Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but some mistakes can be more costly than others. If you are charged with drunk driving in Santa Barbara, you’re facing months without a license, thousands of dollars in court expenses, and potentially months in prison. It can be even worse if you have prior DUIs on your record or you’re accused of injuring someone while under the influence.
The best time to contact a DUI attorney is immediately after you’ve been charged. Building a strong drunk driving defense requires time. When you’re ready to speak with a leading DUI attorney who has years of experience helping people just like you, call us at (310) 906-4831 or fill out the forms found on any of our webpages.
Types of DUIs You Might Face
In order to build a solid defense against a drunk driving charge, it’s important to understand the facts of the case. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you will be facing different penalties and will have to have to contest different sorts of evidence.
If this is your first DUI and there are no aggravating factors, you might consider this a “simple” DUI. However, things get more complicated if you have a record of drunk driving. California keeps track of your DUIs over the past 10 years. The more DUIs you have over the past decade, the harsher the penalties you can face.
It’s worth noting that you don’t have to have been convicted of a DUI charge for a prior offense to count against you in your current case. If you negotiated for a “wet” reckless charge, it will count as a prior DUI offense on your record. Accepting a “wet” reckless charge may mean a lower penalty at the moment, but if you’re found drunk driving again, you’ll face the same sorts of penalties you would have if you had been convicted of a DUI.
If you’re over 21, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08%. However, under California Vehicle Code Section 23140, that limits drops down to 0.05% if you’re under 21. Even if it’s the night before you turn 21, getting caught driving with a BAC of 0.05% or higher will mean facing a serious DUI charge.
There is an additional issue at play if you’re found driving with any alcohol in your system when you’re under 21. Under the Zero Tolerance Law, a driver under 21 found with a BAC of 0.01% will lose their license for an entire year. While this will not appear on a criminal record the same way a “regular” DUI might, it can severely impact your life.
Under many circumstances, a DUI charge will be a misdemeanor offense. But this isn’t always the case. Aggravating factors can cause a DUI to be classified as a felony rather than a misdemeanor. These factors could include:
- More than three previous DUIs
- A prior felony DUI charge
- Someone was seriously or fatally injured by your drunk driving
A felony DUI will impact your life much more severely than a misdemeanor penalty. At a minimum, you’ll end up serving more than a year in state prison, facing thousands of dollars in fines, and you’ll have to disclose the felony on job applications.
Drunk Driving Defense in Santa Barbara
When you’re charged with drunk driving, a prosecutor must show that you were driving while at or above the legal BAC limit. Police officers are highly trained to detect drunk driving and prosecutors will pursue charges aggressively. Building a strong DUI defense is, therefore, tricky.
Proving what your BAC was at the time you were driving can be difficult. Things like your diet, mouthwash, and medical conditions can affect the readings of a chemical breath test. Likewise, breathalyzers can make mistakes, especially if they aren’t properly maintained. In addition, your BAC may have a higher reading when it is taken after you’ve been pulled over because the body does not process alcohol all at once.
Not all evidence is admissible in a court case. The results of a breathalyzer that has not been properly maintained, for example, may not be used against you. Similarly, if the police officer didn’t have probable cause to stop you, much of the evidence that would be used against you in court may be suppressed.
Get Help with Your Santa Barbara Drunk Driving Defense
While you have the right to represent yourself, challenging a drunk driving alone can be nearly impossible. The justice system isn’t sympathetic to individuals accused of drunk driving. This is why having a passionate advocate by your side, particularly one that specializes in DUI cases, is vitally important.
If you’re interested in learning how our skilled DUI lawyers can help you, fill in your contact information on the side of this page or call (310) 906-4831. We will help you schedule a free consultation with a leading DUI attorney who can help you build a strong drunk driving defense, using years of experience fighting drunk driving charges. So, pick up the phone and call today!