Ventura DUI Lawyer
First Offense DUI Penalties in California
DUI is a common offense in California and the laws are getting stricter to try to stem the growing tide of impaired drivers. Unfortunately, harsh laws designed to prevent crimes are far from perfect and can significantly impact the people charged with these offenses. The prosecution will want to make an example out of whoever is charged by imposing the strictest penalties possible, but you have a right to fair proceedings.
First-time DUIs in California are generally charged as misdemeanors, the penalties for a first offense DUI may include:
- Up to $1000 in fines
- Additional penalty assessment fees
- Up to 6-months in jail
- 6-month license suspension
- 3 to 5-year probation
- Mandatory DUI school
The severity of your charges will depend on your defense strategy and the circumstances of your arrest. You could also face an additional automatic administrative license suspension if you refused a field sobriety test. Scott Bentley has represented many defendants facing these charges in his capacity as a DUI attorney in Ventura. He can help you understand the penalties you could be facing and what legal strategies can be used to defend you.
Common DUI Defense Strategies
There are many circumstances that can influence a DUI case. If your rights were violated during the time of arrest, such as not being read your Miranda Rights or being subjected to an illegal traffic stop, then it may be possible to have the charges dropped entirely.
Common DUI defense strategies include:
- Lack of Probable Cause: In order for law enforcement to lawfully arrest you for driving under the influence, they must first have probable cause to make the traffic stop. Probable cause can include things like speeding, swerving, failing to stop at a stop sign, etc. If the police lacked probable cause, then any subsequent evidence could be found to be inadmissible in court.
- Faulty BAC Test Results: A vital piece of evidence in any DUI case revolves around the driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC). A driver's BAC level is generally found during a breathalyzer test, however, these tests can have inaccurate or faulty results due to a lack of maintenance, improper calibration, or even valid explanations such as the recent use of mouthwash.
- Valid Explanation for Behavior: It is possible that there could be a perfectly valid and legal explanation for a driver's behavior or a failed field sobriety test. For example, if a person has a pre-existing medical condition or has had a lack of sleep recently, this could explain such behaviors as slow or slurred speech, irritated eyes, or a lack of balance.
If you have been accused of drunk driving, it is vital that you contact a Ventura DUI defense attorney as soon as possible to start building your defense.
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