Inland Empire Law Firm Helps Defendants Fight Drunk Driving Charges
Getting arrested for a DUI in San Bernardino can be a life-changing event. A DUI is a serious criminal charge in California and can negatively impact your reputation for the rest of your life. If convicted, you may face a jail sentence, fines, and license suspension. If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in San Bernardino, there is no time to waste. The sooner you consult with a criminal defense lawyer, the more time your lawyer will have to build your legal defense.
Attorney Ronald L. Freeman has represented many clients in DUI cases throughout the Inland Empire. Whether you’re facing a first-time DUI charge or a subsequent charge, he will thoroughly investigate your case and gather evidence in your favor. From the beginning of your case, he will advocate for the best possible outcome, whether that’s a dismissal, an acquittal, a favorable plea bargain, or a reduced sentence. Contact the Law Offices of Ronald L. Freeman today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Infraction and Misdemeanor DUI Charges in California
There are three different levels of DUI cases in California: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. Infractions are the least serious category of DUI charges and involve a defendant under 21 with a blood alcohol content under .05 percent.
When a driver tests positive for a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher, he or she will face regular charges. Prosecutors nearly always charged regular DUI charges as misdemeanors that carry a jail sentence of less than a year. A defendant does not have to have a blood alcohol content level above .08 percent to face DUI charges in California.
Prosecutors can charge a driver when driving impaired or driving without the caution of a sober person. Proving a DUI is more difficult without a blood alcohol or breathalyzer test as evidence, but it is possible for prosecutors to convict a defendant using other circumstantial evidence. Misdemeanor DUI charges can also include cases in which a drunk driver causes another person to suffer a minor injury. Minor injuries typically include soreness, mild bruising, a small number of stitches, or other injuries that do not require extensive medical treatment.
Felony DUI Charges in California
When an intoxicated driver is involved in a car accident that causes another person a severe injury or causes another person’s death, prosecutors will charge the defendant with a felony. In most cases, prosecutors won’t bring felony DUI charges unless there is a serious injury involved, such as a spinal cord injury, neck injuries, broken bones, significant cuts, concussions, or traumatic brain injuries.
Drivers can also face felony DUI charges when they have been convicted of multiple DUIs. When a court convicts a driver of a fourth DUI within ten years of the first DUI arrest date, the defendant will face felony charges. California criminal statutes provide separate sets of penalties for a first-time DUI, second DUI, and subsequent DUI conviction.
It’s possible for two drivers who tested with the same blood alcohol concentration can face entirely different criminal charges. However, if you’ve been charged with a felony, you can expect to spend at least one year in jail if you’re convicted. The penalties for a felony DUI can include a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
First-Time DUI Charges in California
Those charged with a first-time conviction in California face a jail sentence between 48 hours and six months. In most cases, judges will require probation instead of jail time. Defendants must pay a fine between $390 to $1,000 plus a penalty assessment that can total thousands of dollars or more. Typically, California courts will suspend the driver’s license for six months for a first-time DUI conviction.
When the driver had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher, the Department of Motor Vehicles will impose an administrative driver’s license suspension for a minimum of four months. If the driver refused a blood alcohol test, the Department of Motor Vehicles would impose a one-year administrative license suspension. First-time offenders can apply for a restricted license to drive to school and work after installing an ignition interlock device (IID). They will typically need to complete a three-month DUI school as part of their probation agreement.
When it comes to DUI cases, every legal defense is unique. Attorney Ronald L. Freeman will carefully investigate the facts of your case and develop a comprehensive defense strategy. Some common legal defenses for DUIs in California include the following:
- Improper stops and searches — The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution bans unreasonable searches, which is why we review the facts of each case to determine whether the stop and any search conducted by law enforcement adhered to legal guidelines. If probable cause did not exist for the search, any information gathered could be thrown out.
- Faulty blood alcohol testing — California drivers over the age of 21 are considered legally intoxicated if their blood alcohol content is at or above .08 percent. Errors can occur in the testing and analysis processes, and we can identify problems and argue for the exclusion of flawed evidence. Our firm also represents young drivers who violate the law if any alcohol is detected in their test.
Contact a San Bernardino DUI Defense Lawyer Today
Have you been charged with a DUI in San Bernardino or Riverside County? If so, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. We provide potential clients with a free initial consultation, so nothing is holding you back from seeking the strong legal advocacy you deserve. Contact the Law Offices of Ronald L. Freeman today to schedule your free initial consultation to learn how we can advocate for your rights.