California has stringent laws against driving under the influence. Under the law, different penalties apply depending on several circumstances. A person is considered to be under the influence if a substantial level of alcohol or other drugs is found in the blood after a test. The level of alcohol concentration is considered as blood alcohol content ( BAC), and drivers are expected to maintain a BAC level of 0.08%. It is recommended to seek the help of an attorney when apprehended for a DUI. The Orange County DUI Attorney is the best choice for these tough situations.
Definition of a California DUI
A California DUI is defined under different statutes. Generally, DUI is defined as the illegal act of driving a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. The statutes that define a California DUI are as follows.
Vehicle Code 23152a - VC Driving Under the Influence
This is the most fundamental law in California DUI laws. The statute states that it is illegal to drive a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any other drug. Drugs are defined as anything that is considered as intoxicant according to the California law. Therefore, the prosecutor can prosecute you as long as the medication or drug is intoxicating despite being a prescribed drug or an over-the-counter medication.
Driving under the influence defines that you were mental or physical impaired and could not drive the vehicle with the due caution that a sober person could maintain. There is no standard definition of under the influence during a prosecution. Therefore, the prosecutor can proceed based on theory as long as he or she proves that you were driving, and at that moment, you were under the influence of an intoxicating substance.
An offense under this statute is considered a misdemeanor. Still, one can be convicted with a felony if there are four or more DUI charges within ten years or if you were formally convicted with a felony DUI. Yorba Linda DUI Attorney is the best firm to choose if convicted with Vehicle Code 23152a.
Vehicle Code 23152b CV – Driving with a BAC of 0.08% or Greater ( The Per Se Law)
Under this statute, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content ( BAC) of 0.08% or higher. This is the most common in California since it is charged along Vehicle Code 23152a. The statute is also known as per se law since it presumes that if one is apprehended with a BAC level above 0.8, one is guilty of DUI. This means that the judge can prosecute you with DUI even though you were not under the influence as long as your BAC was above the legal limit.
Similar to Vehicle Code 23152a, a violation of this statute is charged as a misdemeanor unless one has a previous felony charge or has more than four or more DUI convictions within ten years.
Vehicle Code 23153 VC - Driving Under the Influence and Causing Injury
This kind of charge is considered when there are serious injuries sustained after a DUI-related accident. Just like Vehicle Code 23152, this statute also has subsection (a) and (b) which deal with driving under the influence and having a BAC of 0.08%.
Allegations under this statute are considered as a wobbler, meaning that one can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense. The circumstances include the level of recklessness in your driving, previous criminal records, and the extent of the injuries sustained in the accident.
Vehicle Code 23612 VC - Refusal to Submit to a Breath, Blood or Chemical Test
Refusing to submit to an alcohol, breath, or chemical test is considered as an offense under this statute. In most cases, this statute applies as an enhancement, and to those that are charged with Vehicle section 23152b or 23153b, which deal with BAC levels. Alternatively, you can still be charged with vehicle Code 23152 a, which can lead to an automatic loss of your license for a year.
Vehicle Code 23136 VC – California Zero Tolerance Law
This statute falls under California underage DUI law. The definition of the statute is that California has a zero-tolerance policy on under drinkers and drivers. Under this statute, it is unlawful to drive with a BAC of 0.01% or higher if you are below 21 years of age. The source of blood alcohol content does not necessarily have to be alcoholic drinks, but anything with alcoholic content can fall suit in this statute. Some of the potential sources of alcohol include cough syrup, topical mouth ointment, and homeopathic medicine.
Felony California DUI laws
Certain circumstances can make a DUI offense be charged as a felony, although most of them are charged as misdemeanors. The following are circumstances that can make one be prosecuted under the felony California DUI laws.
- Having former DUI convictions within ten years
- Suffering from a fourth DUI or Vehicle Code 2303.5 wet reckless within ten years
- Causing death or severe injuries with your DUI
DUI charges can be charged as a wobbler besides being charged as felonies. The decision of whether you suffer from a misdemeanor or a felony depends on your DUI criminal records, the extent of reckless driving, and the extent of the injuries that you caused.
