How to Fight a DUI Charge in California

By | August 29, 2016

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense here in California and across the nation. If you are charged with a DUI, you may face, among other penalties, significant fines, driver’s’ license suspension/revocation, ignition interlock device requirement, and even jail time.

Given the severe penalties, it is important that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to best protect your rights and interests. An experienced California DUI defense lawyer will know the law and will be able to thoroughly study your case to pinpoint key defenses that may set you free. Such an attorney will be experienced with dealing with the prosecutor’s office.

How to Fight DUIs in California

In California, if you are over the age of 21, you may not drive your vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of a .08 or higher. If you are under the age of 21, you may not drive if you have a BAC of a .01 or higher.

There are numerous defenses to DUI charges. The first defense, a strong one, is that the traffic stop was unlawful. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution governs police stops. Per the Fourth Amendment, the police officer must have at least a “reasonable suspicion” to pull you over. For example, the police may pull you over if you are speeding, have a defective headlight, are swerving in and out of lanes, et cetera.

If the police officer pulls you over without at least a reasonable suspicion, then anything uncovered from the traffic stop will be excluded from your cases; this includes evidence of your DUI. Hence, this will likely set you free.

Second, another powerful defense is available when the arresting officer did not properly conduct California’s field sobriety test. These tests, among other tasks, the officer will require you to stand on one leg, walk and turn, follow an object, such as a pen, with your eyes, finger to nose, and numerous other tests. The arresting officer must properly conduct these tests per California rules.

As prescribed in the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, an officer must have probable cause before placing you under arrest. If you fail the sobriety tests, this may give an officer enough probable cause to arrest you. Yet, if it is later found that the officer did not conduct the tests properly, this may destroy the officer’s probable cause; hence, the arrest will likely be found unlawful. Your case may then be dismissed.

Third, another powerful defense is when you can attack the Breathalyzer, if one was used. If you blew into a Breathalyzer and the result was .08 BAC or above, this may give the officer probable cause to arrest you. If you are able to show a defect in the Breathalyzer, or that the officer did not use it properly, this may destroy any probable cause that the officer had to arrest you. Hence, this may lead to the dismissal of your case.

Take Action

In all, if you are charged with a DUI it is imperative that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. A California DUI lawyer will know how to thoroughly study your case to look for powerful defenses and will also know how to best talk to the prosecutor involved in your case.

About The Author:

Vikas Bajaj is the owner and founder of Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC, a premiere San Diego, CA criminal defense firm. Mr. Bajaj has over 16 years experience handling all criminal matters including DUI , domestic violence, drug crimes, theft crimes, and sex crimes. 

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