DUI Lawyer

in Santa Ana, CA

DUI Defense Lawyers in Santa Ana, California

Each year, more than 100,000 people are arrested for drunk or drugged driving in California. In 2018 alone, the California Department of Motor Vehicles reports that 127,437 people were arrested for DUIs, and 4,919 of those arrests were for felony DUI offenses. While DUIs are very common types of charges, they still can result in harsh penalties if you are convicted. People who are convicted of DUIs might face potential incarceration, the loss of their licenses, substantial fines, and other penalties.

8 Steps of a DUI Case in California

If you are facing a DUI charge, it is important for you to seek help from an experienced DUI lawyer in Santa Ana at the Fontes Law Group as soon as possible. Our team of criminal defense lawyers has defended many people against DUI charges and other criminal offenses. We can help you understand the potential penalties you might face and the defenses that might be available in your case.

Abogado defensor de DUI – Riverside y Santa Ana

DUI Lawyer California

Understanding DUI Charges

The California DUI statute is found at Cal. Veh. Code § 23152. Under § 21352(a), it is illegal to drive a vehicle when you are under the influence of alcohol. It is also illegal under § 21352(b) to drive a vehicle if you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher.[1] \

Under subsection (a), you can be charged with a DUI even if the police do not obtain a breath or blood test if they believe that you are intoxicated. The police can also charge you with a DUI under subsection (a) when your BAC tests lower than 0.08% if they believe you are under the influence.

If your BAC tests at 0.08% or higher on a breath or blood test, you will be charged under both subsections. However, even if you are convicted under both subsections, it will only count as one DUI conviction.

Subsection (f) of the DUI statute criminalizes driving a vehicle while you are under the influence of any drug. This means that you could face DUI charges if your ability to drive a vehicle is impaired by illegal or legal drugs, including prescriptions or marijuana. Finally, it is also illegal to drive a vehicle while you are under the influence of a combination of alcohol and drugs under subsection (g).

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Meet DUI Lawyer
Victor Franco

What Prosecutors Must Prove

When you are stopped for a suspected DUI, the police officers will ask you to perform a series of standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs). These tests are meant to show whether you might be intoxicated. While the police might make it seem as if these roadside tests are mandatory, they are not. You have the right to refuse the SFSTs. However, the police will likely still take you into custody and ask you to submit to a blood test or a breathalyzer test. These tests are meant to measure the concentration of alcohol in your blood within two hours of when you last drove.

Prosecutors must prove DUI charges beyond a reasonable doubt by presenting evidence that you drove a vehicle while you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even if you refused a breath or blood test, a prosecutor can try to present evidence of intoxication and can use your refusal to test as evidence against you.[2]

Many DUI cases involve circumstantial evidence to demonstrate impairment such as police officer testimony. An officer might testify that your driving was erratic. Officers look for the following indicators of impairment when they approach your vehicle and talk to you:

  • Odor of alcohol
  • Sight of alcohol containers in your vehicle
  • Disheveled appearance
  • Bloodshot or watery eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Slowed, clumsy motor movements
  • Being unsteady on your feet when asked to exit your vehicle
  • Failing the SFSTs
  • Any admissions of drinking

Defending Against DUI Charges

If you have been arrested for a DUI, you might believe that you will be found guilty. However, it is possible to defend against a DUI charge even if your BAC was higher than 0.08%. A DUI lawyer at the Fontes Law Group can review the evidence and police report to identify potential defenses. Some of the possible defenses that might be available include the following:

  • The police officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle.
  • Your driving was not erratic.
  • The police officer did not have probable cause to arrest you.
  • The officer administered the SFSTs improperly.
  • The administrator of the breathalyzer was not properly certified or failed to follow proper procedures.
  • There was a problem in the chain of custody for your blood sample.
  • The analyst committed lab errors when testing your blood.

Your attorney will identify the best defenses to raise under the facts of your case and help you to understand your legal options.

DUI Penalties

The penalties you might face will depend on whether this is your first DUI or if you have had other convictions within the past 10 years. The penalties increase with each subsequent DUI, and the sentences handed down might also vary based on your county.

If it is your first DUI within the past 10 years, you will likely face a sentence to summary probation of three years and mandatory DUI school. If your BAC was under 0.15%, you will likely also be ordered to attend 30 hours of DUI classes. If your BAC was between 0.15% and 0.19%, you will likely be ordered to attend 60 hours of DUI classes. For a BAC of 0.20% or higher, the court will likely order you to attend 90 hours of DUI classes.

You will also lose your license for six months. However, you can install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for six months in lieu of the automatic license suspension. You will also face between 48 hours up to six months in jail and face fines ranging from $390 up to $1,000 plus other assessments and costs.

If it is your second DUI within 10 years, the potential penalties include the following:

  • Jail from 96 hours up to one year
  • Probation from three to five years
  • DUI education classes for 18 months to 30 months
  • Fines from $390 to $1,000
  • Two-year suspension of your license or ignition interlock device for one year

For a third DUI within 10 years, the penalties include the following:

  • Jail from four months to one year with a mandatory minimum of 30 days if probation is granted
  • Fines from $390 to $1,000
  • DUI education classes for 30 months

The penalties can be higher if certain aggravating factors are present, including having a minor younger than age 14 in your car, speeding while under the influence, or a BAC of 0.15% or higher.[3] Finally, a DUI conviction on your record might also prevent you from entering Canada while traveling.[4]

Depending on the circumstances of your case, a prosecutor might agree to extend a plea offer to a wet or dry reckless charge under Cal. Veh. Code 23103.5 or 23103.

If you are convicted of a fourth DUI within 10 years, you can be charged with a felony that carries up to three years in state prison.

For first DUIs, you will likely not face jail time and will instead be ordered to complete informal probation. However, if it is your second or subsequent offense, minimum mandatory jail sentences will apply. If you are ordered to complete probation and violate your conditions, your probation can be revoked. The revocation of probation will result in a jail sentence.

DUIs also carry collateral consequences. You can expect to pay higher insurance premiums and might lose your job. If you have a professional license, a DUI conviction might also result in a suspension or revocation of your license and the loss of your career.

Get Help From a DUI Defense Lawyer Santa Ana

Whether you were charged with a DUI in Santa Ana, retaining an attorney at the Fontes Law Group as soon as possible can place you in a better position as compared to trying to defend yourself. Our attorneys have years of experience defending people against DUIs and can help you understand your options. Call us today to request a consultation at 714-571-0738 to speak with a DUI defense lawyer Santa Ana or Riverside today

Legal References
[1] Cal. Veh. Code § 23152.
[2] People v. Randolph, 239 Cal. Rptr. 3d 395 (Cal. App. 5th Dist. 2018).
[3] Cal. Veh. Code §§ 23536, 23540 23646, and 23566.
[4] Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act 36.

Reasonable, Flat-Fees With Payment Plans Available

While processing these cases, Fontes Law Group, PC offers skilled legal services to clients across the United States and around the world.

We quote reasonable fees for our criminal law matters. They are accepted on a flat-fee basis, and payment plans are available. Our sophisticated, efficient, affordable, and client-centered services separate us from other firms as we help our clients achieve their goals.

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