Charges related to Driving Under the Influence (DUI), which was widely known as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), are serious, and the penalties are harsh – even for a first time offender with a minimal amount of alcohol in his or her bloodstream.
If law enforcement has arrested and charged you with crimes related to DUI, you are guaranteed certain rights under state and federal law, especially since you are considered innocent unless and until a court or jury of your peers finds you guilty of a crime.
While diving drunk, buzzed, or otherwise intoxicated is indeed a serious crime, defending yourself is itself a serious matter, and you can do this a number of ways. It is crucial that you hire an aggressive Ventura DUI Defense Attorney attorney who can protect you and your rights under the law – a serious attorney who isn’t afraid to fight to clear your name of the charges.
Implied Consent and DUI Charges
When law enforcement pulls you over for suspected DUI, the officer will ask that you take a field sobriety or breathalyzer test. A breathalyzer test requires that you forcibly breathe into a tube that measures the amount of alcohol in your breath and the condensation in your breath.
The field sobriety test consists of questions that you will answer and actions you perform, the results of which officers use to determine whether you are guilty of DUI or not.
According to California’s Implied Consent laws under Vehicle Code Section 23612, if officers arrest you for suspicion of DUI, you must take a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test at the time of arrest. Implied consent also means that even you already consented to take a field sobriety test if you haven’t been arrested.
Officers use test results to determine if there is probable cause to arrest you for DUI.
When the officer asks that you take the test, he should state that you may refuse the test, but that the officer can arrest you anyway, and that your conviction could result in fines, jail time, and a minimum of a one-year suspension of your license to drive – longer if this is your second or third refusal.
Because a DUI is a serious offense in California, the penalties associated with a conviction are just as serious, even if the conviction is only a first offense. The potential penalties can include:
- Convicted of a first DUI offence : Jail time of up to six months, fines of up to $2,600, license suspension for up to 10 months, and depending on the county in which you live, having a deice installed called an ignition interlock device, which you have to breathe into in order to start your car.
- Convicted of a Second DUI Offense: Jail time of up to a year, fines of up to $2,800, up to a two year suspension of your license, and the ignition device installed on your car.
- Convicted of a third DUI Offense: If convicted, you will face a one year jail sentence, fines of up to $18,000, a three-year license suspension, and the interlock device installed.
Because California is so tough on driving under the influence or otherwise intoxicated, there are ways that the California courts can enhance the sentencing requirements depending on the exact situation under which the courts convicted you including:
- If you hurt someone physically
- If you have a felony conviction on your record
- If your blood alcohol level was more than 2.0
- If you had a child 14 or under in the car at the time of your arrest
- If you refused the breathalyzer or other tests
- If you were driving more than 20 MPH over the limit on a street
- If you were driving more than 30 MPH over the limit on the highway
- If you were arrested for DUI in a construction zone on the highway
- If you were arrested in a California Safety Enhancement Zone
- If you were charged with manslaughter at the same time as the DUI
Being convicted for a DUI can ruin your reputation already, but a DUI in addition to one of the above DUI enhancements could have you facing a longer prison sentence, not to mention ruin any chance you had to have a future for yourself and your family.
Fighting a DUI Arrest and Challenging the Charges
Field sobriety tests not using a breathalyzer are subject to an officer’s interpretation, which makes the test results highly subjective to how the officer giving the test feels at the time. While your refusal to take the tests will likely result in the officer interpreting your refusal as an admission of guilt, which often leads to arrest – whether you’ve been drinking or not.
“Mr. Helfend absolutely saved my bacon. After finding myself charged with fraud, I was terrified. I have never been introduced to the legal system from this side before, and it was unsettling. However, Robert was able to calm me down and help me figure out my situation. He even got the case dropped before trial! I don’t want to be in another situation where I need a criminal defense lawyer, but if I ever am, I know who I will call!”Pete, CA
You have rights that law enforcement and the prosecution must uphold, and these rights are paramount to your case. Breathalyzers could be administered wrong or the officer could have interpreted the field sobriety test results wrong, not to mention the fact that it is difficult for even a sober person to pass the tests.
No matter what evidence law enforcement collects and uses to press charges, the prosecutor must still prove that you actually did commit the crime of drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or driving while intoxicated and to do that they must prove that the tests were administered properly.
Hire Robert Helfend – An Attorney with Experience, Honesty and Integrity
If you are facing a DUI or a DUI with an enhanced charge, then you need to contact an experienced attorney now who will fight vigorously for you and your future.
You will want an attorney on your side that knows and understands the laws, has the resources and drive required to fight the charges on your behalf. You need an attorney who will fight for your innocence and your future.
I am that attorney. I have been vigorously fighting DUI charges, aggressively challenging evidence, the methods used to collect that evidence – or the lack of evidence – since 1984, and my honesty and integrity won’t allow me to make promises I can’t keep. What does that mean for you?
That we’ll go over the circumstances of your case without any guarantee except that we will work together to find the best way to defend you against the charges for the best possible outcome.
Let me help you! Contact the Law Offices of Robert Helfend for a confidential review of your case, and we can start defending you and your future tomorrow for the best possible outcome.