Misdemeanor DUI Lawyer

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    In California, most driving under the influence (DUI) offenses are charged as misdemeanors. Generally speaking, misdemeanors are less serious crimes than felonies and a misdemeanor DUI conviction carries less severe penalties than a felony conviction. Still, the criminal punishment for a misdemeanor DUI in San Diego is far from inconsequential, and even a first-time DUI can result in significant personal, professional and financial consequences. If you have been charged with misdemeanor DUI in San Diego, do not leave your future in the hands of an inexperienced attorney. Consult our reputable DUI lawyers at Sevens Legal, APC right away to determine the best course of action based on your specific circumstances.

    Affordable Misdemeanor DUI Defense Attorney Carlsbad CA

    DUIs are taken extremely seriously in San Diego and throughout California, and there is a sophisticated system in place to prosecute and punish DUI offenders to the fullest extent of the law. Regardless of whether your misdemeanor DUI is a first, second or third offense, you need a knowledgeable and aggressive DUI attorney representing you, one who can evaluate the facts of your case and determine the most effective defense strategy for your specific situation. Our DUI defense attorneys understand that all San Diego DUI cases are different, requiring individualized attention and careful consideration by a professional. At Sevens Legal, our trial-tested DUI lawyers are intimately familiar with San Diego DUI laws and how they pertain to your case, and our legal team offers hands-on representation at every stage of the criminal process. When it comes to your freedom and your family’s future, nothing is as important as having an experienced and compassionate lawyer representing you, and that is exactly what we offer clients at Sevens Legal. Contact our DUI attorneys today for a free consultation and evaluation of your drunk driving case.

    Misdemeanor DUI in San Diego

    DUI arrests in San Diego typically result from a DUI checkpoint, accident or traffic stop. If the officer who stops you has a reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she can request that you take a breath test and/or execute a series of so-called “field sobriety tests” to determine whether or not you are intoxicated. Most people think DUI is just one crime, but if you are stopped and arrested for DUI in San Diego, you will typically face two separate DUI charges: driving under the influence of alcohol (California Vehicle Code § 23152 (a) VC) and driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher (California Vehicle Code § 23152 (b) VC).

    Driving Under the Influence

    According to VC § 23152 (a), “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.” Pursuant to this law, you are considered to be “under the influence” if your physical and mental abilities are impaired to such a degree that you are not able to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person. This law is the “subjective standard” for DUI, which means a police officer can place you under arrest for DUI if he or she has probable cause to believe that you were under the influence of alcohol while driving. For instance, if you were speeding, swerving or involved in an accident, the prosecutor in your case could use any of these factors to show that you were under the influence of alcohol at the time you drove, even if your BAC was below the legal limit.

    Having a BAC of 0.08% or Higher

    Under VC § 23152 (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.” This law establishes the “per se” standard for DUI in San Diego, which means the law presumes you were under the influence of alcohol if your BAC was 0.08% or higher at the time you drove, whether you appeared to be intoxicated or not.

    Punishment for a San Diego Misdemeanor DUI

    Unless there are aggravating factors that elevate the DUI to a more serious offense, most first, second and third DUIs in San Diego are misdemeanors, which carry less severe penalties than felony DUIs. Furthermore, an individual convicted of a misdemeanor DUI faces time in county jail, compared to state prison for a felony DUI. A misdemeanor DUI in San Diego may seem like no big deal, but a conviction carries considerable penalties, possibly including hefty fines, a county jail sentence and a suspension of your driver’s license. And since San Diego DUIs are “priorable” offenses, the punishment you face for a DUI conviction increases with each offense occurring within ten years. If you are arrested for DUI in San Diego, and you were previously convicted for a first-time DUI nine years and 11 months earlier, the new DUI would still be charged as a second offense, carrying increased criminal penalties. The following are the criminal penalties you could face for first-, second- and third-time DUIs and wet reckless convictions in San Diego.

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    First Offense

    • Up to six months in county jail,
    • Up to $1,000 in fines, plus additional fees and costs,
    • A six-month suspension of your driver’s license,
    • Three to five years of misdemeanor probation,
    • Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), and/or
    • DUI school for three to nine months.

    Second Offense Within Ten Years

    • Up to one year in county jail,
    • Up to $1,000 in fines, plus additional fees and costs,
    • A two-year driver’s license suspension,
    • Three to five years of misdemeanor probation,
    • Installation of an IID, and/or
    • DUI school for 18 to 30 months.

    Third Offense Within Ten Years

    • Up to one year in county jail,
    • Up to $1,000 in fines, plus other fees and costs,
    • A three-year driver’s license suspension,
    • Three to five years of probation,
    • Installation of an IID,
    • 30 months of DUI school,
    • Community service requirements, and/or
    • Habitual traffic offender designation.

    Under California law, a fourth or subsequent DUI offense occurring within ten years is typically charged as a felony DUI carrying much more severe criminal penalties, including a potential state prison sentence.

