In California, DUI related arrests and charges are widespread. You can find yourself facing these charges, even who you are a careful driver. Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, can find you facing DUI related charges. These charges include DUI hit and run, vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, commercial driver DUI, among others. A conviction for any of these offenses may find you contesting a driver’s license suspension or revocation at a Department of Motor Vehicles Hearing. If you or your loved one is facing any DUI related charge, it will be wise to seek legal representation from the San Diego DUI Attorney. Our experienced Desert Lodge DUI Attorney will work to ensure your rights are protected during the case proceedings.
DUI in California
Vehicle Code 23152(a) of California makes it illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. This law will apply to any intoxicating substance ranging from illegal drugs, prescription as well as over the counter drugs. It is considered an act of DUI if you operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher. However, you may get convicted even when your actions were not impaired by alcohol as long as your BAC exceeded the legal limits.
The traffic officers will stop your vehicle at DUI checkpoints or accident scenes. You can also get pulled over at other areas if they have a reason to believe that you are driving under the influence of alcohol. Reasons why a law enforcement officer may stop you, include Driving in multiple lanes at once, weaving from lane to lane, overfeeding as well as hesitating to drive through the green lights.
After pulling you over, the officer will make their observations your appearance and behavior for signs of intoxication. Also, they may perform a field sobriety test on you to test your mortal and behavioral skills to gauge impairment. The officer will then take your breathe using a Breathalyzer device which you blow in to get your BAC. To get arrested on per se DUI charges, your BAC should be 0.08% or more.
Before taking your blood or Breathalyzer test, the traffic officers must obtain your consent. 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. This is because being a holder of a valid driver’s license; you agree to take alcohol tests when called upon to do so. After an arrest, your driver’s license will be taken away, and it’s your responsibility to schedule a DMV hearing to contest its suspension.
Penalties for DUI
Penalties for a DUI offense will vary greatly depending on the nature of your charges. Also, repeat offenders of this offense may get harsher punishments compared to defendants facing a first DUI charge. A conviction for misdemeanor DUI charge subjects you to:
- Informal probation. While on probation, you will be required to regularly check in with your probation officer and avoid any criminal activities.
- Fines range from $390 to $1,000.After penalties and assessment, the fine may increase to triple the amount
- Jail sentence not exceeding six months for a first offense and one year for subsequent offenses
- A suspension or revocation of your driver’s license depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest. However, you can seek to get a restricted license which will allow you to drive during the period of suspension
- You may be required to attend DUI School, do community service, and visit the AA meetings.
On the other hand, you will face the following penalties for a felony DUI charge
- Formal probation
- A state prison sentence of up to a lifetime if your act if DUI resulted in a severe accident or death
- Fines of up to $5,000
- DUI school
- Victim restitution
However, your Desert Lodge DUI attorney can help you persuade the court to subject you to alternative sentencing options such as;
- The home arrest which is also known as electronic monitoring
- Order to reside in a sober living environment as well as
- Doing community service for a given period
If you are facing DUI charges, contacting a DUI attorney is one of the wisest decisions you can make. Your attorney will help you mount defenses that can convince the court to reduce your sentence or even protect your driving privileges.
Under Vehicle Code 23153, you will get charged with DUI causing injuries if you act of driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs results in severe damage. This offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the extent of injury you caused. Also, your criminal history, as well as your level of recklessness, are considered during the sentencing.
California DUI laws are different for out of state drivers. If you get arrested for drunk driving and you are not a resident, your driving privilege will get suspended in 30 days. However, you are allowed to schedule a DMV hearing to contest the suspension.
The state of California has zero-tolerance for underage drinking and driving. It is a civil offense for a driver under the age of 21 years. The zero-tolerance law for young drivers applies all beverages that contain alcohol. You will get convicted for underage DUI regardless of whether you were impaired or not. You violate Vehicle Code 23136 by having a measurable amount of alcohol in your blood.
The blood alcohol content of Underage DUI is measured using a preliminary alcohol screening. Failure to submit to the BAC test will result in at least one-year license suspension. After an arrest for underage DUI, your blood alcohol content will get confirmed by a DUI breath test using a desktop machine at the station and a blood test. If you get arrested with a BAC of 0.01% or more, you will face a mandatory driver’s license suspension. For a first underage DUI offense, your license will be suspended for one year. If you have a history of drunk driving, you risk a two to three years driver’s license revocation.
Violation of Vehicle Code 23140 is charged as an infraction. If you get arrested for Underage DUI with a BAC of 0.05% or more, you will face the following penalties:
- A one-year license suspension for a first DUI offense
- Fine not exceeding $100
- A three months mandatory alcohol education program, if you are at least eighteen years
As an underage driver, you can get charged with standard DUI. Your driving ability was impaired as a result of alcohol or other intoxicating drugs, or you were driving with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08% or higher. An underage driver who violates Vehicle Code 23152 of standard DUI will face:
- Up to five years of informal probation
- A one-year driver’s license suspension
- An alcohol education program for a period not exceeding nine months
- A jail sentence of up to six months if you caused a moor injury
- Fine not exceeding $1,000
Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated
Under Penal Code 191.5 of California, you will get convicted for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated if:
- You were driving under the influence of drugs or other drugs. This by violating California Vehicle Code 23152(a) and driving with a BAC of 0.08% and 0.05% for drivers under the age of 21 years.
- While intoxicated, you committed another offense that might have caused death. To be guilty under California Penal Code 191.5, you must undertake in a crime that is just a misdemeanor or infraction while you were driving.
