Driving under the influence (DUI) is considered a serious criminal act in Norwalk, CA. You could be left with high fines and sentenced to time spent in jail if you are convicted of making this mistake.
A DUI lawyer in Norwalk at our firm can help make sure you handle a DUI accusation properly. You can count on Simmrin Law Group to support you in and out of court. Take steps to protect yourself today by getting professional help.
What Counts as Driving Under the Influence
It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle in California if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above a certain level. Driving with a high BAC means you are driving under the influence. You are not legally allowed to operate a motor vehicle if your BAC is at or above:
- .08% for drivers over 21
- .01% for drivers under 21
- .04% for commercial drivers
Generally, police officers use chemical tests or field sobriety tests to determine if someone is diving under the influence. You can legally refuse these tests before you are arrested as long as you are not:
- On DUI probation
- Under 21 years old
Once you are arrested, you must perform any test asked of you. If you refuse to complete a police test after you are arrested, you could face serious criminal charges.
For a free legal consultation with a lawyer serving Norwalk, call (310) 928-9347
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence
You can face serious legal penalties for driving under the influence. These penalties grow harsher with each conviction, as you can see:
First DUI Conviction:
- Possible Fines of: $2,000
- Jail Time: 2 days – 6 months
- License Suspension: 1 month – 1 year
Second DUI Conviction:
- Possible Fines of: $2,500
- Jail Time: 4 days – 1 year
- License Suspension: 90 days – 2 year
Third DUI Conviction:
- Possible Fines of: $3,000
- Jail Time: 120 days – 1 year
- License Suspension: Up to 3 years
You will also have to complete an alcohol treatment program for any DUI conviction. Trying to handle a DUI charge on your own can end in disaster. Get professional help protecting yourself by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Norwalk.
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Other Traffic Crimes in Norwalk
While DUIs can be very serious, they are not the only traffic violation punished by the court system in Norwalk. You can face harsh repercussions for:
Traffic infractions are offenses that aren’t considered criminal acts. People commit traffic infractions when they:
- Disobey stop signs
- Change lanes illegal
- Use carpool lanes improperly
You will likely receive a ticket from a police officer if you commit a traffic infraction. You can also get tickets from red light cameras in the Norwalk area. The California Supreme Court did find red light cameras to be constitutional, so you must take them seriously.
Individuals who are convicted of a traffic violation are generally fined a small amount of money. You will also have a point added onto your driver’s license for each traffic violation conviction. Note that you can lose your license if you accrue too many points over the course of 1, 2, or 3 years.
Misdemeanor Traffic Violations
Misdemeanor traffic violations are treated more seriously than traffic infractions. Any misdemeanor traffic violation is considered a criminal act. As such, you can face high fines and even jail time if you are convicted. You also get 2 points added onto your license for each misdemeanor traffic violation.
Individuals can face these charges for several acts, including:
- Reckless Driving
- Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License
Reckless driving occurs if someone drives with wanton or willful disregard for other people’s safety. There are many actions you can take while driving that can be considered reckless by the court system. Individuals have been charged for:
- Swerving between lanes
- Passing illegally
- Driving on a road the wrong way
- Driving on a sidewalk
You are legally only allowed to drive if you have a valid license. Individuals who drive after their license has been suspended or revoked can face serious penalties. The exact nature of your charges will depend on the reason that your license was initially suspended or revoked.
Any misdemeanor traffic violation or traffic infraction must be taken seriously, or they could result in the loss of your license. A DUI lawyer can help you build a solid defense so you can maintain your freedom.
Do You Have to Take a Field Sobriety Test?
California—like other states—has an implied consent law. Under this law, drivers face criminal consequences if they fail to submit breath samples when they are suspected of driving while impaired. This requirement does not extend to field sobriety tests.
Field sobriety tests are a series of exercises the police request drivers go through to determine if they are impaired. Generally, field sobriety testing involves the walk-and-turn test, the one-legged stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus tests. These tests are usually unreliable, particularly when the police fail to correctly perform the tests.
Because you don’t have to undergo these tests, it is a good idea to refuse, as many factors could indicate a false positive.
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Are DUI Checkpoints Legal in California?
A DUI checkpoint is a policing tool that identifies drunk drivers even if they have not yet committed a traffic violation. Although there are no grounds to pull over a driver in this situation, checkpoints are typically legal in California so long as they comply with certain requirements.
Allowing checkpoints is a departure from the general rule that the police may not stop a driver with reasonable suspicion they have committed an offense. However, there are restrictions on the use of these checkpoints.
For example, traffic stops must be neutral. Officers cannot single out motorists to stop but must have a system for selecting drivers at certain intervals. The police must also take certain safety precautions and operate in a reasonable location. So, a checkpoint in the middle of a busy highway at rush hour may not be legal. If the courts determine a checkpoint was unlawful, it could be a strong defense in a DUI case.
What Are Common Defenses in Norwalk, California, DUI Cases?
After reviewing your case and gathering evidence, your Norwalk DUI lawyer can build a defense strategy to help you secure a favorable outcome. Common defense strategies for Norwalk DUI cases include:
Breath Test Errors
The police can make mistakes when administering the breath test during a DUI investigation, which could render the test results inaccurate. Also, an officer could perform the test without having the appropriate certifications. In these cases, the judge could throw out the test results.
Rising Blood Alcohol
Remember that when the police test for your blood alcohol concentration, they are looking for evidence that it was above the legal limit at the time you were driving. One possible defense if your blood alcohol concentration is close to the legal limit is that your BAC was rising at the time of the test.
In other words, your BAC was below 0.08 at the time you were driving but only went above the legal limit after the arrest occurred.
Illegal Traffic Stops
The police cannot pull you over any time they want. If they lack reasonable suspicion that a traffic violation occurred, any effort to pull you over may be illegal. Any evidence they collect after an illegal traffic stop could be excluded at trial. It could include anything from admissions of drinking to the results of breath tests.
Let a Norwalk DUI Lawyer with Our Firm Help You
Dealing with DUI or other traffic violation charges on your own can spell disaster. Make sure you have the professional backup you need by contacting the Simmrin Law Group today. Our DUI lawyers in Norwalk can go over your case with a FREE consultation. We have the experience and know-how to fight for you.
Call our firm today to get started.