Driving Under the Influence
More than 200,000 California drivers are arrested for Driving Under the Influence each year. A DUI conviction can have debilitating results, including loss of driving privileges, jail time, and massive fines. The penalties of a conviction increase dramatically for any defendant who has previously been convicted of DUI. Having an attorney who is experienced with dealing with DUI charges in California courts is necessary to fight the charges and avoid the penalties. The Law Office of William R. Burgener has over thirty years of experience representing clients in DUI cases, and is ready to represent you or your loved one.
Understanding the Charges
In California the laws regarding DUI vary depending on the driver. Under Vehicle Code § 23152 it is unlawful for a person under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol to operate a motor vehicle. For the average driver 21 years and older, the State of California considers any Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) .08 or higher to be a DUI. The law reduces this standard for commercial drivers to .04, and has a zero tolerance for drivers 20 years old and younger (any BAC is grounds for arrest for DUI). In California, refusing to submit to a Blood Alcohol Test is grounds for arrest for DUI.
There are two elements the Government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a DUI conviction:
The defendant was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs beyond the legal limit, AND
The defendant drove a motor vehicle.
Penalties of a Conviction
The penalties of a DUI conviction are severe, and increase when it is not the defendants’ first DUI conviction, when the BAC is extremely high, when the defendant has passengers in the car under the age of 14, or was driving excessively over the speed limit at the time of arrest.
- · First offense conviction penalties include:
- Fines up to $1000
- Driving privileges suspended for up to 4 months
- Up to six months in jail
- DUI education
- Community service
- Having a breathalyzer installed on vehicle
- Second offense conviction
- Fines up to $1000
- Driving privileges suspended for up to 1 year
- Up to one year in jail
- Up to five years probation
Defending the Charge
A DUI is NOT a traffic infraction, and a conviction means a criminal record and serious penalties for a defendant. However, with skill and expertise, an experienced attorney can deliver the best possible results for his client. The Law Office of William R. Burgener is ready to defend any clients charged with Driving Under the Influence using all possible defenses, including:
- Beat an element of the charge: In order to achieve a DUI conviction, the Government must prove that the defendant was driving a vehicle will impaired beyond the legal limit. The Government must present witnesses that confirm the defendant was in fact operating the vehicle. The Government must produce evidence that the defendant had a BAC over the legal limit at the time of the driving incident. These elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney can challenge the validity of the case by introducing evidence that disproves the claims of the Prosecutor, including identifying any of the errors that can lead to in inaccurate BAC reading (e.g., breathalyzer that is not correctly maintained or calibrated, mishandled evidence by law enforcement). Other factors that can lead to an inaccurate BAC reading include the use of mouthwash, acid reflux, and medical conditions including diabetes.
- Challenge the stop: Police officers have to have probable cause in order to stop and detain a driver, or the Fourth Amendment rights of the driver have been violated. In cases where evidence has been seized due to the violation of Constitutional Rights, the judicial system is required to disregard that evidence, and it will not be admissible against the defendant.
Free Case Evaluation
William R. Burgener, Esq.
San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney