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Vista DUI Defense Lawyers


Aggressive Drunk Driving Defense for Drivers Across North County

A DUI charge can drastically change your life. In addition to losing your license, you also face months to years in jail, extensive fines, and a serious blow to your reputation or career. A DUI conviction can follow you for years to come, meaning second or third offenders can face a significant increase in charges if convicted. This can include mandatory imprisonment and further restrictions when you are released, such as DUI school and ignition interlock devices.

A drunk driving charge can happen to anyone. Even if you felt sober enough to drive after having a drink, the law is clear when it comes to intoxicated driving. But DUIs are beatable, and jD LAW can help you fight them. Our Vista DUI defense lawyer has extensive experience defending clients throughout North County and can utilize all of his knowledge to have your charges reduced or dismissed altogether. If you have been arrested for DUI in Vista, contact our firm at (760) 630-2000 immediately to schedule a free consultation. Do not let a single arrest impact your future.

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The Legal Experience You Need

Not just any attorney can handle a DUI case. The laws in California are complex and a wide variety of factors can influence the outcome of your case. But if you work with the team at jD LAW, we can provide a strong defense in all cases, whether this is your first offense or you have a prior DUI on your record. Our firm is ready to defend you against DUI charges relating to:

  • First-time DUI: First-time offenders may have the option for lesser penalties, with the right defense.
  • Multiple DUI: A second, third, or fourth DUI charge will be punished more harshly, especially if they are within a shorter time frame.
  • Underage DUI: Those under the age of 21 may be facing harsher penalties and risk jeopardizing their future without a strong defense.
  • Out-of-state DUI: Vista attracts many visitors. We can resolve charges for tourists and out-of-state residents to ensure your driver’s license is not impacted in California and your home state.
  • Felony DUI: If your charge involves injuries, death, or three or more convictions in the past 10 years, it’s a felony DUI, which will require a thorough and skilled defense to beat.
  • Federal DUI: If you are found driving while drunk in a national park such as Cabrillo National Monument, Switzer Canyon, Sunset Cliffs, etc., it will be charged in federal court. Given how serious these cases are, you will want to put your trust in only the best.
  • Military DUI: We can represent military personnel in a military court and protect your career, especially if you serve at Camp Pendleton.
  • Restricted license: We can help you seek a restricted license that allows you to keep limited driving privileges.
  • Vehicular manslaughter: If another person is killed in a DUI crash, you could be facing tough penalties and will need an even tougher defense.

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How Are DUIs Charged in Vista?

There are two laws that can be violated when an individual drives while intoxicated. The first is California Vehicle Code § 23152(a), which states that it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol in your system, and the second is Vehicle Code § 23152(b), the more commonly cited statute that states it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. With a BAC of less than 0.08%, the police can still arrest you, but they may need additional evidence to convict you. However, with a BAC of 0.08%, any breathalyzer or chemical tests can be enough to land a conviction.

However, BAC is not the only measure by which Vista police arrest drivers. If an officer suspects you of committing a DUI with drugs, such as marijuana, prescription medication, or other controlled substances, she can arrest you solely on the objective signs of intoxication or require a chemical test. Refusing these tests can lead to an automatic license suspension, but they are also not 100% accurate. Whether you are facing a DUI for drugs or alcohol, you should immediately contact an attorney to help in your defense.

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Criminal vs. Administrative Punishments

When you are charged with a DUI in California, you can face both criminal and administrative penalties. In the criminal justice system, the courts are focused on determining whether or not you broke the law and, if they find you guilty, punishing you to the fullest extent of it. However, DUIs are also processed by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

During your arrest, the police officer likely confiscated your license and gave you a pink slip to act as a 30-day temporary license. Included with this temporary license is the notice of a DMV hearing, which you will need to attend to keep your license from being suspended. If you miss this hearing, your license will automatically be suspended.

As with a criminal trial, you can and should contact an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you receive a strong defense. DMV hearings are difficult to win, but your attorney may be able to appeal the case in the higher courts. Either way, you will want to work with a skilled DUI defense attorney to ensure that you receive a dedicated defense against both administrative and criminal punishments.

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DUI Penalties in Vista

If convicted of a DUI, a person may face many possible penalties. For a first-time offense, you could be sentenced to anywhere between two days and six months in jail. You may also be required to pay up to $1,000 in fines. A license suspension of four months is typical, but if you were under the age of 21, that may be increased to a one-year suspension. If you had a high blood alcohol content, you may have to attend at least three months of DUI school. The court will also have discretion as to whether your vehicle is impounded, or if it requires an interlock ignition device.

DUI penalties increase for subsequent offenses. If convicted, you may be sentenced to up to one year in jail, fines up to $1,000, and a one-year suspension of your license. Your vehicle may be seized and sold, and a conviction could also result in up to 30 months of San Diego’s Driving Under the Influence Program, depending on if it is your second, third, or fourth offense.

The penalties for a DUI conviction in Vista are significant, even for the first offense. Fortunately, there are defenses available, and jD LAW knows how to use them.

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Effective Defenses to DUI Charges

There are ways to effectively challenge DUI charges, even if there is convincing evidence against you, such as blood and breath tests.

Attorney James N. Dicks is a former police officer who is well aware of the flaws in DUI testing. Mr. Dicks understands that your arrest and detainment could have been done illegally. He also knows that there is often insufficient evidence to support a DUI charge. If the arresting officer lacked probable cause to make a traffic stop in the first place, Mr. Dicks will find out and use the information to get the case thrown out of court. He knows that the equipment used during a breathalyzer or blood test is often defective or mishandled, which can affect the results.

During his time as a narcotics investigator with the LAPD, Mr. Dicks was at the center of many criminal cases. He knows exactly where police officers might cut corners and deny the accused his or her rights. If there was a violation pertaining to the reading of your Miranda rights, or evidence showing you successfully passed a field sobriety test, he will present these facts in court. That evidence could be enough to get charges dropped or the case dismissed.

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We Can Help Protect Your Future – Call to Learn More

There is a lot at stake in DUI cases. You could be facing steep fines, lose your driver’s license, and even spend time in jail. Given California’s complex DUI laws, the courts can significantly increase the severity of your punishments if additional charges are filed against you, such as if you were involved in an accident, you have a prior offense, or you were driving recklessly. In any case, you should let our Vista criminal defense lawyer fight to protect you from these penalties.

As a board-certified criminal law specialist, James N. Dicks is prepared to go above and beyond to build a strong, effective defense for you. With over 30 years of experience, our firm can provide extensive legal guidance throughout your case, from fighting to protect your driving privileges in a DMV hearing to advocating for reduced charges in a criminal court. Do not allow your rights to be stripped away without a strong defense. If you or someone you love has been charged with a DUI in Vista, contact our office at (760) 630-2000. We’re ready to take your case.

We Can Fight for You at the Following Courthouses:

Brawley Courthouse

Brawley Courthouse
220 Main Street
Brawley, CA 92227

Central Courthouse

Central Courthouse
1100 Union Street
San Diego, CA 92101

El Centro Court

El Centro Court
939 West Main Street
El Centro, CA 92243

North County Center

North County Center
325 South Melrose
Drive, Vista, CA 92081

South County Center

South County Center
500 3rd Avenue
Chula Vista, CA 91910

Southwest Justice Center

Southwest Justice Center
30755-D Auld Road
Murrieta, CA 92563

Southwest Juvenile Court

Southwest Juvenile Court
30755-G Auld Road
Murrieta, CA 92563

El Cajon Courthouse

El Cajon Courthouse
250 E Main St #1
El Cajon, CA 92020

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(760) 630-2000

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James N. Dicks

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