Most first-time DUI arrestees don't know what to do because they have probably never experienced such a case. Note that whether you are an alleged first-time offender or a repeat offender, California treats all DUI cases seriously. For instance, your punishments may be increased because of aggravating factors such as injury to other people. Thus, you will need an excellent defense strategy for your case, and we at the Law Offices of Jeff Voll in Los Angeles are here to help you. We can help to get your charges dismissed or take a better plea bargain.
What is a First DUI?
To clearly understand DUI, you need to have a clear meaning of what the acronym stands for. DUI is typically known as Driving Under the Influence of either alcohol or drugs. It can also be a combination of both. If you have not had a DUI before or for the last decade, then it is considered as the first DUI. If you are lawfully arrested for first DUI, you face administrative consequences, including suspension of your driver's license and fines. If you get convicted of the first DUI, you face additional penalties.
What You Should Know about the First DUI Offenses
Most first DUI offenders think that they would probably be given probation when charged. But this is not usually the case. The court or Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can order jail time in the county even for a misdemeanor offense. When arrested on a first DUI, there's a lot that goes through your mind in terms of a successful outcome. Before anything else, you need to request an administrative hearing. It should be done within ten days. This is the time limit window program in the DMV to request a hearing for an administrative driver's license in California.
Failure to request an administrative hearing on the first DUI offense can result in automatic suspension of your license. You should be able to request for the hearing before the window period elapses to be eligible. Otherwise, you will not be granted a hearing. During an administrative hearing, the arrested offender has the privilege to obtain legal services from the Law Offices of Jeff Voll. Who are experts when it comes to representing clients at a California administrative driver's hearing.
Consequences of a First DUI Offense
It might be your first time to commit a DUI, and you expect a fair judgment or rather a warning. Unfortunately, the legal consequences are very harsh. Most of the time, the first time DUI offenders are prosecuted as a misdemeanor. Though if it involves serious bodily injuries or extensive property damage, it is charged as a felony. When convicted of driving under the influence, the DMV or the court can impose the following penalties:
- Fines ranging from $ 390-$1000
- Jail time in the county of California of up to six months
- Summary probation for three years
- Driving license probation suspension from six to ten months
- Driving license restriction
- Attendance of a rehabilitation center for drug/alcohol education program that takes three to nine months
- Ignition interlock devices installed in your vehicle
- Filling an automobile insurance policy known as SR22
What the Prosecutor Should Prove
There are two ways in which a police officer can use to prove the driver was driving under the influence. One is by using a breathalyzer and two by using a chemical test. The results may not be accurate if the procedures were not properly followed. Test results are suppressed if the calibration of the breathalyzer is tampered with. The state prosecutor cannot convict a first DUI based on the results of the above-mentioned methods. It becomes a burden and has to use this stipulated methods to make a judgment:
- The driver was lawfully arrested.
- The offender was truly under the influence of alcohol or drugs or was driving with an illegal Blood Alcohol Concentration(BAC).
- The police officer had probably pulled the driver over at the time of the arrest.
- Physical appearance of the driver at the time of arrest such as red-watery eyes, speech disorder, stale odor of alcohol, unsteady movements.
How to Challenge a First DUI Charges
For a first-timer, it is even more difficult to challenge a court charge due to a lack of prior experience. The charges are complex and technical in nature. Offenders in this predicament worry more about potential penalties, costs, and defenses. The driver should take action to successfully fight the charges before conviction. Let the Law Offices of Jeff Voll examine your arrest details and come up with the best defense options to bail you out. Once we get clear information, then we can use the strategies below to challenge the charges.
Checkpoint Traffic Stop
Nowadays, most sobriety checkpoints are often on very busy roads. Traffic police have a habit of stopping almost every car at random. They are done mostly on holidays and weekends in the evenings since this is the time that most people spend their time going out. Although the police are not required to mention the exact area they are going to conduct the checkpoint, the public should be notified of the schedule. At the checkpoint, the driver should:
- Respect and politely answer what is asked by the traffic police.
- Hand in the license on request.
- Prove your car insurance is valid.
- Give the car's registration on request.
- Decline to answer any further questions graciously until you have a word with us.
Challenging whether a checkpoint was legal is difficult for some attorneys, but for us, we win such kind of offense due to our past experiences of similar situations. The police officers have very strict rules under DUI law. Hence, we are aware of specific facts that need to be taken before the arrest.
Reliability of The Roadside tests
When the officer pulls over a driver suspected of DUI, the driver is asked to take a sobriety test. The person is first asked to take field sobriety tests. Later he/she can either provide blood, breath, or urine samples for chemical tests. The police will not use all the methods and can only use one. This is not a true guarantee of accuracy. The fact is that most people do not pass these tests on the roadside. They depend on the officer's opinion and not scientific data. Therefore there are potential reasons to challenge these tests in a court of law. With an experienced attorney who is capable of navigating effectively on the constantly changing laws for DUI, you can fight the credibility and accuracy of the police perception on your driving.
DUI Test Refusal Charge
This occurs when the police officer asks the driver to take a breath test, and the person refuses. The driver is charged with a refusal offense. The person is supposed to be given several chances to blow properly into the breathalyzer before proceeding with charges. Failure to comply leads to a serious offense if convicted. However, this can be challenged in terms of medical conditions. A health condition can make it difficult to inhale or exhale in the machines for testing. One can also accuse the officer of incorrect verbal instructions on how to blow into the breathalyzer. Upon the review of the driver's arrest information, details could be found invalid. Laws have requirements on machines used for sobriety tests, and if they are not correctly followed, the breath test is rendered as a frail.
DUI Involving a Woman
As a woman, when you get arrested for a DUI offense, you should not be asked to take a standard breath test. What you should know is that most of these devices are programmed for men when calibrated. Studies show that females and male metabolize alcohol differently. Using the same machine to test them all is unfair. Some of these devices can make a woman more impaired than before taking the test. For this reason, the DUI arrest can easily be reviewed by us. Since the sobriety tests prove to be gender bias, this can be challenged in court.
DUI Charge for Drugs
There's no way a police officer can properly acknowledge that a driver is under the influence of drugs by the use of field tests. The two commonly used defenses in driving under the influence of drugs are:
- The arrest occurred during an illegal traffic search
- There was no reasonable cause to search a vehicle
This offense is charged like the one under the influence of alcohol. Due to its complex nature on approval, it makes it easy for Law Offices of Jeff Voll to fight for dismissal in court.
Find a Los Angeles DUI Defense Attorney Near Me
Even for a first offense of DUI, you can have costly consequences. If proven guilty, you face expensive penalties that can adversely affect your job status, future financial aid, and travel advisories. No matter how bleak your case is, contact us at the Law Offices of Jeff Voll. Our Los Angeles DUI defense lawyers are experienced in California DUI laws and are ready to devise an excellent defense strategy for you. Please get in touch with us today at 323-467-6400.