DUI Stop, Under 21 DUI, Commercial DUI, BAC Testing & Your Rights
Arrested & charged with a DUI? Call us for FREE consultation.
Sacramento DUI defense lawyer
Throughout California, law enforcement officials have been expanding efforts to crack down on drunk driving offenses. If you have been arrested for a DUI contact a Sacramento DUI defense lawyer today for free consultation.
Preventing Police DUI Stop
Since an accusation of drunk driving is virtually inevitable at some point in your life, the first step is minimizing the factors that trigger drunk driving arrests. Of course, abstinence is the best way to prevent an arrest, but this is often impractical.
Most people are social drinkers, and it is perfectly legal to drink and drive. If you are drinking alcohol, even socially, then you are susceptible to a drunk driving arrest. Therefore, it is essential to know your rights before operating a motor vehicle.
The best way to reduce the chance of a drunk driving arrest is preventing the initial police stop. First and foremost, be familiar with the vehicle you are driving. Many arrests are precipitated by erratic driving behaviors due to the motorists unfamiliarity with the car.
The person is often driving a friends car, and the irregular driving involves:
- searching for dashboard switches;
- stopping too quickly because of unfamiliarity with the brake sensitivity; or
- driving a manual transmission when they are more familiar with an automatic, or vise versa.
If you are drinking alcohol, even socially, then you are susceptible to a drunk driving arrest. Therefore, it is essential to know your rights before operating a motor vehicle. The key is taking precautions before driving. The ability to correct minor driving irregularities, which are often unrelated to alcohol impairment, can reduce the chance of being stopped by the police. Regardless of the excuse used for driving erratically, this creates probable cause to justify a police stop, which allows the officer to inquire about the driver’s consumption of alcohol. Consequently, it is imperative to act responsibly before driving so you can prevent a police stop.
Prior to any police stop, every motorist should stock their vehicle with several essential items. Each component is intended to reduce the indicators of intoxication that offices rely upon to substantiate a drunk driving arrest. Since most drunk driving arrests are precipitated by the officer’s initial contact with the driver, it is essential to use this opportunity to present yourself in a non-incriminating manner. In other words, motorists must take precautions to disguise the indicators of intoxication to avoid being wrongfully charged with a drunk driving offense.
Arrested & Charged with a DUI in Sacramento County?
If you have been charged with a DUI in Sacramento California, you need an experienced Sacramento DUI defense lawyer on your side. Contact our Sacramento DUI defense lawyer for free consultation today.
Under 21 DUI Offense
DUI convictions become stricter if you are under 21 years of age. Because the legal age to drink is 21, any BAC level of 0.01 or higher is an automatic DUI and an automatic one-year license suspension on top of the normal DUI penalties. If he or she refused to take the test, there will be an automatic license suspension. In addition to license suspension, you will be facing five years of informal probation, meaning you will not adhere to a probation officer but instead be on probation to the court. Under this probation you are not allowed to violate any laws greater than minor traffic violations for five years. You will be fined the normal $2,000 as well as mandatory participation in a drinking-driver program and public works service if the court decides.
If you are under 18 years of age, you will be faced with the penalties mentioned above as well as any additional requirements enforced by a juvenile judge like imposition of curfew, mandatory employment, and maintenance of a certain grade point average.
Drivers under the age of 21 face two kinds of alcohol related offense that affect their driving privileges.
One, possessing alcohol and two, California Zero Tolerance Law. The latter means California does not and will not tolerate any amount of alcohol, specifically 0.01% or higher, for drivers younger than 21 years old.
First time offenders of the Zero Tolerance Law face:
- License suspension for one year.
- Court ordered probation.
- The educational portion of DUI school, and
- Hundreds of dollars in fines, not including legal fees.
You also face penalties for the possession of alcohol. If you’re younger than 21 years old, you can’t possess alcohol in your vehicle unless the container is full, sealed, and unopened. You also must either be with a parent or legal guardian. Breaking this law leads to:
- Vehicle impoundment for 30 days.
- Fines of up to $1,000.
- License suspension for one year.
If this is not your first offense, the criminal court judge will inform you of longer suspension periods, higher fines, more stringent DUI programs you face, and other penalties the judge deems necessary.
Refusing BAC Testing
California’s implied consent law contained in Cal. Veh. Code Section 23612, requires drivers to submit to chemical testing if you are arrested for a DUI.
Section (A) states, “A person who drives a motor vehicle is deemed to have given his or her consent to chemical testing of his or her blood or breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her blood, if lawfully arrested…”
Section (D) says, “…failure to complete, the required chemical testing will result in a fine, mandatory imprisonment…the suspension of the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle for a period of one year, (ii) the revocation of the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle for a period of two years if the refusal occurs within 10 years of a separate violation.”
Thus, if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving under the influence, you are legally obligated to allow the officer to administer a test to determine your BAC. In fact, refusing to comply can lead to even more severe penalties than failing the test, so it is best for you to comply and consent to a BAC test.
As a matter of public policy, individuals who obtained a commercial driver’s license will be held to a higher and more stringent standard than a regular driver. The policy behind this standard is that a driver who drives a fully loaded 80,000 pound truck, or a bus full of people, has a potential to do a lot more damages than your average driver.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) has adopted regulations for commercial drivers that sets the BAC limit of 0.04. FMCSA also prohibits drivers from operation any commercial vehicle within four hours of consuming any alcohol.
Even if you are not driving a commercial vehicle, if you were arrested for suspicion for driving under the influence of alcohol you are facing serious charges or license suspension (which means the loss of livelihood), fines and penalties, jail time, mandated court-approved education program, among other things. After the arrest you will be required to notify your employer who them will be prohibited from employing your services as a driver.
Further, unlike regular DUI convictions, a commercial driver is not entitled to a restricted license. And even after the DUI conviction sentence and probation period have been completed, and commercial driver will find it difficult to locate employment with a DUI condition on his record.
Without an experienced DUI lawyer Sacramento by your side you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. To protect your rights and improve your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome for your case, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced Sacramento DUI defense lawyer.
Driver Rights & Passenger Rights
In comparison to passenger rights, drivers are held more accountable because they have control of the vehicle. When an illegal substance is discovered, the driver is first to blame.
Of course physical proximity affects the issue possession. If the substance is located on the passenger floorboard, the driver is less likely to be charged; if the illegal substance is located under the passenger seat, either party could be charged. Contents located in the trunk, glove box, center console, or other hidden locales are likely to be viewed as the responsibility of the driver.
This is a generalization about police perspectives on criminal activity. The result can vary with individual officers, the appearance and demeanor of the vehicle occupants, or their criminal history. The fact that criminal charges are brought does not necessarily translate into a conviction. Often vehicles searches cause problems for prosecutors because they cannot prove actual or constructive possession of the illegal substance.
The physical proximity of an illegal substance affects the issue possession. If the substance is located on the passenger floorboard, the driver is less likely to be charged; if the illegal substance is located under the passenger seat, either party could be charged.
The passenger is afforded the greatest constitutional protection and police deference. Since the passenger is often a captive occupant of the vehicle and unable to control their destination, police are less likely to press criminal charges. The lack of control is a key factor when evaluating passenger rights.
There’s no substitute for a strong Sacramento DUI attorney, call the Law Office of Wing & Parisi at (916) 441-4888.
Contact us online or call at (916) 441-4888 for a free and confidential initial consultation, available in Spanish. We appear in state and federal courts in the Sacramento and Davis communities as well as throughout Placer and San Joaquin counties.