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Cardiff DUI Defense Lawyers


How Should You React to a DUI Arrest?

Being arrested can be overwhelming, especially if this has never happened to you before. As soon as you’re arrested, contact your lawyer and seek their advice.

Before being arrested, you can refuse chemical tests, but after you are arrested, you should comply with police tests or risk further penalties. When you can, arrange for a ride home: police will not let you go until you have a safe way of getting home.

Your license will automatically be suspended for 30 days, and you should be given a temporary license (usually a pink slip) at the station.

After you’re arrested, you have ten days to contact your local California DMV Driver Safety Office, and arrange a DMV hearing.

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The Local Area and Traffic Flow

Cardiff (Cardiff-by-the-sea) is a coastal community not far from San Diego. Among its busiest routes are St Elijo Ave. by the coast, where a lot of bars and eateries are located, and Birmingham Dr., the street that connects this area to the San Diego Freeway.

The South Coast Highway 101 is also a popular scenic drive. Anyone planning to socialize in Cardiff should know that police searching for DUI cases may have a presence in these areas—make sure you’re safe to drive before you get behind the wheel.

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What Constitutes a DUI in California?

There are several different drug and alcohol DUI offenses found in California Vehicle Code Section 23152. The common form of alcohol DUI in California is set out in § 23152 (b); it involves the driver’s blood alcohol content. If you fail a breathalyzer test, you can be found guilty of a DUI, even if there’s nothing wrong with your driving.

The DUI threshold for most drivers over 21 is 0.08% BAC. All commercial drivers have a different limit: their BAC must be lower than 0.04% before they get behind the wheel. There is a zero tolerance policy for drivers under 21 and drivers on DUI probation: to avoid penalties, they must return a result of 0.00%.

Your BAC depends on your weight and your gender, not just the amount you have to drink. A 200lb man who drinks three beers two hours before driving will have a BAC of only 0.05%, and is not breaking the law if he drives home. A 100lb woman who consumes the same amount two hours before driving will have a BAC of 0.15% and may be convicted of a DUI (Source: Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Calculator (Beer, Wine & Liquor)).

Regarding driving “under the influence of alcohol”, § 23152 (a), the standard is different. Drivers will incur a DUI conviction if they are affected by alcohol when they drive—even if their BAC is less than 0.08%.

Under § 23152 (f) if a driver is found to have taken any drug (including both illegal and legal drugs, such as painkillers or sleeping pills) AND the drug is influencing their driving, they can also be charged with DUI. § 23152 (g) captures situations where drivers are 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 have both an emotional and physical dependence on a drug and will suffer withdrawals if they cannot access drugs. This section is rarely used.

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Penalties

The penalties for DUI offenses in California depend on whether it’s your first offense:

  • 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, often, first and second DUI offenses are dealt with via probation instead. This usually involves complying with certain conditions including DUI school, alcohol and drugs programs, and agreeing not to consume any alcohol or drugs before driving. Repeat offenders will sometimes be required to install an alcohol interlock device on their car. It’s also usual for your license to be suspended, for at least six months.

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How Will Prosecutors Attempt To Prove You Committed DUI?

Once they’ve decided to pursue your case, prosecutors use all the evidence collected by police to try to prove you were driving under the influence. This could include:

  • Information you volunteered to police about your drinking or drugs habits when they pulled you over
  • Observations of the police around your appearance, behavior, and driving
  • The results of field sobriety tests (FSTs)
  • The results of breathalyzer, urine, and blood tests
  • The assessment a drug recognition expert made of you at the police station.

For BAC cases, the level of alcohol in your blood is usually determined by a breathalyzer test. However, this is not foolproof, and from time to time, police have been known to make mistakes.

When it comes to driving under the influence of drugs or under the influence of alcohol, field sobriety tests can become very important. You should note that before your arrest, you do NOT need to take these tests. They are often used as grounds for arresting you.

In DUID cases, drug recognition experts will assess you (usually back at the police station), taking your pulse, and checking for signs of drug intoxication such as pupil size and general demeanor.

You should comply with this examination but you also do need to take chemical tests, until you’re arrested.

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How Can a Lawyer Help You?

A Cardiff defense lawyer will guide you through the DMV Hearing process, prepare pretrial motions for you, and represent you in court. There are defenses to a DUI that a lawyer can help you with, for instance:

  • Police did not have probable cause to pull you over
  • There was no probable cause for arrest
  • Police didn’t follow regulations when it came to collecting and storing evidence
  • The level of drugs in your system was too low to cause impairments
  • 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, including:

  • Physical disability
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Illness
  • Allergies
  • Diabetes.

A lawyer can put forward alternative explanations to the court for why police might have perceived you as “impaired,” and in certain circumstances, they can also arrange a plea bargain for you, in which you can plead guilty to a lesser charge.

If you’re looking for an experienced lawyer to defend a DUI in the Valley Center area, don’t hesitate. Give jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys a call at (760) 630-2000 today.

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