Yorba Linda Second DUI Lawyer
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is illegal in every state in the US, and every state enforces different statutes and penalties related to DUI offenses. If you have been previously convicted of DUI in Yorba Linda and are later charged with a second offense, the penalties you face will be much more significant than those assigned for your first conviction.
Criminal Defense Representation After a Second DUI Offense in Yorba Linda
Whether you have been wrongfully charged with a second DUI or were subjected to a wrongful DUI arrest, you need legal counsel you can trust to guide you through your case with confidence. The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, can provide the comprehensive DUI defense counsel you need when facing your second DUI charge in Yorba Linda, CA.
Our team understands the severity of the penalties you will likely face and how distressing it can be when it feels like the entire criminal justice system is working against you. Therefore, we will carefully review the details of your recent arrest and the police report of the situation to determine whether they protected your rights during arrest and booking. We’ll also carefully evaluate the handling of your chemical test and the other evidence in play. Our goal is to help you approach your problem with confidence and provide aggressive defense representation through every phase of your case.
Understanding DUI Law in Yorba Linda, CA
California enforces strict penalties for DUI convictions. If you have been arrested for DUI in Yorba Linda in the past, the penalties you potentially face for a second DUI conviction will be more severe. It’s possible to face DUI charges for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, even some prescription medications if they interfere with the ability to drive safely. When it comes to alcohol, California enforces a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of .08% for drivers over 21 years old and .04% for commercial drivers. Since 21 is the legal age for alcohol purchase and consumption in California, there is a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21; any detectable amount of alcohol could result in a DUI charge for a driver under 21.
Many drivers are under the impression that they must submit to a breathalyzer exam if a police officer requests that they do so, but this isn’t necessarily true. California enforces an implied consent law that compels a driver to submit to a chemical test for DUI after a lawful DUI arrest, but this law does not apply to preliminary alcohol screenings for all drivers. It is essential to know your rights, including those provided by the US Constitution and those afforded to you under California state law. If the police violate your rights in any way or fail to uphold due process, this could be sufficient for a judge to drop your charges.
How Do Police Determine If a Driver Is Impaired?
The police must establish probable cause to conduct a DUI arrest. It is not always lawful for the police to require a breathalyzer exam or other preliminary alcohol screening, and only certain drivers must submit to these tests. Otherwise, the police must obtain other evidence to establish probable cause, such as:
- Physical signs of alcohol or drug impairment, such as slurring speech, intoxicated demeanor, or discoordination.
- The scent of alcohol or drugs from inside the vehicle or the driver’s breath.
- Visual detection of an open alcohol container or drug paraphernalia.
- Visual detection of dangerous or erratic driving that strongly indicates the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- The driver’s own statements.
If the police obtain probable cause, they will arrest the driver for DUI, and at this point, the driver must submit to a chemical test after booking. California law requires a blood, breath, or urine sample, and refusal of this test would violate the state’s implied consent law. Even if you intend to fight your DUI charge, it is unwise to refuse this test as doing so automatically incurs administrative penalties, and when you go to court, you could face more severe penalties if convicted.
Your Rights When It Comes to Preliminary Alcohol Screening
Only specific individuals must submit to breathalyzer and field sobriety tests during traffic stops, such as drivers under the age of 21 suspected of DUI or drivers who are currently on probation for a previous DUI conviction. For example, suppose you have a record of DUI conviction and are stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence. In that case, you may need to submit to a preliminary alcohol screening if you are still on probation for your prior offense. If your test reports a BAC over .08%, you’ll face a second DUI arrest. Additionally, if you are under the age of 21 and a police officer stops you for suspected DUI, you do not have the right to refuse a preliminary alcohol screening under California’s zero tolerance law for underage drinking and driving.
If you agree to take a preliminary alcohol screening despite there being no requirement for you to do so, the police can use the test results against you. In addition, many factors can cause a false positive on preliminary alcohol screening devices, so it is best to reserve your right to refuse preliminary tests if you are legally able to do so. However, if you face a second DUI arrest and are still on probation for your previous offense, refusing your test will result in an automatic one-to-three-year suspension of your driver’s license.
It is important to remember that simply because you tested positive for BAC over .08% or the presence of drugs in your system does not mean you were impaired. People have individual factors that easily influence these tests, such as frequency of use, metabolic rates, body weight and size, and numerous other factors. For example, the police may suspect you of driving under the influence of drugs and arrest you, then conduct a urine test that shows marijuana in your system. Marijuana can remain detectable for up to one month after use, but the impairing effects wear off within hours of consumption. This is just one example of how a chemical test could be skewed against you if you do not have an experienced Yorba Linda second DUI attorney on your side.
