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San Jose criminal defense lawyerDriving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is illegal. California has some of the strictest DUI penalties in the United States. A first DUI offense can result in fines ranging from $390 to $1,000 along with driver’s license suspension. Offenders can spend days to months in jail, and they may also be ordered to do community service or attend a treatment program or DUI school. It is imperative to understand your rights if you are pulled over for drunk driving in the state of California. In addition, seeking assistance from a qualified and competent lawyer can increase your chances of possibly having the charges reduced or dropped altogether.

Steps to Take During a DUI Traffic Stop

Being pulled over by law enforcement can be scary, and although the initial reaction might be to panic, it is important that an individual remains calm throughout the traffic stop. Not complying with an officer’s order to exit the vehicle could result in a charge of resisting arrest. Another thing to note is that a person stopped for DUI can invoke his or her right to remain silent even if the police officer does not mention Miranda rights. 

It is also crucial to know the laws regarding drunk driving. Under California law, if someone is over 21, he or she does not need to submit to a field sobriety test during a DUI stop. California has an implied consent law, which means possessing a driver’s license indicates a driver has given his or her consent to submit to a chemical test in case the individual is arrested for driving under the influence. However, the motorist has the option of taking a breath or a blood test. Blood tests are typically more accurate than breath tests are. 

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San Jose DUI defense lawyerDriving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is illegal in all 50 states. In California, a driver can face charges for a DUI when he or she operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if he or she has a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 or higher. In addition, motorists who are minors can be charged with impaired driving with 0.01 or higher BAC levels.

Evidence collection in a DUI stop can begin even before a driver is pulled over. A police officer must have a valid reason for the stop, such as a traffic violation, which can include speeding or an illegal maneuver. The evidence collected and used in a DUI case can vary but usually involves observational, testimonial, and forensic evidence.

Observational, Testimonial, and Forensic Evidence

Not all evidence will hold up in a court of law. Mistakes can and do happen during the process, from the time of the initial stop and arrest all the way through to the court proceedings. Therefore, it is best to understand how evidence gathered at your DUI might not be admissible in court, such as for the following reasons: 

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San Francisco DUI defense attorneyIn the state of California, a driver who has been arrested for a DUI has 10 days to request a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to keep his or her driving privileges. A DMV hearing is an administrative proceeding involving the suspension of your driving privilege only. It is a completely separate matter from a criminal case for a DUI charge. If a motorist fails to request a hearing, his or her driver's license will be suspended. It is important to know you are not required to request a DMV hearing after a DUI arrest, so you may want to discuss the potential advantages with a skilled DUI lawyer.

Due Process

In California, due process of law entitles you to a notice if the DMV intends to revoke your driver’s license and gives you an opportunity to be heard. The DMV hearing focuses on the details of your arrest and your driving privileges. It does not decide your innocence or guilt of a criminal act. Some of the issues discussed at a DMV hearing include the following:

  • Whether or not you took a blood, breath, or urine test.
  • Did the police officer have reasonable cause to pull you over if he or she believed you were in violation of the law.
  • Was your placed under lawful arrest?
  • Were you operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher in your system?
  • Whether or not you refused or failed a blood, breath, or urine test.

These issues may seem fairly straightforward, but there could be factors that made your arrest unlawful or without probable cause. For example, the arresting officer could make a mistake in the police report or fail to note an important detail.

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San Jose criminal defense attorney

Many California residents use bicycles as a primary mode of transportation due to the mild weather we enjoy throughout the year. The California Vehicle Code contains the state laws that specify where and how bikes are allowed to operate. Basically, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle operators. This holds true for operating a bike while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Similar to a DUI (Driving Under the Influence), this is called a CUI (Cycling Under the Influence).

CUI Laws and Penalties

Some people may think riding a bicycle after drinking alcohol is different or safer than driving a car after consuming those types of beverages. However, it is still illegal to do so in California.  California Vehicle Code section 21200.5 prohibits riding a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. The punishment is less severe than California's DUI penalties (a fine of $250 or less and no jail time), but a CUI is still a misdemeanor, and a conviction will remain on a person’s criminal record. Also, if you are convicted of a CUI, and you are under 21 years old, the court could suspend your driver’s license for one year.

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drunk driving fatalities, California drunk driving laws, San Jose drunk driving defense attorney, DUI prevention training, California barsDriving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or DUI, is a serious offense in California, and the state has a number of laws which aim to improve roadway safety and punish drivers who put others in danger. However, the prevalence of drunk driving continues to be a concern, with more than one-third of all car accident fatalities in the state involving drunk drivers. As a result, California is looking to implement additional laws in hopes of reducing drunk driving deaths.

Drunk Driving Prevention Training

Many advocates believe that drunk driving fatalities can be prevented if people intervene before someone who is impaired gets behind the wheel. Bartenders and servers of alcoholic beverages are particularly in a position to identify when people are too inebriated to drive and help ensure that they do not drive while drunk.

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