Driving under the influence (DUI) convictions don’t just happen to alcoholics or reckless drivers. They can happen to anyone on any given night. Many drivers don’t realize they have had too much to drink until police pull them over. Whatever circumstances led to your DUI charge in California, you need an attorney by your side looking out for your best interests. The law can come down hard on DUI drivers, even when they don’t necessarily deserve it. The Law Offices of Graham D. Donath, APC are here for those in need of aggressive DUI defense.
To help increase the safety of California’s roads, lawmakers have increased the penalties for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the state. The police now operate under the rules of “admin per se,” which grants the right to confiscate the driver’s license of anyone suspected of DUI. Regardless of whether the charge has merit, the individual must wait the length of the suspension before he or she can legally drive again. The new suspension rule comes in addition to expensive costs, community service, DUI school, and possible jail time.
The financial penalties for DUI in California are some of the most severe in the country. Depending on the circumstances of your DUI conviction, you can face costs that amount to $10,000 and more. Insurance costs, court fees, state fines, mandatory substance intervention programs, ignition interlock devices – these are just some of the things a convicted individual will have to pay for out of pocket. A DUI can bankrupt an individual or leave him/her in debt for years. The right Riverside defense attorney can potentially mitigate the charges against you to lessen the penalties or convince the court to drop the charge.
In the state of California, the laws governing the operation of a vehicle under the influence can be very complex. A DUI is known as a “priorable” offense, meaning that the punishment varies depending on the number of offenses you accrue in a ten year period. Most DUI’s are classified as misdemeanors, but depending on certain factors, they may be considered felonies. Here are the basic guidelines:
As long as no one is injured, DUIs are considered misdemeanor offenses. However, if a victim suffers harm as a consequence of your operating a vehicle under the influence, California classifies this as a “wobbler,” meaning a prosecuting attorney may charge you with a felony or a misdemeanor at his or her discretion. A felony DUI can result in up to 10 years of jail time, up to $5,000 in fines, and restitution for all injured parties.
There are also certain factors that can enhance your sentence or fines. These may vary by county, but in general, you may be subject to higher fines and more jail time if:
If you have been charged with a DUI, it may seem like your life has been changed irrevocably. While being accused of a crime is a life-altering experience, there are certain things you can do to make the process easier. Be cooperative with the investigation. Remember that refusing to submit to chemical testing like a breathalyzer can actually make your sentencing worse. You should also contact legal counsel as soon as possible. Do not sign any documentation at the police station unless you have legal representation present.
If you submitted to a breathalyzer, the prosecution already has evidence that you were under the influence of alcohol or other substances when you were pulled over. Thus, when defending DUI cases, we focus on reducing your sentence to achieve the most favorable outcome possible instead of getting the charges dropped.
Source: 2015 Annual Report of the CA DUI Management Information System Data is current as of February 2017
Throughout California, DUI arrests decreased by 7.2 percent in 2013, following a 4.1 percent decrease in 2012 and a 8 percent decrease from 2010 to 2011. In 2013, the most recent year released, San Bernardino County saw the greatest decrease in DUI arrests across the state at 12.2 percent.
That said, DUI convictions remain relatively stable, highlighting the importance of hiring an effective Riverside DUI attorney should you or a loved one be arrested.
Though the number of annual DUI arrests is high, it does not mean every case was handled lawfully or that the drivers were even intoxicated. If you take your case to an experienced attorney, there are a few potential defenses he or she will likely explore. These professionals know how local and state police document a traffic stop, and if this leads to an arrest, your legal team will ensure they do not factor specious evidence into the final ruling.
What makes our law offices so successful at DUI defense is our tailed approach to each case. We’ve represented enough clients to know that no two DUI cases are alike. They require strict attention to detail and innovative defense strategies for the most successful outcomes. There are a variety of potential defenses we might use in a DUI case depending on the circumstances.
