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california dui lawyerAhead of Labor Day weekend, a multinational alcohol company launched a virtual campaign to warn Californians who plan on partying over the weekend about the dangers of drinking and driving. Diageo North American partnered with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research to launch the “Wrong Side of the Road.” 

Wrong Side of the Road

The educational project includes a website that hosts a series of videos in which people who have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) share their experiences. Many of the individuals describe the social stigma they feel as a result of their DUI conviction.

Diageo, which owns Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Guinness, and dozens of other beverage brands, explained they wanted to show how catastrophic it could be not just for you, but the people in your life if you decide to drink and drive. 

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san Francisco dui lawyerMost people are honest, especially when they talk to a police officer, but that police officer might not be as forthright about his or her intentions. When a police officer suspects that a driver is driving under the influence (DUI), he or she may ask questions to find evidence or clues of drunk driving. DUIs and traffic infractions result in more injuries and death than any violent crime, but also DUIs are incredibly hard to prove. 

When a police officer pulls you over and suspects that you are under the influence of alcohol, they will ask you what seems like common, getting-to-know-you questions, but in reality, what they are doing is phishing for information. The police officer may be gathering details and building the foundation of a DUI case. 

While it seems logical to stay silent during this exchange, the honest person might feel like they are trying to hide something. It begs the question: When should you answer questions and when should you stay quiet during a DUI stop?

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california defense lawyerIn a DUI case, the reason why a police officer pulls you over plays an important role. Identifying a traffic violation gives the officer probable cause to stop you in the first place. The officer can gather further evidence of drunk driving. How do police officers determine that there is probable cause for a DUI stop?

The short answer is nobody knows you are driving drunk — not even police officers — just by the traffic violation. However, police are trained to look for specific behaviors to single out possible drunk drivers and follow them until they see a traffic violation to build a DUI case. 

A Vehicle in Motion

One of the first lessons in DUI training is called “Vehicle in Motion.” The lesson is used to train police officers how to identify driving behaviors that could lead to DUI stop, and how to observe and document the behaviors for a DUI case. The training is provided by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency managed by the federal Department of Transportation. 

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CA defense lawyerIn an effort to keep unsafe drivers off the road, California law typically requires a driver’s license suspension for a person who is arrested or convicted for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. However, in a world that frequently relies on personal vehicles for transportation, the loss of driving privileges can be a major inconvenience and even a cause of financial hardship. If your license has been suspended for DUI-related reasons, you may be able to mitigate some of the consequences by applying for a restricted license.

Restricted Licenses for California DUI Arrest Suspensions

In California, a DUI conviction is not necessary for a driver’s license suspension to go into effect. Rather, you could find your license suspended for four months if a chemical test shows that you had a BAC of at least 0.08. You may be able to contest your suspension with the help of an attorney at an administrative DMV hearing, but if the suspension goes into effect, you will be unable to legally drive under any circumstances unless you obtain a restricted driver’s license.

The California DMV offers two options for obtaining a restricted license under these circumstances. The first is to agree to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) in your vehicle, in which case you would be able to drive for any reason as long as the device does not register alcohol in your breath. The second option is to serve at least 30 days of the suspension and then agree to drive only for the purposes of employment and attending a DUI program. For either option, you must apply through the DMV, pay a fee, and provide proof of insurance. These restrictions typically last for the duration of the suspension or slightly longer.

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CA DUI lawyerA DUI conviction can have lasting consequences for anyone, but it can be especially hard for drivers under the age of 21 who are just beginning their adult lives. If you or your child has been charged with an underage drinking offense in California, it is understandable that you would be concerned about the outcome of your case. An attorney can inform you of the possible consequences and prepare a defense that may help you avoid them.

Penalties for Underage DUI

In California, drivers under the age of 21 who are convicted of an alcohol-related offense can face both administrative and criminal penalties, depending on the circumstances. The severity of the consequences depends in large part on the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as measured by a preliminary breath test or chemical test.

