DUI Attorney in Los Angeles County, California
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in California. It’s essential that everyone understands the severity of driving under the influence in California and how it can impact one’s life both legally and financially if convicted of breaking the state’s DUI laws.
If you are facing DUI charges in Santa Monica, California, or other parts of Los Angeles County, you don’t need to face these charges alone. Contact Law Offices of Victoria Clemans for help. Attorney Victoria Clemans provides compassionate and assertive legal counsel to people facing drunk driving charges and is ready to fight tirelessly to protect your rights and seek a favorable resolution of your DUI case.
DUI Charges in California
Under California law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of:
0.08% or higher for drivers aged 21 or older;
0.01% or higher for drivers under the age of 21;
0.01% or higher for drivers on DUI probation (any age); and
0.04% or higher for drivers operating a vehicle requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
However, you can also face DUI charges even if your BAC level is below 0.08% (if you are 21 or older). In California, you may still get a DUI if you are considered to be under the influence. In other words, if you can no longer operate a vehicle in a safe manner as a prudent and sober person would, you can get a DUI regardless of your BAC.
You can also face DUI charges in California if you are not driving your vehicle. However, the prosecution must prove that you were in actual physical control of your vehicle to secure a DUI conviction (e.g., you were found sleeping in the vehicle, with the keys in the ignition and the engine running).
Charged with DUI?Contact an Attorney
In California, the penalties for a DUI conviction can be severe and may include both criminal and administrative penalties. Criminal penalties can include fines, jail time, probation, community service, and substance abuse classes. The amount of the fine and other criminal penalties will depend on the severity of the charge as well as whether it is a first or repeat DUI offense. Having a skilled DUI attorney on your side can help you avoid or minimize the possible penalties in your case.
Possible Defenses to DUI Charges in California
If you have been charged with DUI in California, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. It is important to remember that you have rights, and there are defenses that may be available to you.
Unlawful stop by police. One possible defense to DUI charges is that the police officer who stopped you did not have probable cause to do so. The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. In order for an officer to stop a driver, the officer must have probable cause to believe that the driver has committed a traffic violation or is otherwise engaged in criminal activity. If the officer did not have probable cause to stop the driver, any evidence obtained as a result of the stop may be suppressed, and the charges against the driver may be dismissed.
Miranda violations. Another possible defense to DUI charges is that the arresting officer violated the driver’s Miranda rights. Miranda rights are warnings that must be given to an individual who is in police custody and who is going to be interrogated by police. The warnings inform the individual of their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and Sixth Amendment right to counsel. If Miranda warnings are not given or are not given properly, any statements made by the defendant during police interrogation may be suppressed and cannot be used against them at trial.
Improper chemical testing. If you submitted to a chemical test (usually a blood or breath test) as part of your arrest for DUI, one defense that may be available is that the test was not performed properly or the results were inaccurate. There are strict rules and regulations that govern how chemical tests must be performed and how the results must be reported and preserved. If these rules were not followed, it might be possible to challenge the results of the test.
Improper field sobriety testing. In addition to chemical testing, you may also have been asked to perform field sobriety tests (FSTs) as part of your arrest for DUI. FSTs are tests used by police officers to determine whether a driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs. Like chemical testing, there are strict rules governing how FSTs must be performed and how they must be evaluated.
Violations of evidence and procedure. There are many rules governing how evidence must be collected, preserved, and disclosed in a criminal case. If these rules and procedures were not followed, it might be possible to get evidence suppressed or even get the charges against you dismissed altogether. An experienced criminal defense attorney will know what evidence needs to be collected and what motions need to be filed in order to get evidence suppressed or thrown out entirely.
No driving. If you were not driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle when the police arrested you for DUI, you cannot be convicted of DUI. If you can prove that the vehicle was not driven at all when you were impaired by alcohol, you may be able to get the DUI charges dismissed. However, using the “no driving” defense may not be effective if you were actually seen driving the vehicle or were in actual physical control of the vehicle (e.g., you were found sleeping in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition).
After your arrest, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney who handles DUI cases as soon as possible so they can help build your strongest possible defense strategy and maximize your chances of having your charges reduced or dismissed altogether.
DUI Attorney in Santa Monica, California
DUI charges can carry serious penalties if you are convicted, including jail time, fines, license suspension, and more. If you have been charged with DUI in California, there may be defenses available to you depending on your individual case. Contact a DUI attorney in Santa Monica, California, to discuss your defense options. Reach out to Attorney Victoria Clemans to get a free consultation.