A 26 year old man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after crashing into a vehicle being driven by a police sergeant in Garden Grove. The young man was reportedly driving a small sedan when he struck an unmarked police car, pushing the police car up onto a center median. The police officer and driver were both taken to the hospital and treated for their injuries.
This young man is facing serious charges including Driving Under the Influence with Injury. DUI with injury is a “wobbler” meaning that it may be filed as either a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the circumstances and the defendant’s criminal history, specifically prior DUI history. However, prosecutors typically pursue the charge that carries the most punishment.
DUI, or driving under the influence, charges are typically charged as misdemeanors. However, some DUI’s can be charged as felonies. A DUI that is charged as a Felony DUI, usually involves DUI manslaughter; DUI causing serious injury; 3rd DUI conviction within 10 years; and 4th DUI conviction at any time. . An experienced criminal defense attorney, or DUI defense attorney, will have the knowledge and experience that is necessary to get the charge reduced to a misdemeanor. A conviction of felony DUI carries a much more serious punishment than a misdemeanor DUI. A misdemeanor first offense DUI can be punishable by up to six months in the county jail, whereas a felony DUI can carry a year or more in state prison sentence.
An experienced DUI Defense Attorney will look closely at the police report and at the conduct of the investigating officers. Specifically, any misconduct or violation of rights must be taken into consideration. Further, if a field sobriety test was performed, and this is what the arrest was based on, it should be challenged due to the fact that field sobriety tests are subjective, basically the opinion of the officer performing the test. If a roadside Breathalyzer is used, this must also be looked at carefully as the results are unreliable and there are too many ways to skew the results. The law does require that anyone being arrested for suspicion of DUI must take a chemical test. Blood or breath, at the police station, are the two choices. However, there is no legal obligation for anyone to perform a field sobriety test. If a breath test was used at the police station, the maintenance logs of the breath machine need to be examined. If blood was taken, the attorney may want to employ the services of an expert to perform a “Blood Split”, which can help determine the blood alcohol level at the time of the stop rather than at the time the blood was taken. This can sometimes result in a lower blood alcohol level.
Anyone who has been arrested for DUI, Driving Under the Influence or Drunk Driving, needs an attorney who is skilled and will gather the appropriate evidence, know how to use it intelligently and efficiently, and render the best possible outcome for their client.
If you would like to know more about Driving Under the Influence, contact Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney William M. Weinberg at his Irvine, California office at 949-474-8008 or at www.williamweinberg.com.