Driving under the influence of drugs occurs when one operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content that exceeds the legal limit. In California, you will be rested and charged with DUI for driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent with a regular driver’s license and 0.04% with a commercial driver’s license. Under the zero-tolerance law, California does not tolerate underage drinking and driving. A driver below twenty-one years will be charged with DUI for driving with an alcohol content of 0.01% or higher. If you or your loved one is charged with DUI or a related offense such as vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, you will require legal guidance from a San Diego DUI Attorney. Our Casa de Oro-Mount Helix DUI Attorney team will work hard to ensure the best outcome in your DUI case.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol – California Code 23152 VC

Code 23152 VC makes it an offense to operate a vehicle while intoxicated with alcohol or drugs. Regardless of whether the medication you consumed is illegal or a prescription, you can still get arrested and charged with DUI. A DUI criminal case begins when your vehicle is flagged down by a traffic officer during a DUI stop or after an accident. Some of the reasons why an officer may suspect that you are driving under the influence and stop you include:

  • Over speeding

  • Failure to yield the right way

  • Swerving from lane to lane

  • Avoiding the red lights on the road

After the stop, the officer will observe you for any signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech, unsteady gait, and redness of the eyes. The officer will carry out a field sobriety test, which may help determine your level of intoxication. A field sobriety test should be carried out for at least fifteen minutes to ensure the right formation is recorded.

After the field sobriety tests, your alcohol content from your breath will be taken using a Breathalyzer machine. If the alcohol content in your breath is 0.08 percent or higher, you will get arrested and taken to the police station. On arrival at the station, your blood alcohol content will be taken. The results of your blood test results are the most reliable piece of evidence in a DUI criminal case. Should you be arrested and charged with DUI, it is crucial to seek the help of a Casa de Oro-Mount Helix DUI Attorney.

Legal Penalties for DUI

A conviction for DUI has severe legal consequences in California. The severity of your penalties will depend on the circumstances of the case and your criminal history. The following are penalties you are likely to face for DUI first offense:

  • Misdemeanor probation for three to five years

  • Fines ranging between $390 to $1,000

  • A jail sentence not exceeding six months

  • A three months DUI education program

California DUI laws are stringent of repeat offenders and a conviction for a second offense will attract the following penalties:

  • Summary probation for three to five years

  • Up to one-year prison sentence

  • Eighteen to thirty months of court-approved DUI school

  • Fines of up to $1,000

If you are convicted for a third DUI offense in California, you will face:

  • $390 to $1,000 in fines

  • No more than five years of mandatory probation

  • Attendance to Mandatory DUI program for thirty months

  • A jail sentence of up to one year

  • Labeling as a “habitual traffic offender” by the Department of Motor Vehicle

If you are convicted for DUI in California, your driver’s license will be suspended. The length of suspension or revocation of the license will be dependent on the nature of the offense and your criminal history.

Defense Against California Vehicle Code 23152

Getting arrested and charged with DUI does not always guarantee a conviction. With the help of a competent DUI attorney, you can preset the following defenses in your case:

  1. Claiming that the Field Sobriety Test was not Carried out Correctly

When you are flagged down on a DUI checkpoint, the arresting officer will conduct a field sobriety test. The test should be carried, but for a minimum of fifteen minutes to ensure a precise observation. If the analysis was carried out for a shorter time, you can claim that those results could not qualify DUI. Also, some officers may decide to arrest you after a field sobriety test without carrying out the chemical tests. If this is the case, you can claim that a field sobriety test could not on its own prove DUI.

  1. The Arresting Officer did not Follow the Right Procedure

There is a specific criterion that needs to be followed when making a DUI arrest. First, the officer should have probable cause to stop your vehicle in a DUI checkpoint. When taking the chemical tests, they need to seek your consent since you have a choice to refuse the tests. Before arresting you for driving under the influence of drugs, the officer should read your Miranda rights. If you can prove that the right procedure was not followed during the arrest, you will have a chance to fight your criminal case.

