If you have been convicted of DUI in the past, you might think that you know what’s in store for you with your third charge. Actually, you need to prepare yourself. A third DUI in the state of California carries stiffer penalties than a first or second offense. There are also other factors that can play a role. As always, the best defense is to avoid getting behind the wheel if you’ve had a drink. However, if you are arrested and charged with a third DUI, you’ll need to know the following.
Whether it’s your first offense or your third, the penalties for DUI in California are steep, and they’re only going to become harsher as time goes on. Understanding the penalties for DUI is important for all California residents.
DUI is a crime, even if no one was hurt. If you’re found guilty of driving under the influence, you face repercussions. However, the severity of your infraction will determine exactly what happens in your case. There are two types of DUIs in California: misdemeanor DUIs and felony DUIs. Most of the time, DUIs are misdemeanor crimes. However, felony charges do happen. What’s the difference, and which will you be charged with?
The primary means to determine whether a driver is drunk while behind the wheel is the Breathalyzer test. It has been the subject of a lot of controversy, but it remains an important tool for police officers. Should you refuse to take the breath test on the side of the road? You’re within your rights to refuse, but there are some very good reasons to go ahead and comply with the officer’s instructions.
Sobriety checkpoints (or roadblocks) have become common tools used by police forces all around the country, not just in California. At the best of times, they’re an annoyance. They can also be significantly problematic, even if you have had nothing to drink. Knowing what to do when you are approaching these checkpoints, how to act toward the officers, and what your rights are will help you make it through.
With the help of an attorney, there’s an excellent chance that you’ll have your DUI charges dismissed or get out of court with only probation. However, if you’re on probation, you must abide by the court’s rules, or else you violate the terms of your probation. This violation opens you up to a wide range of damaging repercussions. What constitutes a violation of probation, and what might happen if you do violate those terms? Let’s take a closer look.
What Constitutes a Violation of Probation?
A probation violation is any action that breaks the rules governing your probation. For instance, if the judge requires you to attend an alcohol awareness class and you fail to do so, that’s a violation of the terms of your probation. California also has a zero tolerance stance on driving with any measurable alcohol in your system if you’re on probation. That means if you have just one drink and get behind the wheel and you are pulled over and given a breath test, you’re in violation of the terms of your probation. To reiterate, any measurable amount is a violation of your probation, even if it’s well under the legal limit. The standard legal blood alcohol limit does not apply to you if you are on probation for DUI.
Police officers have a wide range of tests at their disposal to help determine if a driver has had too much to drink. However, the problem with these tests is that they’re largely inaccurate, with some barely going above 60% accuracy. That leaves a lot of room for error. Even drivers who have had nothing to drink at all can fail these tests, leading to an arrest for DUI. Of course, blood and urine testing will eventually exonerate innocent drivers, but that doesn’t make up for the time lost or the stigma of being arrested. Should you refuse to take field sobriety tests? What happens if you do refuse?
Being pulled over for suspected drunk driving is stressful and frightening. That surge of adrenaline alone can make people do things they shouldn’t. If there actually is any alcohol in your system, that can further degrade the situation by making you more likely to do things that could damage your case. If you’re pulled over, you need to be respectful, calm and compliant. Doing any of the following things could seriously damage your case beyond the help of even the most experienced DUI attorney.
California sees an immense influx of out of state visitors every year. They come for tourism. They come for business. They come for any number of different reasons. While those visitors are here, they eat and drink. There is always the chance that having a little too much to drink before getting behind the wheel will result in a DUI.
As an out of state driver, getting a DUI in California can be even more stressful and frightening than getting one in your home state. What do you need to know? Do you need to hire a California attorney? What will the process look like? Will you lose your license? These are just a handful of the many questions you will need to answer.