Thank you for visiting our new site! We hope the information found here is useful and that we can assist you with your DUI case in LA, Orange, Santa Barbara or Ventura County.
DUI cases in California are serious. The consequences of being convicted of a DUI can lead to fines and fees of over $3,500.00. Also you may be required to attend an alcohol course of three, six, or nine months, costing several hundred dollars. Your driver's license may be suspended. Your driving record will be impacted and insurance rates will likely increase. A repeat offense or an initial offense with a high blood alcohol level will mean additional penalties. Convictions for DUI in California are usually based on violations of one or more of the following statutes. Different statutes and different penalties will apply if you are a minor or if other factors are present. It is important to seek the advice of an attorney right away. We at 805DUILawyer are here to help.
General DUI Statutes
California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) - Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Under this section, you can be convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or any combination of the two. This includes prescription drugs taken under the advice of a physician. The state will attempt to show that you were under the influence by presenting evidence that you were driving in a manner consistent with being under the influence and that you performed poorly on field sobriety tests. Blood or breath test results will be submitted to show the existence of any drug that influenced your ability to drive a car. Any statements you made to the officer and observations of the officer will be presented in support of the state's case.
California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) - Driving With Blood Alcohol > .08%
Under this statute the state will present evidence that you were driving while the alcohol concentration in your blood was over .08%. The state will present evidence that you were driving in a manner consistent with intoxication, and that you failed the field sobriety tests. It will attempt to present expert testimony of a forensic toxicologist about social drinking patterns and that given the chemical or blood test results, that your blood alcohol level at time of driving was over .08%.
Some of the Many Possible Defenses
Was the defendant's blood alcohol level over .08% at time of driving?
Blood alcohol is not constant. From the time you take your last drink, the alcohol level in your blood rises. At some point it reaches a plateau, and then falls. Depending on the time of your last drink relative to the time of testing, the amount of alcohol in your blood may not be as high as at the time of testing. The procedures followed by the state require continuous observation for fifteen minutes prior to administration of a breath test. Blood tests can take longer. Reasonable doubt can be established as to the alcohol level being over .08% at the time of driving based on absorption rates, time of last drink, alcohol level, and time of test. See the Victories article for an example.
Would the level of drugs found in your system cause you to be impaired for purposes of driving?
It is very difficult to prove that the level of drugs or alcohol actually caused impairment. Not every traffic violation is caused by drugs or alcohol in the blood. Blood tests show the presence of drugs in the blood for several days after the effects of the drug have worn off. In the case of THC, the drug found in marijuana, the drug can appear for a longer period of time. Also, you may be a routine user of the drug and have built up a tolerance to the drug reducing its effects. These are all issues that can establish reasonable doubt as to impairment of your driving ability under the statute.
Suppression of the Evidence in DUI Cases
Did the officer have probable cause or a reasonable suspicion to conduct the initial stop?
If the officer in your case did not have probable cause or a reasonable suspicion to conduct the initial stop, a Motion to Suppress all of the evidence after the initial stop can be made to the court. If the court grants such a motion, your case will most likely be dismissed by the state because it has no chance of getting a conviction without post-stop evidence including the field sobriety tests, blood, breath, or urine tests, admissions of the defendant, and officer's observations. See the Victories section for specific examples of actual cases where this happened.
Did the officer elicit incriminating statements from you in violation of your Miranda rights?
Once the defendant is not free to leave and custodial interrogation occurs, the police must advise you of your right against self-incrimination under Miranda v. Arizona. If such a warning is not administered, your admissions taken in violation of the rule may be suppressed. The state often relies on admissions of the defendant in DUI cases to establish guilt. Without your admissions, the police usually cannot establish time of drinking or how much alcohol consumed. These facts are important to the state's case. Suppression may mean dismissal or acquittal.
Did the officer make any promises of special treatment in exchange for your admissions?
Your admissions to the police can be suppressed if they were not voluntarily given. The U.S. Supreme Court held that admissions taken by threat or promises made by the police are not voluntary and must be suppressed. The police cannot promise to let you go in exchange for your 'cooperation.' They cannot threaten to make your stay in jail longer if you do not 'tell them what happened.' Tactics such as these are commonly used by the police, but can lead to suppression of crucial evidence. Without your admissions, the state's case is more difficult.
Did the officer follow proper procedures in administering the tests?
The procedures for administering breath tests in California are clearly defined. the officer must follow the procedure exactly. If he fails, the test results can be suppressed and the State may not have the evidence it needs to obtain a conviction. In every case, we review how the tests were conducted to determine if the tests can be suppressed.
Did the officer give you a choice of tests?
Unless you are a minor, you have a choice of tests in California. Failure of the officer to give you a choice of tests can lead to the suppression of the test results and be fatal to the state's case against you.
Was the equipment used to perform the tests maintained as required?
The same set of rules that govern how breath tests are administered also mandates that the machines are calibrated according to a strict schedule. Often, crime labs and police agencies are overburdened and underfunded. They fall behind in the calibration and maintenance of their machines. Failure to properly maintain and calibrate breath test machines as required violates your rights as a criminal defendant and entitles you to the suppression of the breath test results. Even if the machine was properly calibrated, recurring failed calibration checks can be used to attack the results of the test in your case, casting reasonable doubt as to your guilt.
Was the officer trained and certified in using the equipment used to perform the tests?
Officers must be trained and certified in using breath test equipment. If they are not, the results may be suppressed or discredited.
In each case, we at 805DUILawyer.com look for these defenses and strategies to obtain the best possible results. Contact us right away for a free consultation.