In Victorville, CA, driving under the influence (DUI) charges bring stiff penalties upon conviction. Even for a first offense, California will suspend your license and require at least 48 hours of jail time. Subsequent arrests for DUI mean fines that can escalate into thousands of dollars and many days behind bars.
If you have been ticketed for driving while drunk or high, you need help fighting back against the charges. At the Law Office of Joshua Moody, we will provide a skilled Victorville DUI lawyer to represent you throughout the process. You do not have to face the full force of the law just because you were arrested. Our DUI attorneys will work to have your charges reduced or dismissed when possible.
DUI Penalties in Victorville
California takes DUI very seriously and has enacted many laws to punish drivers harshly. This effort to reduce injuries and deaths from drunk drivers is noble, but it can be difficult to face when the person being arrested is you. When you need help fighting a charge so you can get back to your life, you need a qualified Victorville DUI attorney.
DUIs are usually charged as misdemeanors unless you have multiple offenses or cause an accident involving injury or death. Regardless, even a first offense can shake you up when you face time in jail.
Penalties for DUIs are as follows:
- First offense: Fines and fees up to $3600, up to months in jail, driver’s license suspension for 4-10 months, mandatory three months of DUI school, 3-5 months DUI probation.
- Second offense: Fines and fees up to $4000, up to one year in jail, driver’s license suspension for up to 2 years, 18-30 months of DUI school, 3-5 years of DUI probation.
- Third offense: Fines and fees up to $18,000, up to one year in jail or 16 months in state prison, driver’s license suspension of up to 3 years, 30 months of DUI school, 3-5 years of DUI probation, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
- Fourth offense (or more): At four DUIs, you will be charged with a felony. Penalties include fines and fees up to $18,000, up to 16 months in state prison, license suspension of up to 4 years, 30 months of DUI school, installation of an ignition interlock device, and a criminal status as a convicted felon.
Actual costs can be much higher than just the fines listed. In fact, a first-offense DUI can cost as much as $15,000 when you account for lost income and other expenses, since you cannot drive with a suspended license or while you are in jail. If you cause injury or death while driving under the influence, authorities may include additional charges such as vehicular manslaughter.
The good news is that if this is your first DUI and you did not hurt anyone, you will usually have to spend no more than 48 hours in jail and pay approximately $2000 in fines. Your license will still be suspended, and you must attend DUI education. Our Victorville DUI attorneys can examine your case and look for ways to have your charge reduced or dismissed.
Ignition Interlock Devices
These devices (IIDs) must be installed on your personal vehicle after you have completed the requirements to reinstate your license. They must be put in by state-authorized companies and calibrated regularly. You must keep the device installed for as long as the court has ordered you to do so, and you must pay for the cost of installation and calibration out of your own pocket.
DUIs Resulting in Injury or Death
Any DUI offense, even a first one, can be charged as a felony if the circumstances warrant it. If you injure or kill someone while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the court will impose heavier penalties. You will also likely be ordered to pay restitution to your victim or their survivors.
How California Defines Being “Under the Influence”
A person is considered under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they are impaired in their ability to safely drive a vehicle. There is no legal distinction between alcohol, prescription medications, or illegal substances in terms of penalties. If a substance keeps you from driving safely, you are breaking the law and can be charged.
California Vehicle Code section 23152 states that a person is considered under the influence when their blood-alcohol content (BAC) is above these levels:
- For adults over 21: BAC of 0.08%
- For minors under 21: BAC of 0.01%
You can even be charged with DUI if you are driving something other than a car or truck. DUIs happen to people on motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, and even boats (the charge is BUI). For those who are on probation for a previous charge, the BAC limit is lowered to 0.04%.
DUI Arrests – Step by Step
When you are arrested for DUI, you will be transported to the local police station, sheriff’s office, or state trooper headquarters, depending on which officers are making the charge. Your license will be suspended and taken from you.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be asked to complete a field sobriety test by performing certain physical tasks at the scene of your arrest. You may be told to blow into a device (a “breathalyzer”) to test your BAC. You can refuse these tests, but if you do, you will be required to submit to a blood or saliva test at the station. Refusing does not avoid a DUI charge, but the results can sometimes be used to fight your charge.
At the station, you will be given a chance to contact someone. You should call a DUI attorney first since a lawyer can advise you immediately on what you should do next. Your first step should be to protect your rights, even before calling someone for other assistance, since there are many legal risks you could face. After booking, you will often be released on bail until you return for your arraignment hearing.
