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Bonsall DUI Defense Attorneys


How Should You React to a DUI Arrest?

Be courteous to the arresting officer, but remember you don’t need to admit to anything. As soon as you’re arrested, contact your lawyer and seek their advice.

You should comply with police chemical tests after your arrest, or risk further penalties.

When you can, arrange for a ride home: you might be released straight after being processed in the station, but police won’t let you go unless you have a way of getting home.

Your license will automatically be suspended for 30 days, so don’t risk driving before your court hearing. If you want to apply for a restricted license, it’s good to start arranging for your DMV hearing as soon as you can—you need to contact your local California DMV Driver Safety Office within ten days.

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The Local Area and Traffic Flow

Bonsall is an area about 45 minutes north of San Diego, located along Mission Rd and Olive Hill Rd. It’s inland, and a 20-minute drive from Camp Pendleton North.

Most bars and restaurants in Bonsall are in the Mission Rd area—be careful when socializing here, as police may be looking for DUI cases.

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What Constitutes a DUI in California?

The most common form of DUI in California, found in § 23152 (b) of the California Vehicle Code, involves the driver’s blood alcohol content. This is a strict liability or “per se” offense; if you fail a breathalyzer test, you can be found guilty of a DUI even though there’s nothing wrong with your driving.

The limit for most adult drivers is 0.08% BAC; for commercial drivers it’s 0.04%, and for people under 21 or on DUI probation, it’s zero.

It’s important to note that sometimes you can still be convicted even though your blood test is within the legal limits. If you are driving erratically and you seem intoxicated to the police, you might be charged under § 23152 (a), which makes it an offense generally to drive under the influence of alcohol.

Drivers will incur a DUI conviction for driving under the influence of drugs if they are found to have taken any drug (including both illegal and legal drugs, such as sleeping pills or Xanax) and that drug is influencing their driving. § 23152 (g) makes it an offense to drive under the combined influence of drugs and alcohol.

There is another section (§ 23152 (c ) that makes it an offense to drive while addicted to a drug—this covers people who will suffer withdrawals if they cannot access drugs. This section is rarely used.

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How Will Prosecutors Attempt To Prove You Committed DUI?

Prosecutors use the evidence collected by police to try to prove you were driving under the influence, for instance:

  • The results of field sobriety tests (FSTs) that police might have asked you to complete, such as the Romberg Balance Test
  • Test results—blood or breathalyzer tests showing your blood alcohol level
  • Observations made by police who stopped you, and by drug recognition experts
  • Results of assessments carried out by drug recognition experts
  • Any information you volunteered to police when you were stopped.

It’s important to note you do not need to take FSTs, or chemical tests, prior to being arrested. Taking FSTs might be detrimental to you as even people who are sober can fail these tests.

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Penalties

The penalties for DUI offenses in California vary:

  • First offense: Between $390 and $1,000, with penalty assessments added
  • Second offense: A total of $3,000 in fines and penalty assessments
  • Third offense: A fine of up to $5,000, and $10,000+ in penalty assessments.

A first offense is punishable by six months in jail, and subsequent offenses by up to one year in jail. However, for first and second DUI offenses, offenders are usually dealt with via probation instead. This usually involves attending DUI school, alcohol and drugs programs, and agreeing not to consume any alcohol or drugs before driving for a period of up to five years. It’s also usual for your license to be suspended, for at least six months. A third offense usually carries mandatory jail time; though this can be commuted to a sentence of house arrest or rehab.

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How Can a Lawyer Help You?

Bonsall defense lawyers can guide you through your DMV hearing, prepare pretrial motions for you, and work on constructing a defense. For instance:

  • Police did not have probable cause to pull you over; or to arrest you
  • Police didn’t follow regulations when it came to collecting or storing evidence
  • The level of drugs in your system was too low to cause any impairment
  • The “detection window” for the drug you took is longer than the period of impairment.

Regarding field sobriety tests, there are many valid reasons why people fail these other than the consumption of alcohol or drugs. Medical problems can prevent you from completing these tests satisfactorily.

A lawyer can put forward alternative explanations to the court for why police might have perceived you as “impaired.” They can also help you to arrange a plea bargain in some situations. If you’re looking for an experienced lawyer to defend a DUI in Bonsall, don’t delay. Give the expert team at jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys a call today, at (760) 630-2000 for expert advice.

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James N. Dicks

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