Glendale DUI Defense Attorneys
Laws against drunk driving are strict, and it doesn’t take very much alcohol in the bloodstream before you are intoxicated for the purposes of California’s driving under the influence (DUI) laws. Penalties for conviction, even for a first offense, can be quite serious and have far-reaching consequences in many areas of life. Fortunately, there are often valid defenses available that can lead to a dismissal of charges or an acquittal, and an experienced DUI defense attorney can also help minimize the effects of an arrest or conviction. Drinking and driving is dangerous behavior, but California DUI laws cast a wide net that sometimes catch and punish people more severely than is warranted. In these situations, a DUI defense attorney can help.
California DUI Laws
If you are pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving and asked to take a test of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), you must submit to the test or face the mandatory suspension of your driver’s license for a year or more. Having a BAC of .08% is sufficient to be arrested for DUI. Note that you could be arrested with a lower BAC if there was other evidence that your driving was impaired. For drivers under 21, any measurable amount of alcohol is enough for a DUI arrest.
DUI Penalties in California
Penalties for a first offense DUI in California can include a four-month suspension of your driver’s license, up to $1,000 in fines, and up to six months in jail, in addition to a host of surcharges and assessments that make the DUI very expensive. The penalties increase with successive offenses, and even for a first arrest, there are several ways the punishments may be enhanced, such as by having a BAC of .16% or more, driving with a minor in the vehicle, driving a commercial vehicle, or causing an injury while driving under the influence.
Possible DUI Defenses
The police cannot just stop people at will and require them to submit to a breathalyzer for no good reason. If the police did not have sufficient cause to pull you over or test your BAC, it may be possible to have the charges dismissed. The police can stop people without cause at sobriety checkpoints, but these stops have their own procedures and possible defenses if they are not handled appropriately.
Other possible defenses involve the testing itself. The police often try to establish cause for a breathalyzer by doing a preliminary alcohol screen or getting you to submit to a variety of field tests, such as walking a straight line or reciting the alphabet backwards. Very few of these tests are objective and generally accepted as valid in the scientific or legal community. If your arrest is based on field tests or on breathalyzer equipment that was not correctly calibrated or operating properly, then the evidence against you may possibly be suppressed. There may be other defenses available based on the specific circumstances of your own unique situation.
It is also possible to fight the suspension of your driver’s license with the DMV, but you must request a hearing within ten days of when you are given notice of the suspension. If this notice was given to you at the time of your arrest, and you were subsequently taken to jail, you may have very little time after your release to get in your request for a DMV hearing. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights. The DMV could proceed to suspend your license even if the criminal DUI charges are dropped or you are found not guilty.