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San Jose CA felony DUI defense attorneyTypically, a DUI will be classified as a misdemeanor offense when you are charged for your first, second or third DUI. However, there are circumstances that will lead to felony DUI charges usually if there is an “aggravating factor” present. It is important to understand how the specific circumstances alleged by police and prosecutors will affect your legal situation and the kind of penalties you might be facing.

DUI Causing Great Bodily Injury or Death to Another

One of the more common ways that a DUI will be classified as felony charge is by causing bodily injury or death to another person while you are driving. California Vehicle Code Section 23153 states that you do not have to have a certain BAC to be convicted of this felony charge. In order to be charged with this felony, you must have a measurable amount of alcohol in your system while driving and have committed a crime or an act of negligence that caused great bodily injury or death to another person.

Three or More DUI Convictions Within the Past 10 Years

The first three times you are charged with a DUI will more than likely be charged as misdemeanors. In California, there are what are known as “priorable offenses” a priorable offense is one that gets gradually more strict with each conviction. DUI is a priorable offense, so if you get more than three offenses within 10 years, your fourth offense will become a felony.

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San Jose CA DUI-field-sobriety-testing attorneyEven if you have never been pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, many people are aware of field sobriety tests from popular television programs such as “Cops,” which shows police pulling over DUI suspects and asking them to walk in a straight line or recite the alphabet starting at a certain letter. While shows like “Cops” can entertain us with failed sobriety tests, a DUI conviction is a serious matter and field sobriety tests are used as legitimate evidence in a court of law. 

What are Field Sobriety Tests?

Field sobriety tests were developed to help police officers determine if a person had consumed enough alcohol that it affected their ability to drive. There are two categories of field sobriety tests: standardized and non-standardized. Most police officers will use a combination of both types to determine impairment, but usually only standardized tests hold up as evidence in court. Standardized field sobriety tests were developed in the 1970s, and their effectiveness has been studied and found to have identified impaired drivers 90 percent of the time.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test

One of the first tests that an officer might use is the HGN test, which measures the involuntary jerking of your eyeball. Nystagmus is the term used for the normal and involuntary jerking of the eyeball. When a person is not intoxicated, nystagmus typically only occurs when the eye is at a high peripheral angle. When a person is under the influence of alcohol, the angle at which nystagmus begins is much less. When the test is conducted, the officer will have the suspect follow a moving object with their eyes in order to observe when nystagmus begins. Intoxicated suspects will typically have difficulty tracking the object as well.

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San Jose DUI defense attorney, DUI charges, BAC, legal blood alcohol content, DUI defense attorneyIt is not uncommon to want to go out and have a few drinks over dinner or when visiting neighborhood bars and taverns with friends. Unfortunately, while you may think you are safe to drive if you spread out the amount of alcohol you consume over the course of the night, or stick to beer or wine rather than hard liquors, you could still be at risk for DUI charges.

While the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.08 percent in California may seem high, our DUI defense attorneys have handled numerous cases where just one or two drinks put someone over this limit.

How One or Two Drinks Can Put You Over the Legal Limit

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San Jose DUI defense attorney, drunk driving, DUI checkpoints, California DUI checkpoint, field sobriety testWhenever a holiday arises, make sure that if you choose to imbibe you do so responsibly and that you do not drink and drive. As there is usually a spike in drunk driving over holiday weekends, you can bet that law enforcement officers in California will be out in full force during these days and will likely set up driving under the influence (DUI) checkpoints on roads that have experienced a disproportionately high number of drunk drivers in the past.

What is a DUI Checkpoint?

A DUI checkpoint (also sometimes referred to as a “DUI roadblock” or a “sobriety checkpoint”) is a traffic stop set up by law enforcement officials that is meant to catch drunk drivers and to deter other drivers from driving drunk in the future. DUI checkpoints are not permitted in all states but they are allowed in California as long as certain requirements are met. For example, DUI checkpoints in California must:

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