A DUI conviction can severely impact your future and life. It carries jail time, probation, fines, installation of an ignition interlock device, and revocation or suspension of your driver's license. Often, loss of driving privileges will cause job termination and the inability to support your loved ones. When charged with DUI, the importance of a defense attorney can be overlooked. At San Diego DUI Attorney, having an understanding of the DUI laws, we can take the stress off your shoulders and work towards the best possible outcome for your case.

California DUI Laws

You can get a DUI charge for operating your motor vehicle while under the influence or with a blood alcohol concentration greater than 0.08 percent. An individual is well-thought-out to be under the influence if they are impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both.

Also, the law prohibits drivers below twenty-one years of age from driving with a BAC that is above 0.01 percent.

Read on to understand the various services our proficient DUI defense attorneys offer.

DUI Conviction Expungement

Under PC 1203.4, expungement is an after-the-fact dismissal of the case. It seals your conviction and releases you from the negative consequences of the conviction.

Expungement Eligibility

You qualify for expungement irrespective of being convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor as long as:

  • You completed probation for the crime

  • You either:

  1. Didn't serve time in prison, or

  2. Was in state prison, but would have served time in a county jail in the wake of realignment per Proposition 47 implementation

Most DUI convictions meet the above requirements.

How Expungement Works

Immediately you complete probation, you can petition the court to seal your conviction record. The judge will review your petition to decide whether you qualify for the expungement.

Should the court grant the petition, then either:

  • If you were convicted following a bench trial or jury trial, the judge nullifies the verdict, or

  • You withdraw your plea of no contest or guilty and enter a "not guilty" plea.

Then the judge dismisses your case.

Does Expungement Make It Easier to Secure Employment?

Easier time finding a job is a significant benefit of a DUI conviction expungement. After your DUI conviction is sealed, no potential employer should use it as a basis for negative employment consequences.

The law bans all companies from inquiring about convictions or arrests on a job application, or before a conditional offer of employment is made.

However, you don't have to reveal the conviction. If your company finds out, the employer cannot use the conviction as a basis when deciding whether to promote or retain you.

Please note, you should reveal the conviction when applying for teaching credentials and state licenses.

Will Expungement Assist You Get Your Driver's License Back?

DUI expungement won't overturn your driver's license revocation or suspension.

Often, probation lasts longer than the compulsory driver's license duration. For instance, a first DUI offense attracts a six-month license suspension and maximum probation of five years. A revocation, on the other hand, extends beyond probation.

Ignition Interlock Device

Commonly known as an IID, an ignition interlock device is quickly becoming a DUI consequence. It is a miniature instrument that is installed in your vehicle's dashboard and stops the engine from starting until you submit an alcohol-free breath sample.

If ordered to install the IID, you should:

  • Have the mini-breathalyzer professionally installed,

  • In all the cars you drive or own other than employer-owner vehicles

As previously discussed, your motor vehicle cannot start unless you submit an alcohol-free breath sample. When operating the vehicle, the IID will request for random breath samples, between five and fifteen minutes after starting the engine and then approximately every forty-five minutes after that.

Should you fail to pass, the IID won't disable the vehicle. Instead, it will register a fail on the log that is reported to the court.

It's worth noting that the gadget is designed in a way that ensures only a defendant as the motorist can provide their breath sample.

The law requires you to install the mini-breathalyzer for a period for:

  • Six months after a first DUI offense

  • A year after a second-time drunk-driving conviction

  • Two years after a third conviction

  • Three years after a subsequent conviction

IID for Driving on a Suspended Driver's license

Depending on a defendant's total number of previous DUI on suspended driver's license violation as well as the precise driver's license violation, the court could require you to install the mini-breathalyzer for one to three years.

Restricted License and IID

If you're a repeat offender and plan to get a restricted license, the Department of Motor Vehicles will order you to install the IID. The restricted driver's license lets you drive to and from DUI school, school, or work while your license is revoked or suspended.

If ordered to install the mini-breathalyzer and you don't have a car, you can bring an exemption with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Generally, it involves providing a declaration of non-ownership of a motor vehicle.

DUI Over 0.15%

In California, it is an offense to drive with a BAC of 0.08 percent and greater. A driver whose BAC is greater than 0.15% could face enhanced consequences under Vehicle Code Section 23578 VC.

