DUI DEFENSE ATTORNEY SAN BERNARDINO CA
Drunk driving is a serious criminal offense that is prosecuted harshly in San Bernardino, and a DUI is a tough conviction to have on your record. Even for a first offense, DUI charges can result in hefty fines, a long driver’s license suspension and jail time, among other potential penalties, and having a DUI defense lawyer in your corner when facing drunk driving charges can mean the difference between going to jail and protecting your freedom. Depending on the circumstances of your DUI case, your attorney may be able to get the drunk driving charges reduced to a lesser offense or possibly even dismissed, which means you could potentially face less severe penalties or avoid prosecution altogether. If you have been arrested for or charged with drunk driving in San Bernardino or the surrounding areas, your first course of action should be to hire an experienced San Bernardino DUI defense attorney. Consult our DUI defense lawyers at Seyb Law Group today for a free evaluation of your DUI case.
Affordable San Bernardino DUI Defense Attorney
It is normal to feel frightened and overwhelmed after being arrested for drunk driving, but it is imperative that you take immediate action to protect your future. The first thing you should do following a San Bernardino DUI arrest is consult a knowledgeable defense attorney with a proven record of success defending and winning DUI cases in San Bernardino. Any time you are facing charges for drunk driving, as minor as the offense may seem, your reputation, your freedom and your future are on the line, and an attorney can help. A skilled San Bernardino DUI defense lawyer may be able to secure a reduction in criminal charges, block the prosecution’s evidence against you, negotiate a lighter sentence, or even help you walk away with your freedom intact. Our defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group have more than 60 years of combined criminal defense experience, and we will devote every resource we have to helping you get the best possible outcome in your San Bernardino DUI case.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offense occurring when a person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher (for adults 21 years or older operating a regular passenger vehicle). For commercial drivers however, the legal limit in San Bernardino is 0.04%, and for drivers under the age of 21, the legal limit is 0.01%, which means these types of drivers can be charged with drunk driving even with a BAC below 0.08%. Drunk driving is a relatively common crime, but that doesn’t mean the punishment for a DUI conviction isn’t harsh. A DUI carries serious legal consequences that can affect your life not just immediately, but for years to come. DUIs are “priorable” offenses in San Bernardino, which means having a previous DUI conviction on your record can result in increased penalties for each subsequent conviction, and a DUI remains on your criminal record for 10 years. That means, if you have a prior DUI conviction from nine years ago and you are arrested again for drunk driving, the new arrest counts as a second DUI offense and carries steeper penalties, even though your first DUI arrest was nearly a decade earlier.
California DUI Vehicle Code § 23152 (a) VC & VC § 23152 (b)
Most people arrested for drunk driving in San Bernardino are charged with two separate criminal offenses: Vehicle Code § 23152 (a) VC, the subjective standard for drunk driving in California and Vehicle Code § 23152 (b) VC, the “per se” standard. Pursuant to VC § 23152 (a), “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.” Under this law, the term “under the influence” means the person’s physical or mental abilities are impaired to the extent that he or she can no longer drive as well as a cautious sober person. Pursuant to VC § 23152 (b), “It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle,” meaning any person driving a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher may face DUI charges. There are other DUI laws in San Bernardino that can result in criminal charges being filed, including Vehicle Code 23152 (f) VC, California’s DUI of drugs law, and Vehicle Code § 23153 (a) VC, the state DUI with injury law.
Penalties for a DUI Conviction in San Bernardino
In San Bernardino, most DUI offenses are misdemeanors, but even as a misdemeanor, a DUI conviction still carries steep penalties that can affect virtually every aspect of your life. Additionally, because drunk driving laws are complex and nuanced, with varying penalties for first, second, third and subsequent drunk driving offenses, it can be difficult for an inexperienced defense attorney to properly apprise you of the punishment you could face and your best options for defense. The following are the potential penalties of a DUI conviction in San Bernardino:
- Up to six months in county jail,
- Up to $1,000 in fines,
- Driver’s license suspension for six to 10 months, and
- Participation in an alcohol education program
- Up to one year in county jail,
- Up to $1,000 in fines,
- Driver’s license suspension for two years (plus a 12-month administrative suspension by the DMV), and
- An 18-month or 30-month alcohol education program
- Up to one year in county jail,
- Up to $1,000 in fines,
- Driver’s license suspension for three years,
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installation, and
- A 30-month alcohol education program
A fourth or subsequent offense within 10 years can be charged as a felony DUI conviction in San Bernardino, with potential penalties that include:
- Up to three years in state prison,
- Up to $1,000 in fines,
- Mandatory IID installation for at least one year (or driver’s license suspension for up to four years), and/or
- Designation as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) by the DMV
There are also a number of so-called “aggravating” factors that can result in increased penalties for a DUI conviction, including if your BAC was 0.15% or higher, if you had a child in the car with you at the time of your DUI arrest, if you were driving recklessly or with excessive speed at the time of your DUI, or if you are involved in a DUI accident that injures or kills another person.