An arraignment is a short hearing held soon after your booking. It is held in front of a judge at the city or county courthouse. You will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, and your DUI lawyer will advise you to claim not guilty.
Having experienced DUI attorneys from the Law Office of Joshua Moody means you will get sound legal advice for your specific situation at your arraignment. A free public defender will rarely have more than a few minutes to speak with you, and they usually encourage you to plead guilty. However, California’s harsh penalties mean you should not give up and face unnecessary jail time or excessive fines.
The DMV Hearing
In addition to posting bail and attending your arraignment, you must also act immediately to request a hearing from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to prevent a lengthy license suspension. You have only ten days from the time you are arrested to ask for a hearing.
If you do not make this request, the DMV will automatically suspend your license before your trial occurs. Our reputable Victorville DUI accident lawyers can represent you and help you get your driving privileges reinstated so you can drive before your trial. This could mean the difference between keeping your job and losing your livelihood.
A significant benefit of hiring a DUI lawyer as soon as you are arrested is the time they can spend assessing evidence and building your defense. Your attorney can look at what the prosecution will present against you and find ways to use the law to your advantage. They will work hard to create reasonable doubt in the minds of the judge and jury to avoid a conviction.
Defending Yourself Against a DUI Charge in Victorville
In California, the burden of proof in DUI cases is on the prosecution. This means the government attorney must demonstrate evidence that you were under the influence according to the legal definition and that you were operating a vehicle at the time. This is more difficult than it might seem, and a good DUI lawyer knows multiple defense strategies to combat the charge.
For example, there are many ways to attack the evidence and poke holes in the prosecution’s case, such as:
- Field sobriety tests can be faulty if you have a balance issue or the terrain was uneven when you performed the test.
- Breathalyzers can malfunction and give incorrect readings. They are calibrated for males of a certain weight and may read higher for someone with a smaller body.
- If you were drunk but sleeping in the back of your car, you cannot be charged with DUI. You must drive or exhibit intent to drive, such as by inserting the key and turning the ignition.
- Police may have failed to follow the correct procedures for arresting and testing you. Your constitutional rights may have been violated.
- You may have been profiled based on certain biases of the officers.
- You were distracted or fatigued, resulting in driving behaviors that mimicked a drunk driver.
Blood and saliva tests often provide many opportunities to dispute evidence and keep it from being presented in court. These chemical tests must be performed under rigorous conditions to yield trustworthy results. The samples must be kept in a chain of custody. If the chain is broken or if the testing protocols are not followed, your attorney can argue to have them dismissed.
Your attorney can also ask for the samples to be tested by an independent lab. If those results show you were not above the legal BAC limit, this can establish reasonable doubt.
Why Use the Law Office of Joshua Moody
When it comes to defending your rights and your freedom, you want DUI attorneys who are experienced and focused on reducing the penalties you might suffer. You need someone who understands DUI laws and courts in Victorville, CA, and will aggressively fight to keep you out of jail.
By negotiating with the prosecutor, your lawyer from the Law Office of Joshua Moody will show that we will litigate your case every step of the way. Prosecuting attorneys want convictions, and they want them fast. If your lawyer shows that they will make it difficult to secure a conviction, the prosecutor will often agree to a plea bargain. You must plead guilty, but it will be to a lesser charge and reduced penalties.
If no deal can be made, our DUI attorneys are courtroom-ready. We will demonstrate evidence such as:
- Inconsistencies in the arresting officer’s report
- Expert witness testimony
- Mistakes in testing procedures
- Violation of your rights while being arrested and booked
Our team is dedicated to representing you without judgment and protecting your rights from start to finish. We know that a DUI can happen to anyone, and we will work to maintain “innocent until proven guilty” in the minds of the judge and jury throughout your trial.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Victorville DUI Lawyer Today
When you are under arrest for DUI, you need help immediately. Make your first call to the Law Office of Joshua Moody for a free initial consultation, over the phone or in person, to secure the right legal representation for you. Every moment you spend in custody and before your trial can jeopardize your freedom if you do not have a qualified Victorville DUI lawyer by your side.
We are with you during your arraignment and your trial, fighting to reduce your charges or have them thrown out. We will also be completely honest with you about what will happen and the potential result when your charges are more serious. Joshua Moody puts his background in the California legal system to work for every client. We believe in giving each person we represent the chance to turn things around and avoid harsh penalties whenever possible.
Your future and freedom are at stake when you are arrested for DUI. Do not wait or take a chance by going it alone. Contact us for a free case evaluation with no risk and no obligation. We are ready to help today.