A first-offense DUI brings fear and uncertainty. At Summit Defense, we can provide you with the care, compassion, and information you need to put yourself in the best position possible to recover.
Below, we will provide an in-depth overview of what to expect, potential consequences, special circumstances, and how our experienced San Jose first-offense DUI lawyers can help you. Remember, you do not have to go through this alone. The San Jose criminal defense lawyer at Summit Defense is here to help you.
What You Can Expect From a First-Offense DUI
Being arrested for a first-offense DUI can be a stressful experience, but our San Jose DUI lawyers can support you. Understanding the legal process, from the arrest to possible penalties is crucial. Knowing what to expect will help you prepare for the challenges ahead and make informed decisions about your defense.
First, let’s discuss the arrest process. When you are stopped for suspicion of DUI, the officer will likely ask you questions about your alcohol consumption and perform a field sobriety test. If the officer believes there is probable cause, they will arrest you for DUI and take you to the police station for further testing, usually a breath or blood test.
At the station, you will be booked, and your vehicle may be impounded. You will also be allowed to contact an attorney or a family member. Depending on your case, you may be released on bail or your recognizance.
Overview of the DUI Laws in California
California has strict DUI laws, which apply to alcohol and drug-related offenses. The state’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits are as follows:
- 0.08% for drivers 21 years and older;
- 0.04% for commercial drivers;
- Someone under the age of 21 cannot have any alcohol in their system.
A DUI charge can also be based on the arresting officer’s observations, such as erratic driving or failing field sobriety tests. In addition to alcohol, California DUI laws also cover impairment due to drugs, including prescription medications and illegal substances.
Criminal Penalties for DUI Conviction in San Jose, California
The penalties for a first-offense DUI conviction in San Jose, California, can vary depending on the circumstances of the case. Generally, the consequences include:
- A maximum of six months in jail;
- Fines ranging from $390 to $1,000;
- License suspension for six months;
- Mandatory attendance at a DUI program; and
- Possible installation of an ignition interlock device(IID).
However, these penalties can be significantly more severe if aggravating factors are involved in your case, such as a high BAC level, an accident causing injury or death, or having a minor in the vehicle. You can also mitigate some of the penalties if you are willing to attend San Jose DUI school.
DUI 1st Offense Cases Involving Aggravating Circumstances
In some cases, aggravating factors can significantly increase the penalties for a first-offense drunk driving case.
Penalty for 1st Offense DUI With Injury (Misdemeanor)
When a DUI results in bodily injury to another person, the consequences become more severe. A misdemeanor DUI with an injury can result in the following:
- Up to one year in jail;
- Fines of $390 to $5,000;
- License suspension for one year;
- Mandatory DUI program attendance; or
- Restitution to the injured parties.
Anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident must seek medical care quickly. Then, reach out to our team at Summit Defense for compassionate, supportive legal help.
Penalty for 1st Offense DUI With Injury (Felony)
In cases involving significant injuries or multiple victims, the DUI may be charged as a felony. A felony DUI with an injury can result in the following:
- Up to 3 years in county jail;
- Fines of up to $5,000;
- License suspension for up to three years;
- Mandatory DUI program attendance; or
- Restitution to the injured parties.
A felony DUI is a more serious situation, but with our legal experience, we can advocate for your rights and protect your interests. Count on us to help you.
Special Circumstances DUI Cases
Some individuals may face unique challenges due to their profession or personal circumstances.
Military personnel facing DUI charges may also face the consequences within the military justice system, such as demotions or administrative actions. These consequences can have long-lasting effects on a service member’s career and benefits.
Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals may face disciplinary actions from their licensing boards, which could jeopardize their careers. In some cases, they may be required to undergo substance abuse treatment or monitoring programs as a condition of keeping their license.
Non-citizens convicted of a DUI may face immigration consequences, including deportation or denial of naturalization. A DUI conviction can also make obtaining a visa or re-entering the United States difficult after traveling abroad.
Lawyers, judges, and other legal professionals may face disciplinary actions from their licensing boards, affecting their careers and reputations. Sometimes, they may be required to disclose their DUI conviction to clients or employers.
Individuals with high-security clearances may lose their clearances, jeopardizing their jobs or future employment opportunities. A DUI conviction can also make it challenging to obtain or maintain a security clearance in the future.
You need added support if your case falls under any of these categories, so rely on us to help you.
What To Do After a First DUI Offense Arrest
After a DUI arrest, it is crucial to take the following steps:
- Contact a San Jose DUI lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights, navigate the legal process, and develop a strong defense strategy.
