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Ventura DUI Lawyer

Ventura DUI Lawyer

According to the most recent California DMV DUI reports, there were over 1,100 alcohol-related crash fatalities and almost 800 drug-related crash fatalities in 2019 alone. These fatalities account for over half of the total crash fatalities in the state. With tragic statistics like these, it is unsurprising that California has taken a harsh position against those who choose to operate a vehicle while impaired. Although this strong reaction is understandable, it can sometimes result in overzealous police officers violating the accused’s rights and determined prosecutors overcharging for the crime that was committed.

If you are arrested for a DUI in Ventura, CA, it is important that you speak with an attorney right away. The Law Offices of James E. Silverstein has over 20 years of legal experience, representing clients from all walks of life. We can examine your case and determine the most favorable outcome, then diligently work to reach that outcome. Our staff takes considerable pride in protecting the rights of our clients and can create a strong legal strategy without judging your circumstances.

Ventura DUI Lawyer

DUI Laws

California DUI laws apply to circumstances of impaired driving as a result of alcohol and/or drugs. It is against the law to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any drug, including legal prescription or over-the-counter drugs, that lowers your ability to drive safely. It is important to read the information provided with the mediation to understand the potential effects that it can have, as ignorance of a clearly stated side effect is not generally an effective defense.

There are two main DUI laws that affect California drivers. Even though these two statutes are different crimes, and can both be charged during a single DUI event, it will only count as a single DUI conviction on your record:

  • Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC
    This statute makes it unlawful to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This law applies when you can no longer drive as safely as a cautious sober person would be expected to because your physical or mental state is impaired. This law creates a subjective standard because it is not based on blood alcohol content.
  • Vehicle Code 23152(b) VC
    This statute is the per se DUI law in California. It makes operating a vehicle with a BAC at or above the legal limit automatically illegal, regardless of how your ability to drive is affected. The BAC limit is 0.08% for drivers over the age of 21, 0.01% for drivers under the age of 21, and 0.04% if you drive a commercial vehicle. This law creates an objective standard because it solely depends on BAC.

It is also against the law to carry with you or consume alcohol or cannabis products in a vehicle, either as a driver or a passenger. If you are transporting these substances, it is vital that they are in a sealed and unopened container or in the trunk away from passengers. Exceptions to this law include being a passenger in a taxi, bus, camper, or motorhome. A DUI attorney can help you understand the charges that have been brought against you and the most effective methods for fighting them.

DUI Penalties

First-time DUI convictions are treated less severely than subsequent DUI convictions, with the potential penalties increasing with the number of DUIs on your record. The prosecution will also be much less lenient as your number of DUI arrests and convictions increases.

First-Offense DUI

  • Fines and fees of up to $3,600
  • Up to six months in jail
  • License suspension for at least four months
  • Possible installation of an IID in your vehicle
  • Three to five years of DUI probation
  • DUI school for three months

Second-Offense DUI

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Fines and fees of up to $4,000
  • License suspension for up to two years
  • Mandatory IID installation in your vehicle
  • Three to five years of DUI probation
  • DUI school for 18 months or 30 months

Third-Offense DUI

  • Up to one year in jail or up to 16 months in state prison
  • Fines and fees of $18,000
  • License suspension for up to three years
  • Mandatory IID installation in your vehicle
  • Three to five years of DUI probation
  • DUI school for 30 months

Fourth-Offense DUI

  • Up to 16 months in state prison
  • Fines and fees of $18,000
  • License suspension for up to four years, with the potential for a permanent suspension
  • Mandatory IID installation in your vehicle
  • Three to five years of DUI probation
  • DUI school for 30 months
  • Convicted felon status

The time period for prior convictions to count for these sentencing increases is ten years, meaning that a DUI arrest that happened five years ago would count as a prior DUI, but an arrest from 12 years ago would not. There are also increased penalties if you refuse to submit to a chemical test after your arrest and/or if an injury or death occurs as a result of your impaired driving. Regardless of the circumstances of your DUI arrest, it is important that you speak with an experienced DUI attorney to ensure that your rights are protected and that the penalties are reasonable.

Your Rights During a DUI Traffic Stop

There are three main ways that DUI arrests arise: a routine traffic stop, a DUI checkpoint, and an accident. Therefore, one of the leading ways to set yourself up for success in fighting a DUI charge is by understanding your rights during a traffic stop and what actions police officers can take.

  • Being Pulled Over
    Officers do not have the right to pull over a vehicle for simply being on the road. They need to have observed you committing a crime or have reason to suspect that you may have committed a crime. For example, if an officer witnesses you committing a traffic violation, or you were swerving without cause, you can be pulled over.
  • Remaining Silent
    While you are being questioned regarding a possible DUI, you have the right to remain silent unless you are asked about your identification, insurance, and current address. You do not need to disclose information like whether you have been drinking, where you are coming from, or how long you have been driving.
  • Consenting to a Blood or Breathalyzer Test
    If you have not been arrested, and are asked to complete a field sobriety test, you have the right to refuse the test unless you are on probation for a previous DUI conviction or are under the age of 21. Field sobriety tests include the preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) breath test. If you consent to the test, the results can be used against you in court. However, a refusal cannot be used as evidence to support your guilt. Your rights change once you have been arrested. According to California’s implied consent law, operating a vehicle on California roads means that you do not have the right to refuse a DUI blood or breath test after you have been lawfully arrested for a DUI. If you do refuse, additional penalties will be added at sentencing.
  • Turning Over Your License to the Police
    If you have been arrested for a DUI, the police will usually take your driver’s license, then mail it to the DMV. You will be given a pink temporary license and can immediately apply for an ignition interlock device (IID) restricted license, allowing you to continue driving without limitations. Your vehicle will be outfitted with an IID that will prevent your vehicle from starting if it detects alcohol.
  • Having Your Vehicle Searched
    You have the right to not be searched without permission during a traffic stop. This right includes your vehicle. Even saying yes when an officer casually asks if they can look in your backseat constitutes permission to search, so be aware of your words. There are, however, many exceptions to this right. If the officer sees something incriminating, or sees you attempting to hide something, they have probable cause to search your vehicle. An officer can also conduct an inventory search if you are placed under arrest.

Provide minimal information, and avoid saying anything that could harm you during a traffic stop. It is important to be polite to the police officer and follow their instructions during the stop, but it is also vital to remember that their intent with the traffic stop never aligns with your interests. Protect your rights as well as you can in the moment, then speak with an attorney after the traffic stop or arrest if you believe that your rights were violated.

Fighting a Drunk Driving Arrest

Successfully fighting a DUI charge almost always requires working with a skilled Ventura DUI attorney. Although the penalties may not seem severe at the time, it is difficult to anticipate exactly how having a DUI on your record may affect your life. The Law Offices of James E. Silverstein is adept at representing clients in criminal court. We are ready to examine your case and determine your most effective route for a successful life after your DUI arrest. To speak with our experienced team regarding a DUI, contact us today.

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Call (747) 230-4468


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