Tustin 2nd DUI Lawyer
It is illegal in every state of the country to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and each state enforces unique laws and statutes regarding driving under the influence (DUI). In California and many other states, multiple DUI offenses within a short time will lead to harsher penalties. Each DUI following the first will incur more severe punishments, and drivers convicted of DUI may also face civil liability for the damages they inflict on other drivers.
Defense Attorneys for Second DUIs in Tustin, CA
While it can be very distressing to be arrested for any reason, facing a second DUI arrest in Tustin, CA, is a serious matter. You probably have lots of legal questions about your situation and how you can defend yourself. In addition, the penalties you face are likely to be much harsher than the penalties incurred for your first DUI, including heavier fines, a longer driver’s license suspension, and potential jail time. However, if you have been arrested for a second DUI, an experienced Tustin DUI defense attorney can help you navigate your legal proceedings and approach your case with peace of mind.
Attorney Christopher J. McCann and the team at the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, can provide responsive and compassionate defense representation when you are charged with your second DUI offense in Tustin, CA. We understand the severity of your situation, and Attorney McCann has been representing Orange County clients in a wide range of DUI cases for years. However, you may be uncertain about your ability to defend against DUI charges or fear the potential penalties conviction would entail.
Our team will help you understand your case and your defense options. It’s common for people in this situation to have more options than they initially realize, and our team can help you formulate an effective strategy for having your second DUI case dropped or your penalty reduced as much as possible if a conviction is unavoidable.
Why Should I Hire a Tustin Second DUI Defense Attorney?
Criminal defense representation is necessary no matter what charges you face in Tustin, CA. However, attempting to represent yourself in any criminal case, even if you have been wrongfully accused and believe you can explain your side of the story, is never a wise idea. There is little incentive for the police or prosecutors to help you avoid conviction, and in some cases, the criminal justice system can be overzealous in seeking convictions. California prosecutors tend to pursue a conviction for repeat DUI offenses quite aggressively, and you need legal counsel you can trust in this difficult situation.
The Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees legal counsel to any American accused of a crime, even if they are unable or unwilling to pay for a private defense attorney. The court can appoint public defenders free of charge to defendants, and many people assume this is an excellent way to avoid legal fees in their criminal cases. If you are facing a second DUI charge in Tustin, CA, it’s vital to understand what you can expect from a public defender and what a private Tustin second DUI defense lawyer can offer in your case.
Public defenders are required to handle multiple cases simultaneously, leaving them minimal flexibility to offer individual attention to each client they represent. While most California public defenders are hardworking, experienced, and capable attorneys, they are inherently unable to match the level of personalized attention a private defense lawyer can provide due to the nature of their work. If you have the means to do so, hiring a private Tustin second DUI defense attorney can ensure a higher level of defense representation for your case.
The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, has extensive experience handling various criminal cases on behalf of our clients in the Tustin, CA, area. We understand the stress and uncertainty that a second DUI charge can cause for the arrested driver and their family. We also know that every DUI case is unique, and a defendant may have more defense options than they can immediately recognize. Whether your case revolves around disproving the prosecution’s shaky evidence, contesting the grounds on which your arrest was conducted, or highlighting violations of your civil or constitutional rights by the police or prosecution, we will develop a comprehensive and individualized strategy for your second DUI case in Tustin.
Potential Penalties for a 2nd DUI Conviction
California increases DUI penalties for conviction if a defendant had been convicted of a DUI offense within the last ten years. Therefore, if you are facing a second DUI in Tustin, your potential penalties may include:
- Ninety-six hours up to one year in county jail. While most judges are willing to waive jail time for first-time DUI offenders, this is typically not true for repeat offenders.
- Fines between $390 and $1,000. You may also be responsible for penalty assessments at the court’s discretion.
- Driver’s license suspension for two years. Some defendants can qualify for restricted licenses to drive only to and from work and for emergencies.
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle for one year. This will prevent the vehicle from starting until the driver blows into an integrated breathalyzer machine fitted into the vehicle.
- Probation, which may last from three to five years. Some judges are willing to exchange a more extended probation period instead of other standard penalties.
Beyond these standard penalties, judges handling sentencing for second DUI convictions will also assign additional penalties based on the particular details of your charges. For example, if a defendant displays signs of a substance abuse disorder, the judge may require them to complete a treatment program as a condition of probation.
It’s also possible for the defendant to face a mandatory drug and alcohol safety course or driver safety course at their own expense. Defendants may also be required to perform community service and attend victim impact panels, such as the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel. These panels compel drivers convicted of DUI to hear from the family members of people killed by impaired drivers to show them the dangers their actions pose to others.
Beyond the penalties assigned by the judge, a defendant convicted of a second DUI will likely face a host of personal and professional consequences. They may lose their job or have their professional licenses revoked, and they will likely lose standing within their local community. The criminal record of repeat DUI can make it difficult for them to obtain certain types of employment, and the long-lasting penalties like driver’s license suspension and mandatory courses can interfere with their personal lives in various ways.
What Is a Felony DUI?
While most first and second DUI offenses in California qualify as misdemeanors, some defendants may have their charges escalated to felony status under certain conditions. DUI is a “wobbler” offense in California, meaning it can potentially qualify for a misdemeanor or felony prosecution. In some cases, a second DUI will automatically count as a felony:
- If your first DUI was a felony, a second DUI within ten years would automatically be a felony.
- If you injured anyone while driving impaired, your second DUI charge would escalate to felony status.
- If you killed someone else while driving impaired, you would face a felony charge for your second DUI.
