Santa Barbara DUI Lawyer
A drugged or drunk driving conviction can have negative impacts on every part of your life. In addition to being heavily fined and sentenced to jail or prison, you can also lose your driver’s license and be placed on probation, among other penalties. If the DUI charge involved drug possession, or the death or injury of another person, you can also be charged with additional crimes, some of which are extremely serious felonies.
There’s no question that a conviction of driving under the influence can have dire consequences for your career, your personal life, your reputation, and your freedom. With so much on the line, representation by a skilled defense attorney who has prior experience handling DUI charges is critical. Turn to the Santa Barbara DUI lawyers of Bamieh & De Smeth for immediate assistance if you or a loved one was arrested for intoxicated driving in Santa Barbara. Call our law offices as soon as possible at (805) 643-5555 for a free legal consultation.
What is the Jail Sentence for a First Drunk Driving Offense in California?
DUI, or driving under the influence, may be charged under Cal. Vehicle Code § 23152(a) when a person drives any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. This “vehicle” is usually a car or truck, but it is also illegal to operate a motorcycle, a boat, or an airplane while you are impaired by beer, wine, or liquor of any kind.Even if you do not feel intoxicated, you can still be arrested for DUI if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or greater. If you are a CDL driver, such as a professional truck driver, the BAC threshold is lower: 0.04%.
Most DUI arrests involve alcohol, but you can also be charged with DUI for driving while intoxicated by drugs under Cal. Vehicle Code § 23152(e). More broadly still, Cal. Vehicle Code § 23152(c) makes it illegal for anyone who is even addicted to drugs to drive, unless the person is participating in a treatment program, in which case this prohibition does not apply.If you are convicted of intoxicated driving, under Cal. Vehicle Code § 23536(a), you may receive the following penalties:
- Four days to six months in jail
- A fine ranging from $390 to $1,000
Additionally, your driver’s license will be temporarily suspended for at least six months, and you may also be placed on probation.
These penalties can increase dramatically if you are convicted of multiple drunk driving offenses, or if the DUI causes an accident which results in death or injury. Moreover, if the DUI involves drugs, you could be charged with the possession of controlled substances if there are narcotics in your vehicle or on your person.
Second DUI Offense
- Up to $1,000 in fines and related costs
- 96 hours to two years of jail time
- License suspension for up to a year plus restricted driving privileges for two years. When you have restricted driving privileges, you will only be allowed to drive to and from specific places, including your workplace, your alcohol treatment program, and for certain approved errands.
- Completion of an alcohol treatment program that could last from 18 months to 30 months, which costs approximately $1,800.
- Probation of three to five years
- Installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle
- Your vehicle will also be impounded for at least 30 days.
Third DUI Offense
- Up to $1,000 in fines and related costs
- Jail time of 120 days to one year.
- License suspension of three years plus a year of administrative suspension. The suspension times may be allowed to overlap. You will also have restricted driving privileges, but if drugs are involved in your DUI charge, you must complete a year of license suspension before you are allowed to apply for a restricted driver’s license.
- Ignition interlock device installation for two years
- 30 months in an alcohol treatment program
- Probation of three to five years
It’s also crucial to note that when you are on probation, you must be extremely careful to follow these conditions:
- Never drink and drive.
- Do not commit any other crime.
- Submit to chemical testing of your breath, blood, or urine if you get arrested for DUI again.
Legal Defenses Against Felony and Misdemeanor Intoxicated Driving Charges
You may feel very lost and hopeless after you have been charged with drunk driving in Santa Barbara. However, it is still important that you speak to an attorney about the options and strategies that may be applicable to your case. It may be possible to beat the charges, or even have your case dismissed.Depending on the circumstances, there are several defenses that may be raised against allegations of DUI in Santa Barbara. Some possible defenses that can be used to fight California DUI charges include:
- Improperly conducted field sobriety tests (FSTs)
- Improperly maintained breath or blood testing equipment
- Improper storage or labeling of test results
- Inaccurate breathalyzer readings
- Lack of probable cause
- Police misconduct during a stop or arrest
No matter how serious the charges are, quality legal representation increases your likelihood of receiving a more lenient sentence, being acquitted, or having the charges dropped. It is not in your best interests to attempt to defend yourself. You will be facing an experienced prosecutor who has handled hundreds or thousands of cases like yours, so you need to make sure that you have a skilled and aggressive attorney fighting in your corner.
