Being charged with a DUI crime in California is a serious offense. According to California law, a person is forbidden to drive if intoxicated by either drugs or alcohol. Various laws in California are related to drunk driving and are complex and technical. It is not advisable to neglect the services of a lawyer should you be charged with a DUI offense. With a lawyer, you stand a chance of getting the most lenient sentencing or in some cases, dismissal, when the lawyer proves you are innocent. When you opt to represent yourself, you may do more harm than good. If you find yourself in need of an experienced local Glen Oaks DUI attorney, get in touch with the San Diego DUI Attorney today.
An overview of the DUI laws of California
As earlier indicated, there are various offenses a person can be charged with if found driving under the influence. Here, we will discuss a general overview of what falls under each law, so you understand what your charges entail.
VEH 23572 DUI with a Passenger Under 14
Under the DUI laws in California, there is a provision for enhanced penalties. If arrested for driving under the influence with a minor in your vehicle, your sentence can be enhanced. This is often referred to as DUI Child Endangerment. This charge includes enhanced mandatory jail term in addition to the standard DUI penalties under California law. This means that, if a person is convicted of driving under the influence with a child of 14 years or below in the car, they will automatically serve jail time.
Depending on if the offender is a first time offender or a repeat offender, the penalties differ from the first offense to 4th offense. If convicted of this offense, a person will serve the standard penalties for a DUI in addition to the following:
- Must be jailed for at least 48 hours in the county jail if it is the first conviction
- If it is a second DUI conviction, the offender must be incarcerated for ten days
- If it is a third time DUI conviction, the person is expected to serve at least 30 days in jail
- And if it is the fourth conviction, jail time of at least 90 days
A mandatory sentence means that the defendant will without fail to serve the given time in jail if convicted under VEH23572. The prosecution can also decide to charge the defendant with a misdemeanor or a felony. This is depending on the facts of the case or offense.
In addition to VEH23572, a defendant found driving under the influence with a child in their car can consequently be charged under PEN273a Child endangerment. This is a separate offense that can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony under California laws. A prosecutor, in this case, can opt to charge the offender with:
- A VEH23572 DUI sentence enhancement
- Another crime separately on child endangerment
- A DUI with a minor in the car as well as child endangerment charges
It is worthwhile to note that a defendant cannot be sentenced to DUI with a minor and Child endangerment at the same time. Under VEH23572, the law prohibits the court from giving additional sentence enhancement on a defendant that is also convicted of child endangerment.
It is also essential to know that a prosecutor may decide to charge the defendant with child endangerment irrespective of:
- The minor’s age as long as the passenger is below 18, it counts as a minor
- If the DUI charges are filed as a felony or a misdemeanor
PEN273a child endangerment charges are serious charges and in most cases are automatically charged in addition to a DUI with a child passenger. If a defendant is convicted of child endangerment as a misdemeanor, he or she is likely to serve a one-year county jail sentence. If the defendant is convicted under felony charges, he or she may face up to six years in state prison.
However, if convicted under VEH23572 DUI charges with a child in the car, the defendant will serve a maximum jail time of 180 days.
This is the most fundamental law in California on driving while intoxicated. This law prohibits a person from driving while under the control of drugs or alcohol. In California, intoxication by drugs means that a person can be prosecuted if found driving intoxicated with a prescription or drugs bought from the pharmacy directly needing no prescription, as well as illegal drugs.
The law insists that when you drive under the influence, you are not in control of your physical or mental abilities or faculties. The drugs or alcohol have influenced you to the point that you are unable to drive as a normal person would. In California, the prosecutor only needs to convince the court that the defendant was intoxicated. Regardless if it was on alcohol or drugs, the defendant will face penalties. For this reason, it is important to get an experienced Glen Oaks DUI attorney to help you fight these charges.
Charges under VEH 23152a are usually a misdemeanor. However, they can also be prosecuted as a felony. This happens if you have been convicted before of DUI four times or more in a period of ten years.
Vehicle Code 23152b
This involves driving with alcohol in your blood that exceeds the recommended limit. Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is a measure of how much alcohol is found in a person’s body - according to California law, driving while with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more is illegal. This is a very well known law in the state of California because when charged with a DUI, you are required to take a breath or blood test to ascertain the level of intoxication. If the BAC is found to exceed the recommended levels, a person stands to be prosecuted for this alongside a DUI charge.
The law automatically presumes if you are found driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more, you are also guilty of driving under the influence. If presented before a jury or a judge, you stand to be sentenced for this offense. This is as long as the BAC was over the legally permitted one. Just like the charges in VEH23152a, this offense is prosecuted as a misdemeanor. However, it becomes a felony if you have prior convictions of a DUI felony. Alternatively, in ten years, you have had at least four DUI convictions.
VEH 23153 DUI with Bodily Injury
VEH 23153 driving while intoxicated and causing bodily injury is prosecuted if severe injury results as a reason for DUI. Just like VEH23152, this DUI law in California has various divisions that deal with driving while intoxicated with a BAC of over 0.08%.
Just like in VEH23152, the offense is a wobbler one. What this means is that, under the California law, it can be prosecuted as a felony or a misdemeanor based on the circumstances of the offense. These circumstances are:
- How severe the injuries caused are
- How reckless and careless the driver was
- The criminal history of the offender
VEH23612 Refusing Breath or Chemical Blood Test
Under the state of California DUI laws, when a person refuses to undergo a breath or chemical blood test can be charged with this offense as a way to enhance the penalty. Most states have permitted their law enforcement officers to force a blood sample test if a person refuses to cooperate, making it impossible for anyone to resist.
However, in California today, if you resist to give a blood sample or take a breath test, you may not be prosecuted with VEH23152b or VEH23153b. These are the laws that deal with having illegal blood alcohol concentration levels. However, you can still be prosecuted with VEH23152a for driving under the influence and risk losing your license for at least a year.
