A DUI conviction can be devastating. It can affect your career, your reputation, professional licensing, your driver’s license, or your freedom. Fighting against the State of California can be expensive and intimidating. It can be very difficult to defend yourself against an entity with nearly infinite resources.
If you are facing charges for driving under the influence, you need the assistance of an experienced, professional, and skilled Westlake DUI attorney. When you need help fighting your DUI charge, contact Simmrin Law Group for a free consultation.
California DUI Laws
In California, whether or not you will get a DUI is based on your blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) at the time of your arrest. BAC is the percentage of your blood that is made up of alcohol. The police can usually determine your BAC on the spot by using a breathalyzer test.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not illegal to drink and then drive. It is illegal to drink until intoxicated and then drive. Whether or not you are intoxicated is determined by your BAC and your age, as well as the type of vehicle that you are driving. It is illegal to operate a vehicle when:
- You are 21 years old or older and have a BAC of 0.08% or higher;
- You are 20 years old or younger and have a BAC of 0.01% or higher;
- You are already on DUI probation and have a BAC of 0.01% or higher;
- You are operating a vehicle that requires a commercial driver’s license to operate and have a BAC of 0.04% or higher;
- You are a professional driver that is carrying passengers and have a BAC of 0.04% or higher.
If you are found by a police officer to have met one of these conditions, you will be arrested and most likely charged with a DUI. However, your skilled and professional DUI attorney in Westlake will know the law and any provisions that are in your favor.
For a free legal consultation with a dui lawyer serving Westlake, call (310) 896-2723
How Do the Police Catch Drunk Drivers?
The vast majority of DUIs are caught during traffic stops. Most of the time, the police officer that pulls you over will likely already suspect that you are driving drunk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have identified several “cues” to identify drunk drivers, which police officers are trained to look for.
These cues include:’
- Difficulty maintaining proper lane position (for example, weaving, swerving, or drifting)
- Speed and braking problems (stopping too far, too short, or too jerky; speeding up or slowing down at random; or driving too slowly)
- Poor judgment in driving (following too closely, improper or unsafe lane change, illegal or improper turns, driving off of the roadway, or slamming on the brakes in response to seeing a police officer).
After you are pulled over, there are also several more “cues” for police officers to look for:
- Difficulty with motor vehicle controls;
- Difficulty exiting the vehicle;
- Difficulty grabbing driver’s license or registration;
- Difficulty balancing while standing still;
- Slurred speech;
- Slow to respond to police questions;
- The odor of alcohol coming from the driver or their car
These “cues” can give the police officer probable cause to give you a breathalyzer test. You can refuse to take the breathalyzer test, but if you do, you will be immediately arrested, and your driver’s license will be suspended on the spot. This is because California law is written in such a way that you are legally considered to have consented to the breathalyzer test, and if you refuse, your driver’s license will be suspended.
Westlake DUI Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
Penalties for DUIs
In the State of California, the penalty for a DUI is based on the amount of DUIs you have already been convicted of, and whether you injured or killed someone while driving under the influence. DUIs that do not result in injury or death are punished solely based on the number of DUIs you have already been convicted of. For your first offense, you will face up to $1,000 in fines, up to 6 months in county jail, and your driver’s license will be suspended for up to 10 months.
For your second offense, you will face up to $1,000 in fines, up to 1 year in county jail, and your driver’s license will be suspended for up to 2 years.
For your third offense, you will also face up to $1,000 in fines and up to 1 year in county jail. Your driver’s license can also be suspended for up to 3 years. Whenever your driver’s license is suspended, you will also have to undergo mandatory DUI education to receive your driving privileges back.
After three convictions, your fourth DUI will be a felony instead of a misdemeanor, which means that you will face higher fines and more jail time, and your jail time could be spent in state prison rather than county jail.
DUIs Resulting in Injury or Death
A DUI resulting in injury or death is punished much more harshly than a DUI which does not. These DUIs are felonies rather than misdemeanors. These DUIs can be punished by up to $5,000 in fines, up to 25 years to life in state prison, the permanent revocation of your driver’s license, and restitution (which means that the Court will order you to pay the victims as if they had sued you).
However, your DUI lawyer in Westlake can negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce the punishments that you face. The prosecutor has the discretion to seek lesser penalties on behalf of the State. Skilled and professional attorneys are very good at negotiating lighter sentences on behalf of their clients.
Contact a Westlake DUI Attorney today
DUIs can shatter your reputation, take away your freedom, and cost thousands of dollars. You should never drive under the influence, but if you do, you will need the assistance of skilled Westlake DUI lawyers to ensure that you are given great representation.
If you are arrested for driving under the influence, contact Simmrin Law Group for a free consultation. Don’t let a DUI be the end of your life, let Simmrin Law Group fight hard for you.