While California law treats first-time DUI as less serious than repeat DUI, the charges may still have negative and far-reaching consequences for your life. If you have been arrested for DUI for the first time, you need a skilled San Diego DUI attorney on your side. With nearly 30 years of experience, Roseline D. Feral will first attempt to reach a favorable outcome in your case with the prosecutor or the judge before trial. If we determine that we cannot achieve a fair deal through a settlement, however, you can rest assured that we will zealously advocate for your rights at trial.Fighting a First-Time DUI Charge
The basic offense of driving under the influence (DUI) in California consists of operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit. The legal limits in California are as follows:
- 0.08 percent or higher for people who are 21 years of age or older and possess a regular driver’s license with no restrictions.
- 0.04 percent or higher if you have a commercial driver’s license, irrespective of which vehicle you were driving.
- 0.04 percent or higher if you are presently on DUI probation for a previous charge.
- 0.01 percent or higher if you are under the legal drinking age of 21.
Most first-time DUIs are prosecuted as misdemeanor offenses. Defendants facing a first DUI charge in California generally face both criminal and administrative penalties, including a license suspension for a minimum of 30 days and a five-month restriction, up to six months in jail, a fine and fees of at least $390 up to a maximum of $1,000, three to five years of DUI probation, three months of DUI school, and the possible installation of an ignition interlock device on your car.
It is important to note that the state of California has an implied consent law, which means that if a driver refuses to take a chemical test, that person will be subjected to a fine and an automatic license suspension. As a result, a person who refuses a chemical test for a first-time DUI charge will face an automatic license suspension of one year.
Depending on the specific facts of the case, an individual charged with a DUI may be able to invoke a defense. For example, the police may not have had an appropriate justification to pull over your car in the traffic stop that resulted in the charge. In other situations, field sobriety tests may not have been properly conducted by the police. These typically involve three parts: the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk and turn, and the one-leg stand. You also may not have been able to perform some of the activities for reasons other than intoxication, such as a medical condition. If you can show that you were not intoxicated in this manner, you may be able to get a first-time DUI charge dropped.
In some instances, you may have a rising blood alcohol level defense. That is a defense available to people whose tests were administered at a time when the absorption of alcohol was at its highest , after the driving had stopped and driver was going through the testing, and arrest procedure. The defense would then establish that at time of driving, the blood alcohol level was not higher than the legal blood alcohol level.Contact a DUI Attorney in the San Diego Area
A DUI is a serious criminal charge that may negatively affect many aspects of your life, including your personal and professional reputation. If you have been arrested or charged with a first-time DUI, you should not delay in reaching out to a San Diego lawyer who can assess the circumstances of your case. Roseline D. Feral also represents drivers in Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista. To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact us online or call our office at 619-232-1010 and set up a free appointment with criminal defense lawyer Roseline D. Feral. Alternatively, you may reach Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191.