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San Marcos DUI Defense Attorneys

Defending Clients Facing DUI Charges in San Marcos

North County courts take a strong stance against DUIs, especially for repeat offenders. Even for a first-time offender, a DUI charge can lead to jail time, heavy fines, a license suspension, and even more charges depending on the nature of your case. But not every case ends in harsh penalties, and with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney, you may be able to beat the charges against you.

If you or someone you loved has been charged with a DUI, then you need the legal aid of a skilled San Marco DUI defense attorney. At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, our founding attorney, James N. Dicks, is a former LAPD investigator with over 30 years of experience defending clients in a courtroom. He knows how to thoroughly investigate a case and build a strong defense. To learn how to fight back against DUI charges, call our offices at (760) 630-2000.

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Let jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys Handle Your Case

When searching for an attorney to handle your case, you will want only the best. Not just any attorney can prepare a successful defense strategy that leads to a lighter sentencing or complete dismissal of your case. You will need an attorney who has experience handling a wide variety of DUI cases and knows how to strike down each of the prosecution’s arguments so that you do not face stiff penalties.

At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, our legal team has experience defending North County clients in cases of:

  • First-offense DUI: A first-time DUI comes with the lightest penalties, but they can still have a serious impact on your life. You may have to serve a few days to several months in county jail, have to pay significant court fines, and have your license suspended.
  • Second or subsequent DUI: DUI charges can result in additional penalties if you have a prior DUI conviction on your record. The more convictions you have, the harsher the penalties.
  • Felony DUI: Felony DUI charges apply when a defendant has at least three DUI convictions on their record and is charged with a fourth or subsequent DUI. A felony conviction can result in being sent to a state prison at least 18 months, up to $10,000 in fines, and felony probation. A defendant can also have certain rights taken away, including driving privileges. A felony DUI will also occur when you are charged with injuring someone during a DUI.
  • Underage DUI: It is illegal for any individual under the age of 21-years-old to use alcohol and driving while under the influence can also result in serious penalties. Underage drivers have a BAC limit of 0.00%, meaning there are no circumstances where it is legal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated.
  • Commercial Driver DUI: While the majority of drivers have a BAC limit of 0.08%, commercial drivers have a BAC limit of 0.04%. Commercial drivers include anyone with a Class C license, including truck drivers. Multiple commercial DUI convictions can result in a permanent loss in your Class C license.
  • Military DUI: A military DUI applies when a defendant is charged with a DUI while on a military base, such as Camp Pendleton. In these cases, it is elevated to a federal DUI, which means a costly trial in a federal court. Members of the military may also face significant punishments from a military court, but former members may be able to enter a military diversion program.
  • Out of State DUI: Out-of-state drivers can face penalties both in California and in their home state, including license suspensions. Defendants may not be eligible for ending their license suspension early, even if they have a clean record. However, your attorney may be able to represent you during negotiations with the district attorney, allowing you to return to your home state after an arrest.
  • Boating Under the Influence: Operating a boat with a BAC of 0.08% (or 0.00% for underage boaters) can also result in criminal charges. While it may not affect your license, it can result in being barred from operating a boat for at least a year.
  • DUI with Injuries: DUIs with injuries are considered wobblers in California. This charge occurs when a defendant is accused of injuring someone else while operating a vehicle and under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This charge can apply if a passenger is injured in a DUI accident. The penalties will vary between misdemeanor or felony punishments based on the injuries of the victim.
  • Vehicular Manslaughter: Vehicular manslaughter is a serious case where a defendant is accused of killing another person during a DUI accident. Your penalties may depend on whether your actions were considered ordinary or gross negligence, but it is possible or your case to be elevated to murder under California’s felony-murder rule.

In addition, our lead attorney is a drug recognition expert and is up to date on the latest research regarding narcotics testing. If you are charged with a DUI involving drugs, he can review the evidence against you and work point by point to dismantle the prosecution’s case. Otherwise, you may face serious penalties.

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Consequences of DUI Conviction

Generally, DUIs are charged as misdemeanors in the state of California; however, the particular details of each case can shift the penalties you are facing. The charges against you can vary depending on three major factors: whether or not you have a prior DUI conviction, whether anyone was injured in an accident, and what your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was at the time of your arrest.

