Yearly Archives - 2012

California DUI Expungement

A DUI conviction can lead to a criminal record you can ill-afford to have. It can lead to you losing the opportunities for jobs, as well as professional license and permits you may need or desire one day. It can change the entire course of your life due to one fateful decision you know you should not have made. However, a conviction does not have to be a permanent mark on your life. You can hire a San Diego DUI attorney to help expunge your conviction from your record, which makes it seem as if it never even existed.

Of course, there are requirement and qualifications that can make you eligible or not eligible for California expungement. Your DUI attorney in San Diego will go over your file with you to make sure you qualify before filing for one for you on your behalf. In order to receive a DUI expungement in California, your penalty for your DUI conviction may not have included jail time, although any incarceration you endured before your conviction does not count towards this. Also, you cannot have any pending criminal charges or court cases of any sort and you must have lawfully and successfully completed any probationary period that resulted from your conviction.

Filing to expunge DUI California can have a host of benefits you never have thought about. When you apply for a job, you can legitimately say that you do not have a criminal record. If a potential employer still chooses to do a criminal background check, the employer will not find anything because your record is now clean. Any licenses or permits you previously had may be reinstated and any license or permit you apply for in the future will not be hindered because you now no longer have a criminal record. However, your San Diego DUI lawyer will explain that a expungement California must be disclosed in the following cases: If you are applying to run for public office, have a legal dealing with the California state lottery or are applying for a state of government license. That does not mean you once again have a criminal record in these cases. It just means you are legally obligated to tell someone that you had a conviction that was expunged from the record.

It may take approximately six weeks from the time you file for a California expungement until it is completed and when it is completed, you will receive a court notice telling you so. California makes the application process relatively simple, but it is still something you should not handle on your own. If you think you qualify for an expungement California, call a DUI lawyer in San Diego today to get the ball rolling.


A DUI When Under 21 Years Old

If you are under 21 years of age in the state of California, you are subject to what is called a zero tolerance law if found to be driving drunk. In California, the legal limit for Blood Alcohol Concentration administered via a preliminary screening like a breathalyzer test is below .01%. If you are between the ages of 18 and 21, there are more requirements of you when pulled over for a DUI and there can also be more consequences and need for an experienced and knowledgeable San Diego DUI attorney.

If you are under 21 and your BAC was between .01% and .05%, you can still be tried as a minor with a civil offense, which may result in less harsh penalties. If your BAC was more than .05%, then you can be charged with a criminal offense and tried as an adult. A San Diego DUI lawyer will explain to you that at any age, a criminal record can alter your life forever.

When you are a minor, it can be even more devastating as your entire life is ahead of you and you do not want to see one fateful mistake change the course of it. Unlike an adult, a minor has no choice but to agree to chemical testing at the scene, when an adult does not have submit to chemical testing unless he or she is brought into police custody. If a minor refuses a chemical test, then his license will be taken away immediately for one year on top of any suspensions sentenced if convicted. He or she may also be subject to a blood test while restrained if that is refused as well. California is even harsh on minors for drinking if they weren’t driving.

A minor between the ages of 13 and 20 found with a BAC to be over the limit may have their driving privileges delayed for a year if they are not yet licensed. When looking for a DUI attorney in San Diego to defend your case, try to find one who has experience defending minors.

Drinking and driving at any age is no laughing matter. Drinking and driving (or drinking at all) when you are a minor is all the more serious. While you should never get behind the wheel of a car after drinking, we are all human and all humans make mistakes. With your entire life ahead of you to live, call a DUI lawyer in San Diego today to help make sure the entire course of it is not altered.


Typical DUI Procedures in California

When you are facing a DUI charge in California or any state, it can be a frightening experience, especially if you are a first-time offender. Although a DUI is a misdemeanor, it is still a criminal misdemeanor and can end up on your permanent record and affect the rest of your life. If you want the best possible outcome, you cannot defend yourself on your own and will want to hire and a knowledgeable and experienced DUI lawyer in San Diego.

Driving under the influence is usually thought of to mean drunk driving or driving after consuming alcohol. However, this charge can also include any type of drug that can alter your mental capacity, whether illegal or legal. However, just because you may have taken a medication or had a glass of wine does not mean you are not fit to drive. If you are under the influence of drugs, you cannot have your blood tested at the scene and will most likely have to perform field sobriety tests if there is a question about your driving ability and mental state. If you are driving after drinking, you will still most likely be asked to take the field sobriety tests, but you may also be asked to take a breathalyzer test which can measure your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). However, even the accuracy of breathalyzer tests have been called into question in recent years. This is why you also might be asked to take a blood test if the breathalyzer found your BAC to be .08% or higher if you are over the age of 21. If you are under the age of 21, your BAC needs to be lower than .01% in California under the zero tolerance law. Your San Diego DUI attorney investigates everything that happened at the scene when he prepares your defense.

