Being arrested and charged with a DUI in California can be overwhelming for you or a loved one. Whether an accident is involved or not, harsh penalties can result, including jail time, high fines, and more. At this point, you may be fearful or confused about the following process and unaware of the legal assistance available to help you.
If you are charged with a DUI in Pasadena, your first step is to contact a knowledgeable DUI lawyer to protect your rights and your future. You only have ten days from the arrest date to contest an automatic suspension of your driver’s license by the DMV and will need time to build a strong defense. However, you don’t have to face the process and potential penalties alone.
Contact the Pasadena DUI lawyers with Hurwitz Law Group for a free consultation. Our criminal defense law firm has the experience you need at this time and will seek to protect your rights and build a strong case on your behalf.
Seeking out experienced representation from a Pasadena DUI attorney to help with your case can provide you with the explanations, guidance, and criminal defense you need.
Your criminal defense attorney will ensure you understand the terminology and legal implications of your arrest and DUI charge and discuss defense strategies for your particular circumstances. A critical review of all evidence provided by the prosecution will ensue, including breathalyzer results, blood, and urine test results, arresting officer statements, and more.
With knowledge of the laws surrounding DUIs in California, your defense attorney will diligently defend your rights and freedom. Starting with scheduling a DMV hearing to protect your right to keep your license until the case is fully resolved, your legal team will continue to be by your side.
In DUI cases that involve accidents, injuries, or death, your DUI lawyer will help your case by taking the following actions:
Whether this is your first or fourth DUI arrest, an experienced DUI lawyer knows the law and will protect your rights.
Lawyers with Hurwitz Law Group have experience representing DUI clients in California in various circumstances, including failing field sobriety tests and charges involving illegal drugs. We confidently represent you through each stage of the legal process.
While DUI laws may be similar across the country, California residents and visitors need to know state-specific rules should they be pulled over or become involved in an accident while under the influence.
DUI charges usually stem from the following:
Essentially, the law states that it is illegal for the driver of a vehicle to be under the influence of an alcoholic beverage. You can be arrested if you show common symptoms of being intoxicated, regardless of whether or not there is proof that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at .08% or higher.
In addition, driving under the influence of drugs, whether over-the-counter, prescription, or illegal narcotics, is unlawful and causes arrest and charges. (Vehicle Code § 23152(f))
The majority of DUIs are legally classified as misdemeanor offenses. They become felonies if one or more persons are injured, you have a previous DUI conviction, or your criminal record includes three or more convictions for DUI or reckless driving (also called “wet reckless”). (Vehicle Code 23103)
DUI penalties in California increase with each conviction you receive within ten years. Any out-of-state and wet reckless convictions during this timeframe will also be included.
Conviction of DUI in California brings life-altering criminal penalties, including jail or prison time, steep fines, license suspension, and more, depending on the facts surrounding your case.
A first-time DUI charge is a misdemeanor, with a potential sentencing of 28 hours to six months in the county jail. Probation may be possible instead, depending on the circumstances of the case. A monetary fine, driver’s license suspension, and potential order to attend an alcohol or drug education program may also be part of the penalties.
A 2nd DUI offense is also a misdemeanor, carrying a jail sentence of 96 hours to one year, a monetary fine, and a court-appointed education program. Installation of an IID (ignition interlock device) may be ordered, or a license suspension of two years.
For a misdemeanor 3rd offense, a county jail sentence of 120 days to one year can be imposed, along with a fine ranging between $390 to $1,000. A driver’s license suspension for three years and an educational program requirement are also imposed.
A DUI offense with injury is a misdemeanor carrying a county jail sentence of 5 days to one year. The fine can range from $390 to $1,000 in addition to paying restitution to the injured party or parties. Offenders must attend an alcohol/drug education program and receive a one-year license suspension.
If the 1st DUI offense leads to injury, it is bumped to a felony charge and sentenced to state prison for 16 months to 16 years. In addition to paying restitution to those injured parties, a fine of $1,015 to $5,000 must also be paid.
A felony DUI charge occurs when the driver acquires four or more convictions within the ten-year timeframe. Penalties include 16 months, two years, or three years in California state prison, a fine, and license suspension. If the DUI resulted in death, penalties may be converted to life imprisonment.
While the above penalties apply throughout California, there are also aggravating factors for DUI charges which can increase jail or prison time for any of the listed offenses. Some of these aggravating factors include:
For those with a criminal record due to other types of offenses, the penalties may also be increased in severity.
Being arrested for DUI in California requires that you know what to do next to protect your rights in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
As soon as you are able, contact a Pasadena DUI attorney. You only have up to ten days to contest an automatic license suspension, and your attorney can handle this for you. Also, the earlier you seek legal advice and representation, the sooner your attorney can build a strong defense. In addition, your attorney will be able to help you understand what you are up against, the laws of California, and the potential penalties you face.
The next step is to dive into your case and learn as much as possible about the circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest and charge. Your attorney will gather information and evidence crucial to the outcome of your case, including breathalyzer, blood, and urine test results, arresting officer statements, accident report (if applicable), and more.
With all the information and evidence gathered, reviewed, and analyzed, it is now time to build a defense strategy that protects your rights. Much will depend on the particular circumstances surrounding your case and will entail a strategy that is individually designed for you and based on the laws and experience of your DUI lawyer.
Following an arrest for DUI, the court system of California is required by law to make known any DUI charges for the accused driver within set time limits, called the statute of limitations.
California has two specific statutes of limitations, and these are as follows:
If the court fails to act and charge the driver in accordance with these time limits, it usually forfeits the right to do so.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in California is considered negligence per se. Even so, the DUI driver is not automatically liable for any accident. Several factors may be involved and will need thorough investigation and review before determining who is at fault.
There can also be more than one contributor to the accident. For example, if the other driver was speeding at the time, they can be held at least partially responsible. If they pulled out in front of you, causing the collision, you may not be liable under the laws of California. To seek monetary compensation in a personal injury claim, the other party will need to prove that you were negligent and that this act of negligence directly led to their injuries.
With so much involved, determining liability for your DUI accident case will be essential and require the knowledge and experience of a dedicated California DUI lawyer.
While your DUI case will be individually reviewed, in most instances, possible defenses in Pasadena include the following.
Breathalyzer test results often need to be more accurate and can be challenged. This chemical test is often improperly administered, which can affect the results. Another mistake involves the law enforcement agency’s failure to follow regulations.
An experienced DUI lawyer understands the science behind the breathalyzer test and the many errors that can be made with its use. As such, you can challenge the breathalyzer results by scrutinizing the test results as part of your defense strategy.
Field sobriety test results can weigh heavily against you, and questioning their accuracy will be essential to your defense. Perhaps your medical condition affected your ability to perform the testing. The law enforcement officers may not have been clear in the instructions you were given, or an inaccurate scoring method was used.
In other cases, the test may have been administered in a location that affected your ability to perform as instructed, such as a sloped surface or slippery ground. Weather conditions might have negatively affected your test results. Questioning field sobriety test accuracy is a possible defense in your DUI charge.
Evaluating blood and urine test results and contesting those results is another common defense strategy in DUI criminal cases. Such test samples can become contaminated or mishandled, and doubt about their accuracy can be introduced into your case.
Following an arrest for DUI and its resulting charges, your world can be turned upside down. You need the help and experience of a dedicated DUI Attorney who can guide you through the legal process and build a solid defense strategy suited to your individual circumstances. The criminal defense attorneys with Hurwitz Law Group in Pasadena have represented and defended clients in various DUI cases and stand ready to help.
Call our law office today at (323) 244-4147 to schedule a free consultation.