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Escondido DUI Defense Attorneys

Representing Defendants in Escondido DUI Cases

DUI’s are taken very seriously by San Diego County law enforcement and prosecutors, often leading to extensive charges against defendants. Depending on your case, you may have your license suspended, have to pay significant fines, and even face jail time. The district attorney will likely not go easy on you even if it is your first offense, so you should do everything you can to fight the charges against you.

If you are being charged with a DUI in Escondido, then you need the best legal aid available. Call jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys at (760) 630-2000 to get in contact with a skilled Escondido DUI defense lawyer. Our legal team has extensive experience defending clients throughout San Diego County and can fight on your behalf to have your charges reduced or dropped.

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Types of DUI Charges in Escondido

A DUI charge can vary depending in severity based on your case, but every charge should be taken seriously if you want to reduce or disprove the charges against you. At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, our legal team has more than 30 years of experience defending clients in San Diego County and there is no one better than us at defending clients against DUI charges.

If you are charged with a DUI in Escondido, we can represent you in cases of:

  • First-offense DUI
  • Second or subsequent DUI
  • Underage DUI
  • Commercial Driver DUI
  • Military DUI
  • Out of State DUI
  • Boating Under the Influence
  • DUI with Injuries
  • Vehicular Manslaughter
  • DMV Hearings

Each case requires a skilled hand and extensive knowledge of the California court system to ensure you do not face the full extent of a DUI charge.

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What Is a DMV Hearing After a DUI Arrest?

DMV hearings and criminal DUI cases in California operate independently, but the outcome of a DMV hearing can influence the criminal case. Although the DMV hearing is an administrative procedure focused on the driver's licensing privileges, evidence presented can sometimes shed light on the strengths or weaknesses of the criminal case.

For example, if the DMV hearing results in the reinstatement of driving privileges due to insufficient evidence of DUI, this could potentially impact the prosecution's approach in criminal court. On the other hand, a license suspension upheld by the DMV may embolden the prosecution in a criminal case.

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Penalties for a DUI in California

The consequences for a DUI in California will ultimately come down to the nature of the crime and your own criminal history. If this is your first offense, then you may only receive between two days to six months in a San Diego County jail, fines of up to $1,000, and a license suspension for up to six months. In addition, underage drivers can have their licenses suspended for up to four months and, if your BAC is high enough, you may also be required to attend a DUI school, have your vehicle impounded, or be required to use an ignition interlock system.

Subsequent convictions are heavily looked down upon by San Diego prosecutors, and they will often want to pursue the full limitations of a charge. Second or subsequent DUI charges can lead to:

  • Up to one year in a county jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • A license suspension that lasts for up to one year
  • Attendance of a DUI program for up to 30 months
  • Seizure of your vehicle

You may also face additional charges and consequences if you are a member of the military, such as a marine serving at Camp Pendleton, or if you are charged with a felony DUI.

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Misdemeanor or Felony?

The majority of DUI cases are treated as misdemeanor charges that come with lighter sentences and are designed to rehabilitate defendants. However, if you a charged with a felony DUI, the court may push for significant penalties in order to heavily punish the related crime.

Felony DUI charges are often only pursued in cases that involve a serious bodily injury or death, but you can also face a felony charge if this is your third or more offense. Felony crimes can lead to significant penalties, including:

  • A five-year license suspension
  • 16-months, two or three years in a California state prison
  • Fines of between $390 to $1,000
  • DUI school attendance for between 18 to 30 months

You may also face other charges, such as vehicular manslaughter, that can severely impact your prison sentence. Because of the severity of these crimes, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to begin building your case and a detailed defense strategy.

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DUI Laws in Escondido

In California, a DUI charge may be filed when a driver operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. For commercial drivers, the threshold is 0.04 percent. Drivers under 21 years old can be charged with a DUI if their BAC is 0.01 percent or more, due to the zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving.

A first-time offense may result in fines, a license suspension, and potentially even jail time. It is important to note that penalties escalate with higher BAC levels and for repeat offenses. California has also implemented implied consent laws. By driving on California roads, drivers agree to submit to chemical testing if suspected of DUI. Refusal to take a BAC test can result in immediate suspension of driving privileges and other penalties, independent of whether a DUI charge is later proven.

Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) in California encompasses the operation of a vehicle while impaired by substances other than alcohol. Unlike alcohol-related DUIs, there's no set legal limit for drug impairment. Law enforcement officers rely on field sobriety tests and observations to determine impairment. If drugs are suspected, a chemical test, such as a blood test, may be administered. Convictions for DUID can carry penalties similar to those for alcohol-related DUIs, including fines, license suspension, and jail time.

A variety of substances can lead to a DUID charge in California. Illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin are commonly associated with DUID offenses. Legal medications prescribed for legitimate health issues can also result in charges if they impair your ability to drive. This includes opioids, benzodiazepines, sleep aids, and even some antidepressants. Over-the-counter medications like antihistamines may also impair driving and lead to a DUID.

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Aggravating Factors in a DUI Case

A high blood alcohol concentration is one of the most severe aggravating factors in DUI cases in California. A BAC of 0.15% or higher can lead to longer jail sentences, larger fines, and extended DUI education programs. Judges may also mandate the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in the offender's vehicle. This requires the driver to perform a breathalyzer test before the car will start.

Prior DUI convictions significantly impact the severity of penalties for subsequent DUI offenses in California. The state's DUI laws are designed to punish repeat offenders more harshly, with penalties increasing for each successive conviction within a 10-year period. A second DUI offense may result in longer jail time, higher fines, and a longer license suspension period. By the third offense, an individual faces even more severe consequences, potentially including felony charges, depending on the circumstances.

If a DUI offense results in injury to another person, the driver may be charged with a felony, facing longer prison sentences, larger fines, and more extensive restitution to the victims. DUI penalties escalate further if it results in a fatality. Such cases may be charged under California's vehicular manslaughter or even second-degree murder laws, commonly referred to as Watson murder, reflecting the extreme nature of the offense.

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Defending Against DUI Charges

When you bring your case to jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, we can immediately begin reviewing the nature of the arrest, the details of your charges, and any past charges to prepare your defense. While every case is different, our lead attorney has extensive experience defending clients, and some common defenses he can employ include:

  • You were illegally stopped by law enforcement
  • The field sobriety test results are undefinitive
  • BAC test results registered a false positive
  • You only demonstrate the objective signs of intoxication
  • The officer did not institute a 15-minute observation period

Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty and the prosecution must demonstrate that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction, so the burden of proof is on them, not you. However, you should take these charges as seriously as possible and employ a skilled Escondido criminal defense lawyer to advocate for your rights. Contact the legal team at jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys at (760) 630-2000 to learn how we can defend you in an Escondido DUI case.

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James N. Dicks

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