The law takes DUI charges extremely seriously. Though they occur with relative frequency, DUIs are serious legal matters that can result in life-changing consequences. The state of California has no tolerance for these charges, and even first-time offenders are punished with severity.
“In a way, he saved my life. He put his all into my case. He treated me like family. It was an “us against the world” feeling. And it was true. I will never forget the moment when I stood in front of the judge and I heard that “Of all charges not guilty.” – Carlos O., Former Client
When it comes to a DUI in California, you need to act quickly after your arrest. A DUI conviction may carry heavy fines, suspended or revoked drivers license, high insurance rates, and/or jail time. These criminal consequences can have significant ramifications throughout your personal life, on top of the already serious punishments given by the court. There is a lot at stake when you face DUI charges, and it’s important to know what you’re up against.
But there may be more hope than you think. DUIs often carry with them procedural, Constitutional, and arresting officer errors and inaccuracies. From a lack of probable cause for pulling you over to flawed field sobriety testing to inaccurate or “cut and paste” officer reports to noncalibrated or malfunctioning testing devices, a diligent and relentless advocate like Aaron Meyer must explore all details to attack your DUI charges.
When you’re arrested for a DUI, you need a reliable and experienced Newport Beach criminal defense attorney to represent you in court. Without proper legal representation, many people get taken advantage of by overzealous prosecutors and biased juries.
Our team at Aaron Meyer Law is highly experienced in defending against DUI charges. We understand that, despite public opinion, these cases are full of nuance and misunderstanding. This is why we dedicate our time to ensuring that all sides of the story are correctly heard. During our decades in the business, we’ve helped many satisfied clients to avoid wrongful DUI charges and undue consequences. We have the experience and track record to give you peace of mind and provide you with the best court representation possible.
A good Newport Beach defense lawyer will listen closely to your concerns and help you to navigate the legal process with confidence. Our experts listen closely to your story and help you to make the decisions that are best for you. Though we have lots of experience in these cases, we understand that most people are inexperienced and uncomfortable in courtroom situations, so we make sure our clients feel confident, well-informed, and fairly treated every time we enter the courtroom at your side. We are here to support you and answer your questions, safeguard your rights under the law, and ensure that the process of going to court is as smooth and stress-free as we can make it.
Driving while under the influence, or DUI, describes a situation in which a person operates a car, truck, or other motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit. In the state of California, this is defined as .08% or higher. These situations can also involve a person who has no alcohol in their system at all but operates a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs. Both of these situations are illegal at the state and federal levels, as they increase the likelihood of someone being hurt or killed in a motor vehicle accident.
If you are pulled over by a police officer who suspects you are under the influence, they have the legal right to ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test and participate in field sobriety tests. Through these options, they are trying to determine if you were drunk driving. If they find that your BAC is above .08% or that you are under the influence of drugs, they will arrest you. It is at this moment that the legal process—and the state’s effort to prove your guilt—begins.
Though these situations may seem straightforward, the opposite is often true. Breathalyzer tests can be inconsistent or faulty, and police officers do not always act appropriately during arrests. There are many nuanced circumstances that can lead to someone being declared innocent following a DUI arrest or to the charges being dropped before a trial ever occurs.
There is a lot at stake in a DUI case. The punishments for DUI charges are usually very severe and can have significant effects on every aspect of your life. Along with the court-ordered consequences, many people with DUI charges can experience lasting consequences like:
Though none of these are consequences assigned by the court, they often happen as the result of a DUI sentence. This is on top of the fines, parole, and jail time you will likely face if charged.
With so much at stake, it’s important to have an attorney on your side to represent you. An attorney gives you the possibility of avoiding charges altogether or receiving reduced charges for your actions. We can help you navigate the system to ensure that the state and the prosecution do not take advantage of you and protect you from any unfair or improper consequences.
First, before the criminal case, the DMV will immediately put the wheels in motion to suspend or revoke your license, whether you submitted to breath or chemical tests or not. You do have the right to request a “DMV Hearing,” but it must be within 10 days of your receipt of the suspension or revocation “order,” which is typically 10 days from your release from custody. You have the right to lawyer representation in this Administrative Hearing.
DUI consequences are severe, even for the first infraction. The state does this to discourage individuals from driving while incapacitated, to make the roadways safer. However, it does mean that individuals who were wrongly accused or unfairly arrested can face significant, life-changing consequences for something that they should have never been charged for.
For a first DUI charge, you can expect to receive:
As you can see, the sentencing options for a first DUI are robust, especially when you consider the fact that you may receive the maximum punishment even if your record is otherwise clean.
For a second DUI, charges increase. You may receive:
Please note that for a second DUI, jail time is a guarantee. You also won’t be able to legally drive for two years, which can have a significant impact on employment opportunities, custody, and other important matters.
