Merced DUI Attorney
DUI Lawyer Serving Merced, CA
Merced is located in Merced County, and is nestled in the San Joaquin Valley of Northern California. Merced, otherwise known as the "Gateway to Yosemite," is less than a two hour drive to Yosemite National Park to the east and to Monterey Bay to the west.
The city is home to the University of California, Merced, as well as a live stage theatre downtown, the historical Mainzer theatre, the County Courthouse Museum, and the Merced Multicultural Arts Center. Each year the city draws college students from all over the country to the university, as well as tourists who come to partake in the annual MERCO Cycling Classic, the Big Valley Arts & Cultural Festival, the Merced Antique Fly-In, and the Central Valley Blues Festival. Whether you're a longtime resident of Merced or a visitor whose been arrested for DUI, you're going to need an aggressive Merced DUI attorney from the Law Offices of Michael E. Mitchell, A Professional Law Corporation, especially since the town has little tolerance for DUI offenses and a conviction can be a financial drain on your wallet.
Aggressive DUI Defense in Merced
Once you're stopped on suspicion of DUI, the police officer will generally ask you if you've had anything to drink, or if you're under the influence of any drugs or medications. From there he or she will ask you to step outside of the vehicle and perform a series of standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs).
These SFSTs include the one-leg-stand, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test (HGN), and the walk-and-turn. Please note that you do not have to take these tests, and there is no penalty for politely refusing. Any evidence gathered during the SFSTs is used as probable cause to make an arrest and the evidence recorded on the officer's dash cam is used as incriminating evidence to secure a conviction. Therefore, there is absolutely no benefit for you to submit to such a test.
Once a driver performs poorly on the field sobriety tests, the officer will usually have them submit to a chemical test in the form of a breath test; however, the driver may be asked to submit to a
urine test. Urine tests are less common and they are usually used to determine if the driver is under the influence of drugs. Please note that under California's implied consent law, if you fail to submit to any of the above tests, your driver's license will be automatically suspended for one full year, regardless if you were drinking or not.
Penalties for a 1st Time DUI
In Merced and across the United States, it's illegal to drink and drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater. If you're under 21 that limit is set at just .01%, meaning you can't have any detectable amount of alcohol in your system, and if you're a commercial driver that number is set at .04%. The penalties for a first time DUI for a BAC ranging from .08% to less than 0.20% include:
- Fines ranging between $390 and $1,000
- A 6 month driver's license suspension
- From 96 hours to 6 months in jail
- The enrollment and completion of a 30-hour drug and alcohol education course
For drivers under the age of 21, and for drivers who refuse to submit to a chemical test, their license will be suspended for two years as opposed to six months. Also, for drivers whose BAC registers at or above 0.20%, they must complete a 60-hour drug and alcohol treatment education course.
Requirements for a Restricted License
If this is your first DUI offense, you may be eligible for a restricted driver's license that would allow you to drive to and from work. In order to be eligible, you must have completed a chemical test, your BAC results must have showed .04% if you were driving a commercial vehicle, or .08% or more if you were driving a noncommercial vehicle, you must be 21 years of age or older, and your driver's license must not be suspended or revoked for any other reason. You must also not have had any prior DUI convictions in the last 10 years. If you were cited in a noncommercial vehicle, you may be eligible to drive to and from a DUI treatment program, and to and from the course of employment only. If you were cited in a commercial vehicle, you may only be allowed to drive to and from a DUI treatment program.
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In recent years the number of alcohol-related DUI arrests has actually declined where in contrast, the number of drug-related DUIs has actually increased markedly, and these numbers are only anticipated to increase as health insurance becomes more accessible and affordable to Californians. As a result of the sharp increase in drugged driving, law enforcement are on the lookout for impaired drivers who are on the influence of controlled substances, both illegal and illegal. In today's age, you can get arrested for DUI if you're caught driving under the influence of anti-anxiety medications, anti-insomnia medications, heavy painkillers, blood pressure medications, and cold and allergy medicines among others.
Considering the fact that a DUI conviction can turn your entire life upside-down, you need a Merced DUI attorney who is extremely familiar with California's DUI laws, as well as one that has well-established relationships with local prosecutors, judges, and DMV administrative staff. At our firm, we have the knowledge, education, and experience you're looking for in a qualified attorney. Unlike other law firms that dabble in DUI defense, we focus on DUI cases every day. We are available 24/7 and will do everything within our power to unearth any and all evidence or flaws that may exonerate you. Contact us to find out how we can help you have the greatest chances of turning things around in your favor!
Merced Resource Links
DUI Information Center
Merced Visitor Services