DUI laws in California prohibit every motorist from driving when impaired by alcohol or drugs. Additionally, the regulations prohibit standard vehicle drivers from operating their vehicles when they have a 0.08% BAC or higher. Stricter BAC levels also apply for specific drivers. A commercial driver would get arrested and charged with a DUI if they were operating their vehicle with a 0.04% BAC or higher. The zero-tolerance laws also make it illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.01% when below 21 years.

The penalties that result from a conviction and subsequent repercussions make it essential to win a DUI offense when charged with one. A California attorney familiar with DUI laws is best placed to assist you in winning your case. If charged with this offense in Pine Grove, the San Diego DUI Attorney is experienced in handling DUI cases and getting favorable results.

DUI Laws in California

As earlier stated, the law of California is strict on intoxicated driving. You get charged with a DUI offense if you are found driving impaired by drugs, alcohol, or both of them. Driving drunk means you are a danger to yourself and other people on the road and out of the way.

DUI offenses are considered over a ten-year time frame when issuing punishment. The law looks at any DUI crime you may have committed over the period before handing your sentence for the current one you are facing. The penalties in a DUI case typically depend on:

  • Prior DUI convictions and
  • Injuries sustained due to intoxicated driving.

However, most DUI cases are tried as misdemeanors, especially the first three in ten years. But, the same offense can be tried as a felony if a victim suffered significant injuries or you have repeated the crime for the fourth time in ten years. When found guilty, you may receive a jail sentence as a punishment or have your license suspended.

Below is a table summarizing the possible penalties one may receive when convicted of a DUI offense.

DUI offense

Jail time


IID time frame

DUI School

1st misdemeanor DUI

Six months or less

Between $390 and $1,000

Six months IID but not a must in the first offense. Your license will be suspended for four months by the DMV. After the first thirty days, you can apply for a restricted license.

This depends on the circumstances of the offense. a defendant may be ordered to attend a DUI school program for three months to a maximum of nine.

2nd misdemeanor DUI

A minimum of ninety-six hours to a maximum of a year.

Between $390 and $1,000

One year license suspension and IID installation. If a defendant refuses to install an IID, the suspension on their license increases to two years. After a year, one can apply to get a restricted license.

DUI school program for a minimum of eighteen months to a maximum of thirty.

3rd misdemeanor DUI

A minimum of 120 days of county jail imprisonment to a maximum of a year

Between $390 and $1,000

Two years of IID installation. If the defendant refuses, their license gets suspended for three years

Attending a thirty day DUI education program

Misdemeanor DUI with injury

A minimum of 5 days of county jail imprisonment to a maximum of a year

Between $390 and $5,000. Additionally, restitution is paid to the injured victims.

Six months suspension of the license with an IID but one year without an IID

Depending on the circumstances of the offense, you may be asked to attend a DUI school program for three or eighteen or thirty months.

1st Felony DUI with injuries

A minimum of sixteen months state imprisonment to a maximum of sixteen years.

A minimum of $1,015 to a maximum of $5,000. Additionally, the injured victims are paid restitution

One year suspension

You attend DUI school program for either eighteen or thirty months

Felony DUI

State imprisonment for sixteen months or two or three years.

Between $390 and $1,000

Suspension of your license for not more than five years

Attending a DUI school program for eighteen or thirty months.

Based on this table, the DUI offense is priorable, and you need to engage a local Pine Grove DUI attorney to fight against the harsh penalties. Aside from the above penalties, a defendant can get sentenced to either informal or formal probation. The probation period typically lasts between three to five years but with certain conditions. The conditions outlined in a probation sentence must, however, not get violated.

When accused of violating these conditions, you may have the probation revoked, and instead, you face a jail sentence. Some of these conditions include:

  • When operating a vehicle, you must not have a traceable quantity of alcohol in your blood
  • You must submit to alcohol and drug testing anytime requested
  • You must attend and participate in a DUI school program
  • You must not commit another offense while on probation
  • You must attend alcoholics anonymous meetings or narcotics anonymous meetings, depending on your DUI.
  • You must pay restitution to the victims injured as a result of your DUI

If your probation officer reports to the court that you have failed to adhere to the probation conditions, a hearing date is set where you are allowed to defend yourself against the revocation. During this hearing, your Pine Grove DUI Attorney can represent you to increase your chances of prevailing over the allegations.