For example, underage drivers with a BAC of at least 0.01 are subject to a one-year suspension of their driver’s license according to California’s zero-tolerance law, but this is likely to be the only penalty they face. With a BAC of at least 0.05, the driver can also be assessed a fine, and if they are at least 18 years old, they can be ordered to complete a DUI education program before having their license reinstated. Notably, neither of these charges will result in jail time.

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california dui defense lawyerIf you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in California, you face many serious penalties in the short term. Your sentence could include fines, jail time, probation, driver’s license suspension, court-ordered community service, DUI school, and attendance at AA meetings. However, you may also be concerned about the long-term effects of a conviction, including a criminal record that can impact future sentencing and employment and housing opportunities. It is important to understand how your criminal record can affect you, as well as whether you have any options to remove a DUI conviction from your record.

Expunging a DUI Conviction in California

A DUI conviction is likely to remain on your record in some form for the rest of your life. However, under some circumstances, it is possible to have a DUI conviction dismissed, preventing it from affecting certain aspects of your life.

The most important requirement for dismissing a DUI conviction is that you have completed any term of probation that was included in your sentence. In California, DUI sentences often include a probationary period of between three and five years, during which time you must refrain from committing any additional criminal offenses. Probation also typically includes conditions such as attending DUI school, completing community service, and driving with restricted privileges. Once the probation period ends, you can petition the court for dismissal, provided that you have abided by all of the conditions of probation and you are not currently serving another sentence or facing pending criminal charges.

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San Francisco DUI defense attorneysIf you are arrested, charged, and then convicted with a driving under the influence (DUI) offense, that does not necessarily mean you will be serving jail time. In California and many other states, there are plenty of alternatives to jail time, some of which might even give you an opportunity to not only serve your time but also improve your life and your community.  

A Brief Overview of Alternatives to Jail Time in California

From a practical perspective, alternatives to jail time are meant to manage overcrowding in prison and the high cost of jailing people, but in a way, these alternative programs also help the convicts as well. In California, in particular, there are many alternatives to jail time for DUI convictions if approved by the courts. A few of the most common alternatives include:

  • Mandatory AA meeting attendance or similar programs—Court-ordered attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings or other alcohol abuse education classes aim to replace or supplement punishment with rehabilitation. Essentially, the goal with these is to educate you in such a way that you get the help and treatment you need to improve your life and never face another DUI. In addition, a DUI convict might be able to attend any of the following other alternatives similar to an AA program:
    • Professional alcohol and drug rehab
    • Professional counseling/therapy
    • Other educational programs or support groups meant to improve behaviors and attitudes concerning alcohol
  • House arrest—Also known as home confinement, house arrest is not just for white-collar criminals anymore; you might find courts ordering it for you with a DUI conviction for similar reasons that other alternatives are employed. With house arrest or home confinement, you are permitted to serve part of your prison time or all of it from your home as long as you wear an ankle bracelet that tracks your location.
  • Work programs—Work programs, usually offered by the Sheriff’s Office, such as the one in San Francisco, titled SWAP (Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program), allow you to substitute some or all of your jail time for supervised work out of custody for part of your sentence. As with all alternative sentences, SWAP and other work programs are only court-ordered and are not necessarily offered to everyone; however, they do benefit the community as much as the convict. For instance, during these work programs, you might put in a hard day’s work doing any of the following:
    • Street-sweeping
    • Landscaping
    • Washing government cars
    • Janitorial work
    • Painting and construction, including some art
    • Picking up trash and needles
  • Remote alcohol monitoring—Through SCRAM services and devices or other similar tools, law enforcement is able to measure and monitor your perspiration, breath, or other vitals to determine whether you are consuming alcohol. Monitoring is continuous, preventing you from drinking alcohol and getting in a potentially illegal situation that might violate the terms of your sentence. 

