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Santa Barbara DUI Lawyer

Aggressive Advocacy in Santa Barbara, Venture, San Luis Obispo & Santa Maria, CA

A DUI conviction can negatively impact many aspects of your life, from employment to housing, advanced educational opportunities, professional license qualification, and immigration status for noncitizens. You can face reputational loss, and, in some instances, you could lose your job and livelihood, causing severe financial distress. 

Drunk and drugged driving is a serious offense and social issue. Aside from the reputational damage, you could face criminal penalties from jail time, license suspension, substantial fines and fees, community service hours, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), and a permanent criminal record. 

Hiring a competent and trusted DUI defense lawyer in these cases is critical. DUI is a complex legal issue with many potential pitfalls. Without a professional, you risk facing the full brunt of its criminal consequences. At Sanford Horowitz Criminal Defense, you can work with a proven trial lawyer who will take every legal measure to help protect your rights, challenge the prosecution’s case, and work toward the best possible outcome.

Reserve your free initial consultation with our Santa Barbara DUI attorney. You can reach us online or at (805) 749-5670 to get started. 

Understanding the DUI Process in Santa Barbara

You will commonly be charged with two distinct but related criminal defenses when arrested for DUI. These include California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) and 23152(b). 

 A VC Section 23152(A) violation applies if you were arrested based on evidence that your mental or physical driving abilities were impaired. You can be charged with this regardless of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as measured in a breathalyzer or other chemical test. 

The VC Section 23152(B) violation is what is referred to as a “per se” offense. You can be convicted of this offense even if you drove perfectly and exhibited minimal signs of physical or mental impairment from intoxication. 

A “per se” violation only requires the prosecutor to prove that a lawfully administered chemical test of blood, breath, or urine established that you were operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 (the legal limit) or higher.

You can be charged with a California DUI when under the influence of drugs as well, including marijuana, controlled substances under California drug laws, prescription medicines, or over-the-counter medications, such as sleep aids, allergy drugs, cough medicines, and more. 

DUI Investigations in California

Unless you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint or involved in an accident, a DUI investigation usually includes being pulled over for erratic driving or a traffic violation.

When an officer stops your vehicle, they typically will not have enough evidence for a DUI arrest. The officer will likely ask you several questions about where you are coming from and whether you have been drinking.

While you should not lie to the officer, you should not answer these questions unless you have ingested no drugs or alcohol. While you should have your license and registration ready to provide to the officer, you are not required to answer questions about your activities.

These questions serve two functions for police officers. First, they want you to provide incriminating statements so that they can initiate a DUI investigation. Second, they observe you for physical signs of intoxication like red eyes, alcohol on your breath, slurred speech, and similar indicators.

No benefit exists in being belligerent. State that you are not comfortable answering questions without a lawyer.

Field Sobriety Tests

At some point, the officer will probably ask you to participate in field sobriety tests (FSTs) and to submit to a portable breath test. These preliminary forms of alcohol or drug screening are administered to support probable cause for a DUI arrest. Probable cause is based on the legal standard that officers must have justification for making an arrest. 

However, you are not obligated to submit to either of these screening procedures, so it is usually not in your interest to do so unless you have not ingested any drugs or alcohol. While the officer might still arrest you for DUI, you will have limited the evidence available to the prosecutor.

Penalties for Refusing Formal Chemical Testing

Understanding the penalties for refusing formal chemical testing under VC Section 23612 is vital. A refusal following a lawful arrest will result in additional penalties, depending on previous offenses.

For a first offense, these additional penalties include:

  • two extra days in jail, an administrative license suspension of one year,
  • and nine months in DUI school.

A prosecutor may also comment on the refusal as consciousness of guilt and continue to pursue a criminal case based on the officer’s observations.

Work with Our Seasoned Santa Barbara DUI Lawyer

You must understand your case, whether you face a first, second, or subsequent DUI offense. At Sanford Horowitz Criminal Defense, our primary goal when meeting with you is to help you understand your charges. We want you to become aware of your rights, common defenses, DUI enhancements, if applicable, and the penalties and other consequences of a DUI conviction

Furthermore, by hearing about your arrest’s unique circumstances, we can determine if any illegal police actions occurred, such as an unlawful road stop or lack of probable cause. From there, we can determine the best defense strategy for your case.

Call us at (805) 749-5670 or complete our online contact form today to start your free consultation process. 

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