where science is often the basis for a defense.
California Vehicle Code 21658
California Vehicle Code 21658 is a common reason for being pulled over by San Diego Police or the California Highway Patrol. A violation of California Vehicle Code 21658 basically means you failed to stay safely in your lane or move safely between lanes, either because you are swerving inside or outside your lane, straddling lane lines, changing lanes in way that a police officer discerned was not done with “reasonable safety”, or violating traffic signs directing you to drive in a specified direction or stay in a specified lane. This law, however, is so vague that it essentially allows a police officer to easily come up with reasons to pull you over. Maybe you were checking your blindspot and moved drifted over slightly within your lane; this could easily be a reason for a police officer to pull you over since this law essentially allows police officers to decide what is “reasonably safe.” Once a person is pulled over, and smells of alcohol, the police will usually begin a San Diego DUI investigation. A DUI investigation is likely to lead to a DUI arrest if you have been drinking alcohol. Once you are arrested for a DUI, you will likely be charged and prosecuted in Superior Court. If you are convicted of a DUI, you will likely have your driver’s license suspended by the DMV. In addition to losing your license, you may also lose your job. If you hold a professional license, there is a good chance that your professional license may also be suspended. If you were driving under the influence with children in your car, you could also be charged with Child Endangerment, which could result in loss of custody or visitation. The punishment for a first DUI where nobody was injured or killed will entail jumping through all kinds of hoops, which are time-consuming, tedious, and very expensive. Multiple DUI’s within the past 10 years will result in a much harsher punishment, including jail time. Speaking of time, if you are convicted of a DUI in San Diego, you will inevitably lose a significant amount of time, which you will never be able to get back. You simply cannot create more time.
Proper legal defense against an illegal stop for a California Vehicle Code 21658 requires a skilled DUI defense attorney who will be able to show the judge or prosecutor that the arresting DUI officer did not have a good reason to pull you over. Obtaining a copy of CHP’s video recording from the mobile video recorder and showing it to the prosecutor may be enough to get the San Diego DUI case dismissed. If this doesn’t work, however, a skilled DUI defense attorney may file a motion for an illegal search and seizure to get the judge to suppress evidence of drinking and lead to a dismissal. will know how to cross-examine the police officer on the legality of the stop. An experienced DUI defense attorney knows how to cross-examine the police officer on the legality of the stop and get a dismissal if the officer did not comply with the law, or, to show the jury that the police officer should not be trusted with a DUI investigation because the stop was a pretext for an illegal investigation.
THE MOST COMMON DUI DEFENSES
If you have been arrested and charged with the crime of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (DUI) you understand that you are facing a serious offense. You can lose your driver’s license, lose any professional license you may have, face mandatory fines and jail time. The task may be daunting but DUI cases are defensible. An Experienced DUI lawyer can help you identify unique issues in your case to identify the best DUI defenses available.
In our years practicing DUI defense, we have identified some of the most common, effective and typical DUI defenses that we come across. The following is a list of some of these defenses to give you an idea of how legal and scientific issues form the basis for many types of DUI defenses.
1. SUSPECT NOT GIVEN OPPORTUNITY TO CONTACT AN ATTORNEY DURING THE DUI INVESTIGATION.
Everyone has the right to consult with an attorney during any criminal investigation before or after being arrested. In DUI investigations, this right is paramount because the time frames of a DUI investigation are critical in making the decision to obtain exculpatory evidence. Denial of that right can result in a DUI case being dismissed.
In California, a suspect in a DUI investigation has a right to consult with counsel if it will not unreasonably delay or impede the DUI investigation. If a motion to dismiss or suppress evidence is filed by the defense on grounds of deprivation of the right to counsel, the State has the burden to prove that any deprivation of the right to counsel would have interfered with the DUI investigation; otherwise, the remedy is suppression of evidence and dismissal of the charges. Any evidence obtained following the violation of a defendant’s right to counsel must be suppressed, and often times a dismissal of the charges is the remedy when the State interferes with a defendant’s inability to consult with counsel.
2. BREATH ALCOHOL TESTING CAN BE INACCURATE.
Breath tests commonly referred to as breathalyzers, determine the particles of breath alcohol in your lungs and give a measurement of the blood alcohol level in your blood. This indirect measurement of your blood alcohol level can result in an inaccurate reading as a single test alone is not sufficient to determine the levels of alcohol in your system.
The partition ratio is the ratio of alcohol levels in the blood as they relate to alcohol levels in the breath or lungs. Breath Alcohol Testing relies on the presumption of a single partition ratio rating. However, variances in human physiology can result in individuals having different partition ratios than the ratio used as the basis for the breath alcohol test.
There are other factors that can suggest that Intoxilyzer or breath test reading can be high. Variances in body temperature during the administration of the tests result in false high readings. Even the breath instrument itself has an inherent 10% margin of error that can give falsely high readings.
A defense attorney, in consultation with a forensic toxicology expert, can help identify breath testing issues that may produce a valid defense to the breath tests presented in a DUI case.
3. ILLEGAL STOP OF PERSON OR VEHICLE.
A driver cannot be stopped unless the officer has a reasonable and articulable basis to believe that a traffic law or other law has been violated nor can they be seized unless a violation has occurred.
In all criminal cases, the State has the burden to prove that all evidence was obtained lawfully and in compliance with the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Fourth Amendment protects all individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. A police officer cannot stop a motorist based on a “hunch” or a guess. Similarly, it is not a crime to drive a vehicle late at night or for simply leaving a bar. An officer must demonstrate an objective reason why they made a traffic stop to justify any subsequent seizure or evidence obtained.
An experienced DUI defense attorney can analyze a case to determine if a Motion to Suppress Evidence should be filed in cases with no legal justification for the traffic stop.
4. FIELD SOBRIETY TEST IS INACCURATE OR INVALID.
Standardized Field Sobriety Tests are just that, “standardized”. To be an accurate test, the test must be instructed, given, and performed the same way every time to even be considered an accurate predictor for “cues of impairment”. These tests are barely 60% – 70% accurate in some studies and are completely invalid when performed on individuals with disabilities, who are overweight, or the elderly.
Not all Field Sobriety Tests are “standardized”. Tests like “Finger to Nose” tests, Rhomberg-Modified balancing tests, or reciting the alphabet ARE NOT standardized field sobriety tests recognized by the Federal Government and NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration). Some of the tests are not even recognized by all police agencies. Their relevance at trial to demonstrate impairment are dubious at best.
An experienced DUI attorney can attack these field sobriety tests in your defense, especially when no reports of bad driving are reported, or the investigating officer is not qualified or did not properly administer the field sobriety tests.
These are just some of the most common DUI defenses, but this list is by no means exhaustive of the defenses that can be presented. DUI cases present some of the most interesting and challenging issues regarding legal and scientific defenses. If you have been charged with a DUI, you should obtain a consultation or case assessment to ensure you understand your rights in a criminal prosecution.