VISTA DUI LAWYER:
DRUNK OR DRUGS DRIVING DEFENSE
I am Vista DUI attorney Peter M. Liss. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including a DUI involving a car accident or a felony DUI in Vista or elsewhere in San Diego County, I can help you. I have personally defended hundreds of individuals following their DUI arrest in Vista and I can promise you top quality representation for a reasonable fee.
About DUI Charges in Vista
Under California law, when someone is arrested for driving drunk and they have a Blood Alcohol Level above 0.08%, they will actually be charged with two different offenses, “driving under the influence of alcohol” and “driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher.” You cannot be convicted and sentenced for both crimes, but you may be found guilty of one, both or neither of the charges.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Charges
Those who have been accused of driving under the influence of drugs, will only be charged with “driving under the influence of drugs.” If both drugs and alcohol are present, the charge will be “driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.” There is no legal limit defining how much marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine or other drugs someone may consume while behind the wheel. It is important to recognize that you can be charged with driving under the influence when taking prescription drugs as long as they affect your ability to control a vehicle, so trying to explain to the police that you have a prescription for a medication can be used as evidence against you.
You Can Fight the Evidence in DUI Cases
DUI cases in San Diego involve very specific types of evidence, including:
- The testimony of the police officer
- Field Sobriety Test Results
- Preliminary breathalyzer results
- Breathalyzer or blood test results
While some of these tests are optional, the sad truth is that many people are unaware of these facts, so they still take them. The good news is that a top DUI lawyer in Vista can often successfully fight these types of evidence under the law, but what you say can hurt your case, which is why it is so important to call a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible when you have been arrested.
DUI Sentences and Enhancements in Vista
If you are found guilty of driving under the influence in San Diego County, you could face jail time, fines, alcohol treatment programs, vehicle impoundment, a suspension of your driver’s license and mandatory use of an ignition interlock device when you are permitted to drive again. The specific penalties vary based on whether or not you have any previous DUIs on your record or if your case involves circumstances that could result in enhanced penalties, such as excessive speeding or a particularly high BAC.
It is worth mentioning that if you fail to submit to a chemical test when you have been accused of drunk driving, you have violated the state’s implied consent law and will thus face a mandatory one year license suspension and a mandatory jail sentence.
Potential Sentences for the First DUI
On the first DUI conviction, if probation is granted, a potential sentence includes attending an alcohol or drug program of 3 or 9 months and a $390 to $1,000 fine, plus penalty assessments of an additional 180% of the fine; a jail sentence of 48 hours to 6 months may be imposed, but is not mandatory. The DMV will impose a driver’s license suspension of 6 months but it can be ended with installation of an ignition interlock device.
On the first DUI conviction, if probation is NOT granted, a potential sentence includes 96 hours to 6 months in jail, a $390 to $1,000 fine, and a 6-month license suspension.
With or without probation, your vehicle may be impounded for 6 months, and the court may, but is not mandated to, require you to install an ignition interlock device on your car for up to 6 months. If you have any questions about DUI probation, be sure to ask your 1st time offense DUI lawyer in San Diego.
Potential Second DUI Sentences
On the second DUI conviction (within 10 years) a potential sentence includes attending an alcohol or drug program for 18-36 months; a $390 to $1,000 fine, plus penalty assessments of an additional 180% of the fine; and 96 hours to 1 year in jail.
If probation is granted, the DMV imposes a 2-year license suspension which may end with an ignition interlock device. A 2nd time offense DUI lawyer in San Diego can be critical in helping you to secure these terms.
If probation is not granted, a potential sentence also includes a 2-year license suspension, with no possibility of receiving a restricted license during that time.
With or without probation, your vehicle may be impounded for 12 months, and you will be required to have a ignition interlock device on your car for 12 months.
Possible Third DUI Sentences
On the third DUI conviction (within 10 years) a potential sentence includes attending an alcohol or drug program for 18-36 months; a $390 to $1,000 fine, plus penalty assessments of an additional 180% of the fine; 120 days to 1 year in jail; and a 3-year license revocation by the DMV which can become restricted with an ignition interlock device. A 3rd time offense DUI attorney in San Diego can help you get the minimum sentencing possible when facing these serious charges.
You may also have your vehicle impounded for up to 12 months and you will be required to have a ignition interlock device on your car for 24 months.
If You Get Four or More DUIs in 10 Years
A fourth or subsequent DUI (within 10 years) is almost always charged as a felony, so it is critical you work with a 4th time offense DUI lawyer in San Diego if you have been charged with this crime. A potential sentence includes attending an alcohol or drug program for 18-36 months; a $390 to $1,000 fine, plus penalty assessments of an additional 180% of the fine; and a 4-year license revocation.
If probation is granted, a potential sentence also includes 180 days to 1 year in jail, plus a 4-year license revocation by the DMV which may allow a restriction with an ignition interlock device.
If probation is not granted, a potential sentence also includes up to 3 years in state prison; the exact time will be left up to the decision of the court.
Your vehicle may also be impounded for 12 months, and you may be required to have a ignition interlock device on your car for 36 months.
