San Diego Driving Offense Lawyer
Driving Offense in San Diego
If you got arrested for a driving offense in San Diego, you need the help of a competent driving offense attorney. But first, let’s look at the various types of driving offenses.
DMV Hearings in San Diego
If you have been arrested for a DUI in California, the arresting officer took away your driver’s license and served you with an Order of Suspension/ Revocation. DMV gives you ten days from the day you were issued the order to request a hearing to show that the suspension/revocation is not justified. If you do not make the request in time you lose your right to have a DMV hearing and DMV can automatically suspend your driving privileges anywhere from four months to one year. You see the DMV hearing is an administrative procedure presided over by a DMV safety officer to determine whether or not to suspend or revoke your driving privileges. The purpose of the DMV hearing is to provide you with an opportunity to review the allegations against you, contest the suspension of your driving privileges, and present testimony on your behalf. At Monder Law Group, we understand the value of your driving privileges and how they may affect your loved ones. In preparation for your DMV hearing, we will put together evidence of the mitigating factors in your case that merit a restricted driver’s license. Our goal at the DMV hearing is to have the safety officer modify your order of suspension and allow you restricted driving privileges to meet you and your family’s critical driving needs.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
If you are found driving under the influence of alcohol in California, you will be charged with a DUI if your blood alcohol concentration level is a .08 or higher. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI or a felony DUI will depend on the existence of prior DUI convictions and if the DUI resulted in an accident, the extent of the injuries. Generally, you will be charged with misdemeanor DUI unless you have more than three DUI’s or someone was hurt. As a misdemeanor, the penalties for a DUI vary depending on the number of DUI offenses you have in your criminal record. If this is your first DUI offense, then you could be sentenced up to six months in county jail, ordered to pay a court fine of $390 to $1,000, to complete a three or nine-month DUI program, and have your driver’s license suspended for six to ten months. For a second and third DUI offense, you could be sentenced up to one year in county jail, ordered to pay a maximum court fine of $1,800, to complete an eighteen or thirty-month DUI program, and have your driver’s license suspended for one to three years. On a fourth DUI offense, you will be charged with a felony and could be sentenced to sixteen months, two years, or three years in state prison, ordered to pay a court fine of $390 to $1,000, to complete an eighteen or thirty-month DUI program, and have your driver’s license suspended for four years. You will also be charged with a felony DUI if there was an accident and someone was hurt, under these circumstances could be sentenced anywhere from sixteen months to sixteen years in state prison, ordered to pay a court fine of $1,000 to $5,000, ordered to pay restitution to the injured victim, to complete an eighteen or thirty-month DUI program and have your driver’s license suspended for five years. Driving under the influence of alcohol carries severe penalties. You need a skilled DUI criminal defense attorney that will be able to negotiate alternative sentencing options. Our attorneys have vast experience handling all types of DUIs and obtaining wet reckless and dry reckless driving charges, summary probation, electronic monitoring, community service, and residence in alcohol treatment facilities as alternatives to jail and state prison sentences for their clients.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
If you are found driving under the influence of any substance other than alcohol that can impair your nervous system in California, you will be charged with a drug DUI. This includes over the counter medicine, prescription drugs, and illegal controlled substances. Similar to the charges for driving under the influence of alcohol, your charges for driving under the influence of drugs will depend on the existence of prior DUI convictions and if your driving caused an accident, the extent of the victim’s injuries. Generally, you will be charged with a misdemeanor drug DUI unless you have more than three DUI’s, you had an accident and someone got hurt, or you have a prior felony DUI conviction in your criminal record. As a misdemeanor, the penalties for a drug DUI vary depending on the number of prior DUI offenses you have. For a first-time drug DUI offense, you could be facing a maximum of six months in county jail, more likely to be three to five years of summary probation, ordered to pay a court fine of $390 to $1,000, to complete a three-month drug program, and have your driver’s license suspended for at least six months. For a second and third drug DUI offense, you could be facing increasing mandatory jail sentences, ordered to pay a maximum court fine of $1,800, to complete an eighteen-month drug program, and have your driver’s license suspended for one to three years. For a felony drug DUI, you could be sentenced to sixteen months, two years, or three years in state prison, ordered to pay a court fine up to $10,000, to complete a thirty-month drug program, and have your driver’s license suspended for up to five years. Drug DUIs are complex charges and will require a team of experts for a complete defense. At Monder Law Group, we work with some of the best toxicologist experts in the country and are ready to have them re-test your blood work and conduct our own forensic toxicology analysis for your defense at trial. Our attorneys are recognized trial DUI attorneys in Southern California and have built a reputation for aggressive representation against mishandling of blood work and incomplete forensic bio-lab reports. If you have been charged with any type of drug DUI, for the best results, an attorney from Monder Law is who you want in your corner!
