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What Does It Mean When I have Been Arrested for a San Diego DUI?

  • September 1, 2017

    The law is complex, and it leaves many people in San Diego wondering precisely what it means when they are pulled over and arrested for a DUI. Most people assume this means they are guilty of driving under the influence. Most people assume this means they are going to jail, paying big fines, and even dealing with a suspended driver’s license for at least a few months. It seems like a hopeless situation for many, but it’s not nearly as hopeless as many people assume. It means many things when you are arrested for a DUI in San Diego, but it’s also very dependent on the circumstances of your arrest.

    What is DUI?

    If you are arrested and charged with a DUI in San Diego, it simply means you were arrested for driving under the influence. This might mean driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or even prescription drugs. Some people mistake how much they’ve had to drink and have no idea they are over the legal limit. Some people don’t know how badly their judgment and abilities are affected by taking illegal drugs. Other people don’t know their new prescription causes them to experience side effects that make driving dangerous.

    You must also be driving if you are pulled over for a DUI. Your car must be moving and you must be making it move, but you must also understand your car needs only move an inch for you to be arrested and charged with a DUI if your blood alcohol level warrants it. You can even be arrested in your own driveway for being under the influence if you move your car out of the way so the kids can play basketball in the driveway. If you’re merely sitting in your car while under the influence, you cannot legally be charged with driving under the influence.

    You Must Be Stopped with Probable Cause

    If there is a traffic stop and you are arrested for a DUI, the arresting officer must be able to prove there was probable cause for pulling you over. They cannot just pull someone over without a reason. They can pull you over because you drove by and they noticed your tag is expired. They cannot pull you over because you drive by without doing anything wrong other than pulling out of the parking lot of a bar or restaurant.

    There must be a reason. The officer must see you either breaking driving laws or driving with a vehicle violation in progress, such as a broken tail light or head light. If you are pulled over for that and the officer suspects you might be under the influence, they can ask you to take a breathalyzer or submit to a blood alcohol test to see if you are under the influence.

    You are well within your legal right to refuse to do either. However, you will be arrested and charged. This doesn’t mean you’re guilty, it just means this is the law in San Diego. You are also not required to speak to speak to anyone once you are arrested. You should remain silent until you have an attorney present.

    Your attorney will then begin fighting your case. They will look for probable cause in the police report. If probable cause is not listed, your charges are likely going to be dropped and you will not be convicted. If you go to trial, your attorney might be able to negotiate reduced charges for you. It all depends on the type of DUI arrest you’re dealing with. If you didn’t harm anyone or any property, cause any injuries, and you were not involved in an accident, it’s better. If it’s your first offense and no one was hurt, you are being charged with a misdemeanor.

    If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in the past, if you hit something, caused an accident or someone was injured while you were driving under the influence, you are being charged with a felony DUI. This is more serious, and this is when you want your attorney to go to work for you reducing your charges or trying to prove your case is not valid due to a lack of evidence or even officer error. Call an attorney.

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