Have you recently been arrested for a DUI in San Diego, CA? Whether it’s your first DUI charge or your fourth, it’s important to speak with an experienced San Diego DUI lawyer immediately. Getting convicted on DUI charges can change your life forever. Now is the time to fight back, and Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers can help, call us today at (619) 357-4977.
For more than a decade, attorney Peter Blair has been advocating for clients accused of drunk driving charges in San Diego. He knows that the justice system is stacked against you. The state is focused on a conviction – not getting to the truth. He’s the ally you’ll want in your corner as you move forward.
Contact our law offices in San Diego, California to get started with a free case evaluation today.
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How Our San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help If You’ve Been Charged with a DUI
Between the police, investigators, experts, and the prosecution, the state has considerable resources at its disposal. When you’re faced with a DUI, you’ll need to put yourself on level footing – and that means getting a qualified and experienced San Diego criminal defense lawyer in your corner.
That’s why Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers should be your first call after a drunk driving charge in San Diego.
Just because you’ve been accused of driving under the influence doesn’t mean you’re guilty. The state has the burden to prove its case, and that’s a lot more challenging when they’re challenged at every turn. That’s exactly what our team is prepared to do.
When we represent you against drunk driving charges in San Diego, we’ll:
- Determine if there was reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle
- Identify whether the officer had probable cause to search your car or gather evidence
- Review the arresting officer’s conduct step-by-step to identify potential violations of your rights
- Review and challenge the validity of chemical tests – including the results of a breathalyzer or BAC blood test
- File motions to have the charges against you dismissed if there is a clear lack of facts or evidence to support them
- Handle all administrative matters and fight to keep your driving privileges secure
- Work with experts as we build a strong defense
- Argue your case in court, if necessary.
DUI cases are more involved than you might think. In order to win, you’ll need an attorney who understands the process and has proven strategies to help clients like you succeed. Contact our San Diego drunk driving defense attorneys to learn more today.
Overview of California DUI Charges
Generally speaking, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the state of California.
California Vehicle Code Section 23152 is the state’s main DUI law.
There are two different ways you can face DUI charges under this law:
23152(a): Traditional DUI
Under 23152(a), you can be charged with a DUI if you operate a motor vehicle while “under the influence of any alcoholic beverage.”
There’s no specific requirement that your blood alcohol concentration – or BAC – exceeds a certain threshold. Rather, the police can determine that you’re “under the influence” based on the circumstances.
For instance, you could face charges under 23152(a) if an officer:
- Observes you swerving between lanes of traffic
- Smells alcohol on your breath, and/or
- Notes that you have difficulty performing a field sobriety test.
The circumstances, as a whole, could indicate that you are impaired and unfit to drive safely.
23152(b): Per Se Intoxication
Under 23152(b), you will automatically be considered to be intoxicated and in violation of the state’s DUI laws if your BAC exceeds the legal limit of .08.
Police officers can determine blood alcohol concentration by performing a breathalyzer or requesting blood and/or urine tests.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
Under 23152(f), it’s also illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs in the state of California. Keep in mind that you could face additional drug charges if you have an illegal controlled substance in your vehicle.
What Are the Penalties For a DUI in San Diego?
Driving under the influence can be a misdemeanor or a felony in the state of California.
The charges – and corresponding penalties – will depend on:
- Whether this is your first offense or if you’ve been convicted of a DUI before
- Your blood alcohol level
- Whether anyone was injured or killed in a related drunk driving accident
- Whether a child was in the vehicle when you were stopped by the police, or
- Whether you were under the age of 21 or have a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Here’s a general overview of the types of punishments that you could face if you’re charged with a misdemeanor or a felony DUI.
Most first, second, and even third DUI charges in California are typically misdemeanors.
Penalties can include:
- Between 3 and 5 years of probation
- Between $390 and $5,000 in fines
- Jail time – including mandatory minimum time behind bars (48 hours for a first offense, 120 days for a third)
- Mandatory alcohol treatment programs, typically at least 3 months in length
- Installation of an ignition interlock device (second DUIs and subsequent convictions)
Penalties for a first DUI will be less severe than those for a second, third, or subsequent DUI.
DUI charges may be elevated to a felony if you’re facing a fourth offense or caused serious bodily injury or death to another person.
Potential penalties of a felony drunk driving conviction include:
- 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in prison
- 16 years in prison for a DUI resulting in injury
- $390 to $5,000 in fines
- DUI school for 18-30 months
- Driver’s license suspension for up to 5 years
In addition to facing criminal DUI penalties, both misdemeanor and felony drunk driving charges can result in harsh administrative penalties.
Administrative Penalties for DUI in California
When you’re accused of driving under the influence your case will actually have two separate functions; administrative and criminal. So, in addition to the reality of fines and jail time, you could also face the loss of your driver’s license.
Administrative revocation of your driver’s license will be automatic and happen 30 days after your drunk driving arrest in San Diego.
At the time of your arrest, the officer will give you a Notice of Suspension. This will let you know that you have 10 days to request an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension. This hearing is your opportunity to show the court that you should keep your license. It is separate and distinct from your criminal DUI matter. You’ll have separate hearings and court dates to fight the criminal charges.
If you don’t request a DMV hearing or if your license is suspended, you could lose the ability to drive from anywhere between 4 months and one year. In some cases, like driving on an already-suspended license, the suspension could be for a longer period of time.
Any penalties – from criminal to administrative – can have a serious impact on your life and livelihood. It is critical to fight back and defend yourself at every turn. Working to get the charges reduced, negotiating favorable terms of a plea, or an acquittal is your best option.
How Can I Defend Against DUI Charges in San Diego?
Drunk driving charges are complicated. The government — from police officers to investigators to the prosecutors handling your case — has to walk a very fine line. They have to gather evidence and build a case while also respecting your Constitutional rights along the way.
There is a lot of room for error, and a strong defense will find those mistakes and use them to your benefit.
Our San Diego criminal defense attorneys will investigate your case and determine the best strategies for defending you against drunk driving charges.
Defenses can include:
- Your traffic stop was unlawful
- You were the victim of an illegal search and seizure
- The officer made errors in executing a field sobriety test
- The breath test results are unreliable or inaccurate
- There’s a problem with the chain of evidence in your case
- The blood and/or urine test results are unreliable
Our law firm understands how much is at stake when you’re charged with a DUI. It can affect every aspect of your life – now and for years to come. We will work to uncover every possible defense and argue at length to get the best possible resolution in your DUI case.
Our San Diego DUI Lawyers Are Here to Fight For You
When you’re faced with a drunk driving charge in San Diego, it’s important to jump into action. You’ll have a matter of days to request a hearing to keep your license, and the state won’t hesitate to begin to build its criminal DUI case against you.
The San Diego DUI lawyers at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers can help. Contact our experienced team to learn more about your legal options and discover how we can help. We’re standing by to take your call when you need our help most.