DUI laws in California make it an offense to drive while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. You will be arrested and charged with DUI for driving on a BAC of 0.08% or higher. Also, you may find yourself battling DUI charges for driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.01% or greater as an underage driver and 0.04% on a commercial driver’s license. Moreover, committing another traffic offense while intoxicated with alcohol or other drugs may bring additional charges, including commercial DUI, DUI with a child under 14 years in the car, among others. If you are facing DUI or a related charge, you will require the guidance of an attorney from Orange County DUI Attorney. The Rancho Santa Margarita attorneys will guide you to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
California DUI – VC 23152
Under VC 23152 of California, you will be arrested a charged with DUI if alcohol or other drugs impaired your conduct. Regardless of whether the drugs are illegal or not, you can still be charged with this offense. Under the DUI “Per se” law, you commit a crime of DUI by operating a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. If your BAC exceeds the limit, you will get arrested even when the alcohol did not impair your conduct.
The traffic officer will pull you over at a DUI stop or after involvement in an accident. This will happen if the officer believes that your conduct is that of an intoxicated person. Some of the reasons why an officer would stop you are driving between two lanes at a time, over speeding, or even avoiding the red lights on the roadside. The traffic officer will then observe you for any signs of intoxication in the form of a field test
The alcohol content in your breath will then be determined using a Breathalyzer machine that you blow. If the Breathalyzer results exceed the legal limit, you will be arrested, after which they will get your blood alcohol content. Under implied consent law, possessing a California driver’s license gives the officers the right to carry out breath and blood tests. However, you can refuse to submit to the tests. If you refuse to submit to the tests, your driver’s license will still be suspended for one year.
The BAC forms the critical basis for a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol. After an arrest for DUI, the Department of Motor Vehicle will attempt to suspend your driver’s license. Therefore, it is essential to request a DMV hearing where you will have an opportunity to contest the suspension of your license. If you are successful in the DMV hearing, your license suspension will be put on hold until your DUI criminal case is heard in court. A loss in the DMV hearing will trigger a one-year license suspension.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, DUI can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. When convicted as a misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol carries the following penalties:
- A jail sentence not exceeding one year for a first offense
- Misdemeanor probation
- Fines ranging between $390 to $1,000
- Compulsory DUI school depending on the circumstances
- If the result of your caused damage to property, you may be expected to compensate for that property.
- You will face a suspension or revocation of your driver’s license for DUI. After your license is suspended, you can apply for a restricted license.
If it is charged as a felony, a DUI offender will be subjected to
- Formal probation
- Up to $5,000 in fines
- Victim restitution
- DUI school
- Jail sentence
With the help of a competent Rancho Santa Margarita DUI Attorney, you can try to discredit the evidence brought against you by the prosecutor. Also, you can bring your witnesses to try and argue your case. A successful defense may cause a reduction of your charges to a wet reckless, which carries lesser penalties.
Commercial DUI – California Vehicle Code 23152(b)
For DUI in California, a commercial vehicle is any vehicle driven on a class A or class B license with commercial endorsement. Cars that are operated with a Class C driver’s license are small passenger vehicles carrying more than ten people. Also, the school buses, as well as cars that transport hazardous materials. Drivers who operate single vehicles exceeding 26,000 pounds will drive on a class B commercial driver’s license.
Under California Vehicle Code 23152, you will get charged with the commercial DUI for operating with a blood alcohol content of 0.04% or higher. Alongside commercial DUI, a commercial driver may be charged with standard DUI for operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.
With a commercial driver’s license, you may get charged with DUI if your physical and mental abilities are impaired by alcohol. This type of impairment will be determined by your inability to drive with caution as a sober person. You can also be charged with commercial DUI if other drugs impaired your conduct with or without alcohol. The penalties that accompany a conviction for commercial DUI depend on whether a third party got injured during the incident. For commercial DUI without injuries, you will face:
- Informal probation
- Fines and penalty assessment of up to $2,000
- Six months of the jail sentence
- A compulsory enrolment to a three months alcohol education program
- Up to a one-year suspension of your driver’s license for a first offense. If you are convicted for a second commercial DUI, you may lose your commercial driver’s license for life.
If a third party was injured, you are likely to be charged with a DUI with an injury, which is a felony. The penalties for this offense will depend on the number of people injured, the severity of the injuries suffered as well as your criminal history. If the victims suffered significant bodily injury, you might be required to pay up to $5,000 in fines and experience a five years driver’s license revocation.
A repeat offense for commercial DUI with injury will mean an increased jail sentence. Failure to submit to chemical tests during an arrest for commercial DUI can trigger an automatic driver’s license suspension. If your driver’s license is suspended or revoked for commercial DUI, you cannot obtain a restricted license to operate the commercial vehicle. However, you can apply for a personal license to drive your car. If you are fighting commercial DUI charges, it is essential to get legal guidance from a Rancho Santa Margarita DUI Attorney.
Vehicle Code 23136 – Underage DUI in California
California zero-tolerance law for underage DUI, it is a crime for drivers who are under 21 years to operate a motor vehicle with a 0.01% AC or higher. Driving while intoxicated with any beverage or drug-containing alcohol will attract underage DUI charges. For underage drivers, the BAC is determined using a PAS test, which resembles the Breathalyzer device.
After an arrest, your BAC is confirmed using breathe and blood tests at the station. Underage drivers will also get convicted for driving with a BAC that exceeds 0.05% under Vehicle Code 23140. A conviction for underage DUI attracts the following penalties.
