DWI Attorney Referral Service
Drunk driving laws intended to reduce or prevent motor vehicle accidents are strictly enforced and punished severely in the state of California. In particular, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) also known as Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol or prohibited substances is a criminal charge that can lead to jail time, steep fines and suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.
What is Driving While Intoxicated?
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) generally refers to a type of criminal offense that makes it illegal for anyone to operate a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol or drugs that inhibit your driving abilities. In California, you may be charged for DWI when your blood alcohol content is at least 0.08%.
You may also be charged with DWI even when your blood alcohol content is below the legal limit for as long as your driving ability is impaired by the consumption of alcohol.
Can I Be Charged Even Though I Was Not Drunk?
Yes, under the California Vehicle Code Section 23220, you may be charged for DWI even when you don’t appear to be drunk but you are caught driving while drinking any alcoholic beverage on any highway.
You may also have a higher tolerance for alcohol and may still be charged for DWI if a preliminary screening for alcohol or other chemical test shows that your BAC is 0.08% or over. Not all equipment for testing alcohol or illegal substances is accurate and a criminal defense lawyer can help ensure that you are not wrongly charged.
Is It Illegal to Refuse a Blood Test?
In certain cases, you may not refuse a blood test for determining your blood alcohol content.
The Vehicle Code provides that anyone on probation for DWI caught driving with a preliminary alcohol result of at least 0.01 percent and is legally detained for the offense charged is deemed to have given his consent to a preliminary screening or other chemical test for alcohol content.
A person under 21 years old who is legally detained for a DWI violation may not refuse a blood test or other chemical test for determining blood-alcohol content.
The chemical or blood test is incidental to the lawful detention and may not be refused by the person charged with DWI.
How Can an Attorney Help?
Modes of discovery: DWI is a crime and the legal requirement for conviction is for the prosecution to prove one’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. A DWI charge that hinges on your blood-alcohol content may be defended by poking holes in the administration of the chemical test or screening procedure and other evidence that prosecution may have against you.
Your DWI defense attorney can use available modes of discovery before trial to determine the weight of the prosecution’s evidence against you and prepare the appropriate defenses against such evidence.
Plea bargaining: Prosecutors who are not confident about the strength of their evidence or who are intimidated by the personality of criminal defense lawyers may be open to the possibility of lowering the charge, leading to lighter penalties for you. Your criminal defense attorney can enter into discussions for plea bargaining on your behalf.
Aggressive defense at trial: Highly skilled and experienced criminal defense attorneys know how to present their side of the case, and ultimately convince a jury that the inescapable conclusion (after weighing the evidence of prosecution and defense) is that a reasonable doubt exists in your favor.
If you are charged with a DWI or DUI offense, you should seek the legal advice of a criminal defense attorney at the earliest opportunity.
In San Fernando Valley, California, finding a DWI criminal defense attorney is quick and convenient using an online lawyer referral system. The SFVBA online referral system is a valuable tool that connects valley residents to experienced criminal defense attorneys in the area.