In California, you may be charged with a DUI if you are caught with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher, or if you are impaired by alcohol or drugs. The consequences of a conviction may be severe. Some people assume that a conviction is inevitable once they have been charged. However, this is often not the case. In California, prior DUI convictions stay on your record for 10 years, so it is important to fight these charges when possible. If you have been charged with drunk driving for the first time, Sacramento DUI lawyer Travis G. Black may be able to defend you. He is a former law enforcement officer who understands the procedures that the police and prosecution must follow and knows how to use procedural and substantive mechanisms to challenge these types of charges.Fighting a First-Time DUI Charge
It is important to challenge a first-time DUI charge. If the DUI did not result in harm to anyone else, it is likely to be charged as a misdemeanor. The penalties for a misdemeanor may include a suspension of your license for 30 days, jail time, up to $1,000 in fines, other financial assessments, and attendance at a mandatory alcohol treatment program. The alcohol treatment program may be longer if your blood alcohol level was much greater than the legal limit. You also may need to pay to install an ignition interlock breath device on your vehicle.
Once you have a DUI conviction on your record, subsequent penalties generally are more severe. More jail time, a longer license suspension, and harsher fines may be involved. A criminal record may also have significant social consequences, including an impact on your ability to get a job, secure a professional license, or obtain housing.
We can evaluate how the police and the laboratory handled your arrest and testing. If evidence was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights, we can challenge its admission. For example, to make an investigatory stop, a police officer must have a reasonable suspicion based on specific facts that they can articulate that a driver has committed a crime. The crime suspected may be a mere traffic infraction, but if the police officer is acting solely on a hunch, evidence obtained as a result of the stop should be excluded. The prosecution must prove all of the elements of a DUI charge beyond a reasonable doubt, and if critical evidence is suppressed, it may be possible to obtain a dismissal.
Sometimes it may be possible to negotiate a plea bargain of a wet reckless conviction. The prosecution might be open to this possibility in a first-time DUI if you have no prior record, the amount of alcohol involved was only slightly over the legal limit, and there were no injuries or deaths. However, a wet reckless may be considered a prior DUI conviction for sentencing purposes if you are caught drunk driving again within 10 years.Retain a DUI Lawyer in Sacramento to Protect Your Rights
Drunk driving attorney Travis G. Black is a tenacious advocate for defendants charged with DUI. As a former law enforcement officer, he uses his insights about the system to help people who face the possibility of losing their license or going to jail. Based in Folsom, our firm offers knowledgeable legal counsel and works hard on behalf of our clients. Contact us online or call Travis G. Black & Associates at 916-962-2896 for a free consultation with a Sacramento DUI attorney.