    Wet Reckless

    “Wet reckless” is the name given to a common charge reduction in San Diego DUI cases. Wet reckless is not a separate crime and you can’t actually be arrested or charged with a wet reckless offense. It is simply the name for an alcohol-related reckless driving charge under VC § 23103, which covers:

    (a)  A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property, and

    (b)  A person who drives a vehicle in an off-street parking facility, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 12500, in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

    In many misdemeanor DUI cases in San Diego, the DUI charge ends up being reduced to wet reckless as part of a plea agreement, though the wet reckless charge will include a note on the defendant’s criminal record that the offense involved alcohol and/or drugs. There are a number of advantages to a wet reckless charge over a DUI charge, including the fact that wet reckless carries far less serious criminal penalties than DUI. “Dry reckless,” another common DUI charge reduction, does not include a note regarding the involvement of alcohol and/or drugs. Another important difference between the two is that a wet reckless charge is a priorable offense, while a dry reckless charge is not.

    Aggravating Factors

    There are certain “aggravating factors,” or extenuating circumstances, that can result in more serious penalties for San Diego DUIs. For instance, if you were involved in an accident, were speeding or driving recklessly, had an exceptionally high BAC, or had a child in the car with you at the time of your DUI arrest, among other possible aggravating factors, you could face additional penalties if you are found guilty of the DUI.

    San Diego DUI Expungement

    If you have a DUI conviction on your record, you have probably wondered if you can get the conviction expunged. An expungement is an after-the-fact dismissal of the case that erases the conviction from your record for most purposes. Obtaining a DUI expungement can release you from many of the negative effects of a San Diego DUI conviction, including adverse employment consequences, though not all of the negative effects. In order to be eligible for a misdemeanor DUI expungement in San Diego, the following must be true:

    • You successfully completed probation for the offense, and
    • You either did not serve time in state prison for the offense, or you served time in state prison but would have served it in county jail had the offense taken place after the implementation of Proposition 47.

    Keep in mind that even an expunged DUI conviction counts as a prior offense should you be arrested for a subsequent DUI.

    San Diego Misdemeanor DUI Defense

    Even as a first offense, a DUI can have serious repercussions on your personal and professional life, not to mention on your finances, and facing criminal charges for misdemeanor drunk driving can feel like the worst possible scenario, especially if you have little to no experience navigating the California criminal justice system. However, we always remind clients that just because they have been arrested for DUI does not mean they will automatically be convicted. Just like any other criminal defendant, defendants in DUI cases are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and the burden of proof in DUI cases lies with the prosecution. What that means is, in order to get a misdemeanor DUI conviction in San Diego, the prosecution must prove the elements of the DUI beyond a reasonable doubt:

    • That you drove a motor vehicle, and
    • That you were under the influence of alcohol at the time you drove, or
    • Had a BAC of 0.08% or higher at the time you drove.

    In order for the DUI to be considered a second, third or subsequent offense, the prosecution must also prove that you had prior DUI convictions within the previous ten years.

    Best Defenses for a Misdemeanor DUI

    If you have been charged with DUI in San Diego, it may feel like the deck is stacked against you and you may think that the prosecution’s evidence is irrefutable. After all, the arresting officer says you were driving under the influence of alcohol, and how can you argue with that? In reality, there are a great number of unforeseeable circumstances that can result in your DUI charges being reduced or possibly even dropped altogether. In fact, many DUI cases in San Diego are settled out of court and never even go to trial. If your DUI case goes to trial, however, some possible defenses your attorney can use to beat your misdemeanor DUI charges include the following:

    • Police misconduct
    • Illegal arrest
    • Illegal DUI checkpoint
    • Mishandled evidence
    • False positive alcohol test
    • Miranda violation

    Our San Diego Misdemeanor DUI Lawyers Can Help

    Drunk driving is a common charge in the state of California, but there is a lot that people don’t know about DUIs in San Diego. For instance, a common misconception is that you can only be charged with DUI if your BAC is above the legal limit. In reality, you can be charged with DUI in San Diego even if your BAC is below 0.08% if the prosecutor can prove that you were “under the influence” while you were driving. Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, DUI is a serious offense requiring the skill and expertise of a seasoned DUI defense attorney. Our defense lawyers at Sevens Legal are committed to protecting the rights of the criminally accused in San Diego and throughout Southern California, and we will take every possible action to help you get a satisfactory outcome in your misdemeanor DUI case.

    Contact a San Diego Misdemeanor DUI Lawyer Today

    Even after serving your jail sentence and paying the necessary fines, the long-term repercussions of a DUI conviction can continue to negatively impact your life, possibly affecting your ability to obtain certain employment or professional licensing, among other adverse consequences. If you have been charged with DUI in San Diego, the very first thing you should do is contact an experienced San Diego DUI defense attorney to handle your case. At Sevens Legal, our team of skilled and compassionate defense attorneys understand how devastating a DUI conviction would be for you and your loved ones, and we can help you fight your misdemeanor DUI charges and clear your name. Contact our San Diego law firm as soon as possible to schedule a free DUI consultation.

    Free Misdemeanor DUI Consultation in San Diego

    Our Clients Say

    “Samantha Green was great handling my case. She got me from a misdemeanor to a fraction. Im happy with that. She also kept me updated on my case and i never had to call her for an update. I would definitely use her again and recommend her to people.” – Amanda K.

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    At Sevens Legal, APC we pride ourselves on our commitment to prompt responses to our potential clients and clients. Your case is very important to us and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

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