Driving under the influence, or DUI is one of the most frequently charged crimes in California and nationwide. The fight against drunk driving is taken extremely seriously by law enforcement and legislators alike, meaning the penalties and collateral effects can impact all areas of one’s life. From license suspension and increased auto insurance costs to jail time and heavy fines, a DUI conviction can have significant consequences. You must involve a qualified DUI attorney as soon as possible to protect your license, your record, and your freedom.
At Southwest Legal, we have been representing drivers in the face of DUI charges for more than 30 years. From our offices in Banning, San Bernardino, Indio, and San Diego, we help clients in those cities and throughout Southern California, such as Fontana, Blythe, and Palm Springs. Although DUI cases can seem helpless, particularly when backed by a “failed” breath test, there are ways to effectively challenge or dismiss such charges.
"After I spoke with him, I appreciated his straightforward no-nonsense approach and hired him."Thomas W.
"I hope I never get a ticket ever again but if I do Southwest Legal will be the first person I call."Charles W.
"Southwest Legal took care of it, got the hold off my license since the car is registered to me and got the citation dismissed."Robert G.
Important Elements Of a DUI Case
There are several key elements to a DUI case:
- The person was driving or in physical control of a vehicle; and
- The person had a blood alcohol level of .08% or greater; or
- Their abilities were impaired by drugs and/or alcohol.
The prosecution must prove each of these—beyond a shadow of a doubt—to secure a conviction. An effective DUI defense strategy can attack one or each of these elements, building enough doubt that a judge or jury would deem a conviction unreasonable.
California DUI Penalties
The penalties you can face for a DUI conviction in California will primarily be based on how many prior convictions you have on your record. Below are the potential jail sentences and fines for a first DUI, second DUI, and third DUI in California.
- 1st DUI offense - 6 months maximum in jail and fines of up to $390 to $1,000
- 2nd DUI offense - 96 hours to 1 year in jail and fines of up to &390 to $1,000
- 3rd DUI offense - 120 days to 1 year in jail and fines of up to $1,800 maximum
Is a DUI a Felony in California?
In the state of California, a DUI charge is typically considered a misdemeanor unless certain extreme circumstances are present. These circumstances may include causing great bodily injury or death to another individual and carrying three or more prior convictions on your record. If any of these conditions are applicable, then the DUI charges can be heightened to a felony offense which bears with it more severe penalties such as possible jail time and larger fines.
How We Defend Against DUI Charges
These are just a few of the questions we may pose:
- Did the officer have probable cause to pull you over for a suspected DUI in the first place?
- Were field sobriety test procedures followed to the letter?
- Was the breath test device properly calibrated?
- Did anything interfere with the outcome of the breath test or field sobriety tests?
Many things could influence the outcome of a field sobriety test, such as weight, physical disability, or even the shoes a driver is wearing. Even breath tests are not completely accurate. By finding the weakness and bringing it to light, our Banning DUI lawyers can work to secure a positive result in your case.
Contact Southwest Legal today to get started on your defense with our Banning DUI attorneys.
At Southwest Legal, we believe it is important for you to be able to trust that your legal representative will advocate on your behalf, defend and protect your rights.
We understand how important your case is and we make ourselves available 24/7 by telephone or e-mail to answer any questions you may have.
Our Criminal Justice Attorneys have over half a century of combined experience defending those charged with DUI/DWI and other criminal offenses.