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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in San Jose DUI Defense Attorney

What Distinguishes a Felony DUI from a Misdemeanor DUILast week, many community members in Bakersfield, California, were incredulous after the local district attorney announced that a high-profile case would not include charges of felony driving under the influence of alcohol. The suspect had supposedly been legally intoxicated when his vehicle hit and killed a bicyclist. However, he is being charged with the lesser misdemeanor DUI. The case illustrates the intricacies when deciding between misdemeanor DUI and felony DUI charges in California. Felony charges may require proving negligence and causation, as well as intoxication.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony

Misdemeanor DUI charges commonly occur when a defendant is suspected of being intoxicated after a routine traffic stop. A person can have as many as four DUI convictions within a 10-year period before facing felony DUI charges. However, a DUI charge can be upgraded to a felony if someone is injured or killed as a result of the DUI. There are several types of felony DUI charges involving injury or death:

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San Jose criminal defense attorneyOver the past few years, California has upped the ante with new legislation for those choosing to drive while under the influence or DUI.

In 2010, California legislated changes to the existing DUI laws which included the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) to deter repeat offenders from driving if their alcohol content is over the legal range. The following year, the state expanded the authority of the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to immediately suspend operating privileges for drivers suspected of a DUI and for longer periods of time.

Although there are additional California laws addressing the issue of driving while under the influence there is little guidance regarding possible long-term DUI consequences. So what happens to the many otherwise conscientious drivers with a previously clean driving record who are now facing the fallout of a DUI conviction? For those who find themselves within this category, even after all the legal ramifications have been satisfied, a DUI conviction can undermine many future opportunities and quality of life.

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San Jose DUI defense attorneyA new bill, recently passed by the California State Senate, seeks to increase the penalties for all drivers convicted of a DUI by enforcing the installment of an interlock device. Currently being piloted in four counties – Alameda, Tulare, Los Angeles, and Sacramento – the measure is now being sent to the Assembly for consideration. If passed, this new law could impact the lives and driving rights of more than 200,000 drivers each and every year.

What Is an Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a lot like a breathalyzer test, but it is connected to the ignition of your vehicle. Before you can start your car, you have to blow into the mouthpiece. If the device detects a blood alcohol concentration above the preprogrammed limit, the ignition remains disabled and you are unable to start your car. The device also requires that you periodically complete what is known as a “running retest” while driving. This requires that you blow into the device at random intervals while driving. If you fail the running retest, the device will not shut off the engine, but it will record the event and cause your vehicle to alert the authorities.

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license suspension, San Jose DUI defense lawyerAfter you are arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), the arresting officer may confiscate your driver’s license. The license will remain confiscated—out of your possession—throughout the entire revocation or suspension period. The period of revocation or suspension is determined by the DMV, upon conducting an administrative review. If the review concludes that your license should, in fact, be suspended for a period of time, you may contest the decision by requesting a hearing.

This is, of course, best done with the assistance of a qualified criminal defense attorney. The request for this hearing must be filed within 10 days of receipt of the suspension or revocation notice. If the hearing is unsuccessful and your driving privileges are rescinded, you will have to pay a $125 reissue fee to the California state DMV in order to have your license reinstated after the period of suspension has ended.

Temporary Licenses

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drugged driving, proposed law, San Jose marijuana DUI lawyerBetween the legalization of medicinal marijuana and the push for recreational legalization, police officers and state officials are looking for a way to better detect who might be driving while under the influence. Their hope is a handheld electronic device that would automatically detect the presence of various drugs, including marijuana, on a saliva swab. The real question is whether or not they could successfully pass such legislation and if it would, in fact, give them the evidence needed in a courtroom.

When and How the Swab Would Be Used

As the law currently stands, convictions for driving under the influence of marijuana – even medical marijuana – are rather subjective since blood tests are unable to determine the last episode of use. As such, prosecutors and law enforcement use a battery of circumstances, including presence of marijuana in the bloodstream, driving patterns, failed field sobriety tests, and physical appearance.  In contrast, a swab test focuses on recent drug use, typically within approximately 24 to 72 hours with marijuana.

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APS law, San Jose DUI defense lawyerIn 1990, a law was passed in California that made it possible for law enforcement authorities to immediately suspend the license of any person caught driving under the influence. This law, known as Administrative Per Se (APS), was implemented as a means to address and combat the state’s 1,500 annual crash-related deaths in which alcohol was a factor.

Underage DUI

The law is only applicable to drivers 21 years and older. If you are charged with a DUI under the legal drinking age, California has a zero-tolerance policy, meaning that regardless of whether your blood alcohol level (BAC) is above the legal limit, if there is any alcohol detected in your system whatsoever, you will be guilty of underage drinking and driving. This results in a one-year license suspension—again, regardless of whether your BAC was below the legal limit. If you are found guilty of DUI as an underage drinker and have at least the legal limit of alcohol in your system (.08 percent or more), you may also be subject to: 

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sobriety testing, San Jose criminal defense attorneyIf you have been accused of driving under the influence in California, there are several things you need to know to know about your rights when it comes to chemical testing. Whenever you get behind the wheel of a car in the United States, you are under the auspices of implied consent.

Understanding Implied Consent

Every state in the country has some form of implied consent law, which means that by operating a vehicle on a public road, you are agreeing to submit to chemical testing if pulled over and asked by an officer of the law to undergo a test. Refusal to submit to a requested chemical test when driving on a public road is a violation of the law, and punishment can be much harsher than it would have otherwise been. That is, fines and jail time could be greater than if the chemical test had revealed that you were driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit.

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