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Santa Ana DUI Attorney

Effective Counsel from a Former CA Prosecutor

Drunk driving offenses are some of the most common charges processed through our criminal justice system. They occur throughout all walks of life and—unlike other criminal charges—are often committed by citizens who are unaware they were breaking the law. No matter what the circumstances of your DUI arrest may entail, it is advised that you explore your defense options with a qualified DUI defense attorney.

At the Law Offices of Benjamin Arsenian, Attorney Arsenian is former California prosecutor who understands how the state of California prosecutes DUI defendants. Our firm knows what to look for in these cases to challenge the state’s assertions and ensure that our clients receive the consideration they deserve.

Before proceeding with a guilty plea, explore your options with an experienced Santa Ana DUI lawyer. Contact us to request a free consultation today.

Penalties for DUI in California

It is a misconception that DUI charges result in a simple “slap on the wrist” for convicted drivers. These offenses are considered misdemeanors and are come with various criminal and administrative penalties if a conviction is reached.

Penalties for a first-time DUI conviction can include:

  • Four-month administrative suspension of your license
  • Roughly $2000 in fines
  • Restricted driving privileges for two to five months
  • 48 hours in jail (in rare cases)
  • Alcohol treatment program (in some cases)

These penalties can accumulate—and become worse—when there are aggravating factors involved in the case (such as a particularly high blood alcohol content or repeat offenses in the last 10 years). Contact a defense attorney to learn more about what penalties you may be exposed to in your DUI case.

DUI Checkpoints

Many Californians are surprised to learn that in 12 states DUI checkpoints are not conducted. Some states prohibit them by state law or Constitution (or interpretation of state law or Constitution). Texas prohibits them based on its interpretation of the United States Constitution. In Ingersoll v. Palmer (1987) 43 Cal.3d 1321, the California Supreme Court held DUI checkpoints are legal so long as they are operated in a manner consistent with the federal and state Constitutions.

In order for a DUI checkpoint to be valid, the decision to create it must have been made by a supervisory law enforcement officer. No offer in the field can make such a decision. This requirement prevents potential capricious enforcement. Additionally, officers in the field cannot stop just any individual who catches their notice. Instead, they must use a neutral formula, such as stopping every driver or every third, fifth, or tenth driver. Only an unbiased, mathematical selection criteria should be used.

By law, officials can only select sites that would be the most effective in catching potential lawbreakers. For example, Commonwealth Ave. in downtown Fullerton has a high incidence of drunk drivers and arrests, which means it would likely be a location police would choose for a DUI checkpoint.

  • The DUI checkpoint must be operated at a reasonable time and continue for a reasonable duration.
  • The checkpoint should be established with high visibility, including warning signs, flashing lights, adequate lighting, police vehicles, and the presence of uniformed officers.
  • Each motorist stopped should be detained only long enough for the officer to question the driver briefly and to look for signs of intoxication, such as alcohol on the breath, slurred speech, and glassy or bloodshot eyes.
  • If the driver does not display signs of impairment, he or she should be permitted to drive on without further delay.

Despite belief to the contrary, it is not illegal to avoid a DUI checkpoint! If, however, you break a traffic law while avoiding a DUI checkpoint, then the officer has probable cause to pull you over for the traffic infraction. You may avoid DUI checkpoints but don’t violate any traffic laws while doing so.

If you are arrested at a DUI checkpoint, contact our Santa Ana DUI lawyer immediately. If the officers did not follow the proper requirements, your case could potentially be dismissed! Call  714-400-2000 for a free, confidential consultation.

Santa Ana DUI Lawyer Defending against Drunk Driving Allegations

Another misconception about drunk driving charges is that once a driver submits to a sobriety test and “fails” it, they have been found guilty and just need to accept the consequences. Only a judge can decide a driver is guilty, however, and many drivers have viable defense options—even if they have failed their breathalyzer test.

At the Law Offices of Benjamin Arsenian, we will look into various factors of your DUI stop and arrest and ensure that your rights weren’t violated. Often, these cases are subject to probable cause complaints and the chain of evidence is not always reputable. In these cases, it is often possible to reduce the charges or have a case dismissed altogether.

If you’ve been charged, the time to start exploring your defense options is now. Call our offices at  714-400-2000 today to speak with a Santa Ana DUI attorney.

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