When enacting this law, the legislative aim was to impose stringent penalties on motorists who drive following excessive consumption of alcohol. That means the prosecution will put into account circumstances surrounding the arrest when determining the appropriate punishment.

Perfect examples of enhanced penalties include:

  • Longer probation

  • More hefty fines

  • Installation of IID

  • Incarceration

  • Longer alcohol education programs

Driving on a Suspended License

According to VC 14601, it is an offense for an individual to operate a vehicle with a revoked or suspended license knowingly.

To be found guilty, the prosecutor should establish the following beyond any reasonable doubt:

  • You drove a car with a revoked or suspended driver's license

  • When you drove, you knew that the license was revoked or suspended

The knowledge is assumed if all the statements below are correct:

  • The California Department of Motor Vehicles sent you a notice notifying you that your driving privileges have been revoked or withdrawn for sometime

  • The notice was sent to your recent address

  • The notice wasn't returned to the DMV as unclaimed or undeliverable

Violation of VC 14601 is a California misdemeanor. The punishment a defendant receives depends on the reason why the driver's license was suspended in the first place.

DUI (Vehicle Code 14601.2 VC)

If you drove on a revoked or suspended license and received license suspension due to a drunk driving conviction, you will receive the penalties below:

  • A maximum three-year informal probation

  • One thousand dollars in fine

  • Installation of an IID

  • Up to six months in county jail

Driving with Unlawful BAC or Failing to Submit a Chemical Test (VC 14601.5)

If you drove on a suspended driver's license and your license was revoked as a result of driving with an illegal blood alcohol concentration or refusing to submit a chemical test, you will be punished with:

  • Up to one thousand dollars in fines

  • Serve a six-month jail sentence

  • Summary probation for three years

Beating Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License Charges

Your experienced Rainbow DUI attorney should be able to use either of the following legal defenses:

  • No knowledge- Remember, you only violate this code if you drove on a suspended driver's license, and you were aware that your driving privileges had been revoked or suspended. Therefore, it is a valid defense to claim that you didn't know.

  • No suspension- You can only be sentenced if your driving privileges were withdrawn. Therefore, it's a legal defense for your Rainbow DUI attorney to prove that you had a lawful driver's license when arrested.

  • Necessity- Under this defense, you try to avoid guilt by proving that you had a sufficiently good reason to violate the law. You can try to establish that you committed the offense due to an emergency.

Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated (PC 191.5a)

Under PC 191.5a gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated takes place when you commit a DUI and grossly negligent conduct, and as a result, somebody else dies.

To be convicted of a violation of PC 191.5a, the prosecutor should prove the elements of the offense below:

  • You drove your car while under the influence or drunk

  • While doing so, you also committed an infraction, misdemeanor, or conduct that might cause death

  • You committed the infraction, misdemeanor, or other conduct with gross negligence

  • Your gross negligence action led to another person's death.

Death of Another Person

In this context, the death of the other person should be a probable, natural, and direct consequence of your actions. Your conduct should be the only cause of death.

Gross Negligence

The definition of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated revolves around gross negligence. That means if the prosecution cannot prove that a defendant acted with gross negligence, then the defendant may be guilty of ordinary vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Gross negligence happens when:

  • A defendant acts in a reckless manner that increases the risk of great bodily hurt or death, and

  • A reasonable individual would have been aware that behaving that way could create the risk

In other words, gross negligence goes beyond mistake in judgment or ordinary carelessness.


A Penal Code Section 191.5a conviction is punishable by:

  • A felony probation

  • Ten thousand dollars in fine

  • A maximum of ten years in state prison

If you have a previous PC 191.5a conviction, you could serve fifteen years to a life sentence in prison for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated conviction.

Moreover, you risk having your license revoked for three years.


Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor is a remote alcohol monitoring system. It is an ankle bracelet that a DUI defendant puts on 24/7. It is water-resistant and tamper-proof.

The device checks the defendant's sweat after every thirty minutes for alcohol presence. It uses transdermal alcohol testing (transdermal means via the skin). The device works because a small amount of alcohol is excreted through the skin through sweat.

Then the results are transmitted to a regional monitoring system. If you are well-thought-out to be high risk, the data is transmitted more frequently.

Should alcohol be detected in your system, the court is notified within twenty-four hours.

A defendant is required to wear a SCRAM as a DUI probation condition. To ensure adherence to the condition, the judge could order you to wear the device. It helps to judge to verify if you are refraining from the use of alcohol.