- A three months mandatory education program
- Up to $100 in fines for a first underage DUI offense
- Suspension of your driver’s license for one year
When a juvenile driver operates a vehicle with a 0.08% BAC or higher, they can be charged with a standard DUI. You may also face these charges for driving while intoxicated with alcohol or drugs. If you are convicted with standard DUI alongside underage DUI, you will face up to 6 months in jail. Also, you will be required to pay up to $ 1,000 in fines.
If you get arrested for underage DUI, you have the right to request a DMV hearing within ten days to contest the one-year license suspension. However, a failure to submit to the preliminary alcohol screening test will trigger an automatic driver’s license suspension for one year. If you lose the DMV hearing, you can obtain a restricted license that will allow you to drive to school and DUI programs.
Vehicular Manslaughter while Intoxicated
In California, vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated occurs when you are drunk and cause death out of ordinary negligence. To be convicted for this offense in California, the prosecutor has to ascertain these elements:
- You operated the car while intoxicated. For vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, conduct you are influenced by drugs if you drive with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. Underage drivers are considered to be intoxicated if they were operating with a BAC of 0.05% or higher.
- While driving the vehicle, you committed an unlawful act that caused death. To be convicted for this offense, you must undertake a crime that is not a felony. This act must be the direct cause of death. Even if it was not the only factor causing death, it must be a primary contributing factor.
- The infraction you committed was a result of ordinary negligence. You would violate Penal Code 191.5 if you acted with negligence. Ordinary negligence will occur if you fail to use reasonable care to prevent harm to another person. If you acted in gross negligence, then you will be charged with violating Penal Code 191.5 b
- Your actions resulted in the death of someone else. You could not be charged with violating Penal Code 191.5 if the victim did not die. Also, the death must have been the direct consequence of your actions.
Under Penal Code 191.5 of California, vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is charged either as a felony or a misdemeanor. The nature of your charges will depend on your criminal history and the circumstances surrounding your case. A misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge fines of up to $1,000, misdemeanor probation or a county jail sentence not exceeding one year. On the other hand, a felony charge will attract up to four years imprisonment, formal probation, and a fine of up to $10,000.
Driver’s license suspension is one of the harshest penalties that accompany a conviction under Penal Code 191.5. A conviction for a felony will trigger a one-year driver’s license suspension. With the help of a Rancho Santa Margarita DUI Attorney, you can present some defenses to your case. You can argue that you were not intoxicated at the time of the arrest. Also, you can claim that your actions were not negligent.
California Vehicle Code 23572 – DUI with a Child Under 14 Years in the Car
California DUI laws provide an enhancement of charges for individuals who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a child below 14 years in the vehicle. You will be convicted for this offense regardless of your level of intoxication. Also, even when you did not intend to harm the child in question, you will still face these charges.
However, the prosecutor is required to prove that you were intoxicated, and there was a child under 14 years in the car. If you are convicted for DUI with an enhancement of child endangerment, you will face DUI penalties and addition of:
- Forty-eight hours in jail for a first conviction
- Ten days of jail time for a second DUI conviction
- Thirty days in jail for a third and three months jail sentence for subsequent convictions
The additional jail time will be served after you complete the penalty for driving under the influence of alcohol. If you willfully intended to harm the child by driving under the influence, you may receive separate child endangerment charges. If you are facing a DUI endangerment charge, your attorney can help you present several defenses against your case. A successful defense can help reduce your charges to a wet reckless or just DUI charges.
Driver’s License Suspension for DUI and DUI related Charges
If you are arrested for an alcohol-related or moving violation, the officer will take away your driver’s license. You will be required to appear in the criminal court to answer the DUI charges. After the arrest, the Department of Motor vehicles will try to suspend or revoke your driver’s license.
From the time of arrest, you are allowed a ten-day period to request a hearing. This will enable you to fight the suspension of your license. At the DMV hearing, the arresting officer will present their evidence against you. This is often your general appearance and conduct during the arrest. The results of your blood alcohol content test will be displayed. You are also given a chance to disregard the evidence presented by the arresting officer against you. You are also present your witnesses to testify in your favor.
After a win in the DMV hearing, the suspension of your license by the DMV will be put on hold until your case is concluded. However, a loss in this hearing will trigger a four months driver’s license suspension for a first offense. It is vital to understand that a win or failure in the hearing will not affect the outcome of your DUI criminal case.
A conviction for a first time DUI will trigger a license suspension for six months. The judge will not suspend your license. The DMV will handle license suspension. A second DUI occurring within ten years after the first DUI will attract a two-year license suspension. California DUI laws are stringent on DUI repeat offenders. A third conviction within ten years may trigger a three years license suspension. However, if your charges get reduced to a lesser offense such as wet reckless, you may escape the three years license suspension.
If your driver’s license gets suspended for driving under the influence, you can apply for a restricted license. The restricted license will enable you to go to work and California DUI programs. However, to use the restricted license or reinstate your license, you are required to file an SR22 form. This will act as proof of responsibility for your motor vehicle insurance. Besides, you may be permitted to drive your vehicle after license suspension upon the installation of an IDD. The Ignition interlock is a device that checks the alcohol content of your breath before you ignite your car. If you are facing DUI charges, a Rancho Santa Margarita DUI Attorney can help you contest the suspension of your license.
Find a Competent DUI Defense Attorney near Me
Driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs is an offense in California. If you are convicted for this offense, you will spend some time in prison and pay hefty fines. Besides, you may lose your driving privileges from a suspension or revocation of your license by the Department of Motor Vehicles. However, getting arrested for this offense does not always mean that you will get convicted. With legal guidance from the Orange County DUI Attorney, you can present successful defenses to your case. If you are battling DUI related charges in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, you will need us in your corner. Call us today on 949-377-2280 and allow us to guide you through your case.