In California, driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or illicit drugs is a serious offense that can not only lead to substantial legal penalties but also severe injuries or even fatalities. DUI is incredibly dangerous. California prosecutors tend to pursue maximum punishments for DUI convictions. If you have been arrested for DUI in Westminster, it’s vital to know what to expect and your legal options in terms of defending against the charges you face. A Westminster DUI defense attorney is your best possible ally when you are in this situation.
Without experienced legal representation, you might face heavy fines, driver’s license suspension, or even jail time. If you have previous DUI convictions within the past ten years, the penalties increase. You might miss the opportunity to highlight procedural errors made by the police responsible for your arrest that a seasoned Westminster DUI defense lawyer would have caught. Ultimately, it’s vital to find legal representation as soon as possible following an arrest for DUI in Westminster.
Several factors come into play when a California court assesses an appropriate penalty for a DUI conviction:
California judges will assess all mitigating and aggravating factors present in a DUI case to determine an appropriate penalty:
In addition to these penalties, DUI drivers who injured or killed others due to impaired driving could face felony charges carrying multi-year prison sentences. In California, a DUI case involving an injury to another driver is often called a “wobbler,” as the offense may wobble between a misdemeanor and a felony based on the exact details of the event.
They will also be liable for civil damages from their victims, including medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and wrongful death claims in the event they killed anyone due to DUI. Ultimately, a DUI conviction can be incredibly expensive, and the penalties can cause problems for years to come.
It’s essential to know your rights and responsibilities as a licensed California driver. However, many drivers in the Westminster area misunderstand their responsibilities when it comes to DUI arrests. For example, an arresting officer may attempt to compel a driver to complete a field sobriety test. However, there is no legal mandate requiring drivers to submit to these or other preliminary impairment screenings. There is a legal requirement to submit to a formal chemical test following an arrest for DUI. However, the officer responding to the situation must establish probable cause to conduct such an arrest.
Arresting officers must comply with the California Code for Blood and Breath Testing, and any failure to do so could lead to a DUI case being thrown out. An experienced Westminster DUI defense lawyer can help their client determine whether the police followed proper procedures during a DUI arrest, such as failing to properly establish probable cause before conducting a DUI arrest.
It’s also possible to challenge the validity of the evidence the police present in a DUI case, such as citing past errors the lab responsible for processing the suspect’s chemical test committed or other procedural inconsistencies. Going to rehab can also work in your favor. Working with a reputable Westminster DUI defense attorney is the best way to identify potential defenses available in your DUI case.
The state of California can provide you with a public defender free of charge, and most of the public defenders serving clients in California are reasonable, experienced, and competent attorneys. However, they typically handle several cases at a time. They can’t provide the same degree of personalized attention that a private defense firm like the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC can offer.
After an arrest in California for DUI, you have the right to remain silent and the right to legal counsel. You should take full advantage of both of these rights and refrain from saying anything that may work against you in the state’s criminal case. Your attorney can help you determine your best options when it comes to bail and building your defense.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC have a solid track record of successful DUI defense cases and are prepared to be your legal team when you face serious DUI charges in the Westminster area. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an experienced Westminster, CA DUI defense lawyer.