DUI Charges When You Have a Previous DUI Conviction
DUI offenses are considered “wobblers” in California, meaning they often “wobble” between the misdemeanor and felony levels depending on the mitigating and aggravating factors in a particular case. Mitigating factors are things that work in the defendant’s favor and encourage a lighter sentence, while aggravating factors are things working against them that compel the court to seek harsher penalties.
If there are mitigating factors in your case, the judge handling sentencing will be more inclined toward the lower ends of these penalties. You could end up with only three years of probation and the mandatory minimum jail sentence. However, suppose your offense includes any aggravating factors, such as causing injury to another person because of your DUI. In that case, you could face not only more severe penalties but also additional criminal charges and civil liability for victims’ damages.
Potential Penalties for a 2nd DUI Conviction in California
In most cases, a second DUI will be a misdemeanor charge. The penalties for this offense typically include three to five years of misdemeanor probation, fines up to $390, additional penalty assessments, and a mandatory minimum of 96 hours in county jail up to a maximum of one year. In addition, the defendant will also face 18 to 30 months of mandatory DUI school, one year of ignition interlock device (IID) installation on their vehicle, and other potential penalties based on the defendant’s unique situation.
When you calculate your fines and penalty assessments, the financial cost of your second DUI could be more than $2,000. Additionally, if you caused property damage or hurt anyone because of your impaired driving, you would also be liable for these civil damages. A second DUI may advance to felony status if too many aggravating factors are present in your case.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony DUI Charges
You could face a felony DUI charge for your second DUI under several circumstances. First, if your prior DUI conviction was a felony, your second DUI charge within 10 years is automatically a felony. Second, if you hurt anyone because of your impaired driving, this could also increase your charge to felony status. Finally, other factors that may incline the judge toward felony conviction include:
- Refusal to submit to a chemical test after your arrest.
- A blood alcohol content of over .15%, which constitutes “extreme DUI.”
- Driving under the influence with a passenger under the age of 14.
- Causing bodily harm or the death of another person in an accident.
- Exceeding 20mph over the speed limit on a regular surface street or 30mph over the speed limit on a highway or freeway.
If any of these factors are present in your second DUI case, you could face a felony conviction and much more severe penalties than the standard misdemeanor penalties typically assigned to second DUI convictions. In this situation, it is crucial to secure defense counsel from an experienced attorney who can help you secure a lighter sentence or prove that you were wrongfully charged.
Fighting Your Second DUI Charge
One of the most challenging aspects of fighting a second DUI charge is you likely have the record of your previous DUI conviction working against you. In California, a DUI conviction remains on your record and influences future DUI cases for 10 years. If you commit another DUI offense within this time, you can expect to face much harsher penalties than in your first case. Prosecutors in the Yorba Linda area tend to pursue convictions for second and third DUI offenses quite aggressively to deter repeat offenses.
If you want the best chance of avoiding the harshest possible penalties for your second DUI conviction, it is crucial to secure legal counsel from an experienced Yorba Linda second DUI attorney. An experienced attorney will be able to identify the areas of your case that demand the most attention. For example, if you experienced a civil rights violation during arrest or booking, or if the police violated the law of due process in any way, this may be sufficient to have your case dropped.
It’s vital to give your attorney the information they need to provide the best defense possible. When you choose the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, to represent you in your second DUI case, we will begin by reviewing the details of your arrest and booking as closely as possible. If you believe you were the target of illegal profiling or if the police otherwise violated your constitutional rights, we need to know these things immediately so we can provide you with the most robust defense possible.
Some of the most commonly cited defenses against DUI charges in Yorba Linda and throughout California that might apply to your case include:
- Proving the defendant was not impaired.
- Proving the police conducted an illegal stop.
- Proving the police failed to establish probable cause before conducting the arrest.
- Confirming the police failed to administer the chemical test correctly.
- Proving the defendant’s chemical test sample was mishandled.
- Proving the testing lab’s results were faulty in some way.
- Constitutional or civil rights violations committed by the arresting officers or prosecution.
There are several ways an experienced Yorba Linda DUI defense attorney can help you craft a viable defense, so you do not face a second DUI conviction.
How Can My Yorba Linda DUI Lawyer Help?
When you choose the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, to represent you in your second DUI case in Yorba Linda, CA, we’ll look for your best available defenses and help you beat your charges if at all possible. First, we’ll review the police’s materials related to your arrest, including evidence gathered from the scene of your DUI arrest and their records of the arrest and booking processes. Suppose the police failed to read you your Miranda rights or mistreated you in any way during these preliminary stages. In that case, we can ensure these details are brought to light and addressed appropriately during your court proceedings.