Your license will also be confiscated at the scene and you have 10 days to request a hearing with the DMV to get it back. Make sure your San Diego DUI lawyer is there for that hearing and if possible, have him request it for you for the best possible outcome. When you do have your day in court, you know a conviction can change everything. You may be forced to pay fines you can’t afford and face the possibility of jail time or probation. Your entire life can change from one fateful incident you already regret. Make sure you do not need to regret it more than you have to and call a DUI attorney in San Diego today.


Facing Multiple DUI Offenses in San Diego

If this is not your first time being charged with a DUI in California, you can be up against a much more difficult journey and harsher penalties than you might imagine. A first time offender can indeed face fines, a license suspension and jail time, but the severity of these sentences increases each time you face this charge. If convicted, the sentence can have devastating and far-reaching effects both on your here and now, as well as your entire future. A good San Diego DUI attorney will be up front and honest with you about the road you have ahead and educate you on what can happen if convicted of a DUI two or more times.

A second DUI conviction can often times double the costs of a first offense. You can lose your license for up to two years this time and your car may even be impounded. This is something you can not afford if you use your car to get to and from work or even use it as part of your job. On a second DUI offense, you may also spend anywhere from 90 days to one year in jail. If put on probation, the sentence can be lessened, but you may also be required to complete an alcohol treatment program to get your life back on the right track. You want the best defense possible from your San Diego DUI lawyer to avoid such a conviction. If you are facing a DUI 2nd offense you will almost always benefit from having an experienced lawyer.

You could be legally labeled as a “habitual traffic offender” if it is your third DUI offense and lose your license for up to three long years. Like with a second time offense, you may not even have your license reinstated without attending an alcohol treatment program. You do not want to play around with conviction like this and with such a label as a driver. Driving with a suspended license with such a label can make anything you experienced with a DUI charge in the past look like a piece of cake. An experienced and knowledgeable DUI lawyer in San Diego can help you avoid a conviction so your life does not take this unwanted turn.

You have already experienced one DUI charge in your life and have felt the effects it can have. With a conviction, you now have a criminal record. Seeking employment can become much more difficult, you may not even be able to get to or perform the job you already have. Your insurance premiums may go through the roof and the toll this can take on your mental and physical well-being, as well as the well-being of your family can be life changing.

You know not to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, but everyone in life makes mistakes. Do not let this mistake destroy you more than once and call a DUI attorney in San Diego today to discuss your case and prepare a defense.


San Diego Police Checkpoints for DUI

DUI checkpoints are used regularly throughout the country to pull over suspected drunk drivers or drivers under the influence of mind-altering drugs, prescription of otherwise. Whether these checkpoints are used correctly and how the officer conducted his or herself at these checkpoints is of concern to a San Diego DUI lawyer and can be used in a defense during a DUI case. If you were pulled over at a San Diego DUI checkpoint, your attorney will go over everything that happened at that checkpoint to see that you were not deprived of any rights.

Any procedure that happens at a DUI checkpoint San Diego needs to be done in a constitutional manner. In 1990, the case of Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz came before the Supreme Court, and the court ruled that there was nothing unconstitutional about roadblocks and checkpoints to crack down on people driving under the influence. What were called into question were our fourth amendment rights that protect us against unreasonable searches and seizures and the court did not find that DUI checkpoints violate these rights. But, the court also left the guidelines for these San Diego DUI checkpoints more up to the states, often to be handled on a case by case basis. Therefore, in a DUI case there is often a lot left up to interpretation when checkpoints are involved and a good DUI lawyer in San Diego can use this to his or her advantage.

Your San Diego DUI attorney will also want to know what led to being stopped that night and everything that took place between you and the officer. He will also call into question how field sobriety tests were performed to see if the results were actually accurate and that any other testing like breathalyzer or blood tests for Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) were even warranted. If there was a wrong move performed on the part of the arresting officer then it can lead to your case being dismissed, or at least your charges being lessened and more of a chance for lighter penalties.