  1. Challenging the Accuracy of Chemical Tests

Breath and the results of the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) are a crucial piece of evidence in the DUI case. Finding fault in the accuracy of these results can compromise the prosecutor’s evidence. A Breathalyzer device is supposed to be serviced regularly for accurate results. If you can prove that the equipment was faulty or in poor condition, you can have a chance to get the DUI charges. Also, you can claim that your BAC was on the rise, and it exceeded the legal limit between the time of arrest and the taking of chemical tests. Finding fault in biochemical test results can be quite difficult, and you would require guidance from a Casa de Oro-Mount Helix DUI Attorney.

  1. Giving Alternative Explanations for the High Blood Alcohol Content

Not all alcohol detected in your body is as a result of drug consumption. Our bodies get fuel from carbohydrates, which can break the food down to alcohol during fasting or when consuming high carbohydrate diets. Also, conditions such as diabetes can cause your body to produce alcohol, which is detected in your breath. If you are arrested and charged with DUI for having a high BAC, you can give an alternative explanation of why the BAC was higher than the legal limit. Presenting a successful defense for DUI in California will require guidance from a competent DUI attorney.

Underage DUI – California Vehicle Code 23136

In California, it is a violation of the law for underage drivers to consume alcohol and operate a vehicle. You will get arrested and charged with underage DUI if your BAC is 0.01% or higher. Regardless of whether your conduct was impaired or not, driving with measurable alcohol in the system will trigger Vehicle Code 23136 charges. The penalty for underage drunk driving results in a one-year driver’s license suspension. Should you have a history of drunk driving, juvenile DUI charges will trigger a two years license revocation.

An underage driver can also be charged with standard DUI for driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. If you or your loved one is facing juvenile DUI charges, it would be wise to contact a Casa de Oro-Mount Helix DUI Attorney.

Commercial DUI – California Vehicle Code 23152(d)

There are two types of commercial vehicles, as classified by California DUI laws. Large trucks that require a Class B driver’s license and smaller vehicles operating on a Class C license are considered commercial vehicles. A driver violates the law if they operate a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.04% and above. You will be arrested and charged with commercial DUI if your BAC exceeds the legal limit, or your conduct on the road is impaired.

If you are convicted or commercial DUI without injuries, you will face the following penalties:

  • Misdemeanor probation of no more than five years

  • A six months prison sentence

  • Fines not exceeding $1,000

  • Mandatory attendance to an alcohol education program for three months

  • Driver’s license suspension for a period not less than one year

If as a result of commercial DUI you caused a jury to a third party, you will receive the following penalties:

  • Up to five years’ probation

  • License suspension for up to three years

  • Fines not exceeding $5,000

  • Victim restitution where you compensate injured parties

A conviction for a second commercial DUI offense could trigger a lifetime driver’s license revocation. If a commercial driver refuses to submit to chemical tests, they face increased jail time and a mandatory driver’s license suspension for one year. If your driver’s license is suspended for commercial DUI, you are not entitled to a restricted driver’s license. However, you can receive a restricted license to drive a non-commercial vehicle to drive to work or go for medical attention.

Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated

You commit an offense under Penal Code 191.5 (b) if:

  • You operated a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol influence. You are considered to be drunk driving if you drive with a Blood Alcohol Content exceeding the legal limit. The BAC legal limit in California is 0.08 percent for adult drivers, 0.01% for underage drivers, and 0.04% for commercial drivers

  • While you were driving, you committed an act that might cause injuries and death. For vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated charges, the action that resulted in death should not be a felony

  • The act you committed was as a result of ordinary negligence. You would get charged under the Penal Code 191.5(b) if your actions were negligent. Ordinary negligence is acting in a way that disregards the safety of others

  • Your actions resulted in the death of another individual. You could not be charged for vehicular manslaughter if the victim of your adios did not die. Also, death must be a direct result of your conduct

Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is a wobbler. When charged as a misdemeanor, this offense carries the following penalties:

  • Probation

  • Fines of up to $1,000

  • A one-year jail sentence

On the other hand, a felony conviction will attract the following penalties:

  • Formal probation

  • Up to four years in prison

  • Fines not exceeding $10,000

If you are charged with Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated as a felony, you risk a one-year driver’s license suspension. With competent guidance from a Casa de Oro-Mount Helix DUI Attorney, you can fight these charges and avoid the harsh penalties that accompany a conviction.