After the hearing, the judge may decide to revoke the probation and sentence you to jail instead, or increase the conditions you must adhere to.

As earlier stated, the BAC levels for commercial drivers are harsher than those of standard vehicle drivers. When faced with your first misdemeanor DUI as a commercial driver, the penalties are also stricter. For instance, when your license gets suspended, you are not allowed to get a restricted commercial driver’s license. This means for the period the license is under suspension, and you cannot work as a commercial vehicle driver.

In case you repeat the offense a second time, the DMV permanently revokes your license. This means you must change your job because you will never work as a commercial driver again. If you were under the influence of transporting hazardous material, you would risk life imprisonment as a penalty.

What You Need to do as a Perpetrator

From the moment you get stopped by the police to when in court, there are certain things expected of you. For a start, your primary objective is to avoid getting convicted of the offense. The chain of events after you get stopped to your testimony in court can make or break your case to some extent.


When an officer stops you, avoid running but obey. When you disregard the officer, it is an indication of guilt, and when he or she catches up with you, you are likely to face more charges. Cooperating with an officer is always advised. When asked to submit to field sobriety tests, it is best to obey even when you are sober. Taking field sobriety tests is not mandatory, and your failure to do them will not enhance your penalties. However, failing to cooperate sends the notion that you are guilty even when you are not.

When you are, however, below 21 years or are serving probation for a previous DUI offense, cooperating with an officer is more critical. The law does not excuse you from submitting to field sobriety tests or preliminary alcohol screening.

Whether you fail in these tests or not, it should not worry you. The most important thing is to do them and take note of everything, even when it seems unimportant. How the FSTs are administered, and the challenges you face are important in your defense. Take note of all and communicate to your Pine Grove DUI Attorney who will know how to use them in your defense.

When the officer feels it is necessary to arrest you, again, you must cooperate. At the station, you will be asked to submit to chemical tests to determine intoxication and the level. Here, no one is exempted, and a refusal will lead to more repercussions. The law on implied consent dictates that any person arrested for intoxicated driving in California must submit to a chemical blood or breath test. If you refuse to these tests, it will not matter how excellent your defense is as you trigger the following automatic consequences:

  • Automatic DMV suspension of your license
  • Increased court penalties
  • Eligibility to apply for an IID license

With these consequences, among others, obeying the law enforcement officers is important. Ask questions where you do not understand and take note of the answers you get. Everything that happens is crucial to your case and can be used to get the charges dismissed.

After formally getting charged, you may be asked to post bail or get released at your cognizance. Sometimes, you may be asked to wait to be arraigned in court and for a bail hearing. Once you post bail, you are free to continue with your case while not in custody. As you leave the police station, you will receive a temporary driver’s license and a notice of when to appear in court.

Gather Evidence

This is very important, especially when one gets arrested for intoxicated driving at an accident scene. Usually, most people assume that the intoxicated motorist is responsible for an accident when it may not be the case. The police must, however, determine the cause of the accident to determine who pays the victim restitution. Additionally, if blamed for the accident due to your intoxication, you face harsher charges, those of DUI with injuries.

These charges, as earlier discussed, can be tried as a misdemeanor or felony. When found guilty, the penalties you receive are harsher and include paying damages to the injured persons. Gathering evidence from the accident scene is crucial in establishing the cause of the accident. If it is found you are not to blame for the accident, you will not face some of the harsh penalties. Gathering evidence is important in avoiding wrongful allegations and convictions. Some of the things to look collect are:

  • Take photos of the accident scene from every angle possible. The cars involved and the injuries suffered should be taken too
  • If there were witnesses to the accident, get their contact and ask if they can give a written and signed testimony

These, among others, are important in reconstructing the accident scene and seeing the cause. When the cause gets established, you may face a misdemeanor offense of DUI but not a felony for causing injuries. The penalties, as a result, are less severe. You are always advised never to admit fault because of the numerous causes of an accident. Aside from drunk drivers causing accidents, there are many other causes such as:

  • The weather conditions
  • Dangerous road conditions
  • The other motorist
  • Mechanical failure, and many more.

