Offering our clients, the best legal representation for their cases is one of the core values of Vista DUI Attorney. The law firm, which operates in Vista, CA and the surrounding areas, consists of lawyers with an excellent track record in handling DUI cases. The lawyers can also help prepare solid legal defenses and offer legal representation for a DUI over 0.15% case. They understand the value of building trust and a working relationship with the clients in preparation for a courtroom appearance.
What is a DUI Over 0.15% Offense Under California Law?
The California Constitution categorizes DUI offenses depending on the risks of the injuries and accidents. Motorists with higher blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) are more likely to cause injuries and accidents on innocent individuals. Section 23152(b) of the California Vehicle Code considers operating a vehicle while being intoxicated (a BAC over 0.08%) as a crime.
The California legislature passed Section 23578 of the Vehicle Code into law. VC 23578 outlines the possible sentences for motorists with BAC of over 0.15 percent. The law notes that the court may consider one’s BAC to be 0.15 percent or more if tested positive or when one refuses to take a urine/breath test.
What are the Penalties for a DUI Over 0.15% Charge?
A general drunk driving crime backed by BAC results is usually referred to as a “per se” DUI offense. Certain factors determine the alcohol volume an individual can drink to be legally drunk. They include medical conditions like diabetes, fasting, time of drinking, body size, number/concentration of drinks, and gender.
In California, Vehicle Codes 23578, 23538 and 23575 highlight the penalties for driving with a BAC of over 0.15 percent. The minimum charge for this crime is having one’s license suspended for 10 months. The license will also be restricted after one month if the accused person completes a 9-month education and counseling program on DUI.
The jury may ask a first-time offender to operate cares that have ignition interlock devices installed for up to three years. First-time offenders with a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher may also be asked to participate in a probation program. The individuals or institutions facilitating the probation, education and counseling programs must be licensed.
The accused person may face jail time of up to 6 months for a first offense, 1 year for a second and third offense. The fines range from $390 to $1,000 for both first and second DUI offenses. One can pay up to $1,800 for a third DUI offense. The jury decides these sentences after weighing the prosecutor’s allegations and the legal defenses presented by the defendant’s attorney.
If the sentence includes probation, the accused person needs to adhere to certain conditions. The individual shouldn’t commit any other crimes and shouldn’t drive while intoxicated with alcohol. He/she is also supposed to submit to taking a breath or blood test. Other conditions include restitution for DUI causing injury and attending Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholic Anonymous meetings.
DUI defendants can ask the jury for alternative sentencing through their DUI lawyers. The jury may grant the request by mandating them to live in a sober environment or be on house arrest. The defendant may also be asked to spend a specified number of hours conducting community labor or service. Note that the judge may allow for alternative sentencing when the DUI attorney manages to challenge the prosecutor’s allegations.
Five Things That May Happen When facing DUI Over 0.15% Charges
DUI arrests are depressing and frustrating regardless of the crime one is facing. One can lose his/her license and attend DUI classes when found guilty of the crime. Discussed below are some of the things that may happen between the arrest and trial period.
- Losing License After the Arrest
The arresting officer usually confiscates the driver’s license for motorists charged with impaired driving. The officer will also issue the license to the DMV for retention until the administrative and criminal proceedings are complete. One is required to pay a reissue fee of $125 ($100 when one is under 21) to get the driver’s license.
- Attending Two Separate Hearings
Besides the court hearing, the accused person is expected to attend a DMV administrative hearing. He/she should request for the hearing at the DMV offices ten days after having the license confiscated. The verdict of the DMV proceedings is independent of DUI court trials.
- Having the License Suspended
The two types of license suspensions include restricted and hard license suspensions. Failing to appear at a DMV hearing can make one get a hard license suspension (30-day driving ban). One can apply for a restricted license after the 30-day ban. With a restricted license suspension, one can only drive to and from the DUI counseling and educational classes. The suspension also allows the individual to drive to and from work.
- DUI Charge Becoming Public Knowledge
Law enforcement agencies tend to make DUI charges public knowledge after one is arrested for impaired driving. Once this information is on the public domain, the defendant will receive solicitations from lawyers and bail bonds people. Law firms and bail bond companies can also get the defendant’s address from the arresting officer.
