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Legal Defenses to DUI in Marin County

Sausalito Legal Defenses to DUI Attorney

San Rafael Drunk Driving Arrest Defense Lawyer

If you are arrested for drunk driving in Marin County, you are facing harsh penalties. Even if you are a first-time offender, you are looking at fines and penalty assessments of up to $2,300, a six-month driver's license suspension, and other legal consequences. You may even have to spend some time in the county jail.

Marin County is notorious for its tough prosecution of DUI cases. Since the 1970s, the District Attorney's office has had a "no negotiation" policy. This means that they will not typically negotiate a plea bargain to allow you to plead "no contest" or have your DUI charge reduced to a "wet reckless". The DA's office has become a little more flexible in recent years, but it is still a difficult place to end up facing a drunk driving charge.

Just because you are arrested for DUI in Marin County does not mean you are automatically guilty. There are a number of legal defenses that can be used to exploit potential weaknesses in the case and help you avoid most (if not all) of the negative consequences.

Legal Defenses to DUI in California

Here are some of the most common legal defenses for fighting a drunk driving charge in Marin County or anywhere else in California:

  • The Officer Did Not Follow Proper Procedures: The officer may not have had probable cause to pull you over in the first place. Were you stopped because of an observed violation? Was it because someone anonymously claimed to have seen you driving unsafely? In addition, the officer may have failed to read you your "Miranda" rights or advise you that the preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test was voluntary.
  • Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) "On the Rise": It is not illegal to consume alcohol before getting behind the wheel, it is only illegal to be impaired by alcohol at the time you are driving. If your chemical test at the police station showed a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above, this does not necessarily mean your BAC was .08 or above when you were pulled over. Did you have a drink or two shortly before you starting driving? If so, this may be a viable legal defense to DUI in your case.
  • Chemical Test Was Unreliable or Inaccurate: Aside from the rising blood alcohol defense, the accuracy of the chemical test can also be disputed if the officer failed to strictly follow the requirements laid out in California Code of Regulations Title 17 while conducting the test. Examples include failure to adhere to the 15-minute observation period requirement, and improper collection, handling, and storage of blood (or in rare cases, urine) samples.
  • Field Sobriety Test Was Unreliable or Inaccurate: Prosecutors rely heavily on field sobriety tests (FSTs) to show that the defendant was impaired. This is one of the reasons it is generally best not to submit to such a test in the first place. If you did submit to the test, however, the credibility of its results can be disputed based on a number of potential factors. For example, did you have an injury to your back, legs, knees, joints, or elsewhere when you took the test? Did you take the test on an uneven surface, in a poorly lit area, or in an otherwise adverse setting? These and other questions can be brought up to challenge the reliability or accuracy of the FST.

There are countless other DUI legal defenses that can be employed depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Examples include:

  • You were not the one driving the vehicle.
  • You drove the vehicle because of an emergency.
  • Someone spiked your drink with alcohol before you got behind the wheel.
  • You experienced an unanticipated reaction to a prescription medication.
  • The results of your breath test were tainted because you had a fever.
  • Your BAC reading was inflated due to a medical condition such as diabetes or hypoglycemia.
  • Your BAC reading was inflated due to mouth alcohol from mouthwash, mouth spray, cough syrup, or a similar substance.
  • You had an earache that affected your balance during the field sobriety test.

Speak with a Tough Marin County DUI Defense Lawyer

If you are arrested for DUI in Marin County, you need a skilled advocate on your side who understands California DUI laws and the most effective defense strategies to mitigate the situation as much as possible. Attorney Paul Burglin has successfully defended motorists charged with drunk driving in Marin County since 1985. Attorney Burglin co-authors California Drunk Driving Law, a two-volume treatise that lays out hundreds of decision-based legal defenses to DUI. His depth of knowledge and proven track record make him the "go to" attorney for judges, DMV hearing officers, and prosecutors when someone in their circle of influence winds up in legal trouble for DUI.

If you are serious about defending the DUI charges against you, contact attorney Burglin today at 415-729-7300 for a discreet and confidential consultation. We serve clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Marin County, including San Rafael, Corte Madera, Novato, Sausalito, Lagunitas, Belvedere, Bolinas, Dillon Beach, Fairfax, Forest Knolls, Greenbrae, Ignacio, Inverness, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marshall, Mill Valley, Muir Beach, Nicasio Valley, Olema, Point Reyes Station, Ross, San Anselmo, San Geronimo, Stinson Beach, Tiburon, Tomales, and Woodacre.

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