- A fourth DUI within ten years will automatically count as a felony.
It’s vital to note that the penalties increase significantly in most felony DUI cases, even if it is only a second offense. The defendant may face 16 months to four years in prison, and this incarceration term can increase based on the aggravating factors of the case. Fines and penalty assessments can exceed $5,000, and the defendant will have their driver’s license suspended for five years. Mandatory substance abuse treatment and driver safety courses will likely be included in their sentence, and they will also face probation for up to five years.
One of the most important differences to note for felony DUIs is that if the judge sentences you to time behind bars for a felony, you will go to state prison instead of a county jail. Therefore, if you face a second DUI charge, it’s vital to develop a cohesive and effective defense with the help of an experienced Tustin second DUI defense attorney.
How Is a DUI Determined?
It’s possible to face a DUI charge related to the consumption of alcohol or drugs before operating a vehicle. When it comes to alcohol, California uses a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) measurement system to determine impairment. The legal BAC limit for DUI is .08% for most drivers, .04% for commercial drivers, and 0% for drivers under 21. When it comes to drugs, these cases are more complicated. Some drugs metabolize slower than others, so an individual can test positive for specific substances long after inebriating effects have diminished. If you are charged with a DUI for drug use, including cannabis, it’s vital to secure defense representation from an attorney who is familiar with these challenging cases.
Potential Defenses Against a Second DUI Charge
In every criminal case tried in the United States, the prosecution has the burden of proving the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. While your situation may appear hopeless at first, the reality is that it is often difficult for prosecutors to meet this standard, and the prosecution’s case may be less robust than it appears at first. Your Tustin second DUI defense lawyer can help you determine the best strategy for approaching your case.
While the prosecution’s job is to establish the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the defense attorney’s job is to prevent them from accomplishing this. Defense against a DUI charge can involve a combination of strategies, from challenging the validity or admissibility of the prosecution’s evidence, contesting eyewitness testimony, or calling the lab results from the defendant’s chemical test into question. It is also possible to fight your second DUI case by proving your arrest was unlawful, that the police violated the laws of due process, or proving other procedural missteps or violations of your rights.
Proving Unlawful Arrest
California police officers must follow appropriate procedures and uphold due process in every arrest they conduct. First and foremost, a police officer must have probable cause to conduct an arrest. Many DUI arrests are initiated when a police officer observes erratic driving. If you committed no moving violations, and the police officer did not have probable cause to initiate the traffic stop that led to your arrest, proving they failed to establish probable cause could be enough to have your case dismissed.
Disproving Chemical Test Results
Every California driver gives their implied consent to chemical testing for DUI, but this only applies after a lawful arrest for DUI. Many drivers mistakenly believe they must submit to preliminary alcohol screenings such as breathalyzer exams during traffic stops. However, the only drivers who do not have the right to refuse such tests are those who are already on probation for prior DUI convictions and drivers under the age of 21. If you submit to a breathalyzer test when you are not legally required to do so, you might be giving the police the probable cause they need to arrest you for DUI.
If you are lawfully arrested for suspected DUI, you will need to submit to a chemical test after you are booked at the police station. Refusing this test will lead to an automatic administrative suspension of your driver’s license. In addition, if you go to court for this offense and are found guilty, your refusal of these required tests will likely lead to harsher penalties.
Even if you submit to a chemical test as required and the test results show you are under the influence, you may still have valid grounds to challenge the test results. For example, your Tustin second DUI defense lawyer may cite previous mistakes from the lab responsible for your test, or they may challenge the manner in which the police administered the test.
While most police officers are honorable in the execution of their duties, some fail to respect the rights of suspects in various ways. It’s possible that your case can be dismissed if you can prove the police did not read you your Miranda rights during your arrest or if they failed to follow other applicable protocols. If the police used excessive force or physically harmed you without provocation during arrest or booking, your attorney can also highlight these actions in building your defense.
How to Find the Right Tustin DUI Lawyer
Reliable defense counsel is an invaluable asset in any DUI case. If you face the harsh penalties that can apply for a second DUI charge, you must have legal counsel you can trust as you initiate your case proceedings. After your arrest, you will have the opportunity to make a few phone calls. Make sure that one of them is an experienced criminal defense attorney with a solid record of successful DUI representation.
When choosing an attorney, make sure the attorney has significant experience handling cases like yours. Most attorneys will specialize in a few types of cases, so if you face a second DUI charge, it’s crucial to ensure your chosen defense lawyer has experience with this type of case. You should also carefully review the attorney’s billing policy, so you know what to expect in terms of your legal fees.
A good attorney should provide you with several contact options for getting in touch with them during your case, and they should be able to answer any questions you have with detailed information. Ultimately, experience and availability are two of the most important factors to consider when choosing a Tustin second DUI defense attorney.
Secure the Defense Counsel You Need Today
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, have extensive experience representing Tustin, CA, clients in DUI cases, including those involving repeat offenders. Our team knows how local prosecutors tend to handle these cases and the steps they usually take to secure convictions. As a result, our team can provide the support and guidance you need so that you can tackle your case with clarity and understanding. We know how distressing it can be to face a second DUI and that the penalties you potentially face can interfere with your life in several ways.
Our goal in every case we accept is to have our client’s case dismissed if at all possible or to lighten their sentence as much as possible if a conviction is unavoidable. Our team will work closely with you to determine the best approach to your DUI case in Tustin. However, do not assume that you can fight your charges on your own. If you are ready to speak with an experienced Tustin second DUI defense lawyer about your case, contact the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, today to schedule your free case evaluation.