- Paying for DUI Classes
Despite being mandated to attend DUI classes, the accused person is also supposed to pay for the classes. The maximum number of hours one should attend for driving with a BAC over 0.15 percent is 60 hours. The 60-hour program takes 9 months to complete.
What Role Does the DMV Play in DUI Over 0.15% Cases?
The California Supreme Court enforces the laws that govern all DUI-related cases in California. The court handles probation, fines, and incarceration while the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) handles the driver’s license revocations and suspensions. Refusing to take a chemical test after being stopped by the police can trigger a license revocation or suspension under the implied consent law. The “implied consent” law points out that all drivers must agree to take a breath or blood test when applying for a driver’s license in California.
DMV Administration Per Se Hearings
DMV usually notifies individuals facing DUI charges that they should appear to a DMV hearing. The notice aims at explaining to the accused person that he/she violated one of the DMV regulations. DMV gives these individuals ten days to request a DMV administration per se hearing. Attending this hearing is mandatory whether one took a blood/breath test.
Failing to request the hearing within the given timeframe can lead to license suspension. One may also have his/her license suspended when he/she loses the DMV hearing trial. Getting an ignition interlock device installed in a vehicle can allow one to drive without restrictions. The ignition interlock device is given to DUI defendants in accordance to the California Senate Bill 1046.
What Does the Prosecutor Have to Prove in a DUI Over 0.15% Case?
The prosecutor needs to thoroughly review the arrest reports and other important documentation prior to filing DUI criminal charges. Assessing the driver’s BAC results is an important part of this process. A criminal complaint can be filed by the prosecutor if the results show a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher. With such a BAC, a driver is considered a danger to him/herself and other passengers, motorists or pedestrians.
Judges and prosecutors are very strict on DUI cases involving high BACs. One needs an experienced attorney to challenge the prosecutor’s accusations for a fair hearing. Discussed below are some of the things the prosecution team must prove in the courtroom.
The Defendant Was Driving
The arresting officer must make the right observation before detaining an individual for driving under drugs/alcohol influence. If the officer didn’t make any observations, the prosecutor must use other means to prove that the defendant was operating a vehicle. In a DUI that leads to an accident, it’s possible for a law enforcement officer not to be present at the scene of the accident.
Witness statements can help the prosecution team build a stronger case against the defendant. Consequently, the accused individual can also admit that he/she was operating the car before being arrested. In California, the prosecution team is mandated to give more evidence related to the DUI crime. One can have a stronger defense by proving that he/she was sitting or sleeping in a car at the time of the arrest.
The Defendant Drove the Car While Under Influence of Alcohol
To prove this allegation, the prosecutor should refer to the blood or breath test results. Introducing expert witnesses to the court can help convince the jury about the BAC results. Offering expert testimony in writing can also help build a strong case against the accused person.
Motorists need to undergo frequent blood or breath tests to reduce the cases of impaired driving. Evidence such as the defendant’s history of sobriety tests and driving conduct can help prove a DUI charge if the defendant refused to be tested. The jury may approve such evidence if it was obtained in a lawful manner.
When to Seek a Lawyer’s Help on DUI Over 0.15% Charges
A VC 23578 case may take several hours of court appearances and money to solve. One needs a proficient DUI lawyer to increase the odds of winning the case. A DUI attorney can also help one keep his/her driving privileges.
Motorists charged with having a BAC of over 0.15 percent may have increased auto insurance rates. The insurer may decide to increase the premiums based on the complexity of the charges one is facing. The defendant will incur thousands of dollars in state penalties and fines, legal fees, raised liability limits and lost time from work or school. One may have doubts about hiring a legal expert with this burden of fiancés.
What’s the Role of a DUI Attorney?
Prosecutors pursuing DUI cases have a shared goal of getting intoxicated motoristsoff the road. A DUI charge can be frustrating for motorists that drive themselves to work, school or the grocery. The right time to get an attorney is when one gets stopped by a law enforcement officer for a breath/blood test.