Contact a Napa DUI Defense Lawyer

While an experienced and talented San Francisco DUI defense attorney could prevent you from being convicted of a DUI charge with impressive strategies, if you are convicted, you might be able to serve your time in a number of alternative ways. Whether you need your lawyer to strategically defend you and win your case, or at the least fight for you to serve your time in a more productive way, you will want to contact the highly skilled team at Burglin Law Offices, P.C. by calling 415-729-7300 for a free consultation.

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Sonoma DUI defense attorneyThere are many facts about the California DUI process that distinguish it from other states; relative to some of those states, California’s legal proceedings are slightly different. In California, there are two legal proceedings when dealing with the aftermath of a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. They are the administrative hearing at the DMV and the actual criminal court proceeding. It is worth knowing how these two are different so that you know what to expect at every step in the process. The following is a brief summary of these two legal proceedings.

The DMV Hearing vs. the Court Proceeding for a DUI in California

These two legal proceedings are very different, and their differences take root in their ultimate goals for the alleged offender. The DMV Administrative Hearing is just that—administrative. This means it is strictly meant to handle the administration of your driver’s license (i.e., whether you will have your driver’s license suspended).If you do not request a DMV Administrative Hearing within 10 days, you will be given an automatic driver’s license suspension after 30 days.If you choose to go through with the hearing, you could choose to represent or yourself or you could hire an attorney to represent you. Note that the DMV never appoints a public defender for administrative hearings.

As for the criminal court proceeding itself, this is a lot more complicated and complex as a process. It could involve up to four or more separate courtroom appearances, including:

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San Francisco Out of State DUI Defense LawyerThere is little doubt that California, at least pre-COVID and also before the major, frequent fires, has always been the place to be when traveling within the U.S.—you might be there to check out Hollywood and all the stars, or you could be there to savor some lush libations in wine country throughout Napa. Whatever your reasons for traveling here as an out-of-state visitor, odds are you will probably need a car or a rental. Much of the most popular spots in California are not exactly within walking distance of wherever you might be. Residents know this—and have known this—for years. So if you do end up driving a lot while here as a nonresident, you should know that when it comes to a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, things can get complicated. Here is why. 

California Is Serious About Out-of-State DUI Due to Interstate Agreements

Do not think that being in a new place for a short while disqualifies you from severe consequences with regards to DUI charges; in fact, in California, out-of-state DUI is a serious offense that could result in major punishments in both California and your home state. The reason for this is mostly due to an interstate agreement about road safety:

The state of California is one of 45 states that agreed to join the Nonresidential Violator Compact, also known as the Interstate Driver’s License Compact or the IDLC, at least partially. This compact is a partnership between states across the nation to share all violation information from out-of-state residents with their fellow members of the compact. For many states, this includes minor traffic violations; for California, it is primarily for more serious dangers to safety like DUI. As such, if you are charged or convicted of DUI in California as a nonresident, you will face stiff penalties and consequences, both in California and your home state. The constant sharing of information between states with regards to this might actually make your case even more complicated, as the prosecution might discover a history of criminal activity, including prior DUIs.   

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San Francisco DUI defense attorneyDriving under the influence (DUI) on its own, as a one-time offense, can be a difficult and very challenging charge to face, but the circumstances and consequences concerning felony DUI are even more grave and substantial. Whereas first-time DUI, second-time DUI, and third-time DUI offenses are usually classified as misdemeanor DUIs, there are specific qualities of a felony DUI that make it much more serious. Here is a brief overview of felony DUI.  

Circumstances That Can Lead to Felony DUI in California

In general, the basic requirements for a felony DUI charge in California are at least one of the following:

  1. You already have three or more DUI convictions over the last 10 years.
  2. You have one or more felony DUI convictions over the last 10 years.
  3. This specific DUI caused injury or death to someone else.

