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Leucadia DUI Defense Lawyers


How Should You React to a DUI Arrest?

Try not to panic —be polite to the police, but remember you don’t need to admit to anything. 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 must comply with police demands for blood, breath, or urine tests 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, and you should receive a temporary license (a pink slip). You have ten days to contact the California DMV Driver Safety Office in your area, and arrange a DMV hearing.

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The Local Area and Traffic Flow

Leucadia is an area on the coast, based about 30 minutes north of the city of San Diego. There are bars and eateries scattered along N Vulcan Ave and N Coast Hwy 101. Leucadia Boulevard connects this area to the San Diego Freeway.

These areas are among the busiest parts of Leucadia—when you’re traveling here on the weekend or in the evening, be aware that police may be patrolling these areas looking for potential DUI drivers.

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What Constitutes a DUI in California? What Are the Penalties?

Per se or strict liability DUI in California, found in § 23152 (b) of the California Vehicle Code, 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 or higher, with the exception of commercial drivers. Their BAC must be lower than 0.04%, or they will be charged. 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—if you’re worried you might be over the limit, don’t drive.

Regarding driving “under the influence of alcohol,” § 23152 (a), the standard is different. If there is any alcohol in your system and it appears that you are impaired—for instance, you might be driving erratically, slurring your words, or you might fail a field sobriety test (FST)--you can be charged.

Drivers can also incur a DUI conviction if they are found to have taken any drug (including both illegal and legal drugs) AND the drug is found to have impaired their driving, under § 23152 (f). § 23152 (g) makes it an offense to drive under the combined influence of drugs and alcohol.

There is another section (§ 23152) making it an offense to drive while addicted to a drug. This section is rarely used, and being enrolled in a treatment program may provide a defense.

The penalties for DUI offenses in California vary. Here’s a rough guide to fines:

  • 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.

Technically speaking, 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.

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How Will Prosecutors Attempt To Prove You Committed DUI?

Prosecutors can use:

  • Your statements to police when they pull you over
  • Police observations of your driving and behavior
  • The results of field sobriety tests (FSTs)
  • Breathalyzer and blood test results
  • The evidence of drug recognition experts.

When it comes to driving under the influence of drugs, field sobriety tests, and the evidence of drug experts who examine you physically, become important.

Please note that you don’t HAVE to take FSTs. They are used to provide grounds for arrest and they benefit the police, rather than you—it’s easy even for sober people to fail.

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How Can a Lawyer Help You?

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 or probably 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, ranging from mobility problems to issues with eyesight or fatigue.

A Leucadia criminal lawyer can put forward alternative explanations to the court for why police might have perceived you as “impaired”; in some situations, your lawyer can also arrange a plea bargain for you, wherein you plead guilty to a lesser offense.

If you’re looking for an experienced lawyer to defend a DUI in Leucadia, call (760) 630-2000 and get in touch with jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys today.

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James N. Dicks

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