Intoxicated driving is not only an offense but a danger to both the driver and other people. Many accidents resulting in fatalities or significant injuries are as a result of drunk driving. When a driver is impaired, they are unable to make sound decisions on the road or even have the capacity to control their vehicle. The state is obligated to protect its citizens from the dangers posed by intoxicated drivers, which is the reason for stringent penalties for those convicted of drunk driving.

A conviction of drunk driving can alter your life. Defending yourself against the charges is crucial in protecting yourself from the consequences of the offense. When charged with the crime in Oak Grove, finding a local San Diego DUI Attorney to fight the allegations against you is critical.

Overview of DUI Offenses

DUI offenses are priorable, meaning for each subsequent offense you commit within ten years from the first offense, the penalties increase. The first three DUI offenses are prosecuted as misdemeanors unless there are aggravating factors that make the crimes felonies. The fourth offense within the ten years gets charged as a felony irrespective of its severity.

DUI charges are also differently charged and penalized under different circumstances. For instance, the expectations from a commercial license holder are different from that of a regular license holder. Similarly, because of the zero-tolerance on underage drinking, the penalties for a person below 21 years are steeper. Irrespective of the category you fall in, DUI charges are not to be taken lightly and must be aggressively defended. A local Oak Grove DUI Attorney will discuss the various penalties and defenses when arrested for the offense.

Types of DUI Offenses

As earlier stated, DUI offenses get charged according to the category the crime falls in. To effectively defend yourself against any of the below categories of DUI, an Oak Grove DUI Attorney can assist you to overcome the allegations. Below, we discuss the various types of DUI offenses you can get charged with. These are:

Underage DUI Offenses

The state of California has two primary statutes that address juvenile DUI offenses. If you are arrested for intoxicated driving when below 21 years, you are likely to get charged with:

  • VEH 23136 – the low on Zero tolerance with a 0.01% BAC or greater

  • VEH 23140 – Driving with a 0.05% BAC or higher when underage.

These two laws are commonly charged on drivers in California that are below 21 years. One of the significant punishments when convicted of any of these is the suspension of one’s driver’s license for not less than a year. When underage, you automatically violate any of these statutes if your BAC levels are found to be over the state limit, as seen under the laws.

Violating VEH 23136 Law on Zero Tolerance

Violating this law is a civil offense in California. This law prohibits a person below 21 from driving when they have a 0.01% alcohol in their blood or more. This law targets any drink that contains alcohol and just alcoholic beverages. A driver that takes medicine containing alcohol and results in this level of BAC will get charged with this offense.

The law does not require the offender to have been impaired. As long as your blood alcohol content surpasses the legal limit, you are guilty of the offense.

Violating VEH 23136 is, however, not a criminal offense. When found guilty of this violation, the offender only gets their driver’s license suspended for a year, if it is their first violation. If the offender repeats the offense, the DMV will suspend their license for two to three years.

Violating VEH 23140 – When Found with a BAC of 0.05% and are Underage

It is illegal in the state of California to drive when your BAC is at 0.05% and below 21 years. This is what is known as Underage DUI. When you get arrested on DUI suspicion, you must submit to field sobriety tests as well as a chemical test to confirm your BAC levels.

Once your breath is tested for alcohol at the station, a BAC level of 0.05% gets you charged with an infraction. This means the charge will not attract imprisonment but some penalties such as:

  • Paying $100 in fine

  • Getting a suspension on your license for a year

  • If over 18 years, the driver must attend and complete a DUI program for at least three months.

VEH 23152 Violations when Below 21 Years

When charged with this offense, it means your BAC was at 0.08% or over. An underage can get accused of violating this law when their BAC results show this level of alcohol in their blood. This means the underage individual gets charged with an adult DUI offense for violating VEH 23152a or VEH 23152b.

If you get charged with this offense for the first time, you face similar penalties as those of an adult offender. Engaging a local Oak Grove DUI Attorney is crucial in fighting against these charges to get lesser penalties or a dismissal of the allegations. The Penalties include:

  • A DMV suspension of your license for a year

  • Misdemeanor probation for 3 to 5 years

  • Paying fines of between three hundred and ninety dollars to a thousand dollars

  • A mandatory DUI school program for three or nine months

  • County jail imprisonment for six months or less. This penalty is, however, rarely given to underage offenders.