- You committed the offense by acting grossly negligent. This charge relies on your negligence. If the prosecutor does not show that you acted in gross negligence, you will not be convicted. Gross negligence takes place when you act in a way that a reasonable person would have known will pose a danger to someone else. However, driving under the influence of drugs in itself is not an act of gross negligence.
- Your actions caused severe injuries and death. However, they do not need to be the only reason for death as long as they are a substantial contributing factor.
Gross Vehicular Manslaughter is charged as a felony in California, and the possible penalties for this offense are:
- A formal probation
- Up to 10 years in California state prison
- A fine not exceeding $10,000
A prior conviction for vehicular manslaughter, ordinary DUI, or DUI with an injury, will see you face a prison sentence of fifteen years to life imprisonment. Getting convicted for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated will trigger a three years driver’s license revocation. Driving with a revoked license will cause additional charges under California VC 14601. If you are facing charges of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated charges it is essential, you have legal guidance from a Desert Lodge DUI Attorney.
DUI Hit and Run
You will be charged with DUI hit and run if you drive under the influence of drugs, cause an accident, and flee the accident scene. To convict you for this offense, the prosecutor must prove that after involvement in the crash, you willfully failed to stop and perform your duties. If you are involved in an accident, the law expects you to remain at the scene even when you are not at fault. You should:
- Call the police,
- Assist the injured individuals,
- Provide your personal and vehicle information to authorities if you are called upon to do so.
Especially when you are drunk driving, you should stop to avoid facing the harsh penalties for both DUI as well as hit and run. The penalties associated with a conviction for DUI hit and run include:
- Two to four years for accidents that caused serious bodily injury or death
- A maximum of one year in jail if minor injuries resulted from the accident
- Six months in prison if the accident caused property damage
- Fines not exceeding $10,000
Driver’s License Suspension for DUI Related Offenses
Most people need to drive for them to continue running their healthy lives. If you get convicted of a DUI related offense, you risk a license suspension for a period ranging from thirty days to a few years. The period of license suspension will depend on o the severity of the offense you committed.
A conviction for a first time DUI will trigger a license suspension for six months. However, the judge will not suspend your license, but rather the DMV will suspend your license if you lose a DMV hearing. A conviction for a second DUI occurring within ten years after the first DUI or wet reckless will trigger a two-year license suspension. California DUI laws impose harsher penalties to DUI repeat offenders; a third conviction for this offense within ten years may trigger a three years license suspension. However, if your charges get reduced to a lesser offense such as wet reckless, you may escape the three years license suspension.
After a suspension of your license for the first DUI, the DMV may allow you to continue driving upon the installation of an ignition interlock device. This Breathalyzer device will ensure you do not operate with a significant amount of alcohol in your blood. The IDD is designed in a way that you blow in it ensure you start the car. If the device detects a substantial amount of alcohol in your blood, then the vehicle will not start.
When you get charged for driving under the influence of alcohol, the Department of Motor Vehicle will also try to suspend your license as a result of an (APS) violation. After an arrest, your driver’s license will be taken away, and you will be given ten days to file for a DMV hearing. At this hearing, you have the opportunity to contest the DMV license suspension. This is by producing evidence and also fight the evidence against you. This hearing will take place in an office or over the phone. Also, you have a right to be represented by a DUI attorney. An experienced Desert Lodge DUI Attorney will help you mount the following defenses for your case: contesting the chemical tests, challenging the testimony of the arresting officer and arguing a lack of probable cause to stop you. This may increase your chances of winning the DMV hearing and keeping your driving privileges.
If you do not request a hearing within the stipulated time, the license will be suspended. The court proceedings vary from the DMV hearing. The Department of Motor vehicle will solely concentrate on the circumstances of your arrest and taking away your driving privileges. On the other hand, the court aims at determining whether you are guilty of the criminal violation of DUI. However, the DMV will suspend your license if your BAC is higher than 0.08%
You have a choice to request a court hearing. Winning the DMV hearing will not affect your criminal case, and you will be allowed to continue driving until a conviction is made. However, if you are not convicted for the criminal case, a DMV license suspension may be lifted. A second and third DUI offense will cause more severe penalties and a longer license suspension. A Desert Lodge DUI Attorney can help you pursue a reduction of your charges to reckless driving; thus protecting your driving privileges.
Restricted Driver’s License
If your driver’s license is suspended for a DUI related offense, you can apply for a restricted driver’s license. A limited license will allow you to drive to work, school, and doctor’s appointments. To be able to obtain a restricted license or reinstate a suspended license, you will require an SR22 form. This is an insurance certificate filed with the DMV by your insurance company to confirm that you meet the minimum insurance coverage.
After obtaining the form SR22, you will be expected to maintain it for three years from the date your license was reinstated. Although the APS license suspension lasts for one year, you can get your restricted driver’s license within 90 days. This is if you submitted to the chemical test and installed the ignition interlock device. A conviction for a second DUI offense where you refused to take the BAC test will result in license revocation. You won’t be allowed to obtain a restricted license after your license is revoked. To operate on a restricted license, you must install an ignition interlock device for 12 months.
Fight DUI Related Charges with a DUI Attorney Near Me
California DUI laws are rarely lenient with DUI offenders. A conviction may cause you to spend time in jail and lose your driving privileges. To successfully mount a defense in court to avoid conviction, you will require the services of an experienced DUI attorney. Fortunately for you, the San Diego DUI Attorney is ready to help you. Our Desert Lodge DUI attorneys are well conversant with the DUI laws and will offer consultation services and representation in your DUI case. Call our offices today at 619-535-7150 and allow us to pursue the best possible outcome for your situation.