Getting convicted and losing your driver’s license can be very inconveniencing if you need to drive to run your errands. Consulting a local Glen Oaks DUI attorney that is experienced in DUI charges will help you to fight to keep your license and avoid any inconveniences.
The DMV - How It Enforces DUI Laws in California
The laws on DUI in California are enforced by both the California Superior Court and the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The courts handle the incarcerations, probation penalties, fines, and its requirements while the DMV handles suspensions of driver’s licenses or their revocations.
When a person refuses to be tested either through blood or breath, the DMV has a right to revoke or suspend their license to drive. This is as a result of the implied law of consent in the state of California laws. Under the law of California, implied consent is taken to mean that when a person applied to have a California driver's license, they automatically gave permission to have a breath or blood test. Should you refuse to take a test willfully, you automatically are subjected to having your driver’s license suspended or revoked.
Once the DMV lets you know of their intention to act on your privilege to drive because of a DUI charge, you have a right to a hearing. As a defendant, you must ask to have the hearing referred to as DMV administrative per se hearing within ten days of your DUI arrest.
For any arrest on DUI, the DMV initiates this process without consideration of if one has taken a blood chemical test or not. The difference lies in the fact that if you refuse to take a breath or alcohol test, the DMV will refuse to give you a restricted license. If given a restricted license, a person is allowed to have minimal driving. You will be allowed to drive from or to school, work, or your program for alcohol and substance abuse while there is a suspension on your license.
Should you fail to ask for a hearing in the given time or lose in your hearing, the suspension of your license becomes effective automatically. It is worthwhile to know that it is possible to keep driving as a DUI defendant without any form of restrictions. This only happens if you get your vehicle installed with an Ignition Interlock Device (IID). Your chances of winning at this hearing and keeping your driving privileges will highly depend on hiring an experienced Glen Oaks DUI attorney to represent you.
California DUI Felony Conviction Laws
In California, many DUI offenses get prosecuted as misdemeanors but based on some circumstances; the offense can become a felony. A person faces felony prosecution under the DUI laws in California if:
- The person has previous DUI felony convictions within 10 years
- This is the fourth DUI a person is facing or a VEH23103.5 wet reckless, or it is a third DUI charge with bodily harm conviction in 10 years.
- The DUI offense you are being charged for has caused severe injuries to another person or death.
Although it is typical for DUI crimes that cause death or injuries to be prosecuted as felonies, it is also possible for them to be prosecuted as misdemeanors. To prosecuted on a misdemeanor or felony charge will depend on:
- The extent and severity of the injuries sustained
- The level of carelessness and recklessness of the driver
- The past criminal record of the driver regarding DUI charges.
It is also important to note that various DUI charges can be prosecuted as misdemeanors. However, a prosecutor will always move to prosecute a person under felony charges if the person has had three or more DUI convictions in 10 years.
The laws on DUI also permit plea bargaining. As an offender, it is possible to enter a plea bargain assisted by your attorney and have your felony charges dropped to misdemeanor charges.
The Penalties for DUI Convictions under the California Law
DUI penalties in California vary based on the particular DUI law a person violates. Generally, the penalties for a misdemeanor DUI conviction are:
- Sentencing the defendant to a summary or informal probation
- Sentencing the defendant to a county jail imprisonment for a year, but if a first time offender, the maximum period of incarceration is six months.
- Charging the defendant a fine of $390 to $1,000. However, these charges are likely to triple in amount once the assessment charges and other penalties are added
- Having the defendant’s driver’s license revoked or suspended. However, if the defendant agrees to install an Ignition Interlock Device in their vehicles, they can keep driving without any form of restrictions.
- The defendant may be sentenced to attend a DUI school for a given period.
- Based on various circumstances, the defendant may be asked to pay restitution to the victim or be sentenced to community service. The court can also ask the defendant to attend NA or AA meetings, have their vehicles installed with an IID, or get their car impounded.
If a person gets convicted of DUI felony charges in California, they may be:
- Sentenced to a formal probation
- Sentenced to a prison term in state prison. Based on the facts of the offense, under the California Three Strikes Law, the defendant can face life imprisonment.
- The defendant is charged a fine of $390 to $5,000. This amount is likely to triple once all the other penalty and assessment charges are added up
- The defendant may be sentenced to attend a DUI school for a given period
- The defendant may be asked to pay restitution to the victim.
A defendant may benefit by getting an alternative sentence if your local Glen Oaks DUI attorney convinces the judge to give in to the request. Some options on alternative sentencing are:
- Sentencing the defendant to house arrest with an electronic monitoring device
- Having the defendant committed to living in an environment of sober-living like going for rehabilitation
- Asking the defendant to complete a specified period in community service.
Underage DUI Laws in California
California laws on DUI underage are distinct from those that govern drivers that are 21 years or older. These laws include:
- VEH23136 California’s zero-tolerance law. This law makes the offense a civil one.
- VEH23140 under 21 DUI. This is a law for individuals below the age of 21, driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05% to 0.07%. This law is classified as an infraction.
It is important to note that a driver under the age of 21 that is arrested for a DUI may additionally be charged under VEH23152 according to the California DUI laws. The DMV also will automatically move to suspend the driver’s license of the offender for one year. This only happens if it is established that the person drove under a measurable alcohol amount in their system.
Find a Glen Oaks DUI Attorney Near Me
Should you find yourself or a loved one charged with a DUI, and need an attorney to represent you, please call us at the San Diego DUI Attorney. We offer a free consultation and an appointment to prepare for your defense. We have local offices with a team of qualified and experienced DUI attorneys to assist you in any way possible regarding your DUI charges. Get in touch with us through 619-535-7150, and we will be happy to serve you.