However, these are only the basic circumstances that justify a felony DUI charge. There are also other instances, which are more specific, that can lead to a felony DUI. These include aggravated situations, such as:

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San Francisco DUI defense attorneyAbout two years ago, the state of California had its first-ever “scooter DUI” conviction. The accused pleaded no contest to one count of DUI and one count of hit-and-run. As a result, he was sentenced to 36 months of probation, a $550 fine, a three-month alcohol treatment program, and payment of restitution to the victim of the hit-and-run. In other words, in California, you can be charged with DUI from driving on a scooter under the influence. In fact, this particular DUI offense carries with it distinct legal guidelines and penalties different from most other DUI charges.

Scooter DUI Is Different from Most DUIs—and Can Be Defended More Easily

The DUI laws are slightly different for “scooting” around on scooters relative to other vehicles. While it is true that just like traditional DUI with other vehicles, you could be charged if suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both, there are some subtle differences that will alter the way the case is handled. Overall, these types of DUIs are different from other DUIs in the following ways:

  • While true that an officer can consider you “driving under the influence” if it seems as if your driving abilities are impaired by substances you have consumed, there is no prerequisite for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to be at .08% or higher in order for the driver to be considered impaired. This means if pulled over on your scooter for driving under the influence, you will not be required to submit to a BAC test, be it a breathalyzer or a lab test of some sort (blood, urine, etc.) 
  • As a result, with no scientific tests supporting the arresting officer’s assessment, he/she must rely on his/her observations when pulling over the driver. If that officer does not have strong supporting data, such as vivid and documented observations of the driver’s appearance, attitude, behavior, physical and driving abilities, etc. at the time of the arrest, or if the officer fails to administer a sobriety test, there is no blood or breath test for the prosecution to rely  on in the courtroom in order to win the case.
  • In addition, overall, the punishment for scooter DUI tends to be less severe than other typical DUI cases provided it is not compounded with other charges. A scooter DUI charge alone is considered a misdemeanor with fines in the lower hundreds of dollars and no other serious penalties, although it does result in a criminal record by virtue of the misdemeanor count.  

Contact a Richmond County DUI Defense Attorney

Whether you have been accused of a scooter DUI or any other type of DUI, you are going to need to hire a knowledgeable Napa scooter DUI defense lawyer. Contact the talented team from Burglin Law Offices, P.C. at 415-729-7300 for a free consultation. They will thoroughly study your case and figure out the best strategies to help you get the best chance at a fair trial and a positive outcome.

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San Francisco DUI Defense attorneysDriving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense that should not be taken lightly. By driving under the influence, you not only put your own life at risk but also the lives of innocent passengers, drivers, and pedestrians. In doing so, you could also cause expensive and destructive damage to roads, vehicles, and property. As such, the penalties for DUI in California are severe, including revocation or suspension of your driver’s license, hefty fines, and substantial prison time. However, one area of concern that is particularly significant yet understated is the possible loss of your professional license. A DUI conviction—even a DUI arrest—could put your entire professional career in jeopardy. Here are some ways to minimize the damage to your professional licensure when planning your DUI defense. 

4 Tips for Developing Your Professional License DUI Defense

Despite California’s AB-2138 Law, passed earlier this year, making it more difficult for licensing organizations to revoke or withhold licenses from professionals, there are still plenty of situations when a DUI arrest or conviction could be a calamity for your career. If that is the case, consider these tips: 