Hit and Run
Pursuant to California Vehicle Code 20002, as a driver involved in a car accident where property damage resulted, you have the obligation to immediately pull over, exchange your identifying information and provide your driver’s license and insurance information. The omission of any of these three steps may result in a misdemeanor hit and run charge, regardless of liability for the accident. The only things that the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt for a misdemeanor hit and run conviction are that you were involved in a car accident while driving, that the accident caused damage to another’s property, and you either knew that property had been damaged or the nature of the accident made it probable that property was damaged and you willfully failed to perform the obligations under VC 20002. The penalties that follow a misdemeanor hit and run conviction could be up to six months in county jail, up to three years of summary probation, a court fine of $1,000, and pay restitution to any victim whose property was damaged. You have car insurance for a reason, avoid misdemeanor criminal charges by retaining an experienced hit and run criminal defense attorney on a pre-file basis. At Monder Law Group, the first thing we do is reach out to the investigator on your case and provide them your identifying information, driver’s license, insurance claim number, and any pictures of the damages to your vehicle. Next, we put together a mitigation packet, including your professional resume, documentation of achievements, academic certificates, non-profit volunteer work, and character letters from the people in your life that know you and can testify to your good character. One of our attorneys then drafts a letter explaining the significance of this mitigation and requesting to engage in a civil compromise. Upon reviewing the mitigation packet, the investigator will reach out to the attorney willing to negotiate. What usually ends up happening in these negotiations is that we offer to have the insurance companies work out the liability and restitution for damages and the investigator will agree to close the investigation and not to file charges.
Driving on a Suspended License
If you are found driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license in California, you may be charged with a misdemeanor under Vehicle Code section 14601. For a conviction of driving on a suspended license, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving a motor vehicle at a time when your driver’s license was suspended or revoked and that you knew that your driver’s license was suspended when you drove. To satisfy the knowledge requirement, the prosecution can rely on the judgment from a court, a copy of the notice that an arresting officer personally served you with, or the notice that DMV mailed out to your most recent address and the fact that the notice was not returned to the DMV as unclaimed or undeliverable mail. If convicted of driving with a suspended license under VC section 14601, you could be sentenced up to six months in county jail and receive a court fine from $300 to $1,000 if this is your first offense. However, if you have any priors for driving on a suspended driver’s license within five years of the new charge, you could be sentenced up to one year and a court fine of $500 to $2,000. You should not have to have a criminal record for driving on a suspended license, do not let this happen to you! You can avoid a misdemeanor conviction by contacting one of our criminal defense attorneys who have experience in successfully handling suspended license cases at all stages of the criminal justice system. If your driving privileges were recently suspended, one of our attorneys may be able to request a DMV hearing to contest the suspension and ask for a modification for restricted driving privileges. If your suspension has expired, our attorney can contact DMV to have it lifted and reinstate your driving privileges. If time has lapsed for these options, the attorney will negotiate with the prosecution for a lesser offense in order to obtain an infraction in your case. Do not give up hope, contact our team of attorneys today at (619)405-0063 to discuss all the options available in your case!
If while driving a vehicle in California you kill someone, you will be charged with vehicular manslaughter. There are three different types of vehicular manslaughter offenses codified in the California Penal Code.
First, Penal Code section 192(c), criminalizes vehicular manslaughter involving the negligent operation of a motor vehicle. This offense is a wobbler which means that the prosecutor has discretion to charge the offense as either a misdemeanor or a felony. For a conviction of negligent vehicular manslaughter, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that at the time you killed the other person you were driving in an unlawful manner, in a lawful but dangerous manner, or you knowingly caused the accident for financial gain. The penalties under Penal Code section 192(c) for a misdemeanor conviction is a sentence of up to one year in county jail and for a felony conviction is imprisonment for two, four, or six years in state prison.
