One of the most common alcohol-related charges filed by prosecutors is driving under the influence of alcohol (“DUI”). The danger imposed by impaired drivers has been highlighted by organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (“MADD”) for many years. Consequently, state legislatures around the country have taken note and subsequently increased DUI penalties and enforcement efforts. In fact, the federal government is currently attempting to persuade state governments to voluntarily lower legal blood-alcohol content (“BAC”) levels to 0.05 percent – or even lower. Whether this will happen remains to be seen.

The current law in California makes it illegal to drive a non-commercial vehicle with a BAC that is 0.08 percent or higher.

A driver who is arrested for DUI can face criminal penalties in court as well as an administrative driver’s license suspension from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV proceeds independently of any criminal action taken by the prosecutor’s office.

The penalties imposed upon conviction for DUI will depend on the defendant’s criminal history, his or her blood alcohol content, whether there was a collision and various other factors. With that being said, there are a multitude of ways for a criminal defense attorney to fight DUI charges. Potential defenses employed by a DUI lawyer include the following:

  • Challenging whether reasonable suspicion existed to legally justify the stop
  • Challenging the legality of the DUI checkpoint stop
  • Challenging the results of the blood test
  • Making a “rising blood alcohol content” argument
  • Questioning the field sobriety tests
  • Challenging whether there was probable cause to arrest
  • Challenging whether the testing equipment was properly maintained and/or calibrated
  • Introducing evidence of medical conditions that could affect the test results, such as acid reflux
  • Introducing violations of Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations regarding the collection, storage, and analysis of DUI chemical tests
  • Introducing innocent explanations for physical signs and symptoms of DUI (such as red/watery eyes, slurred speech, etc.)

Please contact our San Diego office for more information regarding DUI offenses, penalties, and defenses. Paul Hefley is the defense attorney you can count on.

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