  1. Respond with the appropriate attitude. The licensing board will know of the DUI almost as soon as anyone else does. Once they find out, they will probably issue inquiries and other requests of you to help them further understand the situation. While different California Business & Professions Codes allow revocation and suspension of licenses for DUIs, there are limitations, so you are not entirely out of luck, especially when given the opportunity to respond to the licensing agency’s questions. But you must have the proper attitude about it all: You cannot be unresponsive, but you also do not want to be so accommodating that you incriminate yourself with a wealth of information. If you refuse to be forthright or, at the least, cooperate, maybe even suggesting that you do not regret or even entirely understand the ramifications of the DUI, the licensing body will be less willing to fairly consider your side of the story.
  2. Be honest and straightforward in communication. Do not get caught in a lie. You are all professionals there (literally), so attempting to evade questions by being unprofessional is most unwise. It might even be a good idea to openly and swiftly alert the licensing agency of your DUI in advance so that they know you are being proactive and conscientious enough to care about the outcome.
  3. Compile and provide convincing evidence. You do not want to go into too much  detail, but you should provide convincing evidence surrounding the case to suggest that the circumstances made it such that your DUI did not show an utter lack of responsible behavior on your part as it would potentially pertain to your profession. This awareness will go a long way with a discerning licensing board.
  4. Hire a lawyer. An attorney will not just help you with the small things like initiating correspondence with the licensing board and responding to their preemptive inquiries; an attorney will also handle even more substantial challenges of your case, such as coaching you if asked to respond to questions from the licensing agency and developing a comprehensive, winning strategy to make sure you get to keep your license and continue doing what you love for a living.

Contact a San Francisco Professional License DUI Defense Lawyer

If you are worried about losing your professional license due to DUI, reach out to a Sonoma DUI defense attorney. It is no coincidence that Attorney Paul Burglin finds himself in court winning cases to help professionals get their career licenses back or prevent them from losing those professional licenses in the first place: he is an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer who has literally written the book on California Drunk Driving Law. His three decades of experience helping professionals recover from the legal repercussions of licensure defense will be a great benefit to you if you are faced with such a difficult time in your career. Call Burglin Law Offices, P.C. at 415-729-7300 for a free consultation.

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Napa DUI defense lawyerYour goal after being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is to prevent a conviction, but there are DUI cases where the evidence against you makes a conviction seem unavoidable. Sometimes, you must decide whether you will continue to fight the charge or take a plea deal if one is offered. Plea bargaining can reduce the punishment of a DUI conviction or reduce the charge, and a skilled DUI defense attorney can help

Common Plea Bargain Scenarios

Most defendants prefer to not have a DUI conviction on their record, even if it means accepting a lesser charge. There are three common plea deals that prosecutors may offer in a DUI case:

  1. Wet Reckless: A “wet reckless” plea deal means you are accepting a reckless driving conviction while admitting that alcohol or drugs were involved in the incident. The conviction on your record will indicate that you may have had alcohol or drugs in your system but does not say that those substances legally impaired you. The biggest advantage of a “wet reckless” plea is that the court might not suspend your driver’s license. However, the conviction will be treated as if it was a prior DUI offense if you are ever convicted of DUI.
  2. Dry Reckless: A “dry reckless” plea deal is a standard reckless driving conviction without mentioning alcohol or drugs as part of the incident. A reckless driving conviction is still a misdemeanor offense, but there are lower penalties and less stigma with having the conviction on your record. Unlike a wet reckless conviction, a dry reckless conviction would not count as a prior DUI offense if you are convicted of DUI.
  3. Exhibition of Speed: If you were pulled over for speeding before your DUI arrest, you may be able to negotiate an “exhibition of speed” plea deal. While also a misdemeanor offense, a speeding conviction is highly preferable to a DUI conviction.

Should You Accept a Plea Deal?

Taking a plea deal helps you avoid the risk of receiving the harshest DUI penalties if you allow your case to go to trial. However, you should be careful before accepting a plea deal. The first plea deal you receive may not be the best deal that the prosecution will offer. Also, getting your charge dismissed or a not-guilty verdict is still the best possible outcome. If the prosecution comes to you with a plea deal, it may be because they are not confident that they can win a DUI case at trial.

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Sonoma DUI defense attorneyBeing pulled over by a police officer can leave you at a loss for words. Before the officer reaches your vehicle, your mind is probably trying to figure out what you might have done to catch the officer’s attention. Driving under the influence (DUI) may come to mind if it is at night or you had a drink before getting behind the wheel. You have only seconds before you must talk to the officer, so what should you say?