Second, Penal Code section 191.5(b) criminalizes vehicular manslaughter involving the operation of a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This offense is also a wobbler and may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony. For a conviction of vehicular manslaughter involving alcohol or drugs, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that at the time you killed someone you were driving under the influence of alcohol and/ or drugs, that in addition to the DUI you committed an unlawful act or a lawful but dangerous act and it was your negligence that caused the death of another. The penalties under Penal Code section 191.5(b) for a misdemeanor conviction are a sentence of up to one year in county jail and a maximum court fine of $1,000. Whereas for a felony conviction, you are looking at sixteen months, two years, or four years in state prison, a maximum court fine of $10,000 and an additional and consecutive three to six-year sentence enhancement if any surviving victim suffers great bodily injury.
Third, Penal Code section 191.5(a) criminalizes vehicular manslaughter involving gross negligence while operating a motor vehicle. Given the severity of the offense, this type of vehicular manslaughter is prosecuted as a felony. For a conviction of vehicular manslaughter involving gross negligence, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the killing was the proximate result of your commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence, and that your unlawful or negligent act was the cause of death of another human being. The penalties for a vehicular manslaughter conviction under Penal Code section 191.5(a) are a sentence of four, six, or ten years in state prison or fifteen years to life in state prison if you have a prior conviction for this offense or two or more DUI convictions in your criminal record. If there are any surviving victims who suffered great bodily injury, you could face an additional and consecutive sentence enhancement of three to six years in state prison.
If you were involved in a car accident that resulted in great bodily injury or the death of another person, you are facing the most dire consequences of all driving offenses in California. You will need a specialized criminal defense attorney to address the highly technical, legal, and human aspects of the accident.
Imagine being questioned about issues surrounding your driving privileges or driving behavior. An officer is typically trying to fish for a vehicle code violation and many vehicle code violations are strict liability crimes and are easier to prove based on an officer’s eyewitness account of the events. However, having an experienced criminal defense attorney that specializes in driving offenses will enhance your chances of getting a reduction or dismissal in your case.
What is a Driving Offense?
There are many crimes that may be construed as a driving offense. Most people may think that the odds of being placed behind bars for a driving offense are extremely high. However, the chances of going to jail increases based on the consequence of the driving offense if it resulted in death, serious bodily injury, or an accident. Also, the chances of jail increase if you are considered a multiple offender of a driving charge such as 2nd or 3rd time DUIs. Also, you could be charged with a felony driving offense if this is your 4th time DUI.
How do I Obtain the Police Report in a Driving Offense in San Diego?
Officers are required to follow strict police procedure in any investigation involving a vehicle. Most CHP officers have dashcam video footage also known as MVARS that capture the entire encounter. Other law enforcement agencies in San Diego rely solely on body cam video footage to record the encounter. Depending on the type of law enforcement agency involved the discovery will differ but one thing will remain consistent and that is an Officer’s sworn statement of what they observed. These officers are not experts and often time make rookie mistakes while on patrol duties. It is important to obtain any and all records that exist in your case under California Penal Code section 1054.1.
If you hire an experienced criminal attorney early on in your case, the first thing they will do is make a formal request to the prosecutor for the entire discovery in your case. If any scientific instrument was used, then calibration and maintenance reports are required. If there was more than one person involved in the examination of evidence, then a list of their job descriptions, past reports and qualifications are required. Also, if any exculpatory information exists that would lead to your innocence; it must be turned over by the prosecutor in your case.
How Do I Find Out What the Charge Is in a Driving Offense?
The California vehicle code section is where you can find all the offenses that can be construed as a driving offense. Most driving offenses will have some kind of DMV implication on your license. You can find most information about the consequences of a vehicle code section violation on your driving record on the DMV website http://www.dmv.ca.gov
Are Driving Offenses Considered Infractions, Misdemeanors, or Felonies?