If your DUI resulted in death, you might be charged under the following statute:
- California Penal Code 191.5 (a) Gross vehicular manslaughter while under intoxication
- California Penal Code 191.5(b) Vehicular manslaughter while under intoxication
- Watson murder (Second-degree murder)
Just like most DUI convictions, DUI that resulted in death can also be charged as a misdemeanor. However, most prosecutors will charge you with a felony if you have more than three DUI convictions within ten years. Also, since the California laws allow discrete prosecution one negotiate a possible felony charge in a DUI plea bargain and have it reduced to a misdemeanor.
Despite the kind of DUI convictions that you get, Yorba Linda DUI attorney will offer the best services and ensure that your rights are upheld.
Penalties for California DUI
As provided above, most DUI convictions are charged as a misdemeanor. The possibility of having a felony charge depends on:
- The possibility of prior DUIs
- The possibility of injuring someone else due to a DUI
The fact that DUI convictions depend on former DUI and the likelihood of injuries means that California DUI offenses are priorable. Therefore, the consequences of such convictions depend on the seriousness of every successive DUI conviction. Here is a detailed guide on how various penalties apply in different DUI convictions.
Penalties for First DUI Offense
First DUI offenses are considered a misdemeanor. The potential penalties are as follows:
- Informal probation ( also known as a summary) for three to five years
- County jail imprisonment for up to six months
- Fines ranging between $390 - $ 1,000
- Three to nine months of court-approved drug education program
- A possible punishment of mandatory installation of Ignition Interlock Device (IID ) for six months with restricted driving. Alternatively, the defendant can get a six to ten months suspension of the driver’s license, which is converted to a restricted license. With a restricted license, one can only drive to and from work, school, and California DUI school.
Note that anyone arrested with any form of California DUI has ten days to request a hearing with the California Department of Motor Vehicle. Once you have asked for this hearing, your license suspension is suspended until the trial comes up with a resolution.
You should consider hiring a Yorba Linda DUI attorney within the ten days to represent you in the DMV hearing.
Penalties for a Second DUI offense
The consequences that follow after a second DUI offense within ten years after the first arrest include:
- Summary probation that can last between three to five years
- Ninety-six hours to one-year imprisonment in a county jail
- A fine that range between $390 to $1,000
- Completion of a California DUI school that is court-approved for 18 months or 18 months
- Mandatory installation of the IID for a year, with the leeway of driving anywhere. Alternatively, the DMV can impose a two-year driver’s license suspension, which is convertible to a one-year restricted license.
Penalties for a Third DUI Offense
If one is apprehended with a third DUI offense within ten years after the second DUI offense, he or she risks the following consequences.
- Summary probation for three to five years
- A minimum of 120 days to a maximum of one-year county jail imprisonment
- Completion of 30 months attendance of a DUI education program that has been approved by the court
- Installation of an IID for two years, with the freedom of driving anywhere. Otherwise, the DMV will suspend your license for three years with the chance of converting the restricted license for 18 months
- Naming as a habitual traffic offender ( HTO) by the Department of Motor Vehicle
Penalties for DUI with Injuries
California DUI with injuries can be convicted as a felony or misdemeanor. If the injury is convicted as a misdemeanor, the possible charges that might follow are:
- Summary probation that lasts for three to five years
- Imprisonment in a county jail between five days to one year
- fines that amount from $390 - $ 1,000
- Alcohol program for three, 18 or 30 months
- Mandatory installation of the IID for six months with the freedom of driving without restriction. Otherwise, you might get a one-year driver's license restriction
- Restitution of all injuries sustained by the accident
If the DUI offender gets convicted with a felony DUI with injuries, the kind of punishment that applies include:
- Imprisonment in the California State Prison for sixteen months to 10 years, with an additional six years of imprisonment depending on the extent of injuries and number of people that were injured
- A possibility of a strike according to the California Three Strikes Law
- Fines that range between $1, 015 to $ 5,000
- An alcohol program that might go for 18 or 30 months
- Designation as a Habitual Traffic Offender for three years
- Mandatory installation of an IID for two to three years with the freedom of driving anywhere
- Restitution of the injuries sustained by the victim
Penalties for Felony DUI
A California felony DUI is typically any charges that apply to anyone with four or more subsequent DUI charges within ten years after the previous arrest. The penalties for such DUI include:
- imprisonment in California state prison for sixteen months, two years or three years
- Fines that range between $390 to $ 1,000
- A must-installation of the IID for at least a year or have a driver’s license suspended for up to four years
- Assignment as a Habitual Traffic Offender
For California DUI that resulted in death, one can get life imprisonment and a strike based on the California Three Strikes Law.