For instance, there are numerous physical impairments that affect a person’s ability to walk in a straight line. In all likelihood, a person’s nerves are completely shot during a traffic stop, especially when asked to get out of the car and perform complex maneuvers. Depending on how tired a person is or even how cold it is outside, this test may be incorrectly and unfairly submitted.
It’s impossible to plan your best defense without first speaking to you about your individual DUI case. We want to hear from you during a free, no-obligation criminal defense consultation. Our team is available to listen around the clock. One conversation with us can completely change your outlook for the future after a DUI charge. Contact us or call (951) 667-5293 today.
At the Law Offices of Graham D.Donath,APC, we look at your case holistically to decide on the best course of action. Depending on your unique circumstances, we can offer advice or reach an agreement with the District Attorney’s Office. Here are, in general, some avenues we try to pursue in lieu of jail time:
A DUI as a driver under the age of 21 comes with different consequences and penalties than an of-age DUI conviction in California. Since 1994, California has operated under a Zero Tolerance Law against underage drinking and driving. This law created new penalties for underage DUI drivers. Learn the potential consequences and defense options for underage DUIs under the Zero Tolerance statute. Don’t hesitate to call Graham Donath Law Offices, APC if you were charged with an underage DUI.
The legal drinking age in California is 21. The only time an underage person will not receive a penalty for drinking is if he/she is calling to report a medical emergency concerning another underage drinker. California law has this exception in place to encourage minors to call the police in emergencies without fear of retaliation. However, no such exception exists for underage drinkers who drive while intoxicated. Under the Zero Tolerance Law, any driver under this age convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol will receive an underage DUI.
Under the Zero Tolerance Law, any person under the age of 21 with any amount of alcohol in his/her system (a blood alcohol concentration of 0.01% or higher) will receive a DUI charge. It does not matter if the driver is exhibiting signs of being intoxicated or if he/she is even intoxicated. If the officer suspects the minor has been drinking and a test comes up with any trace of alcohol, the driver will receive a DUI charge. This charge can have major implications depending on the circumstances.
The penalties for underage DUI are strict to discourage people under the legal drinking age from getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. The penalties increase with a second or subsequent underage DUI conviction. Penalties in California are as follows:
California’s implied consent law states that you consent to drug and alcohol tests if an officer has reason to believe you’re driving under the influence. If you refuse a blood or other chemical test, you face penalties such as fines, loss of license, and even jail time. Second or subsequent refusals can result in more severe penalties. Refusing the test does not mean you automatically escape an underage DUI. In fact, the officer could use your refusal against you as proof that you knew you would fail the test.
Receiving a DUI while under the age of 21 can have lasting ramifications. Your car insurance premium will likely increase, or your company could drop your coverage altogether. You may be required to attend alcohol or safe driving classes. You will have DUI on your permanent record. You may also face additional penalties for other charges, such as possession of fake ID, minor in possession, or moving violations such as reckless driving. To increase your chances of reducing charges and penalties, you need strong, aggressive legal representation in your underage DUI defense.
The defense attorneys at Graham Donath Law Offices, APC are experienced in representing people charged with underage DUI in California. We know the most appropriate strategies for defense, if applicable. We also know how the criminal court system operates. Our attorneys have a repertoire with local circuit judges from our years in the field. We can help you fight an underage DUI or at least reduce your penalties. Contact us to speak with an attorney about underage DUI defense.
If you are facing a DUI charge, you need the help of an attorney that will work with the prosecution to seek alternative solutions to jail time. At the Riverside Criminal Defense law office, we will work aggressively to protect your rights and reach the best solution we can. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.
If interested in learning about DUI with drugs and California’s push to legalize marijuana, check out my expert round-up with a retired LA Chief of police and a Superior Court Judge.
“I cannot say enough about the outstanding job Graham did with my DUI case…At Trial Graham was extremely well prepared and immediately went to work on systematically tearing apart the DA’s case and winning over the jury. The quality of Graham’s arguments was so far above that of the DA’s. The jury, and folks working in the court LOVED him. Even the CHP office that arrested me asked for his business card after a not guilty verdict on both counts.” – Client