SACRAMENTO DUI ATTORNEY
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) cases can be complex. Such cases are often referred to as DUI cases, DWI cases, drunk driving cases, or "deuces."
In most cases, if you are arrested for a DUI, you will be booked, and released within 6 to 14 hours. You may however be kept longer if you have prior DUI convictions, are on probation or the facts of the current offense are more serious. If you are not released on O.R. (own recognizance) bail will likely be set. You will then be given a court date to appear for your arraignment where your charges will be read out loud. In most DUI misdemeanor cases a Sacramento Dui Attorney can appear on your behalf. After negotiations with the District Attorneys office, the case will either resolve, continue, or be set for trial (or Preliminary Hearing in felony cases).
Generally, as long as no injuries are involved, DWI cases are charged as misdemeanors. These cases can nevertheless be complex. Experienced Sacramento DUI lawyers at the Law Firm of Bonilla & Cintean, LLP. are thoroughly familiar with scientific and medical evidence applicable to such cases, rules of evidence, examining expert witnesses, using admissible documentation, hearsay rules and applicable law.
Most arrests for misdemeanor violations of Vehicle Code section 23152 are made without a warrant when a police officer observes an individual driving erratically, or observes signs of intoxication in a driver stopped for another Vehicle Code violation.
If you are arrested for a DUI, you should be admonished under Vehicle Code section 23612, the "implied consent" statute, that you will be given a chemical test and have a choice of (1) a blood test; (2) a breath test; or, if arrested for driving under the influence of any drug or the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug, (3) a urine test. If you are uncooperative, the police agency may compel you to submit to a blood test conducted in a reasonable manner. Most times they will videotape this forcible blood draw.
Generally, you will be held until you have sobered up. A six to fourteen hour hold is not out of the ordinary. When released, you will be given a citation and promise to appear (i.e., on O.R.). A citation will inform you of the date, time, and place to attend court. If you are not released in this manner, bail will be set according to the local bail schedule. Sacramento County revised its bail schedule in June, 2010.
Unless a special circumstance exists, if you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both you will be charged with violating Vehicle Code section 23152(a), commonly referred to as the "DUI count," and will be prosecuted for a misdemeanor.
If you submit to a blood-alcohol test and the results show a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more, you will also be charged with violating Vehicle Code section 23152(b), commonly called the "0.08 per se count."
Depending on the circumstances, you may also be charged with:
- Drunk driving of a commercial vehicle if you have a BAC of 0.04 or above. Vehicle Code section 23152(d).
- Driving while addicted to any drug. Vehicle Code section 23152(c).
- Drunk driving resulting in injuries to others. Vehicle Code section 23153(a)-(b).
- Child endangerment. Penal Code section 273a.
- Driving with any measurable amount of alcohol (typically BAC of .01 or greater) if you are on probation for DUI. Vehicle Code section 23154.
A DUI that results in a death may be prosecuted as a vehicular manslaughter or over a second degree murder. While second degree murder charges are rare in DUI cases, prior DUI convictions may be used to show that the person charged knew the dangers of drunk driving.
Upon any DUI conviction in California, the courts are now required to read the following advisement under Vehicle Code section 23593(a):
"You are hereby advised that being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both, impairs your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Therefore, it is extremely dangerous to human life to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both. If you continue to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both, and, as a result of that driving, someone is killed, you can be charged with murder."
Juveniles who drive while under the influence are subject to prosecution. In addition charges can also be brought against adults who lend their cars to such juveniles. See Vehicle Code section 23140; Penal Code section 193.8. The minimum required BAC for a person under age 21 to be DUI is only 0.05. Vehicle Code section 23140.
Some of the various enhancements that apply specifically to DUI cases:
- Felony charges if you have three or more prior DWI or "wet reckless" violations that led to convictions within the last 10 years. Prosecution as a felony if you have three or more prior DUI convictions within a period of 10 years.
- Felony charges if you have a prior felony DUI conviction within the last ten years.
- Felony charges if you have a prior felony conviction for a DWI related vehicular manslaughter.
- Reckless driving and speeding.
- Passenger under age 14.
- Refusal to submit to a chemical test.
If you are convicted, the court may order that your car be impounded for a period of 1 to 30 days, or longer if you have prior DUI related convictions. Vehicle Code section 23594.
To be convicted of a DWI, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you drove a vehicle while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug. VC23152(a).
In a typical alcohol related DWI, the prosecution will also charge subsection (b) of the same code. They will be required to prove that you drove a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. Contact a Sacramento attorney for help with California DUI law.
Driving is any voluntary movement of a vehicle and can be proven by circumstantial evidence. In other words, you can be convicted even if no one saw you driving. Also, you can be convicted of a DUI if you were simply steering a car that someone else was pushing.
Vehicle Code section 670 defines a vehicle as "a device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, excepting a device moved exclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks."
What qualifies: Cars, trucks, motorcycles, scooters, snowmobiles, etc.
What does not qualify: handicap wheelchairs and motorized tricycles and quadricycles, operated by persons who, because of physical disability, are unable to move as pedestrians. California Vehicle Code sections 415 and 467.
C. Under the Influence
A person is under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or drug or the two combined when as a result of drinking the beverage, using the drug, or both, his or her physical or mental abilities are so impaired that he or she no longer has the ability to drive a vehicle with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances.
If it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver had a BAC of 0.08 percent or more, the jury may presume that the driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time of driving.
D. Alcoholic Beverage
An "alcoholic beverage" is a liquid or solid intended to be consumed that contains ethanol. Ethanol is commonly known as drinking alcohol. See Vehicle Code section 109 Alcoholic beverages include intoxicating liquor, malt beverage, beer, wine, spirits, liqueur, whiskey, rum, vodka, cordials, gin, and brandy, and any mixture containing one or more alcoholic beverages whether found or ingested separately or as a mixture. California Vehicle Code section 109. Business & Professions Code section 23004.
"Drug" means any substance or combination of substances, other than alcohol, that could so affect the nervous system, brain, or muscles of a person as to impair, to an appreciable degree, his or her ability to drive a vehicle in he manner that an ordinarily prudent and cautious person, in full possession of his or her faculties, using reasonable care, would drive a similar vehicle under like conditions. California Vehicle Code section 312.