DUI Defense
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Whether you have questions or you’re ready to get started, our legal team is ready to help. Email us or call us at (805) 360-3355.

Central Coast DUI Defense Lawyer

Responsive & Approachable Legal Counsel

Convictions for DUI in California carry harsh penalties, but there are a host of defenses that can be successfully employed to avoid conviction. There are so many ways to beat the charges that it rarely makes sense to plead guilty even if the police claim they have substantial evidence. The police need reasonable suspicion to stop you and there are scores of medical conditions, interfering substances, and malfunctions that can cause breath tests and chemical tests to produce false positives. If you have been charged with DUI in Santa Barbara, Ventura, or San Luis Obispo County, it is important to hire a Central Coast DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.

AQ Law offers reasonable flat fees. Call us at (805) 360-3355 for a free consultation to get your defense started.

Penalties for First Time DUI

If you’re convicted of first time DUI in California, you’re facing serious legal and personal penalties that could impact the rest of your life. 

If you plead guilty to DUI, it is a conviction on your record with legal penalties such as:

  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • Three to five years of probation
  • Completion of a DUI instructional program
  • Loss of driving privileges for up to 10 months, anywhere in the United States
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device
  • Fines up to $1,000 plus assessments

If there are extenuating circumstances, such as serious injury or death, the penalties can be even higher. 

In addition to these direct legal penalties you could also face:

  • Astronomical insurance rates
  • Disciplinary action against your professional license
  • Lost employment opportunities 
  • Interference with custody and visitation of minor children

With this much at stake, it’s important to hire an attorney that dedicates his practice to defending people charged with DUI in California.

Planning Your Defense

The police want you to think that because you tested above the legal limits you have no alternative but to plead guilty and face sentencing. This couldn’t be farther from the truth because there are literally hundreds of ways to defend against DUI charges in California. 

These are some of the many defenses that an experienced DUI attorney in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo County can employ to defend people charged with DUI:

Challenging Probable Cause

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Reasonable suspicion is required for a vehicle stop and probable cause is needed for an arrest. If the officer did not have probable cause for your arrest, all evidence might be thrown out. For example, visiting a bar or a vineyard is not suspicious conduct. If the police were hanging around the exit of a bar or winery and only saw you drive about twenty feet towards the road, there’s a chance your case will get thrown out for lack of probable cause.

Challenging The Field Sobriety Test

In California, police officers have the authority to administer a wide variety of standardized and non-standardized field sobriety tests (FSTs) to assist them in obtaining a conviction. 

The standardized tests are issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and include the following:

  • The horizontal gaze nystagmus test (HGN);
  • The walk and turn test (WAT) and
  • The one-leg stand test (OLS.)

Some examples of non-standardized tests are the hand-pat test where a driver is asked to pat their hats while counting, the “finger to nose” test requires a person to touch the hand to their nose that’s been called out by the officer, and the “Rhomberg balance” where the suspect is asked to stand with their feet together, tilt their head back, close their eyes and then estimate the passage of 30 seconds before opening their eyes. There are so many medical and psychological conditions that render the results of these tests inaccurate that it’s mind-boggling that they are even employed. For example, the results would likely be considered unreliable if a person is on the autism spectrum, has ADHD, or suffers from anxiety. A person with sore knees or a bad back may not be able to stand firmly on one leg and there are many medications that can impede balance and cause poor performance on these tests.

Challenging Breath Test Results

There are many requirements that the police must meet when administering these tests. For example, an officer is required to observe you for at least fifteen minutes to ensure that you have not ingested any substance that might skew the results due to “mouth alcohol” from a mouthwash, inhaler, or other substance you used during that time. If the officer takes their eyes off you during the waiting period, the results of the test can be found to be invalid. Breath Test equipment requires consistent calibration and if records show that this calibration was not performed at the proper time, the breath test evidence cannot be considered against you and the charges are likely to be dropped. The results can also be contested based on health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, fever, gum disease, and acid reflux.

Challenging the Blood Sample

Taking a blood sample is a medical procedure and if the police fail to follow all of the required informed consent requirements, the sample can be disqualified as evidence. Blood samples must also be properly preserved by being stored in the proper temperature range to avoid fermentation that increases the level of alcohol in the sample. The blood sample must be accounted for at all times in order to ensure that it was properly preserved, so gaps or errors in the chain of custody can also result in the evidence being excluded.

To find out more about how we can assist you, call our DUI defense lawyer in Central Coast at (805) 360-3355 or fill out our online contact form today.

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