If convicted of a DUI, you could face steep fines, a license suspension and even jail time. Whether this is your first offense or not, this is no laughing matter and can have a profound effect on the rest of your life. Who you choose as your DUI attorney in San Diego can often make or break your case, so choose wisely and go with both know how and experience when making your choice.


Common Penalties for a DUI in San Diego

The consequences for being convicted of driving under the influence in California can have devastating effects on your present, as well as the rest of your life. The penalties can include jail time, steep fines and a license suspension. Whether you are a first-time offender or not, this is a serious charge and it needs a serious defense. A good San Diego DUI lawyer can help prepare that defense and also educate you on what DUI penalties you are up against.

Even if you are a first-time offender, you may be required to pay thousands of dollars in DUI fines once mandatory fees are added. Your drivers’ license may also be suspended for up to six months and to get it back, you’d need to attend an administrative hearing with the DMV and possibly be required to attend California-approved DUI education courses. Losing your license can affect more than just your social life. It can affect your livelihood if you need to drive it to and from work and possibly need to use it to perform your job and is something you can ill-afford to lose. You also face the possibility of spending time in jail. For a first-time offender, jail time can be as little as four days, but as much as six months. Either way, jail time is something you want to avoid and an experienced DUI lawyer in San Diego can help ensure that you either receive a minimum jail sentence, just probation or neither.

There are also circumstances in California known as ‘enhancements’ and they can make the penalty for DUI even more severe, even if it is your first conviction. Having a minor under the age of 14 can lead to harsher punishment if convicted, as can speeding at more than 20 MPH above the limit on the streets and more than 30 MPH above the limit on the highway. If you have faced DUI charges before in the last decade or have had two or more prior convictions, that can also lead to much harsher penalties and makes your need for a San Diego DUI lawyer more pressing than ever. These DUI penalties may include more time in jail, more fines and a longer license suspension.

Your life can change from one fateful night when you may have done something you shouldn’t have. But, you do not have to let it destroy everything. If you face a DUI charge for the first time or even third, make an appointment with a DUI lawyer in San Diego today.


The State of Your Drivers License After a DUI

One of the main things at stake when you are arrested for driving under the influence is your drivers’ license. And losing your license is no laughing matter. You may use it to get to and from work and may even use it as part of your actual job. If you lose it, there is a possibility of also losing your livelihood, and this can be on top of having to pay court costs, lawyer fees and possibly fines if convicted. Having a good San Diego DUI attorney by your side to defend your case and help you avoid a long license suspension is something you can’t take for granted.

Your license will be confiscated by the officer at the scene if you are charged with a DUI and you have 10 days to then request a license suspension hearing with the California DMV to determine the state of your license. If you request on your own, you may be asked to submit to a phone hearing. However, if you use a DUI attorney in San Diego to request this hearing for you, there is a better chance you will end up with a hearing that is not over the phone, which can have a much better outcome. Having your lawyer with you at the hearing leaves you with a higher chance of getting your license back.

If your license is suspended and this is a first-time DUI offense, you are looking at the possibility of several things:

  • a six-month maximum suspension
  • attendance at DUI education course for three months that have been approved by the state of California
  • an even longer suspension if there was a minor in the car with you at the time of arrest who was under the age of 14
  • also, a longer suspension if you were speeding at more than 20 MPH on the streets or 30 MPH on the highway.

Losing a license for that long can be devastating and also cause your insurance premiums to skyrocket. A good defense by an experienced San Diego DUI lawyer can help you lose your license for as short a period as possible.

Losing your license can stay on your record in California for up to 10 years. This can have devastating effects on your life, as can a DUI conviction in general. If you are facing such charges, call a DUI lawyer in San Diego today for an excellent defense.


Testing Your Sobriety at the Scene

When you are pulled over as a DUI suspect, chances are you will be asked to perform a series of what are called field sobriety tests to determine if you are capable of being behind the wheel. These tests must be administered in a specific way in accordance with the law and can often lead you to being asked to take a breathalyzer test to determine your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). Whether these tests were performed correctly and whether they were accurate is something a good San Diego DUI lawyer may concentrate on in court when defending your case.

