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Valley Center DUI Defense Attorneys


How Should You React to a DUI Arrest?

Being arrested for a DUI is stressful, particularly if this is your first arrest. Try not to panic—as soon as you’re arrested, contact your Valley Center defense lawyer.

After your arrest, you will often be asked to take a chemical test—usually a blood or breath test. You must comply with this, or risk further penalties.

When you can, arrange for a ride home: you could be released straight after being processed in the station, but police won’t let you go unless you have a way of getting home. You will also need to post bond.

Your license will automatically be suspended for 30 days, so don’t risk driving home. In some situations, you can get your license back, with conditions, if you act quickly. You should contact your California DMV Driver Safety Office within ten days of your arrest, and arrange for a DMV hearing.

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The Local Area and Traffic Flow

The main road in the rural area of Valley Center is Valley Center Rd. It connects Valley Center to Escondido, which is 17 minutes away, and San Diego, which is a 45-minute drive.

If you’re traveling to and from San Diego or Escondido at night or on the weekend, be on the lookout for police stopping suspected DUI cases.

Valley Center itself does not have many bars, but there are some on North Lake Wohlford Rd and Valley Center Rd, and it pays to be careful around this area.

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What Constitutes a DUI in California?

Different types of DUI offenses can be found in California Vehicle Code Section 23152. The most common form of DUI in California, found in § 23152 (b), involves the driver’s blood alcohol content. This is a “per se” offense; 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. Commercial drivers, including Uber and Lyft 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. It’s best not to drink when you know you have to drive.

You can also be charged with DUI if you’re found to be “under the influence of alcohol,” under § 23152 (a). For instance, you might return a BAC reading of only 0.02%, but if it appears that the alcohol is affecting you very badly, you might still be charged. Officers use observation and also field sobriety tests to prove that you are impaired by alcohol—they will generally do the same if they suspect drug use.

Regarding drugged driving, the relevant section is driving “under the influence of drugs” § 23152 (f). Drivers will incur a DUI conviction if they are considered to be under the influence of any drug, including illegal, prescription, and over-the-counter substances. § 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 have both an emotional and physical dependence on a drug and will suffer withdrawals if they cannot access drugs.

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Penalties

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

  • First offense: $390 and $1,000
  • Second offense: A fine of up to $2,500
  • Third offense: A fine of up to $5,000.

Technically speaking, a first offense is punishable by six months in jail, and subsequent offenses by up to one year in jail. However, most of the time, first-time and second-time offenders are dealt with via probation instead.

This usually involves attending DUI school, participating in 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.

Jail is usually mandatory for third-time offenders, but this can be commuted to house arrest or rehab.

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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.

For BAC cases, the level of alcohol in your blood is usually quickly determined by a breathalyzer test (although police have sometimes been known to breathalyze the wrong person, for instance, after an accident).

When it comes to driving under the “influence of drugs,” or driving under the “influence of alcohol,” evidence they use can also include:

  • Statements from you
  • The results of FSTs
  • Observations of your appearance and behavior (for instance dilated pupils, slurred speech)
  • Observations of your driving, and any drug paraphernalia in your car
  • Examinations carried out by drug recognition experts at the police station
  • The results of chemical tests.

It’s important to note that you can politely decline to take FSTs before you are arrested: these tests can be difficult even for a sober person to pass, and they are often used as grounds for arrest.

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How Can a Lawyer Help You?

A lawyer will advise you and support you through your DMV hearing, submit pretrial motions for you, and represent you at trial. There are many defenses to a DUI that a lawyer can help you with, for instance:

  • Police did not have probable cause, such as a driving error, to pull you over
  • They did not read you your Miranda Rights
  • Police didn’t have probable cause for arrest
  • They 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 was longer than the period of impairment.

A lawyer can also put forward alternative explanations to the court for why police might have perceived you as “impaired,” for instance, medical reasons or fatigue.

In some situations, a lawyer can help arrange a plea bargain for you, in which you plead guilty to a lesser charge, such as “being under the influence” rather than “driving under the influence” of drugs.

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

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