DMV Hearing and Criminal Court
Most people understand that San Bernardino DUI charges are handled by a criminal court and they will therefore have to appear in court to answer to the criminal charges against them. What they often don’t realize is that a DUI arrest in San Bernardino actually brings about two separate proceedings: a criminal court case and an administrative DUI hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). While the criminal court case will determine what criminal penalties you may face if you are convicted of the DUI charges, the DUI hearing will determine whether your driving privileges will be suspended as a result of the DUI arrest. The two proceedings are independent of one another, but are also inextricably linked, and if you hire a DUI defense attorney to represent you in criminal court, he or she will likely represent you at the DMV hearing as well.
San Bernardino DUI Defense
Being arrested for drunk driving may seem like the end of the world, especially if you have a prior DUI conviction, but that doesn’t mean you should give up hope. The reality is, a DUI is a serious criminal charge, and a conviction can damage your reputation and adversely affect your personal and professional life, but it’s a charge that DUI defense attorneys routinely beat. The most important thing to remember when facing DUI charges in San Bernardino is that you still have rights, including the right to legal counsel and a fair trial. With a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney on your side, you can challenge the prosecution’s case and possibly get your drunk driving charges reduced to a lesser offense with less severe penalties. Remember that in a San Bernardino DUI case, as in any criminal case, the prosecution bears the burden of proof. That means, in order to get a San Bernardino conviction, the prosecutor will have to prove the following elements of the crime:
- You were driving a motor vehicle; and
- You were under the influence of alcohol (VC § 23152 (a)); or
- You had a BAC of 0.08% or higher (VC § 23152 (b)).
This may seem like a fairly easy task, but the standard of evidence in a DUI case is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” meaning the prosecution must prove each element of the crime to the extent that there could be no “reasonable doubt” in the mind of a “reasonable person” that you are guilty of the crime.
Best Defense Strategies in San Bernardino DUI Cases
The best decision you can make after being arrested for or charged with a San Bernardino DUI is to hire a reputable and aggressive DUI defense attorney with experience defending drunk driving cases in San Bernardino. A good defense lawyer will have a clear understanding of San Bernardino DUI law and the defenses available to you based on the specific facts of your case. The following are some possible defense strategies your DUI defense attorney may be able to present on your behalf to challenge the allegations against you:
- The signs or symptoms of “intoxication” the officer observed were due to another reason
- The drunk driving arrest was unlawful
- The arresting officer engaged in unlawful racial profiling or other misconduct
- The Sobriety Checkpoint or Checkpoint arrest was illegal
- The arresting officer did not have probable cause to make the initial stop
- Your Miranda rights were violated
- The BAC results from the breath test were inaccurate
- Evidence relating to your breath or blood test was mishandled by police
- You successfully completed the Field Sobriety Tests
- The Field Sobriety Tests were improperly conducted
- There is not enough evidence to support the DUI charge
How Hiring a San Bernardino DUI Defense Lawyer Can Help
San Bernardino DUI cases can be tough and stressful, but they are winnable, even if the evidence against you seems irrefutable. Our DUI defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group have a clear understanding of the complex nature of San Bernardino DUI laws and how they apply to your situation, and we will do everything in our power to help you get a favorable outcome in your DUI case. By building a strong drunk driving defense and challenging the prosecution’s version of events, your DUI defense attorney may be able to get your DUI charges reduced to a “wet reckless” or “dry reckless” offense, a less serious criminal offense carrying far fewer potential penalties. The most important benefit of getting a DUI charge reduction or dismissal is that you will not have a DUI on your criminal record.
Any time you are facing DUI charges in San Bernardino, you need to act quickly to retain a DUI defense attorney who will advocate for you and protect your best interests throughout the duration of your case. Even if your case cannot be won outright, we may be able to reduce the charges against you or the penalties you face upon conviction. Our DUI defense attorneys understand that all DUI cases are different, with unique circumstances that can affect prosecution and sentencing, which is why we take such a personal, hands-on approach to defending DUI clients. We understand how devastating a DUI conviction would be for you and your family, and we believe in giving each of our clients the individualized attention their case deserves.
Contact Our San Bernardino DUI Defense Lawyers Today
Facing DUI charges, especially as a first offense, may not seem terribly serious, but the truth is that a DUI conviction can have devastating consequences for you and your family that persist long after you have satisfied the terms of your sentence. A DUI conviction will remain on your criminal record for 10 years, and a guilty verdict can have other long-lasting repercussions possibly affecting your professional licensing, employment prospects, certain civil rights and your standing in the community, among other aspects of your personal and professional life. If you or a loved one has been charged with a drunk driving offense in San Bernardino or the surrounding areas, do not hesitate to protect your legal rights. Contact our DUI defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group as soon as possible to find out how best to defend yourself against DUI charges in San Bernardino.