Hire an Attorney

As you wait for your court date and communication from the DMV, hire a Pine Grove DUI Attorney, and start preparing your defense. Your lawyer will ask you to narrate everything that happened before getting into the car to drive to when you were stopped and up to getting charged. You must be elaborate with details to avoid missing out on anything that may help your case.

Your lawyer will be looking to establish whether:

  • You had consumed drugs or alcohol before your arrest,
  • Where you got arrested and what you were doing
  • What happened after the officer stopped you
  • How the arrest was conducted and how FSTs were administered
  • How the chemical tests were carried out
  • If you were read for your Miranda rights
  • Whether you have any medical conditions, you have not disclosed

These, among other questions, are critical in formulating a solid defense. A lawyer seeks to know whether there was police misconduct, the law was followed and if there is another explanation to your impairment. The information you share with your attorney is critical in getting the charges dropped or weakening the prosecutor’s case.

DMV Hearing

Requesting for a DMV hearing is your responsibility as a perpetrator. When the DMV receives a report from the arresting officer of your arrest and impending criminal trial for a DUI offense, they impose a temporary suspension of your license. However, you have a right to challenge their decision and prevent a prolonged suspension. The DMV will send you a notice that they plan to suspend your license if you do not request a hearing to contest it. Typically, you are given ten days in which to ask for the hearing.

If you fail to request for the administrative hearing, your license will get suspended, meaning you cannot drive anywhere. However, you can apply for a restricted license as long as you agree to fit an IID in your vehicle.

When the date of the hearing is set, you are allowed to have your Pine Grove DUI Attorney represent you. This is important in enhancing your chances of prevailing at the trial.

The Role of an Attorney in a DUI Case

Although it is not a must to have an attorney represent you, it is your right unless you waive it. A lawyer is critical in any criminal case because of their knowledge of the law. When you do not understand the law, you may not notice inconsistencies in the prosecutor’s evidence that is helpful in your case. Your lawyer can poke holes and create doubt in the evidence presented against you. Your lawyer, in representing you will do the following:

  • Engage the prosecutor in a plea deal and advise you on the same. Your Pine Grove DUI Attorney after evaluating your case, will predict the possible outcome and discuss it with you. Based on this, he or she will discuss the possible ways to get a favorable outcome, with one of them being plea bargains. It is the responsibility of your lawyer to consider the plea deals with the prosecutor and ensure you get the most favorable outcome possible.
  • Formulate defense strategies geared towards getting your charges dropped or getting lesser penalties. This gets done by analyzing the whole process. From when you were stopped up to when you were charged with the offense. Your lawyer will also establish if the law was followed, and if you have medical conditions, that can be your defense.

When you hire a lawyer, your primary goal becomes there as well. They will research any possible argument that will work in your favor and ensure professional representation. Some of the defense strategies will include:

  • Arguing against the accuracy of field sobriety tests
  • Challenging the BAC results based on the partition ratio
  • Questioning the functionality of the breathalyzer device used
  • Outlining the violations of Title 17 when carrying out the chemical tests
  • Presenting any underlying medical conditions you may be suffering from
  • Cross-examining the statements from the prosecutor’s witnesses and challenging them
  • Presenting witnesses in your favor
  • Preparing your testimony and
  • Representing you at the DMV hearing

Your attorney also becomes your adviser and confidant, helping you understand what is required of you.

Find a DUI Lawyer Near Me

When you or a loved one is accused of a crime, it can shock and frustrate you. The penalties when you do not put up a fight are harsher than for a person that puts up a solid defense. The best and most effective fight when faced with any allegations is finding an experienced attorney to represent you. When charged in Pine Grove, the San Diego DUI Attorney can take up your case and work towards a favorable outcome. Call us at 619-535-7150 and allow us to formulate a smart defense in your favor.