Redlands DUI Lawyer
Is a DUI a Misdemeanor in California?
A DUI is a misdemeanor in California if:
It is your first offense and there were no aggravating factors; or
It is your second or third offense and you have successfully completed an approved alcohol education program; or
You caused property damage or injuries as a result of your driving under the influence (you will be required to pay resititution).
If any of these circumstances apply to you, then you will be charged with a misdemeanor DUI in California. Otherwise, you will be charged with a felony DUI.
The penalties for a misdemeanor DUI are less severe than those for a felony DUI. However, both offenses can result in jail time, fines, suspension of your driver's license, and other consequences.
In California, a first offense DUI can result in consequences that range from misdemeanor probation to jail time:
- A first-time DUI defendant may be granted an IID restricted license that permits them to drive.
- For a second DUI offense, a defendant may be required to install an IID for up to a year.
- For a third offense, an IID may be installed for two years.
- For fourth-offense and subsequent offenses, an IID may be installed for three years or longer. These regulations on IID usage are in place until 2026.
An IID restricted license requires the defendant to keep an ignition interlock device, also known as a personal breathalyzer, in their car for up to six months as of 2019. If a first-time DUI defendant isn't granted an IID restricted license, their license may be suspended for six months to a year unless they request a California DMV hearing and isn't convicted of a DUI in court. If convicted, a first-time DUI defendant may face up to six months in jail, a $2,000 fine, and a one-year license suspension.
How to Drive Lawfully
To ensure you are following laws, you must familiarize yourself with them. To legally operate a vehicle in the state of California as of 2020, your blood alcohol content (BAC) must be:
- Below 0.08% if you are over 21
- Below 0.01% if you are under 21
- Below 0.04% if you are a commercial driver
Though many associate DUIs with alcohol, they can also apply to those operating a vehicle while high on drugs.
California continues to prosecute drivers who operate vehicles under the influence of marijuana and drugs including some over-the-counter medications, some prescription medications, and illicit chemical substances.
Field Sobriety Tests
The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) is made of up 3 individual tests:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test
- Walk-and-turn test
- One-leg stand test
During the tests, the officer is looking for signs that the person is impaired such as not being able to keep their balance, slurred speech or not following the instructions properly.
What is Non-Adjudication?
Can You Fight a Dui in California?
Absolutely! There are many defenses we use for our clients that can help them reduce their sentences, penalties, or fines or drop their charges altogether. Here are some common defenses our attorneys may use for your benefit:
You’re Just a Bad Driver That Doesn’t Deserve a DUI Charge
If you were swerving in your lane or speeding, it doesn’t mean you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Our job as your legal counsel will be to prove that your driving patterns or behavior were common of drivers that were sober, not drunk or high. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports driving patterns are only predictive of a correct accusation of DUI 35% of the time. In addition, a simple traffic ticket will result in easier penalties compared to a DUI conviction.
The Officer That Pulled You Over Used Bad Judgment
Cops use many tools — however often inaccurate — to determine whether or not you are driving under the influence.
First, breathalyzers only measure the amount of alcohol in one’s body, not their ability to operate a motor vehicle as everyone’s tolerance is different. Also, these machines have a record for producing falsely high blood-alcohol content results.
Second, field sobriety tests are used to judge one’s coordination. If you are naturally an uncoordinated person, are tired, have flat feet, or nervous because of the situation you’re in, this test may not produce accurate results.
The Officers Didn’t Follow Proper Procedures
Officers in California and beyond are heavily educated and trained on how to treat stops involving drivers they think are under the influence, however, everyone makes mistakes once in a while, such as:
- Stopping you without probable cause (they merely pulled you over because you were leaving the parking lot of a bar, rather than actually violating any traffic laws.)
- Failing to read you your Miranda rights before your interrogation or at any time.
- Gathering evidence in an unlawful or illegal way to prove their case against you.
It’s important to note that though these are common causes, they may not apply to your exact situation.
Experienced Prior CHP Officer In-House That Can Assist With DUI and DMV Matters
Everyone’s case is different; to get an accurate prediction of your case and what your first steps will be, schedule a free consultation with our office in Redlands, California today. We proudly serve many of the surrounding California communities, including Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, Riverside, Victorville, Banning, and beyond.
DUI Attorneys in Redlands, CA
If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime involving drugs or alcohol, it's important to seek the help of a trusted DUI attorney quickly following your arrest. The DUI attorneys of Kassel and Kassel are there for you. To schedule a consultation, contact us today. We serve much of the surrounding communities, including San Bernardino, Riverside, Victorville, Banning, and Rancho Cucamonga.
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