March 6, 2015 By Matthew Wallin
BAC levels and sentence
How your BAC level could affect your sentence

California Vehicle Code Section 23153(a) states that it is against the law to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, California DUI laws are not simply cut and dry. If you are convicted of DUI, how you are sentenced will depend on a number of factors, including your blood-alcohol content (BAC) level at the time you were driving.

Blood Alcohol Level of .08

California Vehicle Code section 23153(b) is known as the DUI “per se” law. It specifies a blood alcohol level of .08% or above as being proof that you are intoxicated. In order to lawfully stop you and ask you to take a blood-alcohol test, the police officer must have probable cause. Probable cause can be established in a number of ways, such as:

  • Erratic driving or breaking a traffic law;
  • An open container of alcohol in your car;
  • An appearance of intoxication during a DUI checkpoint stop.

Once you have been arrested for DUI, your driver’s license will be confiscated and you will be issued a temporary driver’s permit, which is good for 30 days. You will have only 10 days to schedule a DMV hearing to contest the suspension of your driver’s license.

If you are convicted of a first offense DUI you could face:

  • Probation;
  • Mandatory alcohol education classes;
  • A four-month suspension of your driver’s license;
  • Community service.

In addition to these legal consequences, a DUI conviction could impact your driving record, your ability to obtain car insurance, and your capability of getting a job.

Excessive Blood Alcohol Sentence Enhancement (California Vehicle Code Section 23578)

California Vehicle Code section 23578 provides for enhanced penalties for a blood-alcohol level of .15% or above, or for refusing to take a chemical test.[i] If you are convicted of DUI and your blood-alcohol content level was .15% or above, you could face:

  • Notations on your criminal and driving records that you have been convicted of driving with high blood-alcohol content level
  • A ten-month driver’s license suspension
  • An ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle
  • Stricter terms and conditions if you are granted probation
  • A more expensive monetary fine
  • Mandatory jail time
  • Longer mandatory alcohol program

You Can Fight an Excessive Blood-Alcohol Charge

In order to convict you of driving with a blood alcohol level of .15% or above, the prosecution must prove that the chemical test results were accurate. Some factors that can affect the accuracy of chemical testing include:

  • The equipment used to test you was faulty
  • The person administering the test did not use the correct procedure
  • The person who administered the test was not qualified
  • Environmental factors affected the test results

One big factor that will affect the outcome of your case is how soon you call an attorney after you have been arrested. If you are arrested for DUI, the first thing you should do is call a DUI defense who:

  • Is experienced in DUI defense
  • Is experienced in the forensics of chemical testing
  • Has a track record of getting favorable results for clients, and
  • Has experience at the local courts where your case will be handled

The DUI Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Can Help You

The DUI defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending our clients facing DUI charges for over 30 years. We understand that a DUI conviction could affect you for the rest of your life. That is why we are here to help.

We have offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, so that we have an experienced attorney available near you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5425 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.


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