Defending California Residents Against DUI Charges
Although most people generally understand the dangers of drunk driving, driving under the influence (DUI) is a situation in which many people have unfortunately found themselves. Most people never plan on drinking and driving. Furthermore, getting a DUI is not an experience exclusively reserved for those suffering from alcoholism.
Unfortunately, one of the characteristic effects of alcohol intoxication is impaired judgment. Once someone drinks enough to get a slight “buzz,” they cannot be expected to accurately gauge when they’ve had enough.
On one hand, a DUI case may involve an uncharacteristic lapse in judgment. On the other hand, a person may be a repeat DUI offender—probably indicating an underlying affliction that adversely impacts their lives.
At The Law Office of H. Charles Gorian, we understand the nature of DUI cases. Led by experienced Riverside County DUI attorney Chuck Gorian, our team in Riverside County is committed to providing you with judgment-free legal representation to ensure your due process rights are not infringed upon.
Contact us online or call now at (951) 395-0511 to consult a Riverside County DUI lawyer. Our office is located in Murrieta and serves Temecula, Murrieta, and all of the surrounding Riverside County regions, as well as San Bernardino, Orange, and San Diego County.
Penalties for DUI in Riverside County, CA
Although many DUI cases may stem from an unintended lapse in judgment, drunk driving poses a significant risk to public safety. This fact is reflected in the penalties associated with a DUI conviction. The legal ramifications of a DUI conviction can vary, depending on the specifics of a particular case. However, a person may not deserve to have their life upended because of an uncharacteristic mistake in judgment.
In Riverside County, a person charged with a DUI may face the following consequences:
- License Suspension: A person who has been arrested for a DUI may have their driver’s licenses suspended by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) from anywhere to a few months to several years. You have the right to an administrative hearing with the DMV within 10 days of receiving a suspension order. We can help you prepare and represent you during such proceedings.
- Criminal fines: In California, a person who has been successfully convicted of a DUI may face up to $1,000 in fines.
- Jail time: Depending on certain circumstances—such as first or subsequent offenses—a person convicted of a DUI may be sentenced to 180 days to 5 years in a California state prison.
- Felony DUI: Generally, a DUI is considered a misdemeanor under California law. However, if a person kills or seriously injures another person as a result of committing a DUI, they may face felony charges. As a result, a person can face thousands of dollars in fines as well as a prison sentence between 16 months and 16 years.
First DUI in Riverside County
Should you get a lawyer for a first DUI? Yes, even if it’s only our first DUI, you are still likely facing misdemeanor DUI charges.
The penalties for a first DUI in California include possible jail time, up to 5 years of probation, up to $1,000 in fines, DUI school, license suspension for 6 months, and an ignition interlock device. Hiring a DUI lawyer in Riverside County can help you reduce your first DUI charges or even get them dismissed altogether
Second DUI in Riverside County
For a second DUI conviction in 10 years, you could face no less than 96 hours in jail, up to 30 months of DUI school, fines of up to $2,000, license suspension for 1 year, and an ignition interlock device.
Felony DUI in Riverside County
In California, a third or subsequent DUI charge within 10 years is a felony DUI. This means that the penalties will increase significantly and you could permanently lose your license.
Felony DUI in California can result in up to 3 years in state prison, a fine of up to $1,000, an ignition interlock device for at least 1 year, and designation as an “habitual traffic offender” (HTO) by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In some cases, you may lose your license altogether.
You Need Effective DUI Defense Strategies
Make no mistake—drunk driving is a serious public safety risk. That is why the law imposes strict penalties for DUI offenses. However, the police and district attorneys sometimes miss the forest from the trees in prosecuting DUI cases.
For example, law enforcement sometimes arrests people they find sleeping in their parked cars after a night of drinking. While the circumstances strongly suggest that the elements of a DUI case may have been met, the defendants in those cases exercised a remarkable level of caution by deciding to sleep it off instead of attempting to drive home. As many judges have noted—it would be unjust to punish someone for making that decision.
Although DUI enforcement is important, the methods of investigating and enforcing the law are often dubious, particularly in the following issues:
- Field sobriety tests: Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are used by an officer to gauge the extent of a suspect’s intoxication. The results of such tests may be the basis for an arrest. Importantly, a person is not required to submit to FSTs. However, the legal background regarding such tests is very complicated.
- Blood alcohol content tests: Under California law, a person may be guilty of a DUI if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeded the legal limit of 0.08%. Law enforcement officers use breathalyzer tests and blood tests to determine one’s BAC. The proper implementation of such tests and the interpretation of their results may be a central issue in DUI cases.
- Consent: California has what is known as an “implied consent” law. This means that anyone who drivers on California’s roads and highways has impliedly consented to have their BAC tested when arrested for a DUI. A person’s refusal to submit to a test may be used as evidence of their guilt. However, law enforcement officers are required to clearly explain the extent of your rights when it comes to refusing such tests at certain stages of a DUI stop.
- Constitutional rights: A person’s Fourth Amendment and Fifth Amendment rights must be respected during the investigation of a DUI, including a person’s right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the right to remain silent. The violation of these rights may be grounds to dismiss evidence obtained as a result of such violations.
Call Today to Consult Our DUI Lawyer in Riverside County, CA
While the severity of a DUI conviction may be designed to teach offenders a memorable lesson about drunk driving, reasonable people don’t deserve the hardship and stigma that comes along with DUI charges. At The Law Office of H. Charles Gorian, we will help defend you against unjust procedures and actions during your criminal proceedings, to make sure justice prevails.
Guided by our skilled Riverside County DUI lawyer Chuck Gorian, we provide personalized legal services by familiarizing ourselves with the specifics of your case. From there, we can tell the court a compelling story based on human compassion to appeal to their sense of fairness and equity.
Schedule an initial consultation to discuss your legal options! Call The Law Office of H. Charles Gorian at (951) 395-0511 today.