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Why a DUI Is Worth Fighting

Dec. 7, 2021

A woman takes a breathalyzer test in her carMany people mistakenly believe that there is no hope for their case if they are charged with driving under the influence (DUI). However, just because you are facing a DUI charge in California does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted. It might still be worth fighting the charge to avoid criminal penalties and other negative consequences associated with a conviction. Even a first-time DUI conviction in California could result in a license suspension, hefty fines, and time in jail.

That is why you might want to consider contacting a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney to help you beat your DUI case or reduce the charge. Get in touch with our team at Underwood Law Firm so we can review your case and advise you on your defense options. We represent clients facing DUI and other charges in Bakersfield, California, as well as Lamont and throughout Kern County.

Possible Penalties for DUI in California

One of the first questions a person charged with DUI may ask is, “Should I fight my DUI?” DUIs are associated with severe penalties depending on the circumstances of the arrest, whether there are prior drunk driving convictions, and whether you refused a test. Some of the most common penalties for DUI in California include:

  • Suspension of the driver’s license (administrative per se and criminal suspension)

  • Hefty fines plus penalty assessments

  • Jail time

  • Probation

  • DUI education program

  • Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device

  • Loss of a job or difficulty getting a new job

  • Increase in auto insurance premiums

DUI penalties vary from one case to another, depending on a number of factors. One of the primary factors that affects allowable sentencing is the number of prior convictions on the defendant’s criminal record. For the purposes of DUI sentencing, DUI convictions count for ten years. In other words, if your previous DUI conviction was more than 10 years ago, the court will disregard it when choosing the appropriate punishment.

A DUI conviction can take a toll on various aspects of your life. California courts take DUI charges very seriously, which is why you might want to consider hiring a DUI defense attorney to help you fight the charges. You might still have a chance to walk away acquitted of the charges against you.

Defenses to a DUI Charge

If you want to avoid or reduce the above-mentioned civil and criminal penalties for DUI, you need to know what steps to take to fight the charges in your particular case. No two cases are alike, which is why the appropriate defense strategy depends on the circumstances of your DUI case. Some of the possible defenses to DUI charges include:

  1. Unreasonable traffic stop. Police officers must have reasonable suspicion that a driver committed a crime to pull him or her over. For example, the police can lawfully stop your vehicle if a law enforcement officer observes a traffic law violation (e.g., weaving across the road, sudden acceleration and deceleration, or other signs of impaired driving).

  2. Bad driving does not mean that you are impaired. As mentioned earlier, police officers must have reasonable suspicion to stop a driver. However, bad driving does not necessarily mean that the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You cannot be convicted of a DUI based on the officer’s observations alone.

  3. Inaccurate field sobriety test results. Police officers often choose to administer field sobriety tests to prove that a driver is intoxicated. However, just because you fail a field sobriety test does not necessarily mean that you are impaired. Field sobriety tests are not a reliable indicator of intoxication. For example, you may be able to challenge the results of the field sobriety test by arguing that you had a medical condition that caused you to fail a one-leg stand or another test.

  4. Procedural violations. A police officer’s failure to follow the proper procedure when administering a breath test can be grounds for your DUI defense. For example, officers are legally required to observe a motorist for at least 15 minutes before administering a Breathalyzer test. Failure to do so could make breath test results inadmissible.

  5. Extenuating circumstances that falsely inflated your BAC level. Certain medical conditions, including diabetes, and diets can falsely raise a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. When a person has diabetes, is fasting, or is on a high-protein/low-carb diet, their liver produces ketones, which can trick a Breathalyzer into thinking that the person is impaired even though that person did not consume any amount of alcohol.

Consider contacting a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney to review your specific case and identify all defense options available in your case to fight your DUI case.

Work With a Trusted DUI Defense Attorney

If you are facing a DUI charge in California, you are at risk of losing your driver’s license or even going to jail, among other penalties. Consider speaking with our skilled DUI defense attorneys at Underwood Law Firm to defend you in your case. The unwavering commitment to attaining successful outcomes for clients has earned John D. Underwood and Kari Underwood their reputation as trusted and results-driven attorneys in Bakersfield and throughout Kern County.