A robust criminal defense against a second DUI in Yorba Linda also requires careful examination of the chemical test secured by the police. We will ensure the police administered the test according to California state law, handled it properly while transferring it to a lab for testing, and we will rigorously examine the lab report. Unfortunately, it’s common for some chemical testing labs to have subpar sanitation and sample handling standards, and your test may have been compromised in some way that resulted in a false positive.
This initial review process of your arrest, booking, and the evidence secured by the police helps us determine your best possible defenses against your second DUI charge. If the prosecutor’s case is solid and you know you broke the law, your best option may be to agree to a plea bargain. However, if you were wrongfully arrested for DUI in Yorba Linda or the police or prosecution mishandled any element of your case, we will help you hold them accountable and provide the robust defense you need to avoid conviction.
What Is a Plea Bargain in DUI Cases?
A swift plea deal typically suits the prosecution’s interests in many DUI cases. In exchange for a guilty plea that results in a much swifter court case, the defendant can receive reduced charges or lightened penalties. For example, if a defendant were arrested at a DUI checkpoint but did not cause an accident or harm anyone, and they do not have a record of previous DUI convictions, the prosecution could be willing to agree to a plea bargain for a “wet reckless” instead of a DUI. This will prevent the defendant from facing the typical sentence for DUI while the prosecution can conserve court resources.
Plea bargaining is only in the best interests of a defendant who knows they broke the law and has no other hope of mounting a viable defense against the prosecution’s case. Your Yorba Linda second DUI lawyer will carefully review the details of your situation to determine whether plea bargaining would better suit your interests than fighting your conviction in court. It’s important to remember that if you are charged with a second DUI after already being convicted of a previous DUI within 10 years, the prosecution may not be willing to plea bargain due to your status as a repeat offender.
What Do I Do After a Second DUI Conviction?
If you are convicted of a second DUI in California, the aforementioned standard penalties will apply. You’ll face a two-year driver’s license suspension with possible eligibility to convert it to a restricted license after one year. Some defendants may qualify for IID-restricted licenses immediately following conviction. This avoids the suspension period, but the defendant will be restricted from driving without an IID.
Probation is almost always included for a second DUI conviction, and the defendant’s probation term could be three to five years. During probation, the defendant may not drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their bloodstream, cannot refuse any preliminary alcohol screenings demanded by police, or commit any other criminal offenses. If the defendant violates the terms of their probation, they will very likely face incarceration and additional penalties.
Additionally, Yorba Linda criminal court judges will also likely assign additional penalties to a defendant found guilty of a second DUI within 10 years. The judge may require the defendant to attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), participate in the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Panel, and pay restitution to anyone injured by their impaired driving. It is also possible for the judge to require a three-year IID obligation for the defendant for three years.
Any driver who refuses to submit to a chemical test as required by California’s implied consent law will face harsher penalties if convicted of a second DUI. They will face a two-year driver’s license suspension and will not qualify at all for a restricted license alternative.
Why You Need a DUI Lawyer You Can Trust
It’s vital to understand how pervasive and damaging the effects of a second DUI conviction can be on your personal and professional life. Your conviction can not only lead to heavy fines, jail time, restricted or suspended driving privileges, and months of mandatory schooling and counseling, but it can also affect your life in various other ways. For example, suppose you hold any professional licenses, such as a license to practice medicine or perform any professional work. In that case, you could lose this license as disciplinary action from your professional oversight board. In addition, the record of your DUI conviction will also be public, diminishing your standing in the community.
If you do not qualify for restricted license privileges and cannot drive, this may prevent you from working and cost you your job, which will have a significant fiscal impact on other aspects of your life. Ultimately, it is always in your best interests to fight against your second DUI conviction by leveraging all the evidence you can gather in your favor.
The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, understands that this is a serious situation, and you likely feel like the system is working against you. Our team will provide the meticulous and aggressive defense counsel you need to fight your charges. Suppose you have been wrongfully accused or the police failed to conduct an appropriate investigation and arrest. In that case, we will help you prove the truth of the situation and hold them accountable. If you made a mistake and broke the law, our team will help you develop a compelling defense that may qualify you for reduced charges.
You need to take full advantage of your right to remain silent and your right to legal counsel after your second DUI arrest in Yorba Linda. Once the police have arrested and booked you, say nothing until you can make a phone call to a defense attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, and schedule a consultation with our team to find out how we can assist with your defense.