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Providing DUI Defense for Costa Mesa

Arrested for DUI in Costa Mesa?

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Costa Mesa, you need to act quickly.  From the moment of your arrest, the clock is ticking – you have only 10 calendar days to find an attorney, and have them schedule a hearing in your defense.  Failure to do so within the 10 days will result in automatic suspension of your license, and could leave you vulnerable to further action, such as jail time and stiff penalties.  In order to prepare the best defense on your behalf, your attorney needs as much time as possible to schedule the hearing, gather evidence, and build a strong case in your defense.

Because many people think a DUI arrest will never happen to them, they put off finding a good Costa Mesa DUI attorney until they are actually arrested.  However, this can be a costly decision, as the process of finding a skilled attorney could take up valuable time.  Even if you are a careful and considerate driver, and take measures never to drive while under the influence, you can still be pulled over and arrested on suspicion of DUI.  Being informed now, and knowing who to turn to if the unthinkable happens, can mean the difference between defending yourself successfully and spending years living with the consequences of a DUI conviction.

What You Need to Know Now

Time is of the essence.  If you are arrested for DUI, the arresting officer will take your license from you, and issue you a temporary license that is valid for 30 days.  However, you only have 10 days to file for a hearing to stop the automatic suspension of your license at the end of that 30 days.  If this hearing is not scheduled, the hearing officer reviewing your case will automatically suspend your license, and send your case to the courts for further action.

The Administrative Per Se hearing is NOT your court case.  The hearing gives your DUI attorney the opportunity to mount a first defense for you.  Your attorney will have the chance to subpoena the arresting officer and any witnesses, as well as present witnesses on your behalf.  He will also have the chance to review the evidence being presented against you, and introduce crucial evidence for your defense.  If he is able to successfully persuade the hearing officer to set the case aside, your permanent license will be returned to you.  If the hearing officer sustains the suspension action, the suspension will be imposed.  The hearing is absolutely critical:  a failure to schedule this hearing will automatically result in the suspension of your license thirty days after the date of your arrest.

If Your Case Is Going to Trial

Upon being released from custody, the police officer sends a copy of the arrest report to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.  If the Orange County District Attorney decides to file your case, your attorney will continue working on a defense.  He will have additional time to find and investigate witnesses, examine evidence, and call expert witnesses to assist in your case.  Even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is higher than the legal limit, there are many legal defenses that may exist that may warrant having the case set for trial.  Having your case sent to the courts does not mean all hope is lost.  In the hands of an expert attorney who is knowledgeable in the DUI laws of Costa Mesa and Orange County, you stand a much better chance of being successfully defended against these charges.

Facts You Should Know About the Breath Test

Many people think that once they've failed a breathalyzer test, there is no chance of defending the charges – even if they know they didn't have anything to drink.  However, these tests are far from infallible, and can be influenced by many different factors, including the weather, the skill and experience of the arresting officer, and your own physiology.  Even if you did have something to drink, the test could inaccurately reflect how much alcohol is in your system. 

Breath tests have an “acceptable” margin of error of .02%
            While this number may sound small, it can actually be a significant factor in your case.  This .02% can mean the difference between being above the legal limit (.08%) and below it.  Consider this:  if your BAC is .06%, and the machine is off by .02%, you could be arrested, even though your BAC was actually within acceptable levels.

Breath tests are only accurate if you haven't had a drink within two hours
            This little-known fact is one of the most important.  If you are just coming home from the bar, chances are you had a drink less than two hours ago.  This can cause the breath test to register a higher-than-accurate result.

Officers must watch you continuously for 15 minutes before administering the test
            In order to ensure that nothing occurs to contribute to a false-positive reading, officers are required to observe you for a full 15 minutes before administering the Breathalyzer.  Failure to do so could affect the accuracy of the results.

Medicine, Health Conditions – Even the Weather – Can Affect the Breath Test
            No two people are alike.  Certain medications or health conditions can cause false-positives on the breath test.  If you are on any medications, or have any physical conditions that might have affected your test, inform your DUI attorney immediately.

Your Costa Mesa DUI attorney is well versed in these requirements, as well as in the shortcomings of the Breathalyzer test.  Because of the fallibility of this method of testing your BAC, a skilled attorney can often have this evidence thrown out, making it even harder for an arresting officer to prove that you truly were under the influence.

What Happens if You Are Convicted

In the event that you are eventually convicted of DUI, there are certain guidelines that dictate the punishment you will receive.  This can vary depending on previous convictions, the severity of the circumstances, and other factors.  However, general sentencing guidelines indicate that:

If you are of legal driving and drinking age, and this is your first offense, your license could be suspended for four months. (One year for refusal to submit to a BAC test)

If you are of legal driving and drinking age, and this is your second or higher offense in seven years, you may receive a license suspension of one year.  (Two years for refusal to submit to a BAC test)

If this is your third offense, and you refuse to submit to a BAC test, you may receive a three-year suspension of your license.

Again, these sentences can vary depending on the circumstances of your arrest, the nature of the charges against you – even the judge presiding over the case.  Speak with your Costa Mesa DUI attorney to find out more about the possible outcome of your case, and how you can defend yourself against severe sentencing measures. 

Being charged with DUI is a serious matter, and is often a scary and intimidating time for those involved.  Being informed beforehand, and having the assistance of an excellent DUI attorney who has in-depth knowledge of Costa Mesa and Orange County DUI laws is crucial in preparing an effective defense.  If you know your rights, and how to respond in the event the unthinkable happens, you stand a much better chance of saving your license, and reducing the effect the arrest has on your life.


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