Most driving offenses under the vehicle code section are referred to, as infractions, which ultimately have a very minimal impact on your driving record, and the penalties you might endure, are minimal as well. However, misdemeanors carry harsher penalties than simple infractions and felonies are the most serious of all charges. Most misdemeanor driving offenses carry a duration of suspension time on your driving privileges. While felony driving charges may impact your driving privileges indefinitely. Misdemeanor driving offenses are a result of a reckless disregard for public safety. However, felony driving offenses are often the most serious consequence of disregard for public safety, such as an accident resulting in serious bodily injury or death. Most felony cases carry penalties that will result in jail time and revocation of your driving privileges. Misdemeanor offenses will result in a short suspension time of your driving privileges and a probation period to watch and see if you will commit another crime in the future to enhance your sentencing.
What Factors Does the Court Look At in Driving Offense Cases?
A crime of reckless driving, driving on a suspended license, driving under the influence, etc. is typically considered a misdemeanor whenever anyone operates a vehicle that will pose a risk to others. If the risk is greater than necessary and results in a tragic incident, then the court will consider aggravating factors in enhancing the driving offense to felony conduct. The courts want to know the entire facts surrounding why you are in the position that brought you to the court. This means the court will look at past driving history, the conditions of the road that day, or any negligence from victims, witnesses, etc. If you want to know more about the court process in handling a driving offense please click the following link to the San Diego Courts.
All courts know that if you are being charged with a driving offense it is more than simply making a mistake or acting negligently behind the wheel. Someone who is charged with a driving offense must have acted willfully with an active disregard for the safety of others. The prosecution will have the police officer testify as to his or her personal knowledge of the events that lead up to his decision in either citing or arresting you for the driving violation. Most of the time officers will make up their minds about their own facts of what happened. It is critical to hire an experienced attorney that handles driving offense cases to show the court the other side of the story. This is done by the strategic cross-examination of all witnesses including the officer in your case.
What Is Required For A San Diego Officer to Make An Arrest For a Driving Offense?
The law requires an officer to have probable cause to make an arrest for any driving offense. This is based on facts that the officer observed based on his training and experience. The officer will often refer to “under the totality of circumstances” to suggest a criminal offense did occur. However, the officer is required to observe clues based on his training under NHTSA standards (http://www.nhtsa.gov/). The National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration has conducted studies and created manuals where if an officer performs tests correctly then there is a high probability that one of the driving offenses has occurred. It will drastically enhance your chances of winning a driving offense charge when you hire an experienced attorney that understands the training and standards required from an officer in the field. If you want to learn more about driver safety information and the training an officer is required to have in the field in stopping you for a driving offense check out the California Highway Patrol website at http://www.chp.ca.gov
What Are the Consequences of a Driving Offense in San Diego?
Often times there is minimal impact on your driving privileges if you are charged with an infraction offense. If you are eligible for driving school, that would be the best way to eliminate any exposure to increase premiums on your insurance or problems obtaining a driver’s license. However, if you find yourself looking at misdemeanor or felony charges, then you can expect a significant impact on your driving privileges. It is important to find an attorney that is experienced in fighting both DMV and criminal cases.
Most DUI cases, other misdemeanor driving offense crimes, and felonies require that you handle a DMV administrative hearing prior to the commencement of your criminal case. This provides your attorney an opportunity to obtain the discovery and subpoena witnesses to testify under oath prior to any criminal case starts. This will increase your chances of winning during the criminal proceedings because having an advantage over the prosecution who will not know what happens at the DMV proceedings. The purpose of the DMV proceedings is to make an informed decision that there is probable cause that the offense had been committed, while the criminal courts require that the offense be committed beyond a reasonable doubt. The standard of proof is different for both proceedings.
Even if the DMV suspends your license, there is always an option to get your license reinstated through either a hardship application or departmental review.
Consult the Leading San Diego Driving Offense Attorney
Our attorneys have been successful in filing Writs of Mandates to overturn DMV decisions on cases where they want to revoke your license. At Monder Law Group, our legal team is made up of private investigators, legal analysts, seasoned trial attorneys, toxicologist experts, and reconstruction specialist that work together to provide you with a complete defense to the prosecution’s allegations of negligence. Please know that you do not have to face these charges alone, our legal defense team is at your disposal, all you have to do is contact us for a free confidential consultation today. Our versatile criminal defense attorneys cover a vast area of criminal law, including domestic abuse, sex crimes, fraud, and more.