- Gather and preserve evidence, such as police reports, witness statements, and video footage of the arrest or field sobriety tests. This evidence can be invaluable in building your defense.
- Attend all court hearings and follow court-ordered requirements, such as attending a DUI program or installing an ignition interlock device.
- Stay informed about your case and actively participate in your defense. Communication with your attorney is key to achieving the best possible outcome.
California DUI Criminal Defense Strategies
An experienced San Jose DUI lawyer from Summit Defense will analyze your case and develop a strong defense strategy. Some potential defense strategies include:
- Challenging the legality of the traffic stop or arrest: If the officer did not have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop or arrest you, your attorney may be able to get the charges dismissed or the evidence suppressed.
- Questioning the accuracy of field sobriety tests or chemical tests: Errors in administering or interpreting these tests can lead to false positives or inaccurate results. Your attorney may be able to challenge the validity of the test results in court.
- Identifying procedural errors law enforcement made: If the police failed to follow proper procedures during your arrest, such as failing to read your Miranda rights, your attorney might use this to your advantage.
- Demonstrating that your driving was not impaired by alcohol or drugs: Your attorney can present evidence or witnesses to show that your driving was not affected by your alleged intoxication.
- Presenting evidence of a medical condition that may have affected your BAC or sobriety test results: Certain medical conditions, such as GERD or diabetes, can affect BAC results or mimic signs of intoxication. Your attorney can use this information to argue that your test results were inaccurate or that you were not actually impaired.
- Challenging the reliability of the breathalyzer machine: Your attorney may investigate whether the breathalyzer used in your case was properly maintained and calibrated. The breathalyzer results may be deemed unreliable if there is evidence of machine malfunctions or improper maintenance.
- Proving that your rights were violated during the arrest or investigation: If your rights were violated, such as illegal search and seizure, coerced statements, or a violation of your right to counsel, your attorney could use this information to argue for a dismissal or reduction of charges.
No matter the circumstances of your case, our compassionate and skilled attorneys at Summit Defense will work diligently to help you navigate the legal process and fight for the best possible outcome.
The Importance of Hiring an Experienced San Jose DUI Lawyer
Facing a first-offense DUI charge can be daunting, but with the proper legal representation, you can minimize the impact on your life. At Summit Defense, our San Jose DUI lawyers have extensive experience defending clients against DUI charges. We are dedicated to helping you understand your rights, navigate the legal system, and protect your future.
By hiring an experienced San Jose DUI lawyer, you will benefit from the following:
- Personalized attention and representation tailored to your specific case.
- A thorough understanding of California DUI laws and potential defense strategies.
- Expert guidance throughout the legal process, from the DMV hearing to potential plea negotiations or trials.
- Access to resources and expert witnesses that can help strengthen your defense.
Facing a DUI charge is a serious matter, and having a skilled and dedicated legal team on your side is essential. Our attorneys at Summit Defense are committed to providing our clients with the highest representation and support throughout their cases.
What Your San Jose DUI Lawyer Can Do for You
Having a knowledgeable and experienced San Jose DUI lawyer by your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. At Summit Defense, our attorneys are dedicated to providing comprehensive legal representation for our clients. Here are some of the ways our San Jose DUI lawyers can assist you:
DMV Administrative Hearing
After a DUI arrest, you have only ten days to request a DMV administrative hearing to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license. Our San Jose DUI lawyers can represent you at the DMV hearing, present evidence, and argue to help you retain your driving privileges.
Before your case goes to trial, our DUI attorneys can engage in pre-trial negotiations with the prosecution. Using our criminal law knowledge, we can work to have your charges reduced or dismissed, negotiate favorable plea agreements, or explore alternatives to traditional sentencing, such as diversion programs or community service.
San Jose DUI Court Case
If your case goes to trial, our experienced San Jose DUI lawyers will aggressively defend your rights. After San Jose DUI arrests, our law offices will challenge the evidence against you, present your defense, and advocate for the best possible outcome. Our criminal defense firm profoundly understands the legal strategies and tactics necessary to build a strong defense in DUI cases.
Contact Our Experienced San Jose, CA DUI Lawyers at Summit Defense for an Initial Consultation
If you are facing a first-offense DUI charge in San Jose, California, don’t hesitate to seek legal representation from our experienced DUI lawyers at Summit Defense. Our criminal defense law firm understands the complexities of DUI cases and the unique challenges that our clients face.
Our team is committed to providing compassionate and dedicated representation, ensuring your rights are protected, and your interests are represented at every step.
Contact a San Jose DUI attorney from our office today for a free consultation to discuss your case. Learn how our skilled San Jose DUI lawyers can help you navigate the legal process and achieve the best possible outcome.