DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
California DUI Laws are some of the most complex and difficult cases on the books. Arrests occur unexpectedly, and the driver is rarely prepared for the complex legal issues that follow. Drunk driving arrests require immediate attention. To properly defend these aggressive prosecutions, you need an experienced attorney on your case from the beginning. Due to strong lobbies in Sacramento (MADD), as well as a bad economy, there is tremendous political and economic pressure for DUI law enforcement. Let’s face it, they are moneymakers for courts, DA’s and DUI schools. Kind of a TAXATION through CITATION, and it is unconstitutional.
Often people arrested for DUI, mistakenly believe they will automatically be convicted. They may think it pointless to defend their case. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are many challenges that a skilled attorney can employ that can exonerate you, or put you in a position for a favorable plea agreement. For Example:
- Did the police have a valid reason to stop you? (did they have probable cause to pull you over), if not your case may be dismissed.
- Did they have reasonable suspicion to conduct an inquiry into your intoxication? If not your case may be dismissed.
- Did they conduct proper field sobriety tests? If not your case may be dismissed.
- Were the field sobriety tests they administered fair and established tests? If not your case may be dismissed.
- Did the police violate your right to be free from unlawful search and seizure? If they did, your case may be dismissed.
- Did the police have probable cause to demand that you take a blood/breath/urine test? If not your case may be dismissed.
- Was the testing equipment properly calibrated? If not your case may be dismissed.
- Did the police follow the established protocols in taking a blood/breath/urine sample from you? If not your case may be dismissed.
- Were you over the legal limit at the time of driving? It does not matter what you blew, or what your level was during their test, the only thing that matters is were you over the limit when you were driving. It is not against the law to be intoxicated a few hours after driving. For many people their alcohol level increases over time, and this may be a real defense to any DUI charge.
Most people are unaware that a DUI arrest triggers two separate “time sensitive” legal challenges. Not only do you have to appear in criminal court, you must also request a hearing at the DMV within ten days of your arrest. The most pressing issues are typically finding an experienced California DUI lawyer, locating a reputable bail bond firm, and requesting a DMV hearing to prevent the automatic suspension of your driver’s license.
The legal team at the Law Office of Mark Anthony Raimondo can assist clients facing any of the following types of Driving Under the Influence offenses:
- First Time DUI
- 2nd and 3rd DUI Charges
- Medical Marijuana DUI
- Underage DUI
- DUI with Underage Passenger
- DUI- Drugs
- Felony DUI
- DUI with Injury
- DUI with Accident
- DUI Manslaughter
- Vehicular Homicide
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) DUI
- Watson DUI 2nd Degree Murder
MISDEMEANOR AND FELONY DUI
DUI arrests are charged in one of two ways – as misdemeanors or felonies. How a DUI arrest is charged depends on the facts of the case, including whether there were priors, an accident with injuries, or death, or whether the driver is alleged to have left the scene of an accident. Misdemeanor and felony charges are distinguished by the exposer of jail or prison time the accused is facing. Misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in jail, while felonies can bring a year or more in state prison.
In California, first, second-, and third-time drunk driving charges are usually charged as misdemeanors. However, certain aggravating circumstances, such as a hit-and-run allegation, or any accident with injury will likely cause the prosecutor to file FELONY drunk driving charges. Also, three or more prior DUI convictions in the past 10 years will be charged as a felony.
Regardless of the circumstances, a felony drunk driving charge is a serious allegation that carries harsh penalties and the driver needs an expert defense attorney at his or her side. Mark Anthony Raimondo is experienced in every aspect of California felony drunk driving defenses, and will fight hard to keep you out of jail. He has successfully represented over 20 felony DUI cases throughout his career. We aggressively defend these cases at every level, and we pursue alternative sentencing options.
DUI incidents that result in death are by far the most serious allegations, and will always result in felony charges. Depending on the circumstances, a DUI driver accused of causing the death of someone else will face felony manslaughter, vehicular homicide, or second-degree murder charges.
Under California law, manslaughter is defined as the killing of another person without intent to kill, but with the knowledge that one’s actions are likely to cause death. This charge is pursued in felony DUI cases under the theory that a person who drinks and drives knows that the behavior is dangerous and that it could lead to death.
If the driver has prior DUI convictions, the prosecutor can argue that the driver was aware of how dangerous driving was and does not have to prove intent in a manslaughter prosecution. In almost every case, the prosecutor will argue that the driver knew that his or her actions could lead to death and therefore is criminally negligent.
Vehicular homicide can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony In most cases it will be charged as felony. A vehicular homicide charge can be proven if the prosecutor establishes that the driver acted with ordinary negligence. There is no intent required.
SECOND DEGREE MURDER
Over the past five years, all California District Attorney’s Office have been taking advantage of what is known as the “Watson Murder Charge”. Basically, if you have ever been convicted of drinking and driving in the past, it is presumed that you have been told that drinking and driving is inherently dangerous to human life. Thereafter, you are going to be considered to have been put ON NOTICE of its dangerous nature. If you EVER drink and drive again, and someone dies, you are going to be charged with murder under the theory of implied malice.
Conviction of second degree murder carries a minimum term of 15 years to life in prison. If you or someone you love is charged with a DUI Murder, you need the help, experience, and legal skill of Mark Anthony Raimondo to protect you. Mark has vast experience at successfully defending these cases at trial, as well negotiating favorable plea agreements.