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If you are arrested or investigated for an offense involving operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other substance, you could be facing potentially life-altering consequences. DUI offenses typically carry severe penalties due to the state holding a firm stance in trying to prevent intoxicated driving.

For that reason, it is critical to seek the assistance of an accomplished attorney experienced in DUI law to help ensure that your legal rights are protected throughout the case. An experienced Fremont DUI lawyer understands the elements associated with driving under the influence charges and what the state prosecutors need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to find a person guilty of a DUI offense.

Types of Driving Under the Influence Charges

Driving under the influence is an overarching term that encompasses several different charges under state law. DUI offenses are broken down into charges based on a driver’s intoxication level, whether injuries were caused by the intoxicated driver, and many other circumstances. Some of the most common intoxicated motorist charges under state law include:

  • California Vehicle Code § 23152(a): Driving under the influence of any alcoholic beverage. The key phrase here is “under the influence.” It is not illegal to drink and drive. It is illegal to drive while intoxicated. This tends to be measured by whether a person can drive a vehicle in the manner that a sober person would.
  • Vehicle Code § 23152(b): DUI involving a level of intoxication above 0.08 percent. If a breath or blood test registers this amount of alcohol in your body, the law is that it is presumed that you have consumed too much of an otherwise legal substance to be driving. This presumption can be overcome in many cases with the help of a skilled DUI lawyer.
  • Vehicle Code § 23152(d): DUI involving a level of intoxication above 0.04 percent while operating a commercial motor vehicle. The standard is more strict in these cases, however, the presumption is still rebuttable. Commercial drivers are held to a higher standard than non-commercial drivers because of the type of license they carry. These drivers also face serious penalties that can affect their livelihood if convicted of a DUI.
  • Vehicle Code § 23152(f): This section makes it unlawful for a person to drive while under the influence of any drug.
  • Vehicle Code § 23153(a): This violation is similar to a violation of VC §23152(a) where it is illegal to drive while under the influence of an alcohol beverage but this offense is charged when that driving under the influence is the proximate cause of bodily injury to another person. It does not matter if this person was a stranger or a friend – serious consequences can arise and this can be charged as a felony if the injuries to the other party are severe.
  • Vehicle Code §23153(b): DUI involving a level of intoxication above 0.08 percent and causing another individual to sustain bodily injury.
  • Vehicle Code § 23136(a): DUI involving a person under the age of 21 years with a level of intoxication of 0.01 percent or greater. Basically, any alcohol in the blood, whether the driver is impaired or not, can result in a violation of this section because the legal drinking age in California is 21.
  • Vehicle Code §23577 – Refusal to submit to DUI testing. Chemical testing may be demanded by law enforcement at the jail. This testing can include either blood or breath tests. Refusal to submit to a chemical test at the jail can not only result in a suspension of your license but it can carry its own separate criminal penalties.

An individual charged with driving under the influence will be issued a citation or notice that will tell you what exactly the charges are that you may be facing. The severity of a charge often depends on the level of intoxication, damage caused, and previous convictions of DUI-related offenses. Typically, a state prosecutor is unwilling to reduce the charges in a DUI case if a charged individual has a history of driving under the influence, caused injury to another person, caused serious property damage, drove in a wanton or reckless manner, or consisted of some other aggravating factor like having a child in the car.

Many DUI charges could result in severe penalties, including jail time, the loss of driving privileges, and significant fines and court costs. It is important to keep in mind that the penalties for a DUI get harsher with every prior within a 10 year period.  If someone is facing a fourth DUI – they can be charged with a felony. A seasoned Fremont DUI defense lawyer can fight for an individual’s legal rights throughout the criminal process by making sure that law enforcement, as well as the prosecution, has not violated any constitutional rights, that any test results are reviewed for accuracy and reliability, and by exploring any other potential defenses that may be available like whether the driver was on a rise or if the individual was even driving at all. An experienced DUI lawyer will work towards a dismissal, acquittal, reduction of the charges or other means of securing a positive outcome for the client.

What are the Defense Strategies in a DUI Case?

In order to legally stop a vehicle,  law enforcement must have a good reason to do so.  Something as simple as a tail light being broken may be enough for the officer to pull you over to tell you it is out and to get it fixed. Once at your vehicle, if they smell alcohol, or have some other indication you may be driving while intoxicated, they have grounds to investigate further. If, however, the officer does not have a good reason to stop you, and you are then charged with DUI, your charges may be able to be dismissed.  If, perchance, the officer failed to comply with all of the relevant state laws relating to collecting evidence there may be a basis for a dismissal or a not guilty verdict in the case as well. Blood and other tests require a strict chain of custody for taking the sample, testing the samples, and maintaining the evidence, which could be lacking in some cases.  A keen DUI lawyer can find these errors and holes and talk to you about how it impacts the strength of the prosecution’s case against you.

Poking holes in the prosecution’s DUI case requires extensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the offense. Law enforcement are not inclined to admit to their own wrongdoing and do not always fully investigate a case or properly handle evidence. It is crucial to have a dedicated Fremont DUI lawyer to help present a strong defense on your behalf to help you through the murky waters of a DUI charge.

Contact a Fremont DUI Attorney for Assistance

Due to the substantial consequences that come with an intoxicated driving charge, it is essential you do not attempt to defend yourself. The experienced  DUI lawyers at The Nieves Law Firm can help fight for your best interests throughout the legal process. Call today for a free consultation and an evaluation of your charges and the potential defenses available to you.

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