Often, judges order SCRAM when a defendant has both previous drunk-driving conviction and addiction (alcohol dependence).

The judge could require you to wear the SCRAM for any duration. The duration can be one month or even exceed a year. The court will use the following factors when determining the period you must put on SCRAM:

  • The number of your previous DUI offenses

  • The degree of your problem with alcohol

  • The seriousness of the DUI crime

Commercial Driver's License Suspension

Under Vehicle Code Section 23152d, it is an offense to operate a commercial vehicle a BAC that exceeds 0.04 percent.

As far as DUI laws are concerned, there are two (2) categories of commercial vehicles, namely:

  • Commercial vehicles which need a motorist to have a Class B license

  • Commercial vehicles which require a Class C license with a commercial endorsement like a school bus, double trailer, or farm vehicle

Penalties, Sentencing, and Consequences

DUI without Injuries

If there are no injuries, a first commercial DUI offense attracts the following potential penalties:

  • Informal probation for three (3) to five (5) years

  • Six (6) months in jail

  • Maximum of one thousand dollars in fines

  • Three months in DUI school

  • A one-year driver's license suspension

Loss of Commercial Driver's License (CDL) for Life for Second-time DUI Conviction

A second drunk driving conviction is punishable by the loss of your CDL for life. A commercial motorist who is charged with a second DUI ought to contact a competent Rainbow DUI attorney immediately.

DUI Causing Injury

Drunk driving that causes injuries to another person is charged as DUI causing injury under VC 23153. It is a wobbler. A wobbler is an offense that can be prosecuted either as a felony or a California misdemeanor.

If charged as a misdemeanor, you will face:

  • Up to five (5) years of summary probation

  • A maximum of one year in jail

  • Fines that range between $390 and $1,000

  • Suspension of your driver's license for one or three years

  • Payment of restitution to the victims

  • Up to thirty months in DUI school

The exact punishment attracted by a felony depends on:

  • The degree of injuries sustained by victims

  • The number of victims

  • Whether you have previous convictions for reckless driving or drunk driving

You could receive the following penalties:

  • Habitual Traffic Offender status for three years

  • Revocation of your license for five years

  • Enrolling a thirty-month DUI school

  • A fine of up to five thousand dollars

Obtaining a Restricted Driver's License

Possessing a license is a necessity. You require it to drive to school, work, and other activities. Losing driving privileges could make it hard to fulfill your personal and job obligations. That is the reason you should know that your Rainbow DUI attorney can help you in acquiring a restricted driver's license in San Diego.

If you refuse to submit a breath or blood test when you are arrested for drunk driving, your Rainbow DUI attorney should request a California Department of Motor Vehicles hearing within ten days following the arrest. If you fail to request the hearing, you lose the opportunity to challenge your license suspension.

After the hearing is concluded and a decision to withdraw the driving privileges has been passed, you should apply for a restricted driver's license for your revocation or suspension period.

Qualification for a restricted driver's license hinges on factors like:

  • Your age during the arrest

  • Previous drunk driving convictions on the criminal record

  • If you refused to submit a chemical test

Outlined below are steps you must follow if you want to acquire a restricted driver's license:

  1. Join a DUI Offender program- The California Department of Motor Vehicles will need a Proof of Enrolment Certificate (form DL 107) from the DUI program. The DUI program's length will depend mainly on whether this is your first conviction or have prior convictions. While a first conviction DUI program lasts three (3) months, multiple programs last eighteen (18) months.

  2. Get an SR-22 Form from a car insurance company

  3. Apply for a restricted driver's license with a DMV office. You should pay a $125 restricted driver's license fee. Before your application is approved, the DMV will ensure you have submitted your SR-22 proof of coverage and joined the DUI program.

Find Legal Representation Near Me

Irrespective of the circumstances, being charged with DUI in Rainbow can be upsetting and stressful. Maybe you were involved in a severe car accident. Or you were ordered to install an ignition interlock device. Whatever the case could be, a DUI charge necessitates an action that will protect your constitutional rights and driving privileges as well as avoid penalties such as jail time and fines. You should engage a skilled Rainbow DUI attorney who understands the seriousness of the case and can assist you in navigating the criminal system like the San Diego DUI Attorney. Call us today at 619-535-7150 to book your initial consultation.