Facing a First DUI in San Francisco? We Can Help!
San Francisco is an entertainment hot spot and is a magnet for people seeking all kinds of activities. There is an abundance of nightclubs, restaurants and bars in its various neighborhoods, all serving alcohol. Though many people use cabs or ride sharing vehicles to bar hop or just to go out without the need for a designated driver, there are numerous individuals who choose to drive anyway. City police and CHP officers are always on the lookout for intoxicated drivers and occasionally use DUI checkpoints to catch drivers who may be DUI.
Though you may feel immune by driving safely in the city, you are liable to be stopped at any time for an illegal U-turn, wrong turn or driving erratically because you are lost or on an unfamiliar street. Even if you had only a drink or two, an officer can still suspect you of DUI.
All motorists should be aware of the risks of driving while drinking but not all are cognizant of what a DUI means.
If you are arrested for a DUI, you face two charges of DUI in most cases:
- Driving While Under the Influence
- Driving With a BAC of 0.08%
If suspected of intoxicated driving, the officer may ask that you perform certain tests called field sobriety tests, of FST, and blow into a PAS, or portable alcohol screening device if available. Should the officer feel you are under the influence, you will be asked to take a breath test. The breath or blood test, or urine in limited cases, can be objective evidence of intoxication if your BAC or blood alcohol content is 0.08% and is a rebuttable presumption that you are impaired. A test taken within 3 hours of your driving is considered evidence of your blood alcohol content at the time you were driving.
The Consequences of a DUI
Are you fully aware of the consequences of a DUI? Though you may not spend any time in a jail or detention facility, unless you are extremely intoxicate or caused an injury accident, there are other significant repercussions for a first time DUI conviction.
A first time DUI conviction can mean loss of your license for up to 10 months. You are eligible to apply for a restricted license but it is only for driving to and from your place of work and to a court mandated DUI class. You will typically be placed on probation with the condition that any subsequent drinking and driving stop can subject you to jail time and loss of driving privileges. Any DUI conviction will substantially increase your auto liability insurance premiums.
If you refuse BAC testing, you can lose your license for one year with no restricted license eligibility. Your refusal can be used by DA at a trial as evidence of your guilt. You must also request an APS or Administrative Per Se hearing from the DMV regarding the suspension of your driver’s license. The issues at an APS hearing are:
- Whether the officer has probable cause to stop you
- If the officer had probable cause to arrest you
- Whether your BAC was 0.08%
- Whether you refused BAC testing
At the San Francisco DUI Attorney Group, our local attorneys have helped thousands of first time DUI offenders get their charges dismissed or reduced significantly. Also, when arrested you are given a 30-day license and have only 10 days to request the APS hearing. Do not hesitate to contact a lawyer from the San Francisco DUI Attorney Group as will waive your right to this hearing.
If you have a commercial driver’s license and are driving a commercial vehicle such as a truck, bus or train, you may be arrested and lose your license if your BAC is 0.04%. For drivers under 21, your BAC may not be higher than 0.01%
DUI charges are found under CVC 23152:
“(a) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.
(b) It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle. For purposes of this article and Section 34501.16, percent, by weight, of alcohol in a person’s blood is based upon grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. In any prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.
(c) It is unlawful for a person who is addicted to the use of any drug to drive a vehicle. This subdivision shall not apply to a person who is participating in a narcotic treatment program approved pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 11875) of Chapter 1 of Part 3 of Division 10.5 of the Health and Safety Code.
(d) It is unlawful for a person who has 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in Section 15210. In any prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.
(e) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.
(f) It is unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle.
(g) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2014.”
Why Were You Stopped and Arrested for DUI?
A law enforcement officer is trained to note certain signs that might indicate that a motorist is driving impaired. These signs include:
- You were driving too slowly or too fast for conditions
- Napping in your car
- Speech was slurred
- Bloodshot or watery eyes
- Officer smelled a strong odor of alcohol
- There are empty beer cans or bottles in car
- Losing your balance on FST or coordination tests
- The PAS test registered the presence of alcohol
- You admitted you had been drinking
There are explanations for why you exhibit certain signs but are not necessarily indicative of intoxication.
Penalties for a First DUI Offense
First-time DUI offenders are typically sentenced as follows:
- 2 days in jail and up to 6 months in jail in egregious cases
- 2 additional days in jail if you refused chemical testing
- Fine of $800 up to $1,000
- Additional expenses for court costs and various assessments
- Summary or informal probation of 3 years up to 5 years
- 3-months participation in a DUI program
- Loss of license for 6-10 months
- Restricted license eligibility
- 0ne-year loss of license with no restricted license if testing refused
You may serve time performing community service that one of our attorneys from the San Francisco DUI Attorney Group can negotiate for you in many instances.
There are certain aggravating conditions under the law that will enhance your sentence, regardless if this is your first DUI. These include:
- Having a passenger under the age of 14
- Your BAC result was at least 0.15%
- You refused testing of your breath or blood
- You were speeding at least 20 mph over the speed limit
2 days or more can be added to your jail sentence if any of these conditions occurred. If there was an accident or your driving conduct was especially egregious while you had a young child in your car, the DA could charge you with felony child endangerment.
Our attorneys have decades of experience handling DUI charges and accordingly have numerous defenses that can be used. Typical defenses include:
- No probable cause to stop your car
- No probable cause to arrest you for DUI
- The officer’s conclusions regarding your intoxication were flawed or biased
- You were not properly advised of your rights
- The breathalyzer results were inaccurate for dozens of reasons including your medical condition, improper maintenance of the device and others
- Your BAC was lower than it was while driving if you were tested hours later
- Witnesses can testify as to your sober state
Our attorneys are highly experienced defense lawyers and have successfully defended clients in all types of DUI cases. Contact the lawyers at the San Francisco DUI Attorney Group at (888) 754-9860 if you have been arrested on a DUI.