Prosecutors in Newport Beach do not take it easy on individuals charged with a DUI. Even if you have a clean record, a DUI conviction can mean thousands of dollars in penalties, mandated DUI school, the loss of your license, and time in jail. For people that have previous DUI convictions, the consequences can be substantially more severe.
No matter what your situation is, you are entitled to have someone put up the best defense possible. While representing yourself might save you costs upfront, a proper drunk driving defense requires an understanding of California’s complex DUI laws. Setting up a free appointment with a leading DUI attorney by calling (310) 862-0199 is one easy way to make sure you understand what’s at stake and how the right lawyer can build a solid defense for your case.
Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Newport Beach
The penalties you face for a DUI conviction in Newport Beach are severe and will become harsher depending on a number of circumstances. Prior DUI convictions will result in more severe penalties. Likewise, being underage, injuring another person, or refusing a chemical test may result in additional penalties.
The sorts of penalties you face as a result of a DUI conviction in California include:
- Court assessments
- DUI education classes
- Having an ignition interlock device installed in all your vehicles
- Jail or probation time
The DUI education classes and the ignition interlock device are not free services provided to you after a DUI conviction. Instead, they are additional costs that you pay as part of the conviction. As the length of the DUI classes vary and you are required to install the ignition interlock device in every vehicle you drive, this can be thousands of dollars more that you must pay on top of the fines and court assessment fees.
Drunk Driving Defense
You are not automatically convicted after you’ve been arrested on a DUI charge. Instead, you will only be convicted of drunk driving if you agree to a plea to the charges or if you are found guilty at trial. In order to be found guilty at a trial, the prosecutor must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you were both:
- Driving a vehicle AND
- Above the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time
If the prosecutor fails to show one or both of these to be true, you will not be convicted of your DUI charge. Your DUI defense will be required to show that there are fundamental problems with the prosecution’s evidence of these two factors. Challenging these factors may be done by drawing doubt about the conclusions drawn from the facts or having illegally collected evidence suppressed.
Driving a Vehicle
If an officer finds you behind the wheel of a car, that doesn’t always mean that you had been driving while intoxicated. Even if your engine is warm, being in the driver’s seat is not always sufficient to prove what you were doing before the officer arrived. Many people return to their cars to sleep off the effects of alcohol without ever driving the vehicle.
Once you’ve been arrested for a DUI, you are required by law to submit to a chemical test in order to determine your BAC. The legal BAC limit for an adult over 21 is 0.08% and 0.01% for anyone under 21. Refusing a blood test after you’ve been arrested will result in additional charges.
However, chemical tests aren’t always accurate. Factors like medical conditions, your diet, and mouthwash may cause a breathalyzer to have a higher readout.
Likewise, your BAC naturally rises over time, as your body doesn’t process alcohol instantly. When a police officer measures your BAC well after your arrest, your BAC may be above the legal limit, even if it wasn’t at the time of your arrest.
Even in DUI cases, evidence obtained in improper or illegal ways may not be used against you in court. Instead, you have the right to suppress any evidence that wasn’t obtained properly.
For example, an officer must have probable cause to stop you. If you can show that the officer didn’t have probable cause to stop you, then you may be entitled to suppress any evidence generated from the stop. This could result in the majority or the entirety of the evidence against you being unusable in court.
Get Legal Help for Your Newport Beach DUI Charge
Drafting a drunk driving defense requires understanding many legal realities that are unique to DUI law. Knowing what evidence to challenge and the right way to do so in a DUI can require many years of handling these kinds of cases. The complexities of California’s DUI laws can make it difficult for anyone who doesn’t focus on this area of law to handle cases like yours.
If you’d like to meet with a lawyer who has years of experience helping clients in situations just like yours, call (310) 862-0199. We will help you schedule a consultation with a DUI attorney who knows how to craft the strongest possible drunk driving defense for your case. The initial consultation comes at no expense to you, so call today!