Arrested for Driving Under the Influence? Contact Our Santa Barbara DUI Attorneys
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, prescription medications, sleep aids, or controlled substances, it is vital that you are represented by a knowledgeable criminal lawyer who is highly familiar with the legal strategies that can be used to defend against DUI charges in Santa Barbara. The DUI defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC handle a wide range of drugged and drunk driving charges and related offenses, including but not limited to:
- Underage DUI
- Felony DUI
- Refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test
- Second and third offenses
- DUI resulting in fatalities
- DUI with injury
- DUI with:
- Cough syrup
- Crack cocaine
- LSD (Acid)
- MDMA (Ecstasy)
- Psilocybin mushrooms
Penalties for Felony DUI Charges in California
DUI with Injury to Other People
If you hurt another individual in a DUI crash, you stand to face more severe penalties than you would for a misdemeanor DUI. DUIs involving injury to others are wobblers, which generally means that they can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. But whether it will be treated as a misdemeanor or felony is up to the court’s discretion. For a felony DUI, you can face 16 months up to four years in state prison. In addition, you may be slapped with fines up to $5,000 depending on the circumstances of your case.
DUI Resulting in Death
If you killed another individual during a DUI crash, you will be prosecuted under California’s murder or vehicular manslaughter laws and may be charged with:
- Second-degree murder
- Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated
- Negligent vehicular manslaughter intoxicated
The penalties for these crimes vary greatly, ranging for a year to life in prison and heavy fines.
Subsequent or Fourth DUI Within 10 Years
A subsequent or fourth DUI charge within 10 years is usually charged as a felony in California. This offense is punishable by imprisonment of 16 months up to four years and fines up to $1,000.
Previous Felony DUI
Drivers who have a previous felony DUI conviction that happened within the last 10 years are typically charged with a felony for the current DUI offense, even if the current one doesn’t involve aggravating factors. This is punishable by up to four years of imprisonment and up to $1,000 in fines.
Yes, It’s Possible to Win Your DUI Case
Usually, even in DUI cases with allegedly strong evidence against the offenders may end up in the offender’s favor. To do this, our Santa Barbara DUI lawyers normally implement various strategies, such as the following:
- Check if the arresting officer followed all procedures and respected your rights.
- Compare statements for witnesses, if applicable.
- Check for audio or video evidence that might contradict the officer’s statements or actions during your arrest.
- Confirm whether the officer utilized the breathalyzer or field sobriety tests properly.
- Look for alternative explanations of your failed breath test, such as glitches, improper calibration, bad data, and/or insufficient certification or licensing from the lab technicians that conducted the chemical testing.
These strategies above will be utilized for invalidating certain evidence against you to weaken the prosecution’s case and increase the chances of winning your case during or after your trial. Likewise, if the prosecution believes that their case against you doesn’t have merit, they might drop the DUI charges instead of going to trial. Depending on the circumstances, the prosecution may also offer a plea bargain to reduce your charges to a lesser charge or recommend a lighter sentence.
The same strategies may also be used for casting doubt on the evidence against you, even if your case goes to trial. In addition, even if the court allows the evidence, it can still be refuted with a solid defense strategy. Keep in mind that the win a DUI case, you don’t actually need to prove your innocence but create reasonable doubt about the argument of the prosecution.
What Our Santa Barbara DUI Lawyers Can Do For You
Regardless of the charges and evidence against you, our Santa Barbara DUI lawyers can secure the best possible results for your specific situation, which can include the following:
- Getting your DUI dismissed or your charges dropped – When this occurs, it is as if you were never charged with DUI or arrested. Courts dismiss cases for various reasons, such as when faced with aggressive and skilled defense lawyers, lack of evidence, or overwhelming caseload.
- Reducing the charges against you – We can try to negotiate a plea deal for you in which we request a lighter sentence or reduce your charges. Ideally, the prosecution agrees to change your DUI charges to reckless driving, for instance, because this charge carries lower penalties. While you must plead guilty as a condition of the deal, you still win because of the lighter penalties.
- Getting you acquitted – This is the main goal if your case ends up in trial. When you are acquitted, it means that you’ve been found not guilty. Take note that the possibility of getting an acquittal is best when the evidence the prosecution has on you isn’t admissible in court.
If you, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your spouse, your son or daughter, a parent, or another family member was arrested for intoxicated driving in Santa Barbara, get legal help from a tough, experienced, and reputable defense attorney. To set up a free legal consultation, call The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC at (805) 643-5555 right away.