Consult with Sanford Horowitz, experienced DUI defense attorney in Santa Barbara, CA
You thought you could handle one more drink, but the next thing you remember is seeing blue lights in your mirror. A DUI charge could result in a variety of penalties, including:
- Jail time
- Loss of driving privileges
- A criminal record
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
- Community service
- Substantial fines and costs
It can also affect your ability to gain employment or a place to live. Sanford Horowitz Criminal Defense, P.C. has the experience you want when it comes to DUI defense. Call 805-452-7214 today to schedule a consultation about your DUI case in Santa Barbara, CA.
We’ll fight for the best outcome in your case
Our main goal when meeting with you is to help you understand the charges you face. We want you to become more aware of what your rights are under the law. By hearing about the circumstances surrounding your arrest, we can determine if there were any illegal police actions, such as an illegal road stop or lack of probable cause. From there, we’ll determine the best defense for your case. Contact Sanford Horowitz Criminal Defense, P.C. today to hire a criminal defense attorney to fight your DUI charge in Santa Barbara, CA.
Understanding the DUI Process in Santa Barbara
The Difference Between VC 23152(A) & 23152(B)
When arrested by the police for DUI, one will actually be charged with two distinct but related criminal offenses: (1) California Vehicle Code Section 23152(A) & 23152(B).
- A violation of VC Section 23152(A) applies if you were arrested based on evidence that your actual mental or physical driving abilities were impaired.
- The VC Section 23152(B) violation is what is referred to as a “per se” offense. An individual can be convicted of this offense even if the person drives perfectly and exhibits minimal signs of physical or mental signs of intoxication. A “per se” violation only requires the prosecutor to prove that a lawfully administered chemical test of blood, breath or urine established that driver was operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
The DUI Investigation
Unless you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint or you are involved in an accident, a DUI investigation will usually involve you being pulled over for erratic driving or a traffic violation. When the officer stops your vehicle, he or she typically will not have enough evidence for a DUI arrest. The officer will likely ask you a number of 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 absolutely 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 the police officer. First, the officer wants you to provide incriminating statements, so he can initiate a DUI investigation. Second, he is observing you for physical signs of intoxication like red eyes, alcohol on your breath, slurred speech and similar indicators. There is no benefit in being belligerent, simply state that you are not comfortable answering questions without a lawyer.
Field Sobriety Tests (FST)
At some point, the officer probably will 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.
A driver is not obligated to submit to either of these forms of screening, 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
Consequently, it is important to understand the penalties of refusing formal chemical testing under VC Section 23612. A refusal following a lawful arrest will result in additional penalties, depending on previous offenses.
For a first offense, these additional penalties include:
- 2 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.
DUI Defense Based on Proven Strategies
– Demonstrating Unreliability of FSTs: Even when conducted, demonstrated and scored perfectly, FSTs can be fairly inaccurate. Further, many officers lack sufficient training and experience in administering these highly subjective tests. FSTs also are as likely to
reveal injury, illness, obesity or lack of coordination as alcohol impairment. Horowitz Law attorneys have the same training police officers receive in FST’s and make sure a jury understands the inherent unreliability of FSTs.
– Failure to Observe Mandatory Waiting Period: When a police officer administers a breath test, the officer is required to observe a 15-minute continuous observation period. This waiting period is to mitigate the risk of an inaccurate breath test because of mouth alcohol. While the officer is supposed to carefully watch for belching or other factors that could interfere with an accurate result, many officers take this time to write reports or handle other tasks.
– Rising Blood Alcohol Defense: A driver can be convicted while operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 percent or higher. Depending on when a driver consumed alcohol and the delay before administering a formal breath or blood test, an individual’s BAC can rise over the legal limit after the stop.
– Challenging Breath Test Results: There are many factors that can compromise the accuracy of a breath test, including low-carb diets, diabetes, mouthwash, gender, improper calibration of the device and other factors. The attorneys at Horowitz Law carefully investigate chemical testing procedures and results that compromise the test’s
accuracy or reliability.