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San Diego California Criminal Defense Law Blog

Miranda: Your right to remain silent

You have the right to remain silent. This is a critical element of your civil rights, yet many do not fully grasp its importance. Unfortunately, law enforcement officers may take advantage of this fact when questioning someone suspected of a crime.

The right to remain silent is part of a Supreme Court ruling commonly known as "Miranda." Reading your Miranda rights is something every police officer must do when they place you under arrest. However, your rights extend beyond the moment of your arrest.

Don't let an officer talk you into field sobriety tests

Let's face it, police officers have a difficult job. They put their lives on the line every day to keep you safe. It's their job to keep dangerous people off the streets. One way in which they do so is by taking drunk drivers off the roads.

In order to accomplish this, they need to develop probable cause for an arrest. They cannot simply suspect you of drunk driving and put you into the back of a police car. Police develop probable cause in several ways, but one way that could get you into trouble is by asking you to participate in field sobriety tests. Participating in these tests may guarantee an arrest since it's easy to fail them.

Accused of driving drunk with a child in your car?

While out and about in your car with your kids -- or a friend or family member's children -- police pulled you over. After a quick conversation, the officer asked you to submit to sobriety testing. He or she believes you were driving drunk with children in your car. In the state of California, that is a serious offense with severe consequences if convicted.

You may or may not have agreed to roadside testing. It is your choice at that point. If you refused, officers probably tested you at the station instead. Either way, if your blood-alcohol content reading showed that your BAC level was higher than legally allowed, not only will you face charges of driving under the influence, child endangerment and child abuse charges may also be filed against you.

A DUI is considered a priorable offense, what does that mean?

If you are ever pulled over for driving under the influence of alcohol, you may feel it is not worth fighting in court to clear your name. However, not fighting could end up hurting you in the long run. A DUI is considered a priorable offense in California, meaning any DUIs on your record will count against you should you be charged and convicted with another similar offense.

Repeat DUI offenders may face severe consequences if prosecuting attorneys achieve a conviction. What are these consequences? Is there any way to defend yourself when facing DUI charges?

DUI sentence enhancements make a bad situation worse

Reports of drunk driving arrests are something you may hear about frequently. Politicians, celebrities, even police officers may make headlines when arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. However, without planning ahead, just about anyone who enjoys an adult beverage has the potential for making the mistake of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Overall, law enforcement is zealous about preventing drunk driving. They see many tragic accidents that result from impairment. California, along with many other states, continues to re-evaluate its drunk driving laws and toughen its penalties. What you may not realize is that there are already factors that can enhance the penalties you may face if a court convicts you.

What types of DUI evidence can law enforcement use against you?

Facing DUI charges here in California, or anywhere else for that matter, can be overwhelming. After all, these are allegations that can directly affect your personal freedom, financial well-being and even your ability to drive. Whether it's your first offense or you have previous DUIs on your record, you understand how important it is to fight back.

One of the first steps in this process for you may be to learn more about what DUI charges mean, and what factors play a role in the charges against you. Individuals facing drunk driving charges have the right to fight back, and one effective way you can do this is by challenging the evidence against you. With a strong defense, you can pursue the most beneficial outcome possible to your situation. 

Was the search that led to your arrest for burglary legal?

After a rash of break-ins in a residential neighborhood, you could find police at your door alerting you that authorities consider you a suspect. Suspicion could fall on you for a variety of reasons, but that does not mean that you give up any of your rights under the U.S. Constitution.

One of those rights pertains to searches. If police searched your home, they must follow search laws, rules and procedures in order to do so. Any violation of your Fourth Amendment rights could render the search and any evidence resulting from it illegal, which means that a judge may not allow prosecutors to use that evidence against you in court.

The factors that can determine how your body processes alcohol

If you have been out drinking with friends, you may notice that some people in your group experience different effects from alcohol than others. Alcohol affects people in different ways, which is why one person may seem to tolerate higher levels of alcohol than others. Because of this, it is wise for you to not base your perception of your blood alcohol concentration on others in your group. 

The human body will start to metabolize alcohol as soon as a person consumes it. How long this process takes differs from person-to-person, which is why it is important to be cautious about driving after just one drink. It may also help to understand state laws regarding BAC levels and how that can affect a criminal charge.

How is it against the law to send your kid to university?

Like most parents, you work diligently to provide for your children as best you can. Through helping with homework, sports participation and communicating with their teachers, you prepare your kids for a quality education, in hopes that they will succeed at whatever they choose to do.

But in many cases, you don’t want your kids to go to just any school. Regardless of your financial situation, you likely understand the opportunities which can result from attending one of the top universities in the United States. But how far would you go to help get your kids acceptance letters?

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