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San Jose, CA DUI lawyer

It is illegal to drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs. In California, a blood-alcohol content of .08% is considered drunk driving. California’s drunk driving law is also a drugged driving law. If you are pulled over while driving in California, and an officer suspects you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the officer can legally require you to take a blood or urine test. The results of these tests can lead to a DUI arrest and possible conviction. 

If you face a DUI charge, it is critical to secure skilled legal representation from an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will fight for you.

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Palo Alto DUI defense lawyer IID breathalyzerIn the past, a DUI often meant a suspended license. While that is still a possibility, a new law which went into effect on January 1, 2019 allows some California residents to keep their license after a drunk driving conviction, on the condition that they have a breathalyzer installed in their car. If this type of breathalyzer, known as an ignition interlock device or IID, is implemented, then the driver must blow into it before they start their car. If alcohol is detected, the car will not start. 

The driver will also have to blow into the device at random times while they are driving to check for alcohol. If there is alcohol on the driver’s breath, some breathalyzers will transmit a signal to the car, causing the horn to honk and the lights to flash, so that the driver has to pull over. The breathalyzer is also monitored, and any violations are reported to the proper authorities. 

The idea behind this is that more drivers will be stopped from drunk driving, since those whose licenses are suspended or revoked without the use of a breathalyzer often continue to drink and drive anyway. 

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Posted on in DUI

San Jose DUI lawyer defense strategiesIn the age of technology and connectivity that we live in, the potential for drunk driving has been reduced. While getting to your destination after consuming alcohol may have previously required planning and a lot of hassle, it can now be completed with a simple order of an Uber on your cell phone. Because of this, many law enforcement officials do not take DUI charges lightly and will punish offenders to the full extent of the law. In California, even a first DUI conviction can carry possible jail time, large fines, and a driver's license suspension. A solid defense strategy can be key to getting a fair outcome in your DUI case. 

Elements of a DUI Case

Before you can begin building a solid defense, you must first understand a few things about your DUI case. When you are charged with DUI, the prosecutor has the burden of proof, meaning he or she must prove that you were in fact driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances. Knowing that the prosecutor must prove that you were impaired at the time you were driving, you and your attorney can construct a solid defense.

DUI Defense Strategies

Though there are many ways you can defense against a DUI charge, you and your lawyer should talk about your specific case and come up with a plan that is best suited for you. Here are a few strategies that may be of benefit if you are charged with a DUI:

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California DUI defense lawyerIt is never safe to drive after you have consumed any amount of alcohol, which is why all 50 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have passed laws making it illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of more than .08. While there is a limit to how much alcohol can be in your system before it becomes illegal to drive, many states have also made it possible for you to be charged with a DUI, even if your BAC is less than .08. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that, in 2016 alone, there were 2,017 people killed in alcohol-related crashes involving drivers with BAC’s that were between .01 to .07.

BAC and the Effects on Your Abilities

.02: After your first drink, your BAC will likely be around.02. You will probably begin feeling slightly warm, relaxed, and in a good mood. Your judgment will be slightly impaired, and your ability to track moving targets and multitask will be affected.

.05: The effects of the previous level will still be apparent, but more exaggerated. Your sense of alertness may be lowered, and you may experience difficulty focusing your eyes, and even more lapse in judgment abilities. Your ability to drive will also be affected by reduced coordination, difficulty steering, and a reduced response to emergency situations.

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California DUI defense lawyerDriving under the influence is dangerous, and it can be deadly if the right conditions are present; that is why California takes DUI charges so seriously. If you are convicted of a DUI charge in California, you will be required to attend a DUI program as a part of your sentencing. These programs are designed to reduce the number of repeat DUI offenders and give people the opportunity to get help for drug or alcohol problems.

If you are ordered to attend a DUI program, it must meet state requirements and be licensed by the state of California. Currently, there are around 500 licensed state programs that you can choose from, with costs ranging from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars, depending on which type of program you are required to complete. It is important to note that licensed programs are only conducted in person - no online programs will qualify.

Wet Reckless Programs

If you are convicted of a “wet reckless” you were convicted of reckless driving and law officials were able to detect an amount of alcohol in your system. If this was your first wet reckless offense, you will be ordered to attend a 12-hour DUI program, which takes place across six weeks.

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San Francisco DUI defense lawyerThough the United States is one country, there are 50 states that make up the country - and each can make their own laws. Because of this, many DUI laws differ from state to state, and that can cause confusion over what kinds of penalties will be given for a DUI conviction. Whether you are a new resident to California, a new driver on the road, or just are not clear on what the laws are surrounding DUI license suspensions in California, everyone can use a refresher on current laws and punishments for driving under the influence.

Can I Still Drive While DUI Charges Are Pending?

Yes, but only if you request a DMV hearing within 10 days after your arrest. If you do so, you will be able to retain your driving privileges until your case has been resolved.

In California, the state has put into place what is called an “admin per se” license suspension, which is carried out by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and is an action that is independent of any criminal DUI charges you may be facing in court. If you were pulled over for a DUI and the officer asked you to complete a chemical test, you face an admin per se license suspension if:

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Santa Clara County DUI defense lawyer, DUI, DUI stories, DUI statistics, DUI chargesDUI is a serious subject. Driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any other mind-altering substance is extremely dangerous and can even be deadly. Though DUI should not be taken lightly, there are stories you may hear about and will make you think, “Wait ... what?” Many people think you can only be arrested for DUI if you are driving a car; however, as some of these stories will tell, that is not always the case.