For a third DUI, you can expect:
The charges outlined above for DUIs 1-3 stand true, assuming that you don’t harm anyone else while you are driving under the influence. If you hurt or kill someone, the consequences become much more severe, and additional criminal charges may apply to your case.
After your third DUI, the charges also increase from misdemeanors to felonies. However, you don’t necessarily need to have multiple DUIs to be charged with a felony. Felony DUIs occur when:
Felony charges involve time in prison, often ranging from 16 months to 3 years. However, certain factors can lengthen prison time for felony DUIs, so it depends upon your unique situation.
Many people believe that a breathalyzer result is irrefutable, and there is no point arguing DUI charges as a result. This is completely untrue. There are several possible defenses to DUI charges, and we will tailor your defense based on what most appropriately fits your situation.
The most common DUI defense is proving that the traffic stop that led to your arrest was illegal. Police officers must have a valid reason to pull you over in the first place. They cannot do so unless you’ve been observed breaking a law or are otherwise reasonably suspected of doing so. This means that if they see you pulling out of a bar parking lot late at night but driving legally, they have no right to pull you over. Going to a bar and driving at night are both perfectly legal acts.
If they pull you over illegally and discover that you are under the influence, the case must be dismissed.
When you drink alcohol, it does not hit your system right away. It takes some time for the alcohol to increase your BAC and get you over the legal limit. In some cases, a driver does not have a BAC of over .08% when they get into their car and begin to drive, but by the time the officer pulls them over and administers the breathalyzer test, the alcohol has hit their system and raised their BAC to an illegal level.
This defense is common for individuals who are arrested on a short drive and who have a BAC that is at or very near to .08%. We can argue that if the officer had allowed them to complete their journey without delay, they would have been finished driving by the time their blood alcohol content reached an illegal level.
Unfortunately, some police officers do not honor the faith we place in our public servants and may act dishonorably during an arrest or while testifying in court. It’s easy for coercion to occur during a DUI arrest because of the power imbalance between a civilian and a law enforcement officer. An example of this would be if you are at a gathering where a police officer encourages you to keep drinking while knowing you are above your limit, then tells you that it is okay to drive. If they arrest you after doing this, it would be considered coercion.
Breathalyzers are not precise instruments. It’s entirely possible for them to be incorrect or to become miscalibrated, and it’s even more possible for the results of unscientific field sobriety tests to be cast into doubt. Officers can incorrectly interpret signs of intoxication and may jump to conclusions when there isn’t sufficient evidence to do so. Breathalyzer tests can be affected by several outside factors and are not consistently accurate.
Unfortunately, when you get your driver’s license, you agree to submit to breathalyzers and field sobriety tests if you’re ever asked to do so. If you do not, you could face additional consequences and charges, and successfully getting out of your DUI case becomes much less likely. Though you must submit to these tests, the results do not necessarily have to be upheld in court. In some scenarios, we can argue that a breathalyzer or field sobriety test falsely implied your guilt.
Though most people never want to get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated, sometimes it is a matter of life and death or avoidance of a greater evil. If you are in a situation where your life is in immediate danger, or you’d be endangering others by not driving, you may be able to have your DUI charges released.
For example, let’s say you’re drinking at a bar and have decided to take a cab home. However, a few guys at the bar start threatening you, and you believe that they will kill you if you stay. Because of this, you get into your car with the intention of driving to safety, but you’re pulled over.
Though this is a rare scenario, cases can be dropped if the judge sees that you had no better choice than to drive while intoxicated.
“Aaron takes his work very seriously and ultimately gave me back my faith in the legal system and that justice can and will prevail if you stick to your guns!…I would recommend him to anyone looking for who I consider to be one of the best damn Defense Attorneys around!” – J.E., former client
Although you may be embarrassed and afraid after your DUI arrest, your outlook may be better than you think. Some first-time offenders and those not involving accident or injury are able to resolve their case without an actual DUI criminal conviction. The key to avoiding serious charges and consequences is to have a strong attorney on your side. Legal help is the key to retaining control of your life and avoiding the far-reaching consequences that come with DUIs.
Regardless of your situation, Aaron Meyer will analyze all angles of your case. We will pursue the possible errors and defenses that often exist in DUI charges before recommending that we consider any negotiated outcomes. Aaron Meyer Law handles DUI charges and DMV hearings in Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Riverside County, or in the military.
Do not just give up and accept a plea out of fear or intimidation after an embarrassing DUI arrest. Make sure you have an aggressive advocate who won’t settle for “good enough.” The battle can be difficult, long, or uphill, but there can be hope when you have a lawyer doing everything possible to protect you. To find out how Aaron Meyer will start attacking the details of your case, build a close relationship with you, and commence the relentless fight, call us today at 949-390-5477, contact us, or fill out the form below for a free consultation.
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