Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and driving while intoxicated (DWI) with illegal drugs are extremely dangerous actions. An impaired driver has diminished reaction time, slowed judgment, and decreased spatial awareness. They are also more likely to commit moving violations, drive over the speed limit, and engage in risky behavior behind the wheel. DUI is illegal in every state, and each state upholds unique penalties for DUI convictions. However, some DUI charges do not align with state requirements, and the police issuing those charges may violate a driver’s rights to boost their arrest and conviction rates.
If you or a loved one are arrested for DUI in the Yorba Linda, CA area, it is essential to have reliable legal counsel on your side. A Yorba Linda DUI attorney is your best asset, whether you intend to prove that you were wrongfully arrested or if you made a mistake and operated a vehicle while impaired. Your DUI attorney will give you the best chance of minimizing your sentence or securing a dismissal of your charges. The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, can offer the comprehensive defense counsel you need for a challenging DUI case.
You may wonder whether you really need a Yorba Linda DUI Lawyer after being charged with a DUI in Yorba Linda. To answer that question, it is vital to understand what is at stake and the difficulty you will experience while attempting to manage your own defense unassisted. An individual without legal knowledge will have tremendous difficulty handling their own defense in a DUI case. They may not know the various laws in their favor, how to cite relevant case law, or how to identify due process violations. When you are facing any type of criminal charge, legal counsel is necessary if you want the best chance of avoiding conviction or minimizing your penalty.
Every American has the right to obtain legal representation when they are accused of a crime. If the defendant cannot afford an attorney or does not wish to pay attorneys’ fees for a private defense lawyer, they have the right to secure legal counsel from a public defender. This might seem like the ideal way to have legal counsel on your side without paying attorneys’ fees. However, it is crucial to understand that a public defender is often unable to provide the criminal defense capabilities you would expect from an experienced, private Yorba Linda criminal defense lawyer.
Even the best public defenders must handle large caseloads, meaning they cannot devote much individual attention to each individual case. While you may only expect an hour or two of your public defender’s time each day, a private Yorba Linda DUI lawyer can offer more personalized legal counsel and more time dedicated to working on your case.
If you are concerned about the potential cost of your legal fees, it is important to understand how defense attorneys typically bill their services. Most defense attorneys charge by the hour and count the time spent working on a client’s case in ten- or fifteen-minute increments. When you consider how many hours an attorney will need to dedicate to your case and multiply by their hourly rate, attorneys’ fees can become quite high for complex cases.
However, keep in mind that a skilled, private Yorba Linda DUI attorney may be able to help you reach a conclusion to your case very efficiently. If you are hesitant to hire a private defense lawyer, remember that you are investing in a higher quality of legal representation and are far more likely to secure a favorable result in your case. Finally, make sure you fully understand the attorney’s billing policy before agreeing to representation.
Your Yorba Linda DUI attorney can offer several valuable services that can potentially help you avoid conviction or minimize your penalty:
It is much easier to approach your DUI case with confidence when you have a Yorba Linda DUI attorney you can trust. The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, have the resources and experience necessary to handle the most difficult DUI cases, including those that involve additional charges.
California drivers should fully understand the state’s DUI laws, as well as the conditions under which police are permitted to conduct a DUI arrest. California upholds an implied consent law pertaining to DUI arrests. This law states that during a state-approved DUI arrest, the arrested driver must submit to a chemical test to check blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and for the presence of any illegal drugs in the bloodstream. It is not necessary to submit a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) during a traffic stop or at a DUI checkpoint. Many drivers mistakenly assume that if a police officer asks them to take a PAS like a breathalyzer test during a traffic stop, they must agree to it. The only drivers who may not refuse a PAS test include drivers under the age of 21 and drivers who are on probation for prior DUI convictions.
The police must establish probable cause to conduct an arrest for DUI. Once a driver is arrested, the police have the authority to compel the driver to submit to chemical testing for DUI/DWI. Police can establish probable cause by detecting the smell of alcohol from the driver’s vehicle, spotting open alcohol containers in the vehicle, or by observing erratic or dangerous driving. If you are unsure whether the police had probable cause for your arrest, you should consult your Yorba Linda DUI attorney immediately regarding your concerns.
If the police conduct a lawful arrest for DUI, you must submit to chemical testing for DUI by providing a blood or breathalyzer sample. If neither is available, you must provide a urine sample. You cannot refuse this test after a lawful arrest—if you refuse, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will immediately apply an administrative suspension to your driver’s license. Additionally, if you are convicted of DUI after refusing chemical testing, you will face additional jail time and substantial fines.
Everyone should know their Constitutional rights during an arrest. First, you have the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment. When the police read you your Miranda rights, they will inform you that you have the right to remain silent and that anything you say can and will be held against you in court. It is best to take full advantage of this right and say nothing until you have an attorney. The Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution ensures the right to legal counsel when an individual is accused of a crime. Make sure you exercise both critical rights after an arrest for DUI to secure the best chance of avoiding conviction or minimizing your sentence.
California state law considers DUI/DWI a “wobbler” offense. This means that a DUI/DWI charge can “wobble” between the misdemeanor and felony levels based on the unique details of the case at hand. Both misdemeanor and felony DUI carry substantial penalties in Yorba Linda. These offenses also consider prior convictions during sentencing. If you have a record of a DUI conviction within the previous ten years, you can expect harsher sentencing than you would for a first-time DUI conviction.
At the misdemeanor level, DUI penalties escalate significantly with multiple convictions:
The penalties for DUI conviction increase further when the prosecution seeks felony conviction. A felony DUI is punishable by 16 months or two to three years in California state prison, up to $1,000 in fines, 18 or 30 months of DUI school, and up to a five-year driver’s license suspension. For a felony DUI with injury, the defendant faces 16 months to 16 years in California state prison, up to $5,000 in fines, restitution to the victim, up to 30 months of DUI school, and a one-year driver’s license suspension.
If you are convicted more than three times for DUI within a ten-year period, you are automatically upgraded to felony DUI for any subsequent DUI violations. If your impaired driving caused severe injury or death to another person, your case is upgraded to felony status. If you have a prior felony DUI conviction, another DUI conviction is automatically charged at the felony level.
It is possible for multiple factors to influence DUI sentencing. Mitigating factors are those that work in the defendant’s favor and potentially reduce the sentence, while aggravating factors are those that work against the defendant and increase their penalties. For example, if you were impaired by a prescription drug for a legitimate medical issue, if your BAC was barely over the legal limit of .08%, or if you agree to complete a substance abuse treatment program, these are mitigating factors that could lead to a lighter sentence.
Aggravating factors such as an extremely high BAC, DUI on a suspended license, reckless driving, or committing a DUI with a child in the car can lead to more substantial penalties. If you are unsure how to approach the mitigating and aggravating factors present in your case, it is vital to consult a Yorba Linda DUI attorney as soon as possible.
Time is a critical factor in any criminal case—especially DUI cases that have the potential to negatively impact your life for many years. Not only does DUI entail severe penalties, but an individual convicted of DUI may face additional consequences beyond a judge’s sentence. They may lose professional licenses, suffer poor social or business standing in the community, or even have their child custody rights reduced or revoked. It is essential to secure defense counsel you can trust as soon as possible after a DUI arrest.
The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, have built years of experience handling some of the most challenging DUI defense cases in the Yorba Linda, CA area. We will thoroughly review the details of your case and help you determine the best available defenses so you can approach this difficult situation with greater confidence. If you are ready to discuss your defense options with a Yorba Linda DUI attorney, contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team.