DUI Driver’s License Suspension

After an arrest for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the arresting officer will take away your license. Before your case is heard, the Department of Motor Vehicle will also attempt to suspend your driver’s license.

Court Triggered Suspension

One of the penalties you face after a DUI conviction is the driver’s license suspension. The length of the suspension will significantly depend on your DUI criminal record. A conviction for a first offense DUI will trigger an automatic driver’s license suspension for six months. If you are convicted for a second offense, your license will be suspended for two years. A third offense, on the other hand, will attract a three years suspension. However, it is essential to understand that after a conviction, the court will not suspend your license but will engage the DMV for a suspension of your license.

Administrative Driver’s License Suspense in California

When you are arrested for a DUI or a related offense, the Department of Motor Vehicle will attempt to suspend your license. After the arrest, you are given ten days to request a DMV hearing where you have a chance to contest the suspension of your license. If you do not request a hearing, the DMV will proceed to suspend your license. However, only the drivers who had a BAC higher of 0.08 percent or higher will get the automatic suspension.

A DMV hearing is much more relaxed as compared to a DUI criminal case hearing. Also, the burden of proof required for this hearing is less. However, you will still have a right to have legal representation. At the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hearing, you have the rights to:

  • Review and challenge the evidence brought against you by the prosecutor. This will include the results of chemical tests and police reports. 

  • Cross-examine any witnesses who are brought to testify against you

  • Preset your witnesses and also testify for yourself. During a DUI arrest, it would be crucial to identify people who were at the scene and take their contacts.

There are several factors that the hearing officer will consider when determining the outcome of your case, including:

  • Whether the arresting officer had probable cause to stop your vehicle for DUI

  • Your blood alcohol content at the time of the arrest

  • Whether or not you were notified of the consequences of refusing to take the tests

After considering all factors of your case, the officer could decide to suspend your driver’s license for DUI. Losing a DMV hearing will trigger a six months suspension for the first offense and two years for a second DUI within ten years. If you are facing a third DUI charge, the DMV will suspend your license for three years.

If you win the hearing, the DMV will reverse the suspension of your license until a conviction in the criminal case is made. It is crucial to understand that a loss or win in the DMV hearing will not affect the DUI criminal case. 

Restricted Driver’s License

If your driver’s license gets suspended for driving under the influence of drugs, you can obtain a restricted driver’s license. This license will allow you to drive during the period of suspension. Before you receive the restricted license, you will be required to file an SR22 form, which shows proof of insurance responsibility. Also, you are required to retain the SR22 for three years from the date of license suspension.

Ignition Interlock Device Installation

An ignition interlock device is a Breathalyzer that will prevent your vehicle from starting if it detects alcohol in your breath. Installation of an IID is one of the conditions you have to meet so you can drive on a restricted license. Before you start your vehicle, you will be required to blow into the device. Also, regular breath samples may be needed as you drive.

Find a Competent DUI Attorney Near Me

Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is a severe offense in California. A conviction for this crime will attract severe criminal consequences. Also, you may risk losing your driving privileges in a suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. Fortunately, an arrest for a DUI related offense does not always mean you will get convicted. There are defenses you can present to help lessen your penalties or even dismiss the case. If you find yourself facing these charges, it is crucial to enlist the help of a knowledgeable Casa de Oro-Mount Helix DUI attorney. Contact us at the San Diego DUI Attorney at 619-535-7150 and allow us to take control in your case.