Commercial DUI Offences

Commercial drivers have a special kind of driver’s license different from that of ordinary drivers. Individuals holding these licenses are tasked with operating common carrier vehicles and are expected to be more mindful when carrying out their duties.

According to VEH 23152d, it is a crime for a commercial driver to operate their vehicle when their BAC is at 0.04% or more. This limit, however, only applies when the driver is operating a commercial vehicle and not a regular car. When driving a regular car, the BAC limit is 0.08%, just like for all drivers.

Commercial vehicles are larger than ordinary ones, and when involved in an accident, the repercussions are more severe. An operator of a bus, for instance, carries many passengers and, in some cases, children. If they are impaired in the carrying out of their duties, an accident can result in multiples getting hurt and even death.

Other commercial drivers like those transporting cargo often carry valuable goods and sometimes hazardous ones. Mindful driving will protect the owners of the goods from unnecessary losses, and in case of dangerous products, the public will not get exposed to their danger.

Because of the high expectations from commercial drives, a violation of the law by intoxicated driving carries steeper penalties than those of ordinary drivers. DUI offenses are also priorable to commercial drivers. A repeat conviction can result in the driver losing their license permanently, meaning losing their livelihood. For this reason, among others, getting an Oak Grove DUI Attorney to fight the allegations against you is critical.

When a law enforcement officer has a reason to stop a commercial driver, they may find them also to be impaired to drive. The driver will get asked to submit to field sobriety tests, which may not be mandatory unless he or she is on a DUI probation. If legally arrested for intoxicated driving, the driver will need to submit to a chemical test according to the implied consent law of California.

When the BAC levels are found to be over the legal limit, a first offense gets prosecuted as a misdemeanor resulting in the following penalties:

  • Misdemeanor probation ranging from 3 to 5 years

  • County incarceration for six months

  • Fines of three hundred and ninety dollars and a thousand dollars, in addition to other penalties totaling between $1,500 and $2,000

  • Attending a DUI school program for three months

  • Getting their commercial driver’s license suspended for a year

When a commercial driver commits another DUI offense within the priorable period of ten years, he or she risks losing their license to drive commercial vehicles for life. When charged with a commercial DUI, getting a lawyer to represent you is essential to avoid losing your license.

Standard DUI Offenses

Regular drivers get charged with standard DUI offenses when arrested for impaired driving, and their BAC is over the legal limit of 0.08%. When a law enforcement officer stops you for impaired driving, you are requested to submit to field sobriety tests. It is important to note that declining to take these tests will not aggravate your penalties unless you are on DUI probation or below the age of 21.

When the officer finds it necessary to arrest you for the offense, you are taken to the police station where you are expected to submit to a chemical test. The state of California follows the implied consent rule. This means, as long as you hold a California driver’s license, you must submit to a chemical test to determine your BAC levels. Unlike field sobriety tests, failure to submit to a chemical test when legally arrested will aggravate your penalties.

When your BAC level is established by testing your breath and found to be above the legal limit, you get charged with a DUI offense depending on whether it is your first, second, or third. If your breath does not show any results, it may be that drugs intoxicate you. The officers will hold you as they get a court order to draw your blood for testing. Once it is established you are impaired by drugs; you also get charged with a DUI offense.

At this point, you need to contact a local Oak Grove DUI Attorney to start preparing your defense. The arresting officer will take your license and issue you with another one valid for thirty days. Your original license is then sent to the DMV, informing them of your arrest on a DUI offense.

The DMV on receiving your license will send you a notice indicating their intention to suspend your license. The law awards you ten days from the date of the notice to petition the DMV for a hearing date to argue against the suspension. If you do not request the hearing, you will get an automatic suspension on your license. Additionally, if you refuse to submit to a chemical test after getting arrested, your license will also get automatically suspended.

