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DUI Attorneys in El Cajon

Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most common criminal offenses in California. If you have been charged with drunk driving, it is important to have strong legal counsel in your corner fighting hard to ensure your rights and interest are fully protected. A DUI case may seem simple at first glance, but small issues can become significant to forming your defense, making it important to speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.

At Garmo and Garmo, LLP, we understand what is at stake when someone is arrested for DUI. Our lawyers have extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of the local courts in San Diego County and the surrounding communities. We are familiar with many of the prosecutors, city attorneys, and judges who will be involved in your case, and we have a strong track record of successfully negotiating with these officials to have charges reduced and in many cases, dropped. When you retain us, we go to work immediately to thoroughly analyze your case and put together the most effective defense strategy.

Comprehensive DUI Defense in San Diego County

We defend motorists charged for DUI in all types of circumstances, including:

  • First-Time DUI: If you have been charged with drunk driving for the first time, you may still have to pay a heavy fine, lose your driving privileges for several months and spend some time in jail if convicted. Though not as serious as a multiple offense, you still need an attorney to help minimize the negative consequences.
  • Second and Multiple DUI Offenses: If this is your second or subsequent DUI in the past 10 years, you are looking at some very harsh consequences; including higher fines, jail time, loss of driving privileges, and other penalties.
  • Misdemeanor DUI: Most DUIs in San Diego are charged as misdemeanors. Though not as serious as a felony, misdemeanors still carry heavy fines, the possibility of jail time, and other penalties.
  • Felony DUI: DUIs with enhanced circumstances can trigger a felony charge. Examples include three or more DUI convictions, conviction for a prior felony DUI offense, and accidents with serious injuries or fatalities.
  • DUI for Out-of-State Residents: If you were arrested for drunk driving while visiting the San Diego area from out of state, you may be facing consequences both here and in your home state. For starters, your California driving privileges are suspended 30 days after your arrest. Depending on what state you live in, your home state might also take action to suspend your driver’s license. On top of that, you have a criminal proceeding to deal with in the county where you were arrested. With all this going on, you need a seasoned attorney working on your behalf who is familiar with the local courts.
  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) DUIs: If you have a Class B or Class A driver’s license and you were arrested for DUI, you are facing more than just fines, possible jail time, and loss of driving privileges, your livelihood may be in jeopardy as well. This makes it all the more imperative to get in touch with an attorney with a proven track record of success in this area of the law.

Penalties for DUI Convictions in California

The consequences for drunk driving convictions in San Diego vary depending on how many prior offenses you have in the past decade and other circumstances in your case. Here are the general guidelines:

First-Time DUI

  • Fines starting at $390 plus penalty assessments;
  • Four days up to six months in county jail;
  • Three years of probation;
  • Three months of DUI school.

Second-Time DUI

  • $2,000 or more in fines and penalty assessments;
  • 10 days up to one year in county jail;
  • 18 to 30 months of DUI school;
  • Three to five years of probation;
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device.

Third-Time DUI

  • Up to $3,000 or more in fines and penalty assessments;
  • A minimum of 120 days in county jail;
  • Three to five years of probation;
  • 30 months of DUI school;
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device.

Aggravated DUI

Penalties for DUI convictions may be enhanced if there are aggravated circumstances in the case. Here are some circumstances that may result in more severe consequences:

  • Accidents resulting in death or serious injury;
  • Driving more than 20 MPH above the speed limit;
  • Driving with a suspended or revoked license;
  • Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .20 or higher;
  • Fleeing the scene of an accident (hit and run);
  • Fleeing a police officer;
  • Refusing to submit to a mandatory chemical test;
  • Child endangerment.

DUI Defense Strategies

In California, you are considered to be “over the limit” if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is .08% or above in most cases. If you are driving commercially, you can be arrested with a blood alcohol concentration of only .04%. Drivers under age 21 can be arrested with any amount of alcohol in their system. This is known as “zero tolerance”.

The details of your arrest are important. You are afforded several rights and options. Denial of these rights and failure to disclose them to you can impact on your case and can significantly impact the defense strategy used.

There are several potential defenses that can be used to have your DUI charges reduced or dismissed altogether. These may include:

  • No Probable Cause: The police officer must have probable cause to pull you over for DUI in the first place. For example, if you were driving safely and showed no signs of physical impairment, then it is possible that the officer lacked probable cause. If this is the case, then a motion could be filed to suppress any evidence obtained.
  • Failure to Mirandize: After you are arrested and before the police begin questioning you, they are required to read you your Fifth Amendment (Miranda) rights. If your Miranda rights were not read to you, this could also be used as grounds to file a motion to suppress.
  • Inaccurate or Unreliable Field Sobriety Test (FST): Field sobriety tests have been shown to be faulty and not a reliable indicator of the potential impairment of the motorist. You are not required to submit to an FST, and in most cases, it is in your best interests not to. If you did submit to one of these tests, they can often be effectively challenged.
  • Inaccurate or Unreliable Chemical Test: The mandatory chemical (breath, blood, or urine) test they administer after a DUI arrest can often be faulty as well. For example, the test may not have been administered properly and/or the sample may have been mishandled or improperly stored. If the chemical test is shown to be inaccurate or unreliable, it may be possible to have it excluded from the evidence in the case.
  • Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Not Over the Legal Limit: If you took your last drink shortly before driving, it is possible that your BAC was not yet at .08% at the time you were pulled over, even if you registered .08% or higher on your chemical test later on. This is commonly known as the “rising blood alcohol” defense.

Speak with a Skilled San Diego DUI Defense Attorney

Being arrested for drunk driving can be a heart-wrenching experience. You may think the situation looks hopeless, but with the right defense strategy, you may be able to avoid the harshest consequences, so the situation can be mitigated as much as possible. At Garmo and Garmo, LLP, our experienced attorneys have handled numerous DUI cases with many of the issues that arise. We can help you today. Call us for a free consultation at 619-441-2500 or send us a message for a free case evaluation.

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