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Experienced San Diego DUI/DWI Defense Attorney

NCDD National College for DUI Defense: Anna R Yum

Driving under the influence (DUI) is illegal in California. If you have been arrested for a DUI in San Diego county, it means that the governments believe that you are guilty of having operated a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to include illegal narcotics, or quite possibly, legally prescribed medications.
Regardless of the specifics of your arrest, San Diego County has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country. This means you’re going to need an experienced San Diego DUI Defense attorney on your side.

DUI arrests (aka Drunk Driving arrests) are incredibly common. Furthermore, many individuals who are charged with DUI have never, ever been arrested. They are not criminals, nor are they repeat offenders. More often than not they are law abiding citizens who made a bad decision. All the same, there are going to be potential repercussions.
Even though the overwhelming majority of people charged with a DUI in San Diego are charged with a misdemeanor, the DUI legal process in San Diego County is no cakewalk. By contrast, it is extraordinarily complex, and therefore, it is essential to have an experienced DUI Defense attorney to help guide you through the process, and to mitigate the potentially devastating consequences that a DUI may have on your life, including your livelihood.  Continue reading below...

The DUI Legal Process in San Diego-Misdemeanor DUI-First Offense

After you’ve been pulled over for a traffic violation (including driving erratically), because your taillights are broken, your registration is expired, or you’ve been involved in an accident, officers will determine if you have exhibited objective signs of intoxication which may or may not compel law enforcement to ask you to perform a Roadside Field Sobriety Test. You may have also have been asked to take a Chemical Breath Test, which is commonly known as a “Breathalyzer”, or to submit to a chemical blood test or urine test.
If law enforcement determines that it is reasonable to believe that you have been operating a car, truck, or motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in San Diego County, you will be arrested for violating either or both:

  • Vehicle Code Sections 23152(a)
    It is a misdemeanor for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.
  • Vehicle Code Sections 23152(b)
    It is a misdemeanor for any person who has .08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.

**Although you may be charged with both violations, and convicted of both violations you can only be punished for one violation, in a misdemeanor DUI in San Diego County***

Once you have been legally arrested, you will be escorted to the nearest facility for the booking and fingerprinting process. When you are released, you will be notified that your license will be suspended in 30 days, pending a DMV administrative per se hearing. You only have ten days from the date of your arrest to schedule a DMV administrative per se hearing. If you do not timely schedule the hearing, then you will waive your right to contest the potential suspension in the hearing. Due to the severe consequences deriving from both the DMV and the criminal prosecution, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced San Diego DUI attorney immediately to address both your criminal case, along with your administrative hearing with the DMV.

***Should you refuse to provide a chemical breath, blood or urine sample, additional enhancements or allegations may be added to your case for refusing to comply with what is known as Implied Consent.***

Implied Consent in San Diego County DUI Arrests

When you obtained your driver’s license, you agreed to abide by California’s Blood Alcohol Content laws which prevent operating a vehicle with a BAC of greater than .08%. By law, you are required to take a blood, urine or breath test if the arresting officer has probable cause to believe you have been driving under the influence.

Should you refuse to take a blood, urine or breath test, the officer who arrested you has an obligation to admonish you that refusing to take the test will result in additional fines, an automatic suspension of your license for one year, mandatory jail time, among more penalties. 

San Diego DUI and the DMV Hearing

Once you have been arrested for DUI, you will find yourself in trouble with two distinct entities, each with their own rules, laws and regulations.

The Department of Motor Vehicles will be sent your drivers’ license, and it will be suspended 30 days from the date of your arrest, if you take no action.

However, you have the right to request a DMV hearing to prevent your license from being suspended, or to delay the suspension. You or your attorney must request this hearing within 10 days of your arrest.

There is a common misconception that all DMV hearings are lost. This is not true, and an experienced San Diego DUI Defense attorney does win DMV hearings for clients, though each case is unique.

The questions asked in the DMV Hearing will include:

  • Were you, (or was the attorney’s client/defendant) lawfully arrested?
  • Was your BAC over the legal limit of .08?
  • Did the officer who arrested you for DUI have a reasonable belief that you were driving under the influence?

In some cases, the answer to all three will be yes, and you will effectively lose the DMV hearing.

However, experienced San Diego DUI attorneys win these DMV hearings for clients by proving that your arrest may have been mishandled, and to identify any flaws in the prosecution’s case against you. In addition, DMV hearings are won by DUI defense attorneys because they are allowed to cross-examine and even subpoena the arresting officer.

Winning the DMV hearing can result in a delay of your license being suspended. In addition, transcripts that your DUI attorney may obtain from these DMV hearings can later be used in the second part of the DUI process: the criminal court.

