After being arrested for drunk driving, individuals often find themselves feeling overwhelmed and defeated. Many believe that their own testimony will hold little weight against the account provided by the arresting officer. However, in reality, driving under the influence (DUI) cases are rarely as straightforward as they seem.
California has strict DUI laws in place, and penalties for DUI convictions can be severe. Fortunately, not all DUI charges turn into actual convictions. What typically separates a strong DUI defense from a weak defense is the San Diego DUI lawyer you choose to work with. If you have been charged with a DUI offense in San Diego, don’t gamble with your freedom – partner with an experienced Bernal Law DUI defense attorney today.
What You Should Know About DUI Laws in San Diego
The consequences of driving under the influence can be devastating, not just for the driver but also for their family members and any accident victims. Because of this, California’s DUI laws are tough and stringent.
Like many states, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in California is 0.08 percent. However, there is a zero-tolerance policy in place for individuals under the age of 21, who must abide by a BAC limit of 0.02 percent. California also levies enhanced penalties for drivers with a BAC above 0.16 percent.
Interpreting DUI laws, filing effective motions, and scrutinizing police procedures can all be difficult without the help of an experienced DUI lawyer in San Diego.
Potential Penalties for DUI Convictions in San Diego, California
Penalties for a DUI in San Diego can be severe, even for first-time offenders. Not only can a DUI conviction put your freedom in jeopardy, but it can also affect many other areas of your life, such as your employment opportunities and reputation.
A first-offense DUI that doesn’t involve bodily injury is punishable by:
- Up to $3,600 in fines, assessments, and fees
- Up to six months in jail
- Three to five years of probation
- Mandatory license suspension
- Completion of an alcohol education program
Furthermore, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for at least six months at your own expense.
A second offense DUI in San Diego could result in:
- Up to one year in jail
- Up to $4,000 in fines, penalties, and assessments
- Two-year license suspension
- Three to five years of probation
- DUI school
A second offense also requires a mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device for one year.
A third DUI offense can incur:
- Up to $18,000 in fines, fees, and assessments
- Up to one year in jail or 16 months in prison
- Three-year license suspension
- Up to five years of probation
- Installation of an ignition interlock device for two years
A third offense also can result in up to 30 months of DUI school.
How A San Diego Attorney Can Help If You Have Been Accused of Drinking and Driving
Although partnering with a DUI lawyer in San Diego is not required, representing yourself is not recommended. The prosecution is well-trained, has many resources, and is motivated to win a conviction. A Bernal Law DUI attorney in San Diego can potentially help to have charges reduced or dismissed, negotiate with the prosecution, and thoroughly scrutinize the strength of evidence against you.
While no reputable DUI attorney in San Diego can guarantee that your case will be dismissed or charges will be reduced, hiring a San Diego DUI lawyer can significantly increase your chances of getting a more favorable outcome. Many times, charges are brought about that lack sufficient evidence or where the defendant’s rights have been violated in order to obtain evidence.
When you choose Bernal Law for your DUI case in San Diego, you will have an experienced DUI attorney in San Diego on your side who will thoroughly dissect every aspect of your case and fight for your rights. At our firm, we help people accused of DUI by:
Providing Legal Knowledge
At Bernal Law, we possess a deep understanding of the complex DUI laws and regulations in San Diego. We can help you comprehend the charges you are facing, potential consequences, and available options.
Thoroughly Evaluating Your Case
We will thoroughly review the details of your case, including the circumstances of your arrest, the evidence against you, and any procedural errors that might have occurred. This detailed evaluation helps identify potential weaknesses and strengths in your case.
Utilizing Strong Defense Strategies
Bernal Law is well-versed in a range of defense strategies that could be applicable to your situation. We can challenge the validity of field sobriety tests, breathalyzer results, and the legality of the traffic stop itself. This proficiency is crucial in building a strong defense.
Guiding You Through The Legal Process
Navigating the legal system can be overwhelming, but we will guide you through every step of the process. From filling out paperwork to representing you in court, we confirm all legal procedures are followed correctly.
Negotiating For You
In some cases, we can negotiate with the prosecution to potentially reduce charges or penalties. We might be able to secure a plea bargain or explore alternative sentencing options such as rehabilitation programs.
Protecting Your Rights
Bernal Law is dedicated to safeguarding your rights throughout the legal process. We will make sure law enforcement and the prosecution adhere to proper procedures and respect your constitutional rights.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About DUIs in San Diego
Should I Take a Breathalyzer?
Under implied consent laws, you have already agreed to take a breathalyzer if the police suspect you of driving under the influence. In most circumstances, it is recommended that you take a breathalyzer. If you refuse, your license will be automatically suspended for one year. Furthermore, the police may still force a blood draw with a warrant.
What is “Implied Consent”?
Every person with a driver’s license in California has already given their consent to a breathalyzer. However, implied consent laws only apply to chemical blood tests. Field sobriety tests do not have to be taken. If requested to do so, it is within your rights to politely decline.
Can I Avoid a License Suspension?
If convicted of a DUI, no, you cannot avoid a license suspension. However, a DUI attorney in San Diego can significantly increase the likelihood of your charges being reduced or dismissed. They can also negotiate for lighter sentencing. License suspensions can last for six months up to three years, or even more in extraordinary situations.
How Can I Get My License Back?
Most DUI license suspensions require a “hard suspension” period that typically lasts for 30 days but can be as long as 90 days. During this time, you cannot apply for a restricted license. However, afterward, eligible cases can apply to have their license reinstated on a restricted basis. Those with a restricted license are typically limited to driving to school, work, medical appointments, and any other destinations deemed necessary.
Schedule Your Free, No-Obligation Consultation with a San Diego DUI Attorney
As a Former Deputy District Attorney, Pedro Bernal, Esq. has handled hundreds of criminal cases in California. For almost a decade, he learned the strategies used by prosecutors. Today, he brings that knowledge and experience to your side.
If you were arrested for DUI in San Diego, do not wait until the prosecution has had months to build a case against you. Contact Bernal Law today for your free, no-obligation consultation. Call (619) 736-9092 or reach out to us online to get started. DUI defense Attorney Bernal is also fluent in both English and Spanish.