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DUI Charges in California

Posted by Richard Wagner | Dec 25, 2022

California DUI Information

DUI cases in California are complex. The prosecutors and DMV Hearing Officers are tough. Without an experienced DUI attorney, your chances are slim, and your chances of making mistakes increase.

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Photo by Vital Sinkevich on Unsplash

Once you've been arrested for DUI, you'll be given a 30-day driver's temporary license to allow you to drive. During this time, you may drive without restriction or suspension. You may be able to request an administrative per se (APS) hearing with the DMV to challenge the suspension of your driving privileges.

If you fail to properly request an APS hearing in time, your driving privileges will be automatically suspended for 30 days if you were not accused of refusing on a first offense. However, you may qualify for two types of restricted licenses.

If this is your second DUI or more and you were not accused of refusing and you are over 21, then your license will be suspended for 1 year. Again, you may qualify for a restricted license. However, if you are accused of refusing to take the chemical test and you didn't set up a hearing, then you lose your license and you are not eligible for any type of restriction.

It is important to consult with a DUI lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest. Act quickly: you only have ten days to request a DMV hearing. With extensive DUI defense experience, Mr. Wagner will evaluate your case and advise you on your best course of action. We will work to keep you driving while awaiting the result of your case. But first, here are some of the basics of California DUI law. This knowledge will provide you with the foundation for your search for the best DUI attorney.

The Basics of California DUI Law

If you are over the age of 21, it is illegal to drive in California if your blood-alcohol concentration, or BAC, is 0.08 percent or greater. (VC 23152(b), VC 23153(b)). It is also illegal to drive while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage. (VC 23152, VC 23153 (a).)

It is also against the law in California to drive under the influence of a drug, including prescription medication (VC 23152(f), VC 23153(f)), or a combination of drugs and alcohol. VC 23152(g), VC 23153(g), Under California's DUI Law, it does not matter if you feel sober and believe you can safely drive. You can still get a DUI if your BAC is 0.08 percent or more.

Driving a passenger-for-hire (Uber or Lyft) car with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher is illegal. (VC 23152(e), 23153(e)). Additionally, you cannot drive a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 percent, or more. (VC 23152(d), VC 23153(d)).

If you are under 21, it is illegal to drive if your blood-alcohol concentration is 0.01 percent, or more, (VC 23136) and if your BAC is 0.05 percent or more. (VC 23140.)

Frequent occurrences have drivers getting behind the wheel after having a couple of drinks – maybe they toss back a couple of Transfusions on the golf course, assuming they can drive safely. Despite their seemingly responsible driving, they may be rear-ended by another car. 911 is called, and the cops arrive. The cop smells alcohol on the driver's breath while asking questions and also notices bloodshot and watery eyes because the driver was on the golf course and is allergic to grass. The driver does know they can refuse to do the field sobriety tests and the preliminary alcohol screening test because they are over 21 years old and not on DUI probation, and the officer arrests them for driving under the influence.

DUI Penalties and Sentencing

Each county in California has similar, but actually uniquely different, sentencing customs for DUI cases. Not only does sentencing differ from county to county, but it also differs from courtroom to courtroom. That is why you need to work with an attorney who is experienced in that particular county. Even a first-offense DUI can lead to costly and inconvenient consequences. If convicted or if you lose the DMV hearing, you may have to install an Ignition Interlock Device or your license will be suspended for a period of time. In addition, if you are convicted of a first-offense DUI, the court will order you to attend Drunk Driving classes, and pay hefty fines, fees, penalties such as trash pickup, higher insurance costs, and possibly jail time.

In California, a DUI within 10 years of a prior DUI or wet reckless is considered a prior DUI or a Second DUI. First, second, and third DUIs without injuries are misdemeanors, but DUIs with injuries to another party can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies.

The laws regarding sentencing for driving under the influence are complex and confusing. An experienced DUI attorney helps navigate you through the confusing maze of laws that affect you and your individual case.

DUI Checkpoints

In 1984, the California Attorney General issued an opinion setting forth strict guidelines for police departments, including the CHP, to follow in setting up legal DUI checkpoints. (67 Ops Atty Gen 471 (1984, #84-902).

The California Supreme Court approved DUI Checkpoints or roadblocks carried out according to these guidelines in Ingersoll v. Palmer (1987) 43 Cal.3d 1321.

The United States Supreme Court put its stamp of approval on DUI Checkpoints to apprehend drunk drivers in Michigan v. Sitz (1990) 496 U.S. 444.

If you were apprehended for driving under the influence at a checkpoint, the defense should be crafted around the police department's failure to comply with the guidelines and or limitations discussed in these cases. If the guidelines are not established by the prosecution in court, your DUI can be dismissed on Fourth Amendment grounds.

DUI Defense Attorney Richard Wagner is Here to Help!

Attorney Richard Wagner is experienced in defending DUI charges. If you've been arrested for DUI, call (714) 721-4423 for a free consultation with Mr. Wagner. He will use every tool in his DUI Defense toolbox to develop your defense and mitigate the harsh punishment so you can trust that you chose the right lawyer.

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Richard Wagner

Attorney Profile Defense Lawyer Richard Wagner upholds and defends freedoms and liberties enshrined in our United States and California Constitutions.  “Richard was able to achieve an even better outcome for my case than what we initially thought was possible. I couldn't be more grateful to h...