Driving under the influence charges are aggressively prosecuted in California. If you have been pulled over and charged with driving while intoxicated, you must act quickly to protect your rights. Driving under the influence is a crime that can result in both a jail sentence and fines.
Having an experienced DUI lawyer in Orange County can help avoid jail time and even result in having the DUI charges dropped. Not all DUIs are treated the same, and it is important to have someone who knows the law on your side to help fight your case. Our lawyers are available for a free consultation to discuss the circumstances under your arrest and charges.
Defining DUI and DWI
DUIs and DWIs have slightly different definitions. A DUI is driving under the influence (of any substance), whereas a DWI is driving while intoxicated or impaired. A DUI charge could indicate that the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
It should be noted that the drugs do not have to be illegal. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs can both result in a DUI charge if the individual becomes impaired as a result of using them.
The state in which the incident occurred and the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits set ultimately determine whether a person is charged with DUI or DWI. DUI and DWI laws differ from state to state. In fact, some states use entirely different terminology to charge someone who has driven while intoxicated.
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
All motorists in California are prohibited from driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of.08% or higher. If a person is significantly affected by drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two, they are considered to be under the influence. Stricter BAC standards apply to certain drivers.
Commercial drivers who have a BAC of.04% or higher can be arrested for DUI. In addition, California has “zero tolerance” laws that make it illegal for underage drivers (those under 21 years old) to drive with a BAC of .01% or higher.
For a free legal consultation with a dui lawyer serving Orange County, call (310) 928-9347
Consequences of a DUI in California
DUI penalties in California vary depending on the circumstances of the case. However, the law specifies a range of allowable penalties that is largely determined by the defendant’s prior convictions.
A DUI conviction in California will remain on your record and count as a prior for ten years. The following are the potential sentences for a first, second, and third DUI:
The jail time for someone convicted of a DUI for the first time in California can be up to 6 months. However, jail time is not always a sentence, depending on the plea or trial. There can be fines and penalties from $390 to $1,000. It is likely to have a license revoked or suspended for up to 6 months.
Additionally, California law allows the interlock ignition device to be placed on the car for 6 to 12 months, depending on the circumstances.
When someone receives a second DUI, they will face 96 hours to 1 year in jail with possible fines and penalties of $390 to $1,000. Also, after a second DUI, a driver can face up to 2 years of having their license suspended. If the driver does not have their license suspended, it is likely they will have an interlock ignition device placed in their care for up to 1 year.
For three or more offenses, the driver will face more severe consequences. Someone with three DUIs may spend 120 days to 1 year in jail and/or up to $1,800 in fines and penalties. Additionally, one can have their license suspended for up to 3 years or an interlock ignition device placed in their car for 2 full years.
Orange County DUI Lawyer Near Me (310) 928-9347
Possible Defenses for a DUI Charge in California
When charged with a DUI, the first thing the prosecution must prove is that the defendant was actively driving the vehicle at the time of the charge. It is not always easy to prove. For example, if someone was parked in a parking lot or on the side of the road while intoxicated and sitting in the driver’s seat of the car, then they were not driving. If the vehicle is not in motion, the person is not driving.
A person drives a vehicle when he or she intentionally causes it to move by exercising actual physical control over it, according to Section 2241 of the California Criminal Code. The person must move the vehicle to be driving. Being in the vehicle with it on does not constitute enough under the law for a DUI conviction.
The prosecution also has the burden of showing that the driver was actually under the influence. A possible defense to this is showing that the driver was not under the influence or that the police officer did not follow the proper procedure to show that the driver was under the influence at the time of the arrest. This can be done by showing inaccurate testing or that a field sobriety test is not a good indication of whether or not someone is under the influence.
Additional defenses case includes the legality of the defense (improper stop or invalid checkpoint). In some rare cases, necessity can also be used as a valid defense against a DUI charge. A drastic example of this would be fleeing from someone that may be trying to inflict bodily harm. A skilled DUI attorney in Orange County can help formulate your defense.
Hiring an Orange County DUI Lawyer
The majority of DUI cases in California are handled without the assistance of a lawyer. However, the potential penalties for a DUI arrest and conviction can have a grave impact on your future. For this reason and for the possibility of having the charges dropped, you should consult with a DUI attorney before proceeding.
An Orange County DUI attorney at Simmrin Law Group is here to offer the best defense if you have been charged with a DUI. Contact us by phone or through our online form to schedule a free consultation.