The right answer during any traffic stop is the bare minimum. This may be difficult if you are the type of person who rambles or over-explains when you are nervous. If you are eventually charged with DUI, what you say to the officer can be used as evidence as the case proceeds.. The more you talk, the more likely it is that you will say something that draws suspicion or incriminates yourself. There are several questions that you can expect an officer to ask:

“Do You Know Why I Pulled You Over?”

Your answer to this classic question should always be “no.” Let the officer present their suspicions on their own. Trying to guess what they are thinking will suggest that you know you did something wrong.

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What Happens If I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in California?You have likely seen a Breathalyzer used in a traffic stop, either on television or by someone who has been pulled over. Since driving under the influence (DUI) is an important topic discussed in driver education classes, you may have even been able to try one out yourself. Many courses bring in the handheld machines to let students test them out by putting the small tube in their mouths, blowing, and seeing the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) record appearing at 0.00. While you were sitting soberly in class, you probably never imagined yourself being in a situation where you would have to take the test. Unfortunately, many drivers will be asked to submit to the test at some point in their lives, with possible criminal charges to follow.

Knowing the Law

When sitting in your driver’s education course, all of the seemingly minor details of California roadway regulations can start to blend together. What you may have forgotten over the years is the details of California’s DUI implied consent laws. Upon signing up for their California driver’s license, all Californians sign over their right to refuse a breath alcohol test when asked by law enforcement. According to this law, any driver who is lawfully arrested for a DUI must submit to a chemical test to measure their BAC. You may be wondering what is considered a “lawful arrest.” An arrest is considered lawful if the officer has probable cause to conclude that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances. 

So if you have yet to be arrested and a police officer asks you to submit to a breath test, are you required to do so? The general answer is no. The implied consent law does not extend to those asked to complete a chemical test before they have been arrested. This is known as a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS). However, those under the age of 21 or on probation for a DUI must submit to the test since they are not allowed to drive with any alcohol in their system.

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How Does Getting a DUI Impact My California Car Insurance?Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol is a treacherous but common mistake that is made throughout the U.S. on a daily basis. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 10,511 deaths from drunk driving accidents in 2018. Getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is rarely intentional — many people may not recognize how easy it is to surpass the 0.08 blood alcohol concentration limit. Typically, anyone who consumes one standard drink per hour remains under this 0.08 line, but it can be easy to get carried away without even realizing it. Being charged with a DUI has serious consequences, many of which can impact your finances and your future.

Financing My Security

As is the case in most states, California requires all car owners to have proof of insurance of their vehicle. This shows that they are able to provide financial assistance for any injuries or damages that may have been caused by their driving. California’s average auto insurance rate is slightly higher than the national average — around $1,868 as compared to the national average of $1,548. However, this marginal difference increases significantly upon a DUI conviction. On average, insurance rates nationally increase by 65 percent if convicted of a DUI charge. In California, this insurance price rises to $4,937, a 164 percent increase from the state’s average rate. DUI charges typically result in the highest rate increase of any driving charge.

Other Consequences

The price of your car insurance will likely be the least of your worries if you are convicted of a DUI in California. For first offenders, their license will be immediately suspended for at least four months, an ignition interlocking device will be installed to the vehicle, and a $125 license reissue fee will be required. The guilty party can also face up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. The driver is required to attend a DUI program and file an SR-22, labeling themselves as a high-risk insurance holder. This will affect their insurance rates, as described above, and make it difficult for them to find affordable insurance rates. Any subsequent DUI convictions have the same requirements with increased jail time and fines.

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Why Can You Be Charged with DUI for Using Marijuana in a Parked Vehicle?Though recreational marijuana is legal in California, there are still many restrictions on how you can use it. For instance, you are not allowed to have marijuana in an open container in your vehicle. When transporting marijuana, it must be in a sealed container. Using marijuana in a parked vehicle may be a violation if you are near a public place where use is restricted, such as a school. There is also the possibility that you could be charged with driving under the influence of marijuana if you are caught using the substance in a parked vehicle.