Here are some of the strangest DUI tales that have taken place around the world:

  • A Kentucky man was arrested for having a blood alcohol level of over twice the legal limit, which is .08. This would not be as strange of a tale, except police say he was riding a horse when they found him in possession of marijuana, a couple of beers, and a mason jar full of moonshine.

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Boating Under the Influence Charges in California

San Jose boating under the influence attorneyWith California’s year-round mild weather, it is no surprise that nearly four million people enjoy recreational boating in the state each year. Unfortunately, dangerous boating accidents can occur, and nearly 25 percent of all motorboat-related fatalities involve alcohol in some way. California has laws governing alcohol use and consumption while you are aboard boats, much like the laws governing motor vehicles. Charges of boating under the influence (BUI) are similar to DUI charges, and an arrest can affect your driver’s license privileges, which is why it is important to respond to BUI charges as soon as possible.

Harbors & Navigation Code 655

California law states that no person shall operate a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This means that not only are you prohibited from using motor boats while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, but you are also prohibited from using:

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DUI conviction, DUI charges, first-offense DUI, Santa Clara County DUI defense attorney, DUI penaltiesCalifornia has relatively strict punishments for those caught driving under the influence (DUI). In the state of California, anyone who is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will automatically have his or her license suspended, a process called admin per se suspension, which is conducted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In addition to automatic license suspension, California poses serious penalties on those who are convicted of DUI. The penalties get more strict with the increasing number of convictions. If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important for you to understand the penalties that a DUI charge carries.

Basic Penalties

In the state of California, all DUI convictions carry certain base penalties. These base penalties include:

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Posted on in DUI

San Jose DUI defense attorneys, DUI charges, DUI, California drunk driving laws, DUI chargesWhen most people think of going on vacation in the spring they imagine getting away from the grind of work or exams and enjoying time with friends or simply relaxing. However, what starts off as a fun vacation may quickly turn into a nightmare if you are pulled over for driving under the influence.

The Risks of Binge Drinking and Driving

Eighty percent of drunk driving incidents in the United States are related to binge drinking, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. When a person is under the influence of alcohol, and especially if he or she has been binge drinking, the person may experience negative effects such as decreased concentration, blurred vision, and a reduced coordination and reaction time, which can cause accidents.

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San Jose prescription drugs DUI attorney, DUI charges, drunk driving, prescription drug DUI, impaired drivingWhile most people are aware of the dangers of drunk driving, they may not realize that charges of driving under the influence (DUI) can result from the use of prescription drugs. This issue has grown in prevalence in recent years, with California’s Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reporting that 38 percent of the drivers who died in car accidents in 2014 tested positive for legal or illegal drugs. As a result, police officers are becoming more vigilant toward possible impairment, and drivers should be aware of their rights when facing potential DUI charges related to prescription drugs.

Prescription Drug DUI

Studies performed by the National Institute of Health have shown that the use of drugs that can potentially lead to impaired driving has increased in the past 15 years throughout the United States. These drugs include both over-the-counter and prescription medications such as anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs, muscle relaxants, sleep aids, stimulants, and allergy medications.

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DUI arrest, San Jose marijuana DUI attorney, DUI charges, legal marijuana, recreational marijuana As of the beginning of 2018, the sale and use of marijuana for recreational purposes is legal in the state of California. While many people are celebrating this change in the law and the freedoms it provides, they should be aware that marijuana is now treated much the same as alcohol, and driving while intoxicated by the drug can lead to a DUI arrest.

California’s Marijuana DUI Laws

California law states that it is unlawful to drive a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is also illegal to have an open container of alcohol or marijuana in a vehicle while driving.

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What Should You Do if You are Pulled Over for Driving Under the Influence?

What to do if you are pulled over for DUIBeing stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence can be a frightening experience, because the penalties for DUI in California are severe. However, if you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, the last thing you should do is panic. Instead, you should remember your rights and take certain actions that can later help you in court if you are arrested.

After you are stopped by law enforcement on suspicion of driving under the influence, there are a few steps you should take to ensure that the DUI charges against you have a weak basis in court:

  1. Remember that you are not free to leave. While you are not in custody, you are considered detained when stopped by the police. Therefore, you are not free to leave even if you have not been arrested yet.
  2. Decline to answer questions. You are permitted to refuse to answer any incriminating questions. Keep in mind, however, that you must provide the police with your vehicle registration, driver’s license, and auto insurance.
  3. Refuse participation in field sobriety tests. You can refuse to participate in any field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are physical tests that may require you to stand on one foot or walk in a straight line. These tests do not accurately determine whether the participant is intoxicated. In addition, if a suspected person is nervous or is confused by the officer’s questions, he or she may perform poorly on the test, which may result in the officer deeming the suspected person intoxicated.
  4. Do not refuse a chemical test. Although you may refuse to take a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test, you cannot refuse required chemical tests that determine your blood-alcohol content (BAC). If you do refuse to take a chemical test, you may be fined, imprisoned if convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, and your driving privileges will be suspended for up to one year if it is your first offense. 
  5. You can choose which type of test to take. If you do agree to submit to a chemical test, you will be given the choice of either a breath or blood test. A breath test can be easily challenged in court; however, a breath sample cannot be retested, while a blood test can. You may be required to submit to a blood test if the police officer has reasonable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence of a drug or both a drug and alcohol.

Contact Our San Jose Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are being charged with DUI, contact the San Jose DUI lawyers at the Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson. There are many possible defenses to a drunk driving test refusal or DUI charge. An experienced attorney can challenge the chemical tests used to determine whether a driver is under the influence. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 408-246-3004.

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