Legal Guide

DUI in Vista

Alcohol impacts driving badly and may result in road accidents causing injuries, deaths, and damage to the properties. Alcohol can reduce the response. The brain takes more time to instruct body parts involved in driving to come into action. This can result in an accident

Vista is the beautiful city of San Diego, California. So, all laws of DUI California also govern here. People usually don’t know about the charges of DUI and its consequences. The impact of DUI charges can be on your driving license, jail time and economy because the possibility of fines in terms of cash and the cost of an attorney can also be there. Besides these impacts, you have to spend time to get out of this situation and time is money.

You can be arrested with DUI. The police officer arrests according to Vehicle Code section 23152(a) or Vehicle Code section 23152(b). The arresting police officer will give you a pink copy which will serve as your temporary driving license valid for 30 days because he will keep your driving license with him.  An experienced and proactive Vista DUI Lawyer will contest the DMV hearing successfully.  

DUI process - Introduction

In San Diego, there are 2 types of independent branches for DUI cases. These are given below

  • DMV hearing office
  • Criminal court process

Your case can be preceded in these two branches simultaneously. 


The legal process begins with the arrest of the accused. The police officer will arrest you after notifying some signs of DUI like erratic driving behavior and some outward signs of DUI. Then he conducts a field sobriety test and your poor performance in the test will also confirm DUI. After arrest, the police officer will take you to the police station where you can be asked for a breath test or blood alcohol concentration test.

After the arrest, you have 10 days to contact the California Department of Motor Vehicle to schedule a hearing to challenge your driving license suspension. After the first appearance in the court, you can file pretrial motions against evidence and build your defense.  A plea bargain may be offered by the prosecutor at this stage. He will also try to convince you that your case is a serious one but you have many criminal defense options at this stage.  Only an experience DUI attorney can be helpful.

Defense against DUI Charges

The following defenses may apply to your charges.

  • Illegal arrest
  • Not enough evidence to support the charge
  • Individual ability to pass the field sobriety test
  • Violations involving a person’s Miranda Right
  • No probable cause to stop traffic
  • Mishandling of evidence

DUI offenses

Usually, the DUI cases are misdemeanors. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd DUI are usually misdemeanor but can be considered as a felony if an accident occurs and injuries or deaths are reported. The 4th DUI is always a felony. After the 4th DUI, every next DUI is a felony.  If people still drive after suspension of driving license and are arrested for DUI then this will be considered a felony case.


After your arrest, the next step is the appearance in court also termed arraignment. Consider following steps during the arraignment.

  1. You are informed about charges against you.
  2. You have the right to plead guilty or not guilty or no contest
  3. There will be discussions about your bail if required
  4. Other motions are also filed by the district attorney  

Your presence in arraignment is necessary if charged with a misdemeanor DUI case. Your attorney is sufficient to enter not guilty on your behalf.

DUI Pretrial

 During the pretrial hearing, District Attorney and your attorney will discuss settling the case.  There can be more than one date of pretrial hearings. If you are charged with a misdemeanor then your attorney can attend the pretrial hearing. The actual trial starts if the case is not solved in pretrial hearings. 

DUI Preliminary hearing

The preliminary hearing is the feature of a felony case. During the preliminary hearing, the district attorney provides evidence and the judge decides to continue the case based on evidence. If the District attorney convinces the judge by providing sufficient evidence to precede the case as a felony then the judge decides to precede the case as a felony. So, you will be held to. At this stage, 2nd arraignment will be set. Proceeding in the trial court will start in 2 weeks where the plea is set again.

DUI Trial

The start of the trial depends upon the type of case.

  • Misdemeanor case

The trial can start within 30 days of the second arraignment if the defendant is in custody otherwise 45 days. 

  • Felony cases

 The trial can start within 60 days of the second arraignment.  But attorneys require more time for investigation, so, trials can start after several months. Trials can take weeks to reach a decision depending upon the following elements.

  1. complexities of case
  2. Number of witnesses
  3. Time is taken by DUI experts

DUI Sentencing

Sentencing is an important stage of the DUI case process. This starts after the verdict is finalized.  A misdemeanor case usually ends with one year imprisonment while more than one year for a felony. Sometimes the Judge uses the option of probation instead of sending to jail.    

  Following are alternative sentencing options.

  • The Judge can send you to City Jail
  • House arrest
  • Residential treatments
  • Probation
  • Community services
  • An alcohol program
  • Counseling program
  • Work furlough
  • Sober living program


Probation in misdemeanor cases

Probation can be of the following types. 

  1. Summary probation: You don’t need to report the probation officer. Only fulfill terms of probation
  2. Supervised probation: You have to report to a probation officer on regular basis. The probation officer may require many things like the below.
  3. Drug testing
  4. Anger management classes
  5. Drug rehab classes

The probationary period can be for 12-60 months. Imprisonment is possible in case of violation of current probation.


 You can challenge the verdict or rule against you in appellant court. But this includes again the start of the entire process.


After the completion of probation successfully, expungement is possible. Expungement can be beneficial in getting new jobs.

DUI Penalties  

DUI are divide into three types depending upon how much time is DUI charged.

  1. DUI – First time
  • Three years of summary probation
  • Fines and penalties of total $2000
  • Attend a 3-month alcohol/drug program
  • Sanction on Driving license for 6 months
  • Attend One day course on Mother against Drunk Driving
  1. DUI- Second time
  • Summary probation of 3-5 years
  • A total of approximately $2000 as fine
  • County jail imprisonment for 90 days to 1 year
  • Attend and complete an 18-30 month Drug /Alcohol program
  • Attend and complete Alcoholic Anonymous class (AA class) of community service
  1. DUI third time
  • Summary probation of 3-5 years
  • A total of approximately $2800 as fine and penalty
  • Minimum jail of 120 days or more
  • Attend a 3-month alcohol/drug program

More serious charges

Additional and enhanced punishments are also available in California State.  These can be as following

  1. Being under influence and injuring others
  2. Being under influence and causing property damage
  3. Being underage (less than 21 years)
  4. Having high BAC

How to hire a DUI lawyer in Vista

There can be many DUI defensive attorneys in your town. Take the following points into consideration while selecting an attorney for you.

  1. Give preference to an attorney who is comfortable with you
  2. The fee is reasonable and you can afford
  3. Be sure that you are not being overcharged because it costs and you have to pay.
  4. Note that the attorney works efficiently
  5. Make sure that the attorney will give a return on investment.

Some people try to do it by themselves or to get the services of public defenders. Both can cause trouble because you cannot help yourself as being not familiar with laws and terminology. Public defenders are also not a good option as they neither give enough time nor have the resource to develop good action for you.

The hiring of an expert DUI attorney is the best available option.  Every attorney is different in knowledge, skills, approach, and techniques. All these factors are important to get results in your favor. The technical knowledge and skills of all attorneys are not equal. If you choose the wrong or incompetent attorney then you will waste your time and money. There is the possibility of punishment in such cases or even more severe punishment or penalties that were not possible in the presence of a good attorney. 

A good recommendation is to be conscious and careful while selecting an attorney for a DUI case. Compare their capabilities by discussing with friends and then decide. So, it is better to choose a professional and experienced attorney to get out of the crises produce by the DUI case against you. Your lawyer can work hard and can develop a defense for you against DUI charges

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