Alternative Sentencing Options for DUI Charges
Anyone convicted with a California has the possibility of imprisonment as one of the penalties that follow. However, most alternatives follow upon a county or state imprisonment. The kind of options that one can consider are :
- Community service
- House arrest or electronic monitoring
- Cal- Trans roadside work
- Incarceration in a city or private jail
If you have been convicted with a DUI, you should seek a Yorba Linda DUI attorney since they are familiar with these sorts of alternatives and can convince the prosecutor or judge to agree to them effectively.
Legal Defenses for California DUI
Your Orange County DUI attorney should be able to come up with relevant defenses that will help you in your DUI prosecutions. There are a couple of legal defenses that can work in California DUI cases. Here are a few top legal defenses that your attorney can use.
Unnecessary Stopping by the Law Enforcement Officer
For a law enforcement officer to stop someone over a DUI, he or she must have reasonable suspicion that the person driving the vehicle is intoxicated. Therefore, the enforcement officer should check possible signs such as weaving between lanes, missing a tail light, or a missing tag. If the reason for the stoppage does not apply to a DUI offense, then the traffic officer has no right to stop you. The law enforcement officer should consider the driving patterns provided by the Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
False Objective Signs of Intoxication
Once the law enforcement officer has stopped you, he or she must find reasonable signs that make you suspicious of being drunk. Some of the potential signs include red bloodshot eyes, flushed face, slurred speech, and a flushed face. However, these signs might indicate other unrelated impairments such as allergies, irritation, and fatigue. In such a case, you can use this allegation to defend yourself against the charges.
Claim that the Preliminary Alcohol Screening Were Inaccurate
A law enforcement officer is required to administer a preliminary alcohol screening test. In most cases, the breathalyzer tends to be inaccurate, and a slight difference can cause a false result. False-positive results might result from certain foods, medicine, and drinks rather than the actual BAC level of the suspect. Also, if the suspect vomits or burp, the device can show false-positive results. Such a defense works if the law enforcement officer did not take time to observe the suspect and did not check the accuracy of the breathalyzer.
Claim that You Had a rising BAC Level
Claiming that you had a rising BAC can be quite interesting. Here you should allege that the BAC was below the legal limit but rose due to continued delay by the traffic officer before administering the test. This occurs when the defendant has recently consumed alcohol, and the alcohol was not absorbed into the system.
Violation of Title 17
The California Code of Regulations Title 17 provides the requirements needed in the collecting, storing, and analyzing of DUI chemical tests. Therefore, any compromise of the requirements can lead to false BAC results. For example, if a trained technician did not administer the blood samples or chemical samples, there might be possibilities of false results. In such a case, the BAC results might be excluded from the results or the accuracy of the results questioned, which can be a crucial success in your case.
Yorba Linda DUI attorney would be the best pick when it comes to your legal defense against your DUI charges. Our attorneys will analyze your DUI arrest and pinpoint various aspects that will help in creating a strong defense against your case.
Find a Yorba Linda DUI Attorney Near Me
Any DUI case can be a significant burden to the defendant. Trying to handle the case without the help of an attorney can limit your chances of getting a fair trial and getting the justice that you deserve. That’s why it is essential to hire a professional DUI attorney to get the right legal advice and representation in a trial. Our Yorba Linda DUI attorneys at Orange County DUI Attorney are ready to provide the best legal services that will guarantee the best outcomes. Contact us at 949-377-2280 and talk to one of our attorneys today.