DUI Charges in California
DUI, or Driving Under the Influence, is one of the most serious traffic offenses in California. A conviction for DUI involves license suspension, heavy fines and even jail time in certain situations. If the individual charged holds a commercial driver’s license, it will be automatically suspended upon the first conviction for a period of at least one year, and permanently revoked upon any subsequent conviction. If anyone is injured as the result of an accident involving a DUI, the offender can be charged with felony DUI.
Due to the complicated nature of DUI charges, the criminal justice process is more complicated than in other ordinary traffic offenses. In order to effectively represent clients, the DUI attorneys at Luftman, Heck& Associates exercise constitutional challenges at each stage of the process. Generally, the DUI process is divided into several distinct phases with their own unique issues and challenges.
In order to stop a vehicle, an officer must have a “reasonable suspicion” that the driver is involved in criminal activity. In the context of DUI arrests, this means that there must be some indication that the driver is impaired to justify the officer stopping the driver.
After an officer has stopped a driver based on “reasonable suspicion” of involvement in criminal activity, the officer must then establish “Probable Cause” to believe that the driver is in fact involved in criminal activity to justify detaining an individual. “Probable Cause” is generally established based on the officer’s observation of the individual, including any indications of impairment or intoxication, including:
- Physical indications, such as “bloodshot, glassy eyes”, slurred speech, fumbling, lack of coordination; and/or
- Poor performance on the Field Sobriety Tests, which includes 1) One Leg Stand, 2) Walk and Turn, and 3) HGN (eye test).
“Probable Cause” is one of the most commonly challenged elements in the DUI process. In order to challenge “Probable Cause,” attorneys will generally negotiate with prosecutors and/or conduct Motion Hearings to exclude improper evidence. Motion Hearings are miniature trials on legal matters that are held in front of a judge with no jury. The judge must determine whether or not evidence is admissible at trial. The less evidence that can be admitted at trial, the better the client’s chances are of achieving reductions in charges or more favorable plea bargains.
The Luftman, Heck and Associates Advantage
We at Luftman, Heck and Associates provide strong, experienced legal representation for all clients facing DUI charges. We fully understand that every case is unique and manage all of our client cases around the circumstances and not the charges they are facing. Our attorneys are experienced and offer a proven track record in successfully challenging DUI charges by:
- Excluding evidence that is obtained by unlawful search and seizure
- Proving officer inexperience led to non-standard operating procedures when administering roadside tests; and
- Challenging unlawful charges brought against our clients.
Need A DUI Lawyer in California?
If you or a loved one are in need of DUI defense representation and are interested in learning more about Luftman, Heck and Associates LLP, please complete a contact form. A member of our San Diego law firm will contact you directly to discuss your case in more detail and provide additional information about our DUI legal services.