If you have been arrested for a DUI in San Diego, California, we would advise you hire an attorney as soon as possible to help you fight the case against you and fight to save your license. You only have 10 days from the day of your arrest to schedule the Administrative Per Se hearing with the DMV.
Many DUI cases may seem hopeless but they are not. Officers make mistakes, testing can be unreliable and there are numerous defenses to the crimes that are charged. Hiring a lawyer is necessary to fight for your rights and put you in the best place possible.
Through the years, the attorneys at Seneca Law Group have successfully helped hundreds of clients through their DUI cases and have been able to get great results including but not limited to Not Guilty jury verdicts, Having a judge dismiss the entire case, having some of the charges completely dismissed or reducing the charged offense to a lesser offense like reckless driving. We have also been able to help many of those clients save their licenses from DMV suspension. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI in San Diego, call us at (619) 630-8529 and set up a COMPLETELY FREE CONSULTATION today.
Defenses to a DUI
There are many possible ways to defend a DUI case being brought against you. The list here is not exclusive but it does shed light on some of the creative ways that an aggressive experienced attorney can use to fight a DUI under the California Penal Code. Keep in mind that there are other ways to fight a DUI than just the ones listed here and this short list is not exhaustive.
- Unconstitutional Stop, Search or Arrest
Your fourth amendment right against unlawful search and seizure is an important one. So is your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. If your constitutional rights were violated during your DUI stop then we may be able to suppress evidence in your case and force the District Attorney to dismiss the case against you. In short, if we can get rid of the evidence against you then you cannot be convicted. A simple example of this would be if the police officer pulled you over on a hunch but did not have enough reasonable suspicion to pull you over legally.
- Drinking after driving
In many DUI cases people have drinks while they are in their car or after they got to where they were going and then the police show up and make an arrest. The burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove that you were intoxicate or that your blood alcohol content was over a .08 at the time of driving.
- Rising Alcohol Defense
When you drink alcohol it takes time to travel through your body and enter into your blood stream. Depending on your sex, height, weight, eating and drinking pattern it is possible that your blood alcohol content was much lower than the test that you took on the side of the road or at the station. In many cases we have successfully argued that the tests were inaccurate and the blood alcohol content was much lower than it actually was at the time of driving.
- Inaccurate or Unreliable Tests
The machines that you take the breath tests on are complicated pieces of machinery. In San Diego County they usually use an Alco Sensor IV and an Intoxalizer 8000. They are highly sensitive and have to be calibrated regularly. If there is a problem with the machine that you gave your sample to, we may be able to exclude the evidence against you or prove to the jury that it is wholly unreliable. In addition it is also possible that the machines gave a false reading based on numerous physiological factors.
- Cannot Prove the Elements of the Offense
In order to be convicted of a DUI they Prosecution must prove all of the elements of the underlying offense to the jury. An experienced lawyer can often prevent them from doing exactly that. If they cant prove all of the elements of the underlying offense, then the jury must find you not guilty!
DUI Related Crimes
If you are arrested for a DUI you could be charged with multiple offenses and enhancements depending on the circumstances of your case and your prior criminal history. These cases can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a Felony depending on your circumstances. Below is a list of some of the types of DUI related charges that you could be facing:
California Vehicle Code § 23152 (a) – It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.
This is the vehicle code section that deals with simply being intoxicated. Notice that this section is silent as to blood alcohol content. The prosecution has the burden of proof to show that you were intoxicated at the time of driving even though your blood alcohol content may have been below the .08 mark. The prosecutor tries to prove this using circumstantial evidence like the results of the field sobriety tests, your pattern of driving and expert opinions.
California Vehicle Code § 23152 (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.
This code section covers what we call the “per se” count. It means that if the prosecutor can show that your blood alcohol content was at a .08 or higher then you are guilty of a DUI as a matter of law, regardless of whether or not you were drunk at the time of driving. It takes no account for things like tolerance or not feeling intoxicated at all.
California Vehicle Code § 23152 (e) – It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.
This code section specifically deals with the use of narcotics and being under the influence. It is possible to get charged with a DUI for being high on Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and other illegal drugs. It is also possible to get charged for a DUI when you take prescription medications that affect your ability to drive. In these cases it is important to get an expert on your side right away so that they can help analyze and make professional opinions about whether or not you were in fact under the influence or were able to safely drive a vehicle.
California Vehicle Code § 23153 (a) – It is unlawful for a person, while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle and concurrently do any act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver.
This code section deals with a DUI when there is an accident and someone is injured. Generally speaking these can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor on the first offense depending on how badly the other party was injured. It is similar to the VC § 23152 (a) statute in that is silent as to the blood alcohol content.
California Vehicle Code § 23153 (b) – It is unlawful for a person, while having 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle and concurrently do any act forbidden by law or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver.
This code section deals with a DUI when there is an accident and someone is injured. Generally speaking these can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor on the first offense depending on how badly the other party was injured. It is similar to the VC § 23152 (b) statute in that it is also a “Per Se” statute.
Keeping your License
If you are pulled over for a DUI you have 10 days from the date of the arrest to preserve your right to a DMV Administrative Per Se hearing or you will waive your right to it. That hearing is necessary to save your license. In effect, the DMV can suspend your license in three ways in relation to a DUI.
- If you do not sign up for the DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest.
- If you lose the DMV hearing.
- If you win the DMV hearing but lose your license.
For a first time DUI where you did not refuse to give a test; The DMV hearing will ask three questions…..
- Were you driving the vehicle?
- Was your blood alcohol content over a .08 at the time of driving?
- Did the police officer have reasonable suspicion to pull you over and did they have probable cause to make an arrest?
If you convince the DMV hearing officer that they cannot prove any one of these, you will win the DMV hearing.
If you or a loved one was arrested for a DUI in San Diego, call Seneca Law Group today at (619) 630-8529 today for a Free Consultation.