Felony Accident DUI Penalties
A felony accident DUI is charged when the drunk driver was negligent or violated a traffic law, and injured (even slightly) another person. A potential sentence includes attending an alcohol or drug program for 3-9 months and a $390 to $1,000 fine, plus penalty assessments of an additional 180% of the fine, plus a 1-year license suspension by the DMV which can be restricted with an ignition interlock device.
If probation is granted, a potential sentence also includes 5 days to 1 year in jail, plus a 1-year license suspension.
If probation is not granted, a potential sentence also includes up to 3 years in state prison; the exact time will be left up to court to decide.
Your vehicle may also be impounded for 6 months, and you will be required to have a ignition interlock device on your car for 12 months.
DUI Sentencing Enhancements in San Diego
There are some circumstances that can result in a DUI having additional penalties added to the sentence. These are known as sentencing enhancements and can include factors like having a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle, excessively speeding (at speeds more than 100 miles an hour or 30 miles an hour over the posted speed limit) or having a blood alcohol content over .15% (even higher penalties will be added for BACs above .20%).
In cases where the BAC was above .15% or if you were involved in a non-injury car accident, you may be sentenced to public work service. If your BAC was above .20%, you will be required to take a 9 month DUI class in addition to any other increased penalties the court may impose.
If you are facing any potential enhancements to your DUI charges, your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain to help you avoid an increase in your sentence.
DMV License Suspensions after a DUI Arrest
Most people charged with driving under the influence will have their license suspended. This can be a real problem in a car-centric county like San Diego as it can make it particularly difficult for a person to get to work or class on time. If you are arrested for suspicion of drunk driving and refuse to take a blood or breath test, you will automatically lose your driving privileges for one year. If you do take the test and your BAC is above 0.08%, the police officer will take your driver’s license and you will then be given a 30-day temporary driving permit.
You Must File for a Hearing Within 10 Days
You have 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a hearing with the DMV or you will lose your license for four months on a first time DUI. If you are convicted of a DUI, the suspension increases to six months. Your Vista DUI attorney can help represent you at this hearing, which will not only give you the opportunity to fight this license suspension, but also allow you and your attorney to get a sneak peak at the evidence that will be presented against you at your criminal trial, which could make fighting the charges easier.
If you lose the DMV hearing or are convicted of driving under the influence, your DUI lawyer in Vista can help you go through the process of obtaining a restricted driver’s license so you can get to work or school.
Fighting the Charges With Vista DUI Lawyer Peter Liss
While many people believe drunk driving charges are something they just have to accept, it is possible to fight against these accusations and win, even if you failed your breathalyzer test. Your Vista DUI defense lawyer can mount a successful defense based on some or all of these factors:
- 1 Improperly calibrated or operated breathalyzer machine
- 2 Incorrectly administered blood test or poor storage of blood samples
- 3 Evidence that your blood alcohol level was actually lower than the legal limit when you were arrested (the rising alcohol defense)
- 4 Mistakes or inaccuracies on the part of the officer performing the arrest, including lack of reasonable suspicion or probable cause
- 5 Proof that you were not behind the wheel
- 6 The police officer failed to notify you of the potential penalties associated with blood or breath test refusal
When fully fighting the charges isn’t a reasonable strategy, your Vista DUI defense attorney may instead negotiate a plea bargain that can help you avoid jail time. Or if your case involved circumstances which could result in additional sentencing, a carefully negotiated plea bargain could allow you to avoid added penalties.
How DUI Attorney Peter Liss Can Help You
Peter M. Liss has over 35 years of experience successfully fighting hundreds of DUI charges, including those involving high BACs and felony DUI. Over the course of your case, he will advise you about the best course of action based on your circumstances; keep you updated on any changes to your case; argue for lower bail; help investigate your case and collect evidence for your defense; make court motions on your behalf; represent you at the DMV license revocation hearing; seek reduced criminal charges; negotiate a plea bargain or represent you in trial; and seek out alternative sentencing or the lowest possible sentencing. He can also help you if you are facing other charges outside of DUI, including drug possession, gun charges and more.
You Need a Vista DUI Attorney With Proven Experience
He previously supervised a staff of 10 lawyers who handled driving under the influence cases in California, and he has defended clients in over 100 criminal jury trials. Peter Liss graduated from the top ranked University of California, Berkeley Law School. In his current practice, he is the only attorney and he personally handles every case that comes through the doors. He has successfully obtained the best possible results for his clients in both criminal DUI trials and DMV license revocation proceedings. If you need a lawyer, please call today for a free consultation.
Call for a Free Consultation
Peter Liss offers 24 hour-a-day live answering services and prompt responses. His rates are affordable, he accepts all major credit cards and his service is highly-rated by past clients on Yelp, Google and AVVO. You can schedule a free initial consultation that will take place in his South Melrose Drive law office directly across the street from the Vista courthouse and jail.
How to Contact Attorney Peter Liss
For skilled IMMEDIATE help with a Vista DUI or driving under the influence of drugs defense,
call Vista DUI Lawyer Peter M. Liss:
Call 24/7, any time, any day. I can help you.
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