In San Diego, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, also known as DUI, is a serious accusation.
Whether you are facing a misdemeanor or felony DUI charge, there are ways to fight it depending on your situation and the specific facts surrounding your arrest.
Let’s discuss some ways to beat a DUI in California and how hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can help.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony DUI in California
In the state of California, there are two different DUI charges depending on the circumstances of the incident.
For situations where an alleged DUI doesn’t result in injury, the prosecution typically seeks a misdemeanor charge under Vehicle Code 23152 (a) or Vehicle Code 23152 (b).
Under the first part of the statute, it is unlawful for someone to drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any combination thereof.
In contrast, the second section makes it unlawful for a person to drive if they have a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.08%.
If the alleged DUI causes an injury, the prosecution is more likely to charge you with a felony. Much like misdemeanor DUI, felony DUI includes two potential counts.
Being charged with either of these counts not only jeopardizes your ability to drive but also potentially limits future employment opportunities.
3 Ways to Beat a DUI
There are several methods for defending against a DUI charge. Here are some of the most common defenses used for California DUI charges and when they might be applied.
1. Unwarranted Stop by a Police Officer
For a police officer to pull someone over, they must have a reasonable suspicion that an occupant in the vehicle committed a crime.
In many cases, the officer may accuse someone of DUI if they witness possible signs of intoxication, such as swerving. However, some officers find other reasons to pull over a driver, like a broken turn signal or an expired tag on their license plate.
If the initial traffic stop wasn’t based on any reasonable suspicion, everything that occurs during the stop may be ruled inadmissible at trial.
If large pieces of evidence, like the field sobriety exercises or the blood alcohol content reading get excluded from trial, the prosecutor may find that their case has disappeared. If so, they may have no other choice but to dismiss the case.
2. Issues Mistaken for Signs of Intoxication
When you are pulled over, the officer will look for any signs of impairment. They look for things like red eyes, slurred speech, poor balance, or a flushed face.
However, there are other things that may cause these symptoms, including prescription medications, allergies, or general fatigue.
3. Faulty Sobriety Tests
Once an officer suspects intoxication, they will most likely have you perform one or more field sobriety tests. The purpose of the field sobriety test is to measure your concentration, balance, and ability to follow instructions.
Unfortunately, many police officers use non-standardized field sobriety tests that may be difficult for anyone to pass. Those with poor balance due to heels, boots, foot injuries, or any type of bodily ailment are at a major disadvantage.
If you can provide evidence that you have or experienced issues that affected your performance of the exercises, the judge could invalidate the results in certain scenarios.
Accused of DUI? Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney You Can Trust
If you’ve been charged in San Diego and want to know how to fight a DUI, contact me today at 858-531-6387.
With over 20 years of experience in criminal defense, I will passionately fight for your rights to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. I look forward to serving you.