In California, DUI related arrests and charges are widespread. California DUI laws seek to prosecute individuals who drink and drive. You will get convicted for standard DUI if you drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher. Apart from driving under the influence of alcohol, you can find yourself facing DUI related charges. These charges include Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI hit and run, underage DUI among others. A conviction for any of these offenses may see you contest a driver’s license suspension or revocation at the DMV Hearing. If you or your loved one is facing a DUI or any DUI related charge, it will be wise to hire an attorney from San Diego DUI Attorney. Our experienced Blossom Valley DUI Attorneys will work to ensure your rights are protected during the case proceedings and possibly have a reduced sentence or the charges to be dropped.
California Vehicle Code 23152
Under California Vehicle Code 23152, you are considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol if your blood Alcohol Content is equal to or greater than 0.08%. A conviction for a DUI begins when a traffic officer pulls you over in DUI stops or at an accident scene. The Traffic officer will stop you if they have a reason to believe that you are intoxicated. Some of these reasons include: Swerving from one lane to another, avoiding red lights and overspreading, among others.
On stopping you, the officer will ask you to perform some physical activities as part of the field sobriety test. They will also carefully observe you identify whether your behavior is affected by alcohol. However, it is crucial to understand that your blood alcohol content will be the primary basis for a DUI conviction. According to California implied consent law, possessing a driver’s license is an indication that you have accepted to take the chemical tests.
On the site, your BAC will be taken using a Breathalyzer, and on arrival to the station, your blood sample will be taken. If your BAC is 0.08 or higher, you will get arrested and charged under Vehicle Code 23152 of California. Even with the implied consent, you have a right to refuse the chemical tests. Before taking your blood or Breathalyzer test, the traffic officers must obtain your consent. Also, they should read you the Miranda, so you are aware of the consequences that accompany refusal to take the tests.
If the officer breaks any rule or does not follow the right procedure when taking the tests, the results obtained cannot be used against you in the DUI case. However, failure to submit to the criteria can cause an automatic driver’s license suspension and a jail sentence if you have a prior conviction for DUI.
Penalties for DUI
The penalties you face after a conviction for DUI will be dependent on the circumstances of your case as well as your criminal history. The following are the penalties you meet for a first, second, and third DUI offense in California:
- Jail time. For a first DUI offense, you are likely to face 48 hours to six months jail sentence which could be converted to probation. A conviction for a second DUI carries a 1year maximum jail sentence which can be served in house arrest. On the other hand, third time DUI offenders face a jail sentence of up to one year with a mandatory registration to DUI School.
- If you get convicted for DUI, you will be required to pay fines of up to $1,000. Also, the penalty assessment fees can substantially increase the penalties you pay.
- If you are convicted for a first DUI, you will receive a three-year informal probation and three months of DUI school as part of the punishment. For third DUI offenders, the probation is often formal and is to be served for five years.
- Driver’s License suspension. A conviction for driving with a BAC of 0.08 % or higher will see you battle both the court imposed and DMV triggered license suspensions. For a first DUI conviction, you will generally face a six-month license suspension. California DUI law is strict on repeat offenders; therefore, the period of license suspension will increase for each additional offense.
If your DUI led to an accident with severe fatalities, the penalties you face would be enhanced. If you or your loved one is battling DUI charges, consider seeking legal representation from a competent Blossom Valley DUI attorney. With the help of your attorney, you can present available defenses against your case. This is by challenging the evidence brought against you by the arresting officer and bringing in your witnesses.
California Vehicle Code 23136 makes it an offense for drivers under the age of 21 years to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.01% or higher. California has zero-tolerance to underage drinking and driving, thus prohibits any alcohol-containing drinks or beverages for this group of individuals. You will get convicted for underage DUI regardless of whether or not your conduct was impaired by alcohol. For juvenile drivers, the blood alcohol content is measured using the preliminary alcohol screening test.
Violation of Vehicle Code 23136 will cause your license to be suspended for one year if it’s your first DUI offense. California has a zero-tolerance to underage drinking and driving. Therefore, your license may be revoked for up to three years if you are a repeat offender.
As an underage driver, you can be charged for violating Vehicle Code 23140 of California if you drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.05 or higher. After the arrest, your blood and breathe tests will be taken to establish your level of intoxication. However, violating VC 23140 will not lead to a jail sentence. Also, you will be required to pay fines of up to $100, a mandatory alcohol education program for at least 18 months and a one-year driver’s license suspension.
Underage drivers who operate motor vehicles in California with a BAC of 0.08% will get charged with standard DUI. Also, you will be charged with this offense if alcohol or other drugs impair your conduct and driving ability. If no one is injured, standard DUI is billed as a misdemeanor. Underage drivers who are charged with this offense will face:
- Three to five years of misdemeanor probation
- Fines ranging between three hundred and ninety dollars ($390) to a thousand dollars ($1,000)
- A one-year driver’s license suspension
- Mandatory enrollment to alcohol education program for three to nine months
- In some cases, you may be sentenced to six months in county jail
If you fail to take the chemical tests during an underage DUI conviction, your license will be automatically suspended for one year. The DMV can also revoke your driver’s license if you have prior convictions for DUI related offenses. If you are facing underage DUI charges, you can challenge the prosecutor’s evidence against you to possibly lessen the penalties that accompany a conviction for this offense. It is vital to contact a Blossom Valley DUI attorney to present your defense successfully.
Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
To get convicted for gross vehicular manslaughter while drunk under Penal Code 191-5(a) the prosecutor must prove the following elements of the crime:
- You operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. You are considered to be intoxicated if your conduct was affected by alcohol or drugs. Also, the prosecutor should show that you were driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or 0.05% for underage drivers.