Under the standard DUI offenses, you are charged with misdemeanor offenses up to three times within ten years, and a fourth charge is a felony offense. The penalties under each charge increase for each conviction, as long as it is within ten years. Sometimes, however, standard DUIs can get charged as felonies when some factors aggravate the offense. The penalties for felony convictions are higher compared to misdemeanor convictions.

First Standard DUI Charge

When for the first time, you face a DUI offense charge without aggravating factors, you face misdemeanor prosecution. A conviction on the crime will lead to the penalties below:

  • Misdemeanor probation for not more than five years or less than three

  • County jail sentence for not above six months

  • Paying fines not more than $1,000 and not below $390

  • Attending a DUI school program for either three or nine months

  • If you desire to continue enjoying your driving privileges, you will get sentenced to fitting your vehicle with IID equipment.

Second Standard DUI Charge

A subsequent DUI offense after your first one constitutes a second one. The penalties upon a misdemeanor conviction are harsher than for a first conviction, although they remain within the same range. These include:

  • Misdemeanor probation for over three years but less than five years

  • 96 hours minimum of county imprisonment and not more than a year

  • Fines of over $390 but below $1,000

  • Attending and completing a DUI school program for eighteen months or thirty

  • When you need to continue driving, getting sentenced to fit an IID in your vehicle for a year. Additionally, the DMV will impose a two-year suspension on your license

Third Standard DUI Charge

You get charged with a third DUI when you have two other convictions on the same offense. The offense gets prosecuted as a misdemeanor with the following penalties upon conviction:

  • Misdemeanor probation for not less than three years and more than five years

  • 120 days county jail incarceration in the minimum and a maximum of 365 days

  • Fines for not less than $390 and not more than $1,000

  • Attending and completing a DUI school for 30 months

  • To continue driving, you must install an IID equipment in your vehicle for 2 years

  • You earn the title of a Habitual Traffic Offender in your DMV record.

When a DUI Offense Results in Injuries

An intoxicated driver can cause an accident that results in injuries of other parties other than themselves. When this happens, the offense ceases to be an ordinary DUI offense meaning they get charged as misdemeanors or felonies.

When, because of your DUI, you cause injuries and get convicted on misdemeanor charges, you face the following penalties:

  • Informal probation for not less than three years or more than five years

  • A minimum of five years sentence in county prison and a maximum of a year

  • Fines for not less than $390 and not more than $1,000

  • Attending a DUI school program for either three, eighteen or thirty months

  • Installing of an IID to continue driving

  • Paying damages to the injured persons

A felony conviction on this offense will, however, attract steeper penalties. These include:

  • California state incarceration for not less than sixteen months or more than ten years. You will also get further one year to six years in prison based on the number of injured victims or how significant their injuries are

  • You may earn a strike according to the law of three strikes

  • You pay a fine of not less than $1,015 and not above $5,000

  • You get sentenced to attend a DUI program for not less than eighteen months and not more than thirty

  • You will get asked to pay damages to all the injured victims

  • A must installation of an IID for a minimum of two years and a maximum of three to keep driving

Felony DUI Offenses

A standard DUI offense in California becomes a felony when you get charged with the offense for the fourth time in ten years since your initial conviction. A conviction, in this case, will earn you some of the below penalties:

  • Imprisonment in the state prison for sixteen months or twenty-four or thirty-six

  • Paying of fines of not less than $390 and not more than $1,000

  • Fitting of an IID device in your car for at least a year

All these penalties are severe and can change your life, more so if you get a conviction. This makes it crucial to engage an Oak Grove DUI Attorney to fight the allegations against you and avoid a possible conviction.

A DUI crime can additionally result in a fatality. When this happens, the offender will get different penalties from those of a standard DUI. One of the significant penalties if convicted is life imprisonment for the defendant.

Find an Attorney Near Me

Although DUI charges are common, a conviction on any of them will alter your life. When prospective employers or landlords see your criminal record, you may lose the job opportunity or even housing. These are just some of the repercussions of a DUI conviction, making it crucial to fight against the allegations. If you are in Oak Grove, the San Diego DUI Attorney is well placed to fight these claims for you. Reach us at 619-535-7150 and let us represent you.