The offense of driving under the influence (DUI), is usually determined by the level of alcohol that is present in your bloodstream, which is known as your blood alcohol content (BAC). Your BAC levels at the time of arrest will determine whether you can be charged with DUI. When you are suspected of a high BAC DUI in San Diego, you may face extra jail time compared to a simple DUI, as well as other consequences.
A high BAC level is not a separate charge but is referred to in California law as an aggravating factor, which results in enhanced penalties. If you are charged with a DUI and your BAC levels were high, it is important that you hire an experienced drunk driving defense lawyer.
Understanding High BAC DUI in San Diego
Your BAC level typically is used as evidence of your DUI offense. This is a scientific measurement, administered by specific chemical testing. The law allows a breath test or a blood test to evaluate the blood alcohol content of an individual under arrest for DUI. A level of .08 or higher is sufficient to establish a DUI charge.
But what is considered a high BAC? In California, a person driving under the influence with a BAC level of .15 or higher will face penalties for a high BAC DUI. Depending on the specific DUI offense with which you were charged, the penalties will vary. For example, a second DUI conviction will carry high penalties compared to a first DUI conviction. But a DUI with injury will carry more serious penalties compared to a standard DUI charge. Penalties can include fines, enrollment in a DUI education program, probation, and jail time.
Since a high BAC is more of an aggravating factor that enhances the penalty, the court will generally consider two main factors. These include the exact circumstances surrounding your case and your past convictions, in particular, those relating to previous DUI charges. This will help the court determine, for example, how high a fine or how much jail or prison time to impose. Having a DUI defense lawyer, even if you plan on pleading guilty, will be very important in minimizing penalties and keeping you out of jail.
Defending a High BAC DUI in San Diego
In all criminal matters, the law dictates that you are innocent until proven guilty. Accordingly, when charged with DUI with a high BAC level, the prosecution must prove your guilt in court, and the law allows for a number of legal defenses.
One of the biggest assumptions that many individuals charged with DUI make is that they cannot contest the chemical test results. This is far from the truth. In fact, breathalyzers and even blood tests are prone to errors. Additionally, the law dictates a set of rules and procedures to be followed by the police when administering these tests. Since prosecutors rely on the results of a breath or blood test to prove your BAC level and your guilt, discrediting the results is a good foundation for your defense. In addition to contesting the BAC evidence, a DUI defendant can put forward a defense that he or she was not driving at the time of the traffic stop.
It is important to talk to a lawyer at the earliest possible time following your arrest and charge. In many cases, an experienced DUI lawyer can get charges dismissed without needing to go to trial or have offenses reduced with lesser penalties. Having a lawyer on your side is the best way to secure your rights and be in a position to present a sound case if you must go to trial.
Contact a San Diego DUI Lawyer Now
A DUI can lead to a variety of penalties, including jail or prison time. With a high BAC DUI, those penalties will increase. You could be facing the loss of liberty, in addition to the suspension or revocation of driving privileges for years. Additionally, DUI laws in California are based on a progressive model in which defendants receive greater penalties depending on the number of previous DUI convictions.
Since a DUI charge carries serious penalties, and even more so if you had a high BAC, it is imperative that you hire a lawyer to handle your case. Even if this is your first DUI charge, a conviction can have significant consequences in the future.
You will need a lawyer to navigate the criminal legal system. The courtroom is designed with a number of rules and procedures that are best understood by an attorney. The law relating to DUI charge can seem very confusing to the ordinary person. In any one DUI case, there are a number of legal and technical issues that are best left to a professional.
At McElfresh Law, we have been working with individuals charged with varying DUI offenses. Our lawyers are equipped with in-depth knowledge and criminal defense experience. Our aim is to provide high-quality service, critical to preparing a sound defense and securing a positive outcome.
A conviction for high BAC DUI in San Diego can significantly change your life. Do not face your charge alone. Our team includes well trained and skilled individuals, who will work tirelessly to research and prepare your case. We are ready to defend you. Call us today at (858) 756-7107 and learn how we can help.