- While doing this, you committed a lawful act that may cause death. To prove vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, the action that led to death must be legal and an infraction.
- The offense you committed resulted from gross negligence. You cannot be convicted for gross vehicular manslaughter if the prosecutor does not prove that your conduct was grossly negligent. Gross negligence occurs when you act in a way that creates a risk of death to someone else. Ordinary carelessness cannot be considered gross negligence for this offense.
- Your negligent conduct caused the death of another individual. A prosecutor cannot charge you with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated if death did it occur. However, your actions must be a direct cause for death, even if it is not the only contributing factor.
Under California Penal Code 191.5(a) vehicular manslaughter is charged as a penalty. A conviction for this offense will attract the following penalties.
- A prison sentence of four. six or ten years depending on the circumstances of the case and your criminal history
- Felony probation. This is formal probation where you are required to frequently report to your probation officer and avoid any illegal activity
- Fines not exceeding $10,000
However, if you have a prior conviction for DUI, vehicular manslaughter, or DUI causing injury, your sentence may be enhanced to 15 years in state prison. If you are coveted for vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, the DMV will revoke your driver’s license for at least three years. Driving with a revoked license will cause additional charges of driving on a suspended driver’s license.
Sometimes accidents occur when you are intoxicated, and someone gets killed. However, it does not mean that the accident was your fault. A conviction for vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated will have both legal and social consequences. It is essential to contact a Blossom Valley DUI attorney as soon as possible if you are facing these charges.
DUI Hit and Run
Any time you are involved in an accident, California law mandates that you stop your vehicle and assist the injured. You are also required to exchange contact information with other drivers and assist the police in investigations. Failure to do this, you will get charged with hit and run. If you drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, get into an accident and flee, you will face DUI as well as hit and run charges. These charges are grave on their own, and a combination of the two has severe consequences. If you are facing charges for violating California Vehicle Code 23152 and VC 20002, you will need the support of an experienced Blossom Valley DUI attorney.
If you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and failure to stop after an accident, you will face severe penalties. Some of the penalties you face for a DUI hit and run conviction include:
- Two to four years in state prison if the accident you were involved in caused severe bodily injury or death to someone else.
- Up to one-year jail sentence if the crash caused minor injuries
- $1,000 and six months in jail for accidents that caused property destruction.
- Up to $10,000 in fines for accidents that caused severe injury
To convict you for this offense, the prosecutor must prove your intoxication and involvement in the accident. They must also show that you willfully failed to perform your duties at the scene. Proving all these elements can be quite tricky, and you have an excellent chance to defend yourself against DUI hit and run charges.
Driver’s License Suspension for DUI in California
Driver’s license suspension or revocation is one of the most dreaded penalties for a DUI conviction in California. However, an arrest for DUI will not always lead to a license suspension, and you have an opportunity to fight the suspension at the Department of Motor Vehicle. There are two types of license suspension you will get after a DUI, which include the court triggered, and the DMV triggered a license suspension.
When you are convicted for a first DUI offense, the court will automatically trigger a six months driver’s license suspension. For a second DUI offense with a prior DUI or wet reckless conviction, your license will be suspended for two years. California DUI laws are stringent on repeat offenders. If you get convicted for a third DUI offense, the court will trigger a three years license suspension. The judge does not suspend your license. The court will notify the department of a motor vehicle which suspends. However, if you take the case to court and you aren’t convicted, there will be no court triggered license suspension.
Besides the suspension by the court upon conviction, the DMV will attempt to suspend your license after a DUI arrest. After an arrest for a first time DUI, you are given ten days to request a DMV hearing where you can contest the suspension of your license. If you request a DMV within ten days, the suspension of your driver’s license by the DMV will be put on hold. However, failure to ask for the hearing will trigger an automatic license suspension.
The DMV triggered license suspension is imposed on individuals who got arrested with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. The chances of winning a DMV hearing are slim when your alcohol content was 0.08%. It is essential to be represented by an experienced Blossom Valley DUI attorney.
At the DMV hearing, you have an opportunity to scrutinize and dispute the evidence brought against you by the prosecutor. You can also testify for yourself or find witnesses who were at the scene when you were pulled over for driving under the influence of drugs. If you win the DUI hearing, the administrative license suspension will not be imposed. You will be able to operate your vehicle until your DUI criminal case is heard in court.
On the other hand, losing the DMV hearing, the APS license suspension will push through. A DMV triggered license suspension will remain in your record for ten years. The court and DMV proceedings are dependent on each other. The court procedures focus on proving that you were driving under the influence of drugs, while the DMV will only concentrate on suspending your driving privileges. A victory or a loss in the DMV hearing will not impact your DUI criminal case.
If your license is suspended for DUI, you can request a restricted driver’s license. The limited license will allow you to drive to work, school, or DUI school during the period of license suspension. However, you will be required to maintain SR22 insurance for three years. Also, you can apply for an IID restricted license. With this license, you will be allowed to continue driving if you agree to install an ignition interlock device in your car. This is a Breathalyzer device that will check the alcohol content in your breathe before you start the vehicle.
Find a DUI Attorney Near Me
California DUI laws are stringent on DUI offenders, especially those who drive with an alcohol content of 0.08 0r higher. A conviction for DUI or the related offenses could see you spend a significant amount of time in jail or serve probation. Also, your driver’s license will be suspended or revoked depending on the circumstances of your case. However, there are available defenses you can mount to avoid a conviction or lessen the penalties. To successfully present these defenses, you will require the guidance of an attorney from the San Diego DUI Attorney. Contact our Blossom Valley, CA, attorneys at 619-535-7150 to discuss the details of your case.