How to Reduce DUI Charges: Legal Strategies

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Effective Strategies on How to Reduce DUI Charges

Facing DUI charges is a scary situation to be in because of the wide range of penalties that a conviction attracts. Interestingly, there are several techniques and legal defenses that can be employed to fight DUI charges. Exploring these possibilities could be the key to safeguarding your future.

At the Law Office of Rebecca Feigelson, we are highly skilled in helping clients fight DUI charges. Our approach relies on a deep understanding of the legal system and dedication to exploring every avenue for reducing or dismissing our clients’ charges. Read on as we delve into these strategies and help you prepare a robust defense plan.

Understanding DUI Charges in California

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) involves operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit or while impaired by drugs. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), one can be charged with a DUI even if they have not been tested as having above the legal blood alcohol concentration. Once it is proven that their driving was impaired by the use of alcohol or drugs

Legal Limits:

  • Alcohol: BAC limits are set at 0.08%. For commercial drivers, it’s usually 0.04%. Meanwhile, for drivers younger than 21, it is 0.1%.
  • Drugs: Includes both prescription and illegal substances. Does not have a specific prohibited blood limit. However, visibly impaired driving due to drug use will lead to a DUI arrest.

Penalties for a California DUI Conviction

California driving under the influence (DUI) penalties vary based on factors such as whether it’s a first or repeat offense, the presence of aggravating circumstances, and the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Here are the typical penalties for a DUI in California as contained in California Vehicle Code § 23536 – 23552:

First Offense DUI

  1. Fines and Penalties: Up to $1,000 and not less than $390.
  2. License Suspension: Suspension is for six months.
  3. DUI School: Mandatory attendance for at least three months at a DUI education program if the offender’s BAC was under 0.2% or at least nine months if the offender’s BAC was above 0.2% or they refused to take the chemical test.
  4. Jail Time: Up to six months in county jail with a minimum of 96 hours imprisonment, 48 hours of which must be continuous.
  5. Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
  6. Probation

Second Offense DUI (within ten years)

  1. Fines and Penalties: Up to $1,000, not less than $390
  2. License Suspension: Two-year license suspension.
  3. DUI School: 18 or 30 months.
  4. Jail Time: 96 hours to one year in county jail.
  5. Probation
  6. IID

Third Offense DUI (within ten years)

  1. Fines and Penalties: Up to $1,000, not less than $390.
  2. License Suspension: Three years license revocation.
  3. DUI School: 30 months
  4. Jail Time: 120 days to one year in county jail.
  5. Probation
  6. IID

Fourth Offense DUI and Subsequent Offenses (within ten years)

  1. Fines and Penalties: Up to $1,000, not less than $390.
  2. License Suspension: Four-year revocation.
  3. DUI School: 30 months.
  4. Jail Time: 16 months, two years, or three years in state prison if charged as a felony. Otherwise, a maximum of one year in county jail.
  5. Probation
  6. IID

Additional Consequences

  • Insurance: Substantial increase in auto insurance rates.
  • Employment: A DUI conviction can impact employment, especially in jobs requiring driving.
  • Criminal Record: A DUI remains on the criminal record and can affect future sentencing if convicted again.

Each case can vary, so consulting with an experienced DUI attorney who is experienced in handling DUI cases may be very helpful.

Aggravating Factors in DUI Cases

  • High BAC: A BAC of 0.15% or higher may result in enhanced penalties.
  • Prior Offenses: Having prior DUI convictions increases the severity of current charges.
  • Refusal to Submit to a Chemical Test: Those who refuse to take a chemical test face additional penalties and a longer license suspension.
  • Accidents: Causing an accident can lead to increased fines, longer jail sentences, and possibly felony charges.
  • Injury or Death: If the DUI results in injury or death, the driver may face felony charges, which carry significantly harsher penalties, including longer prison sentences and larger fines.
  • Minors: Having minors in the vehicle at the time of the DUI aggravates the offense.

Strategies to Reduce DUI Charges

  • Challenging the Evidence

Reviewing and challenging the evidence is crucial to reducing DUI charges. As your defense attorneys, we check the accuracy of the breathalyzer and confirm whether the field sobriety test procedures were correctly followed. If proper procedures were not adhered to, we challenge them in court to get the evidence dismissed. Evidence dismissal, in turn, could severely hinder the prosecution’s case and lead to a successful defense.

  • Negotiating Plea Deals

A plea bargain can significantly reduce charges or penalties if successfully negotiated. Plea bargains typically mean that the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for the reduction of charges, fines, and other penalties. Common plea deal options include reducing a DUI charge to a “wet reckless” or “reckless driving” charge, both of which have less severe punishments. It takes a DUI defense lawyer who is skilled at negotiating to successfully represent the interests of the defendant. This approach is particularly useful when it is unlikely to get the charges completely dismissed through a trial.

  • Enrolling in Diversion Programs

Diversion programs can sometimes help reduce DUI charges. These programs may include DUI school or community service. Enrolling in such programs shows that defendants are taking steps to address any drinking problems they might have. Willingness to participate in these programs may lead to significantly reduced charges.

  • Demonstrating Mitigating Factors

Demonstrating mitigating factors can influence the reduction of DUI charges. Lack of any prior offenses and cooperation with authorities can be strong points in the defendant’s favor. If a defendant has no previous criminal record and shows genuine remorse, the court may be more lenient.

Need Your DUI Charges Reduced? Reach Out to Us Today for Assistance

Hiring a skilled DUI lawyer can make a huge difference when you find yourself confronted with California’s drunk driving laws. Our team at the Law Office of Rebecca Feigelson is highly experienced in DUI defense as well as other areas of criminal defense. We understand the intricate details of DUI laws and the strategies necessary to get your charges reduced or dismissed.

We analyze all aspects of your case to find the best way to challenge the charges, tailoring all our defense strategies to fit the specific circumstances of your case. Our attorneys are experienced and aggressive in court, ensuring you have the highest quality of legal representation.  

Reach out to us for a free initial consultation. We are dedicated to providing you with great criminal defense and helping you navigate through this difficult time.