Marijuana DUI Without Driving

A police officer does not need to have witnessed you driving in order to arrest you on suspicion of DUI involving alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs. There may be circumstantial evidence that you had recently been driving, such as:

  • Where your vehicle is parked
  • Whether the vehicle is still running or the keys are in the ignition
  • Whether you are sitting in the driver’s seat

Combining this evidence with a reasonable suspicion that you are impaired from marijuana use may be enough for the police officer to arrest you for DUI.

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What a Domestic Violence Charge Means During the PandemicFor more than a month now, California residents have been under a stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order asks most people to stay home as much as possible, with exceptions for essential workers and activities. Staying at home has affected people’s behaviors in many ways. Unfortunately, it seems one of the effects may be an increase in domestic violence incidents. Police departments claim there have been more people reporting domestic violence since the stay-at-home order began. Some predicted an increase in domestic violence because people would spend more time at home with a potentially abusive family member or significant other. Domestic violence victims still have access to protection, such as emergency restraining orders and domestic violence shelters. Those who have been accused of domestic violence also need legal help in defending themselves against criminal charges.

Consequences of a Domestic Violence Charge

Domestic violence includes acts or threats of physical, emotional, or psychological harm towards the victim. Thus, you can be charged with domestic violence without having physically attacked anyone. A domestic violence charge can be a misdemeanor or a felony – depending on the type of abuse that is alleged and whether the victim suffered injuries.

Before a criminal trial begins, your accuser can request a restraining order against you. A court may grant an Emergency Protective Order that lasts seven days if there is a credible belief that the petitioner is in danger. To extend the order beyond seven days, your accuser must file for a Temporary Restraining Order, which you would have the chance to respond to in court. A restraining order can place many restrictions against you, including requiring you to:

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What Are the Penalties for Having an Open Alcohol Container in Your Car?When it comes to criminal law, alcohol does not mix well with driving. Drivers should know that it is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol, which California defines as having a blood alcohol concentration that is greater than 0.08 percent. It can also be illegal to possess an alcoholic beverage in a vehicle, depending on where the beverage is and what has been done with it. Violating the open container law in California is not as serious as being convicted for DUI, but the consequences can eventually add up to more serious penalties.

Defining Open Containers

An open container violation can occur if a police officer notices a container in plain view inside of a vehicle or discovers it during an authorized vehicle search. California law deems an alcohol container to be open if:

  • The top has been opened
  • A seal has been broken
  • The container is partially or totally emptied

The officer does not need to catch you drinking the beverage or driving the vehicle to issue a citation for an open container violation.

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Posted on in DUI

Compounding a DUI with a Hit-and-Run ChargeA person who gets into a vehicle accident may panic and flee the scene before police arrive – especially if they fear that the officer may arrest them for a crime such as driving under the influence. A hit-and-run charge involving personal injury or death can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the severity of the injuries and the circumstances of the accident. The same applies to DUI with injury and DUI vehicular manslaughter charges. The penalties become more severe when you combine a DUI charge with a hit-and-run charge. However, California is trying to fix a loophole in its criminal code that can benefit people suspected of DUI who flee an accident.

Hit-and-Run vs. DUI

It is difficult for prosecutors to prove that someone charged with a hit-and-run was also under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident. It may be hours or days before the defendant is arrested for the hit-and-run, by which point there is no longer chemical evidence of DUI. While a hit-and-run is still a serious charge, consider the difference in penalties:

  • A felony hit-and-run causing basic injury carries up to three years in prison, and a felony hit-and-run causing serious injury or death carries up to four years in prison.
  • A felony DUI with injury carries up to six years in prison, and a felony DUI manslaughter with gross negligence carries up to 10 years in prison.

Thus, a drunk driver who commits a hit-and-run could receive a lesser punishment than if they had remained at the scene. California legislators recently proposed a law that would increase the maximum prison sentence for a hit-and-run resulting in death to six years.

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