San Diego DUI and the Court

Regardless of whether you win or lose your DMV hearing, you will face the San Diego Court in a criminal prosecution. You will be arraigned on the charges against you, and your attorney will plead “not guilty” or in some cases “no contest” on your behalf.

The prosecutor may choose to offer you a plea deal, which will involve reducing the charges or penalties, should you agree to plead guilty. Experienced DUI defense attorneys like Attorney Anna R. Yum know that accepting a plea during an arraignment is not always in the best interest of their client.

Instead, an experienced and aggressive DUI attorney will plead not-guilty on your behalf, as this gives your DUI defense attorney complete access to the prosecution’s evidence. More importantly, it gives your attorney the chance to challenge and or discredit the charges or the handling of your case by law enforcement.

Common and Legitimate Defenses of DUI in San Diego

  • Unlawful arrest- your attorney may be able to prove you were not speeding, your taillights were working, etc., so there was no reason you should have been pulled over.
  • The blood or urine testing equipment was faulty.
  • Officer failed to observe the proper “15-minute observation” period.
  • Your blood alcohol was rising so that the government cannot prove that your blood alcohol content was over the legal limit at the time of driving.

Do not automatically give up because you were arrested for a DUI. Anna R. Yum is knowledgeable, skilled, and aggressive particularly in the area of DUI defense. She may spot legal issues that you did not know existed and/or file applicable motions to suppress incriminating evidence against you. If you have been arrested with a DUI, whether it is your first or multiple, contact the Law Offices of Anna R. Yum immediately for a free legal consultation.

Penalties for DUI Convictions in San Diego

First Offense-Misdemeanor

-Jail time up to 6 months
-Fines and penalties into the thousands of dollars
-Probation lasting up to 5 years
-Suspension of Driver’s License for 6 months (1 year for Class A licenses)
-Mandated Alcohol Classes/Drug Treatment up to 9 months, along with required attendance at 12-Step Meetings

Second DUI Offense in San Diego

-Jail time up to 1 year. Mandatory minimum of 96 hours in custody.
-Fines and penalties into the thousands of dollars
-Probation lasting up to 5 years
-Suspension of Driver’s License for 2 years
-Mandated Alcohol Classes/Drug Treatment for 18+ months, along with required attendance at 12-Step Meetings

Third DUI Offense in San Diego

-Jail time up to 1 year. Mandatory minimum of 120 days in custody.
-Fines and penalties into the thousands of dollars
-Probation lasting up to 5 years
-Loss of Driver’s License for up to 3 to 10 years
-Mandated Alcohol Drug Treatment up to 18+ months, along with required attendance at 12-Step Meetings

Fourth or Felony DUI in San Diego

(Felony DUI after 4 DUIs in 10 years, or if exacerbating circumstances are involved.)

-Jail time up to 1 year or up to 3 years in State Prison
-Fines and penalties into the thousands of dollars
-Probations lasting up to 5 years
-Loss of Driver’s License for 4 years
-Mandated Alcohol/Drug Treatment Program for 18 months

DUI Penalties & Exacerbating Circumstances in San Diego County

If any of the following circumstances are factors in your San Diego DUI case, penalties may be significantly increased:

  • Excessively high BAC- A BAC of more than .15%
  • Child Endangerment-If you are found guilty of DUI and had a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle at the time of arrest, you will face a mandatory minimum 48 hours of jail time which will be added to your DUI sentence. The amount of jail time will increase depending on whether you have prior DUI convictions.
  • Reckless Driving/Excessive Speeding-Driving over the speed limit by 20-30 MPH while driving under the influence and by driving in a reckless manner. If this allegation is found true, then you will face a minimum 60 day jail term added to your DUI sentence.
  • Injury/Accident- If anyone is injured during the course of a DUI, this may result in Felony DUI Charges in San Diego County even if it is your first offense.
  • Willfully refusing to submit to a chemical test will result in a mandatory suspension of your license and mandatory jail time.

If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI in San Diego, we can help.

Anna Yum worked as a deputy district attorney, before becoming a DUI and Criminal Defense attorney. Her unique background as a former prosecutor enables her to plan your DUI defense proactively by planning a strategy based on how the prosecutors will lay out the case against you. Ms. Yum is regularly sought out by local and national media for her expert opinion on some of the nation’s highest profile criminal cases. Anna Yum has also been named a 2016 Super Lawyer, 2015 Super Lawyer Rising Star, Top DUI Attorney in San Diego by San Diego Metro Magazine, amongst numerous other awards. Read her full biography here.

Call the Law Offices of Anna Yum at (619) 233-4433, or contact her San Diego Criminal Defense Firm online. 

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