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February 2014 Archives

A DUI Stop Requires a Reason to Pull You Over in Vista

A DUI stop requires a reason to stop and detain the vehicle in Vista and all of California.   There are situations where an officer legally contacts an individual which results in a DUI arrest when no stop is made where witnesses or circumstances are used to prove driving.  If the officer pulls someone over, he must have a probable cause to do so.  An officer does not know if a driver is intoxicated or has been drinking or used drugs until the officer contacts the driver after a stop.  There may be some telltale signs or driving patterns that tend to indicate an impaired driver like continual weaving, but cars are pulled over for many reasons, which do not give any indication of impairment.

Vandalism can be a Misdemeanor or Felony in Vista Courts

Vandalism can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the cost to repair the damage.  Every person who maliciously defaces with graffiti (or otherwise), damages or destroys real or personal property is guilty of vandalism per California Penal Code 594 (a) et seq.  It is a felony if damages are $400 or more punishable by up to 3 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.  It is a misdemeanor if damages are under $400 punishable by up to a year in jail and $1000 fine.  Restitution is always ordered for repairs.  There can even be a driver's license suspension.

Evading a Peace Officer can be a Felony or Misdemeanor

Evading a peace officer can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on how dangerous the evading was.  Any person driving a vehicle who evades or flees a peace officer may be guilty of a misdemeanor under Vehicle Code (VC) 2800.1 and if you evade with a wanton and willful disregard for ther safety of persons or property, it is a felony under VC 2800.2.  There are other required elements like a marked patrol car exhibiting lights and siren etc.

Minor in Possession of Alcohol or Marijuana in Vista Courts

A minor in possession (MIP) of alcohol or marijuana conviction triggers a 1 year driver's license suspension in addition to any fine or other penalties. However, the Court does have the ability to grant a restricted license for work, and school etc. It is important to at least get a consultation with an attorney who regularly handles these in your area for a better overview of local Court policy.  In San Diego County, the D.A. may, depending on the circumstances, negotiate this charge to a lesser non-alcohol offense as an infraction which avoids all those issues.

Non Sufficient Funds Check can be a Felony in North County

Issuing a non sufficient funds check (NSF) is really a theft related offense and may be a felony in North County and all of California.  If the check is issued for $450 or less, it may be a misdemeanor. The crime requires issuing a check when you knew there was insufficient funds to cover it at the time and intending to defraud another.   Many times these NSF checks can be made good quickly and criminal charges can be avoided.  The facts and cricumstances of any non suffienct funds check case are extremely important in determining whether the check was written knowing there was no money in the account at the time and if it was done to defraud another.  Post dating a check may avoid the problem, if you are realistically anticipating funds to be available.  You are essentially telling the other person there are not funds now but there should be later, and the facts will determine whether you have issued it with an intent to defraud.  

Petty Theft Cases in Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad and Escondido

Petty theft is a misdemeanor in California and involves the theft of money, labor or property $950 or less in value.  It carries a potential sentence of up to 6 months jail and $1000 fine.  However, the prosecutor, the District Attorney (D.A.)for North County cases from Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Escondido and Encinitas or the City Attorney for San Diego Cases may treat them differently. They have the discretion to settle a petty theft case for an infraction especially if the loss is less than $50.  Infractions are minor offenses which carry a fine only like a minor traffic violation and are not misdemeanors.  Infractions are much better for your record.  Depending on the factors involved, some jurisdictions may reduce a petty theft to an infraction even involving even higher amounts and some may also have a diversion program where you may attend a theft class, stay crime and arrest fee for a period of time and get the charge dismissed.   

DUI Refusals to take Field Breath in Vista may be an Issue

A DUI refusals to take a field breath test can be an issue for some people.  A field bresth test or P.A.S. Test must be taken if you are under 21 or are on probation for a DUI, you will loose your license for one year if you refuse. You still have a right to a DMV Hearing concerning the issue if you set it within 10 days of your arrest.  If you are not under 21 or on DUI probation, then as long as you take the regular breath or blood test and do not refuse, there are no DUI refusals or refusal suspension. A refusal requires legal detention, advisals and a refusal.  

Civilian DUI cases on Camp Pendleton are usually Federal cases

 A civilian DUI case where the stop occurred on a military base will be generally heard in San Diego Federal Magistrates Court. There are areas of joint state and federal jurisdiction like the Camp Pendleton main gate where the M.P. s (military Police) make the stop but call CHP or Oceanside Police to handle the arrest, then the case is heard in state Court in Vista.  If the CHP or local police were not called or involved, and it was all handled by M.P.s, then it is a federal case.  Military personnel are subject to military proceedings.

Felony Probation Requires Authorization to Leave San Diego County

Felony probation requires authorization by your probation officer (P.O) to leave the San Diego county for short periods of time and by the Court to transfer out of state.  You will need to get permission to temporarily travel from your P.O. or the Court. To permanently relocate you will need to add your case on and request a jurisdictional transfer from the Court.  It is helpful if you are in full compliance, no violations, and sentencing requirements completed. 

When is a DUI Blood Test given after A DUI Arrest in Vista?

A DUI blood test may be given after arrest instead of a breath test in Vista or anywhere in California if the officer reasonably suspects drugs in your system, you request a blood test, the official breathlyzer is not working properly or available, also if you refuse any test and the officer may get a warrant for a forced blood draw or may draw it over your objection if there are exigent circumstances allowing a forced blood draw without a warrant.  A refusal to take a test, blood if required or breath, will result in a loss of license by DMV for a year on a first offense regardless what happens in Court with the criminal case if the officer followed the proper refusal protocol. 

Two DUI Suspensions are possible with a First Offense in Vista

There are potentially two DUI suspensions with a first offense or .08 B.A case in Vista and all of California, one as a result of the DMV for driving with a .08 B.A. (blood alcohol level) or more which is 4 months.  This can be challenged by setting a hearing within 10 days of your arrest.  The other for a DUI conviction.  However, after one month of actual suspension from by the DMV, this 4 month suspension can be converted to a work and DUI program restriction for 5 months as long as your license was in good standing and you were 21 or over when arrested.  The conviction suspension is also able to be converted to a restriction without a waiting period, but with similar requirements.

What are Third DUI Conviction Penalties in North County?

A misdemeanor third DUI conviction with in 10 years in North San Diego County and all of California is still a misdemeanor, but carries a mandatory minimum custody 120 days to 1 year.  A high blood alcohol level or an accident is an aggravating factor which could result in a sentence much greater than the minimum 120 days. Some other factors that are considered include whether or not you are still on probation on a prior, how long since your last offense occurred, was your license suspended at the time and was there an accident.

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