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FIRST DUI – SAN BERNARDINO DUI ATTORNEY GROUP
San Bernardino has a number of colleges and major roadways running through and around it. With a population of over 200,000, it is not a major city but not a small town either. It has a warm climate and is recovering from economic difficulties. Many people cope with the problems by drinking and this is not lost on police in the city and suburbs who are on the lookout for any motorist who may have been drinking.
Unless you are under 21 or on probation that prohibits any drinking, it is not against the law to drink and drive so long as your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is under 0.08% and your judgment and ability to drive is not impaired. Regardless, many people are still stopped and arrested for DUI based on driving conduct, inadvertent statements or performance on coordination tests that are not based on factors involving alcohol. Also, breath and blood tests are not perfect and often indicate BAC levels that are inaccurate or tainted. For these reasons, a lawyer from the San Bernardino DUI Attorney Group can help you with a DUI charge at an affordable price.
Be Aware of What a DUI Means
All motorists should be aware of the risks of driving while drinking but not all are mindful of what a DUI means and its consequences.
If you are arrested for a DUI, you likely will face two charges of DUI:
1. Driving While Under the Influence
2. Driving With a BAC of 0.08%
DUI charges are found under CVC 23152:
“(a) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.
(b) It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle. For purposes of this article and Section 34501.16, percent, by weight, of alcohol in a person’s blood is based upon grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. In any prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.
(c) It is unlawful for a person who is addicted to the use of any drug to drive a vehicle. This subdivision shall not apply to a person who is participating in a narcotic treatment program approved pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 11875) of Chapter 1 of Part 3 of Division 10.5 of the Health and Safety Code.
(d) It is unlawful for a person who has 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in Section 15210. In any prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.
(e) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.
(f) It is unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle.
(g) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2014.”
The breath or blood test, or urine in limited cases, can be objective evidence of intoxication if your BAC or blood alcohol content is 0.08%, it is a rebuttable presumption that you are impaired that our attorneys are prepared to challenge. The law also presumes that a BAC test taken within 3 hours of your driving is considered evidence of your blood alcohol content at the time you were driving.
A major consequence of a DUI is that your driving privileges are suspended for at 6-10 months. Although you can obtain a restricted license, it is only valid for driving to and from employment and to your DUI class.
You may face the possibility of spending a weekend jail or a number of hours doing community service, but you will be placed on probation with the condition that any subsequent drinking and driving can land you in jail time and further increase your loss of driving privileges. Any DUI conviction will certainly increase your auto liability insurance premiums.
If you refuse BAC testing, you can lose your license for one year with no restricted license eligibility. If you do go to trial, your refusal can be brought up by the DA and is considered evidence of your guilt.
The Administrative Per Se Hearing
When arrested, your driver’s license is taken away and you are given a 30-day temporary one. You only have 10 days to request a hearing before the DMV, called an APS or Administrative Per Se Hearing regarding the suspension of your driver’s license. The issues at an APS hearing are:
Whether the officer has probable cause to stop you
Did the officer had probable cause to arrest you
If your BAC was 0.08%
Whether you refused BAC testing
Do not hesitate to contact a lawyer from the San Bernardino DUI Attorney Group immediately after your arrest or your failure to request the hearing will waive your right to challenge your suspension and it will go into effect shortly thereafter.
The restrictions for commercial drivers and those motorists under the age of 21 are more severe. If you have a commercial driver’s license and were driving a commercial vehicle such as a truck, bus or train, you may be arrested and lose your license if your BAC is 0.04%. For drivers under 21, your BAC may not be higher than 0.01%
Reasons for Suspecting You of DUI
Law enforcement officers are looking for certain signs that might lead them to suspect you are driving under the influence and to investigate further. These signs include:
Your driving conduct
You were sleeping in your car or pulled over
Bloodshot, watery eyes
Odor of alcohol
Poor balance on FST or coordination tests
The PAS test registered the presence of alcohol
Admission to drinking
Our attorneys are well aware of these signs that officers rely on to arrest a person for DUI and to get them to submit to BAC testing, despite the fact that other non-alcohol related reasons exist for these observations.
Penalties for a First DUI Offense
If convicted for a first-time DUI, you will likely face the following:
2 days in jail
Alternative sentence of community service
2 additional days in jail if you refused chemical testing
Fine of $390 up to $1,000
Additional expenses for court costs and various assessments
Summary or informal probation of 3 years up to 5 years
3-months participation in a DUI program
Loss of license for 6-10 months
Restricted license eligibility unless you refused testing
0ne-year loss of license if testing refused
Our San Bernardino DUI Attorney Group lawyers can often get charges reduced to “wet reckless,” where penalties are less or get charges dismissed so that you face no fine, jail or loss of license.
Under statute, there are aggravating conditions that will enhance your sentence, regardless if this is your first DUI. These include:
1. Having a passenger under the age of 14—CVC 23572
2. Your BAC result was at least 0.15%–CVC 23578
3. You refused testing of your breath or blood-CVC 23578
4. You were speeding at least 20 mph over the speed limit-23582
You also face increased time in jail or even state prison if you were DUI and caused a serious bodily injury or fatality with added time if more than one person suffered injuries or was killed. A DUI in a construction zone may also enhance your penalties.
2 days or more can be added to your jail sentence if any of these conditions occurred. If there was an accident or your driving conduct was especially egregious while you had a young child in your car, the DA could charge you with felony child endangerment.
Our attorneys from the San Bernardino DUI Attorney Group have decades of experience handling DUI charges and accordingly have numerous defenses that can be used. Typical defenses include:
Lack of probable cause to stop your car
Lack of probable cause to arrest you for DUI
Your symptoms of intoxication are based on non-alcohol factors
You were not properly advised of your rights
The breathalyzer results were inaccurate for multiple reasons including your medical condition, improper maintenance of the device and others
Your BAC was lower than it was while driving if you were tested hours later
Witnesses can testify regarding number or drinks and sobriety
If a camera was present during your stop and following investigation, it can be subpoenaed and reviewed to see if proper protocol was followed and if you displayed signs of impairment.
Our attorneys are highly experienced defense lawyers and have successfully defended clients in all types of DUI cases. Contact the lawyers at the San Bernardino DUI Attorney Group if you have been arrested on a DUI.