A DUI attorney helps protect the rights of the defendant through all the stages of the VC 23578 case. The legal expert should offer the client guidance that can help solve the charges in a fair way. A good attorney should identify the mitigating circumstances for a case and use them to prepare appropriate legal defenses.
When to Ask for a Lawyer
The defendant has a right to inform the arresting officer that he/she wants to speak to a lawyer. A lawyer should be present at the time the defendant starts responding to the questions posed by the officer. Some officers tend to incriminate the drivers by asking random questions when their attorneys are not present.
The court can assign a public defender to individuals who can’t afford to get a private lawyer. Public defenders work for the court while private lawyers are associated with private law firms. The choice of working with either of the two experts lies on the defendant. However, the success rates for enlisting the help of a DUI attorney are higher when compared to seeking legal representation from a public defender.
The lawyer-client privilege still applies to a VC 23578 criminal case. In this case, the defendant should be transparent about sharing his/her side of the story. The defendant also needs to provide his/her lawyer any relevant information that would help develop legal defenses. Working with an attorney allows one to withhold any incriminating information that the prosecutor unlawfully demands.
What Legal Defenses Can One Use for a DUI Over 0.15% Case?
The accused person can enlist the help of a DUI attorney, who can help prepare effective legal defenses for the case. The defenses can state that the arresting officer failed to follow the right procedures. They can also assert that you weren’t under alcohol influence or that your actions weren’t impaired. Explained below are these legal defenses in detail.
- Field Sobriety Tests Can’t Accurately Determine Impairment
The prosecution team may use field sobriety tests (FSTs) as evidence against the defendant. FSTs are used by DUI criminalists, the arresting officer and the prosecutor to affirm that the accused person performed poorly on BAC results. A DUI defense lawyer can counter these claims by challenging the accuracy of the FSTs. The legal expert may prove that the test conditions weren’t perfect or the administering officer didn’t have proper training/experience.
- Officer Failed to Properly Conduct the 15-Minute Observation
The arresting officer is required by the law to observe the driver for at least fifteen minutes before requesting a DUI breath test. During the fifteen minutes, the officer should ensure that the driver doesn’t put medicine, mouthwash or even drinks in his/her mouth. The officer should also ensure that the driver doesn’t do anything to compromise the BAC results.
A DUI lawyer can argue that this assessment wasn’t considered at the time of the arrest. While under oath, the arresting officer can be asked by the judge to confirm whether the observation took place. Failing to conduct the assessment may make the prosecutor’s evidence against the defendant less useful.
- Officer Violated Title 17 Blood and Breath Testing Regulations
Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations offers insights into the protocol of conducting blood and breath tests. The statute states that these should be proper blood collection, handling, and storage. Other clauses of the law speak about a 15-minute observation period, proper administration of tests and proper training of the lab technician. A DUI attorney can offer evidence that suggests the violation of one of these regulations as a legal defense against the DUI charges.
- High-Protein Diet or Diabetes Inflating the BAC
Following a high-protein diet or having a medical condition such as diabetes can increase one’s BAC. High-protein intake, fasting and diabetes can cause the liver to produce chemicals that are similar to alcohol in structure. Such chemicals can be released in the mouth or found in the blood. Proving these facts in a courtroom can help challenge the prosecutor’s allegations.
- Police Misconduct at the Time of the Arrest
A DUI over 0.15% case should be pursued in accordance with the California DUI laws. The arresting protocol should involve the police officer reading the Miranda rights. The protocol must also involve the police stopping the driver with a probable cause. A DUI attorney can ask the jury for a suppression hearing in response to these violations. The hearing aims at nullifying evidence and allowing the lawyer to convince the prosecutor to drop/minimize the charges.
Find Legal Representation for a DUI Over 0.15% Charge Near Me
Finding a DUI lawyer to prepare strong legal defenses for your DUI over 0.15% charges is a wise idea. At Vista DUI Attorney, we offer free telephone or in-person consultation to clients seeking legal help on any DUI-related cases. Through our Vista, CA office, we manage to serve clients across Vista and the entire San Diego North County. Take the first step to your freedom by contacting us today at 760-691-1540.