Because DUIs are priorables, each subsequent conviction can result in stiffer penalties down the line. For a first-time DUI offense, you may face:

  • A minimum of 48 hours to a maximum of six months in jail
  • A maximum of $1,000 in fine plus penalty assessments
  • License suspension for six months or longer based on BAC
  • Vehicle impoundment for up to 30 days
  • Community service requirements

In contrast, a second DUI offense can lead to:

  • A minimum of 10 days to a maximum of one year in jail
  • A maximum of $3,000 in total fines and penalty assessments
  • License suspension for two years or longer based on BAC
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Community service requirements
  • Three to five years of probation
  • Mandatory alcohol treatment enrollment
  • Potential ignition interlock device installation

Finally, a third offense could potentially result in:

  • A minimum of 120 days to a maximum of one year in jail
  • A maximum of $5,000 in fines plus up to $13,000 in penalty assessments
  • Revocation of your driver's license for three years
  • Community service requirements
  • 30-month alcohol-treatment program
  • Ignition interlock device installation

If you are charged with three or more DUIs in a 10-year period or if you injured someone in a vehicle collision, these charges can be elevated to a felony, which comes with state prison, thousands of dollars in fines, a license suspension for several years, and DUI school, as well as a loss of voting rights, the right to own firearms, and the ability to apply for certain jobs.

Your BAC level will also play a factor in your penalties. In California, driving with a BAC of 0.08% or more is a DUI. The higher the BAC, the more tough the courts will be on you. In contrast, a lower BAC will lead to a lighter sentence and the potential chance to enter a plea bargain of “Wet Reckless.” But that may not even be necessary, as BAC can fluctuate depending on the circumstances of your case and arrest. Your lawyer may be able to have the test results dismissed and charges dropped.

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Understanding a DUI With Injuries Charge

Injuring someone while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in serious criminal charges. Under California Vehicle Code 23153 VC, it is a wobbler offense to, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, operate a motor vehicle and cause bodily injury to another person. This charge can apply to pedestrians, other drivers, and passengers in the defendant’s car. In the case of young children, it may also result in a child endangerment charge.

A DUI with injury is treated as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the nature of the victim’s injuries. If a victim suffered a minor injury or non-traumatic wound, it can result in misdemeanor penalties of:

  • Five days to one year in county jail;
  • Up to $5,000 in fines;
  • California DUI school;
  • One-to-three-year license suspension;
  • Restitution to the victim(s); and/or
  • Informal probation for up to five years.

In contrast, if a victim suffers a serious injury, then the charge is elevated to a felony, which can result in:

  • Two, three, or four years in state prison;
  • An additional three-to-six-year sentence if a victim suffers a great bodily injury or disability;
  • Up to $5,000 in fines;
  • California DUI school;
  • Five-year driver’s license revocation;
  • A strike under California’s Three Strike’s Law;
  • Being labeled a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO);
  • Restitution to the victim(s); and/or
  • Formal probation for up to five years.

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Start Defending Yourself Today

Not every DUI case is the same, and the particulars of your arrest can influence how our team builds a defense strategy. In some cases, your attorney can speak to the district attorney handling your case to negotiate a plea bargain or complete dismissal if the evidence is not strong enough. However, we always prepare a defense as if we are going to court and will vigorously defend your rights throughout the entire process.

With more than 30 years of experience, our team has built a variety of defense strategies for our clients in order to achieve positive case results, including:

  • Demonstrating that the field sobriety test was inaccurate and not admissible as evidence
  • Arguing that the BAC test was incorrectly handled, leading to a false positive
  • Outlining how the arresting officer performed an illegal stop
  • Explaining that you only showed the objective signs of intoxication and there was no supporting evidence

Each case is unique and to get a better handle on how to approach the charges against you, you will want to contact a San Marco criminal defense attorney today. At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, we provide each potential client with a free case evaluation to determine what is the best strategy for your case and how to move forward. If we take you on as a client, we can go over every detail of your case, so you have the best shot at beating a conviction. Contact our offices at (760) 630-2000 if you have been charged with a DUI in North County.

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James N. Dicks

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