The state of California has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country. For this reason, it’s important you not only secure the legal help of an attorney but are aware of the possible penalties for this offense. The penalties vary depending on a number of factors including your blood alcohol level at the time of your arrest and any previous convictions on your record.
California’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limit
Anyone who has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more, and appears to be under the influence of a controlled substance at the time they are pulled over, will be arrested and charged with driving under the influence. Commercial driver’s who are pulled over for a suspected DUI will be arrested and charged with a BAC of at least 0.04% and anyone under the age of 21 will be arrested for a BAC of at least 0.01%.
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What are the Penalties for DUI in California?
Under California Vehicle Code 23152(a) and 23152(b), the penalties for DUI include:
- First offense: 3 to 5 years of summary probation, up to 6 months in county jail, and a fine of up to $2,000.
- Second offense: 4 to 5 years of summary probation, 96 hours to 364 days in county jail, and a fine of up to $2,000.
- Third offense: 5 years summary probation, up to 364 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, designation as a “habitual traffic offender” for 3 years, and driver’s license suspension for 3 years.
- Fourth or subsequent offense: 5 years summary probation; up to 364 days in county jail or up to 3 years for a felony; a fine of up to $2,000; “habitual traffic offender” designation for 3 years; and driver’s license suspension for 4 years.
As part of your probation for any offense, you may be required to install an interlock ignition device (IID) in your vehicle, enroll in a mandatory drunk driver education program, and complete other conditions based on your specific circumstances. An IID, or in-car breathalyzer, is a portable device that measures the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath. Once installed in a vehicle, the person convicted of DUI must use this device before starting the ignition. If the device detects any traces of alcohol, the car will not start. These devices are installed at the convicted person’s expense, and you will also need to pay a monthly fee for an interlock program. Two commonly installed brands in California include LifeSaver and Intoxalock, both of which can help you keep your license when installed in your vehicle.
What is California’s Implied Consent Law?
In the state of California, if you are driving a motor vehicle, you have given your “implied consent” to chemical testing of you blood or breath to determine your blood alcohol content. You do have the right to refuse these tests, however this will lead to an automatic suspension of your driver’s license.
What are California’s SR-22 Requirements?
If your license was suspended for any length of time due to your DUI, your insurance company must file an SR-22 form with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This form verifies that you met the minimum insurance requirements before your arrest. It also helps you receive a hardship license which enables you to drive to your place of employment and educational institution and can be used as a valid form of identification during your DUI suspension.
How the 10-Day Rule Affects Your DUI
When you are arrested for a DUI in California, you only get 10 days to contact your local Driver Safety Office. You must do this to request a hearing concerning your license suspension. If you do not do this, your license is automatically suspended for 30 days following the date of your arrest. By requesting a hearing, you are legally permitted to continue driving your vehicle until the outcome of your DUI case is decided.
Common Legal Defenses for a DUI in California
If you are arrested for a DUI in California, do not give up and assume you are going to be convicted. Even people who have failed field tests have won their DUI cases.
Common defenses for a DUI include:
- You were the victim of an unreasonable traffic stop.
- The arresting officer did not set up their sobriety checkpoint correctly.
- The arresting officer did not correctly give you the field sobriety test.
- There was no probable cause for your arrest.
- The arresting office violated the breathalyzer test procedure.
Contact Our San Luis Obispo DUI Lawyer Today
At the Law Office of Amy Shroder, our dedicated attorney will stop at nothing to obtain a positive outcome to your case. For more information about DUI and DMV administrative hearings in California, visit the Driver Education and Safety section of the CA DMV website.
Call us today at (805) 516-0788 for sound legal representation.