There are several different types of field sobriety tests that can be given. One may be administered, or they can be done in combination with others to prove sobriety. One of the most common methods is being asked to walk in a straight line and then turn. This is considered one of the more accurate means of testing, as is being asked to follow a pencil that the officer is holding with just your eyes as he looks for an involuntary eyeball twitch. Some of the tests that experts have said are possibly inaccurate include reciting the alphabet and touching your nose with your finger. There is no way to prove completely with any of these tests that you are behind the wheel of a vehicle when you shouldn’t be, but failing them is enough to arouse suspicion and lead to other sobriety tests. These include breathalyzer tests, as well as actual blood tests. These can detect the BAC levels, which need to be below .08% to be considered under the legal limit. Of course, a breathalyzer test cannot detect if you are under the influence of either prescription of illegal drugs.  Your DUI attorney in San Diego may explain to you how these tests work when preparing your case so you know what you are up against.

Field sobriety tests may also lead to you being asked to take a breath test with a Preliminary Alcohol Screener. This is a handheld device, but taking a PAS test is not required by law unless you are under the age of 21 in California.  If you took one without knowing you had the legal right to refuse, then a San Diego DUI lawyer can use that fact in court. Remember, even if this is your first DUI offense, it is still a serious charge. Whether you were arrested for a valid reason can also become a valid defense and you will need a good DUI lawyer in San Diego to present that defense for you.



The Accuracy of Chemical Testing

While breathalyzer tests are the most means used to measure a person’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) when they have been pulled over for allegedly driving under the influence, their accuracy has been called into question in recent years. Many San Diego DUI attorneys choose to use this fact as a defense, as well as how the test was administered, when presenting your case in court.

Even if the test was administered correctly, there are several factors that can lead to a false result on a BAC breathalyzer test. Because of this many experts do not feel a breathalyzer test should be used on its own to prove intoxication. The legal BAC is under .08%. Anything over that is considered beyond the legal limit. However, there is some indication that a person’s individual physiology can play a role in what their BAC is on a test and it does not necessarily reflect how intoxicated they actually are. Also, females tend to metabolize alcohol differently than males and there can be inaccuracy in results do to that as well. A DUI attorney in San Diego may present these theories to a judge or jury.

Actual blood tests may also not be entirely accurate in pinpointing sobriety and intoxication. Just because there is a certain concentration of alcohol in the blood, it does not mean that is affecting a person’s brain and therefore their mental capacity to operate a motor vehicle. There is really no way to tell for sure how much alcohol has gone to brain when someone is driving, so field sobriety tests should also be conducted and conducted correctly.

However, there is also some question as to whether all field sobriety tests are accurate intoxication measures. The two most accurate ones are said to be standing and turning and also following an officer’s pencil with your eyes. And, of course, if you are taking prescription drugs that may affect your driving, breathalyzer tests are useless because they can only measure alcohol concentration levels and not other impairing chemicals.

There are many ways a San Diego DUI lawyer can defend your case in court to either get the charges dropped entirely or to help make sure you do not receive a maximum sentence and can avoid jail time. If you are facing these serious charges, call a DUI lawyer in San Diego today and make an appointment to discuss how to proceed with your case.



Determining the Right DUI Lawyer for You

Choosing which San Diego DUI attorney represents you when you are charged with driving under the influence can make or break your defense and is not an easy decision to make. The course of your life can be at stake in a criminal case like this, even if it is your first offense. You can face jail time, heavy fines and even lose your license for a specified amount of time. You want to make sure you have the best defense possible when you face your day in court.

In California, it is imperative to contact a DUI attorney almost immediately after your arrest. Your license will be confiscated at the scene and you will be required to request a hearing with the DMV regarding the state of your license within 10 days. You can request on your own, but a DUI attorney in San Diego can help ensure you get an in-person hearing rather than a phone hearing and will be able to attend the hearing with you to help fight for your license on your behalf.  Of course, you may wonder where you should start in your search for the right lawyer.

It may be tempting to just open the Yellow Pages and pick the first ad you see, but then you can end up with subpar representation. You can use the phone book as one resource, but utilize the Internet as well. The California bar association can also supply you with a list of San Diego DUI lawyers, as well as our lawyers credentials. And your final resource can be recommendations. It may be hard to talk about this type of charge, but there is always a chance someone you know has been through the same thing and can help. Once you have a list of about four or five names, call them and briefly discuss the details of your case. You can often get a feel for an attorney from one phone call, but it is best to meet one or two in person before making a decision. Once you have a meeting, ask questions. Find out his or her success rate and also beware if they make promises that are too good to be true. Up front honesty is what you are looking for. You want a lawyer who will present a good defense, but also let you know what you are up against. If you are facing these serious criminal charges, call a DUI lawyer San Diego today.