Wallin & Klarich Drunk Driving (DUI) Defense Attorneys
Overview – California Drunk Driving Laws (California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a))
Under California Vehicle Code 23152(a), it is illegal for a person under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle. Under this law, “under the influence” means that your physical or mental abilities are so impaired that you are no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances. 1
In addition, it is illegal to for a person to drive a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level of .08 or higher. This means that, even if your ability to drive is not affected by your level of intoxication, it is still unlawful to drive a vehicle with a BAC of .08 or higher.
Department of Motor Vehicles Administrative Per Se Hearing
If you have been arrested for DUI under VC 23512(a) and/or VC 23512(b), the DMV will automatically suspend your license. You then have 10 days from the date of arrest to request an Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing to fight the mandatory license suspension or request a restricted license. If you request the hearing within the specified time limit, the mandatory license suspension will be “stayed” until your hearing. This means you will be able to drive until a decision is made at your APS hearing. If you do not request a hearing within the 10 days, your mandatory license suspension will begin 30 days after your arrest.
If you refused to submit to a chemical test at the time of your arrest, your license will automatically be suspended for one year.
The Science Behind Your BAC
There are many factors that can affect your BAC level. For instance, did you know that if you have diabetes your BAC results may be skewed? When BAC is determined by a breathalyzer machine, the use of mouthwash containing alcohol can cause an increase in your breathalyzer reading.
Your BAC is determined by measuring the grams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood or per 210 liters of your breath.
Your blood alcohol concentration increases with each alcoholic drink you consume, though how you are built, how fast you metabolize, and the amount of food in your stomach can all affect the amount of alcohol in your blood.
Prosecution of DUI Charges in California
In order for you to be convicted of drunk driving under VC 23152(a), the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you:
- Drove a vehicle; and
- Were under the influence of alcohol when you drove.
As stated earlier, California law defines “under the influence” as the impairment of your
physical or mental abilities to where you are unable to drive in the same reasonable and prudent manner as a sober person. While the manner in which you drive is not enough to prove that you are under the influence, it is a factor that is considered when determining if you drove while impaired. 2
In order for you to be convicted of VC 23152(b), the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you:
- Drove a vehicle; and
- Had a BAC level of .08 or more at the time you were driving.
The prosecution will use your chemical blood or breath test results to help prove you were under the influence. Should the prosecution prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your BAC was .08 or more at the time of your arrest, the court will conclude that you were driving while under the influence and you will be sentenced upon conviction.
Sentence and Punishment for a DUI conviction
- If you have been convicted of a first-time DUI in California, you face:
- A maximum of six months in county jail;
- A fine of up to $1,000; or
- Both a fine and county jail sentence.
Punishment for a DUI conviction may be increased if you have prior convictions. In addition to this punishment, your license will be suspended for a minimum of six months upon a first-time DUI or longer for repeat offenses.
First-time DUI offenders may be required to install an ignition interlock device for five months if they were convicted of DUI in Sacramento, Tulare, Alameda, or Los Angeles counties, under California Vehicle Code Section 23700.
Possible DUI Defenses
Your California DUI attorney will investigate your arrest and the circumstances of your case. In order to get the best results in your case, your DUI attorney should investigate the following elements:
- No reasonable cause. Police officers are not allowed to pull you over without having reasonable cause to do so. If you were pulled over without reasonable cause, your attorney may be able to have your case dismissed.
- Incorrect procedure. There are policies and procedures that must be followed when the police pull you over, conduct sobriety tests, and arrest you. Your attorney will investigate if proper procedure was followed when you were pulled over, tested, and arrested. If proper procedure was not followed, your attorney can present this as a defense in your case.
- Extenuating circumstances. Your attorney will investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest and how those results were interpreted by the police. Simple factors like the condition of the road, weather, your age, your physical shape, or whether you rinsed your mouth with mouthwash before being pulled over can have a significant effect on the validity of your arrest.
FAQ’s Regarding California DUI
At Wallin & Klarich, we commonly receive questions from clients regarding the facts of their DUI case. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive:
Do I need to hire a separate attorney for my DMV hearing?
No. An experienced California DUI attorney can work with you through the criminal DUI case as well as the administrative procedures involved in the DMV hearing. You should hire an experienced DUI attorney right away so that he or she can begin to prepare for your criminal case and your DMV hearing.
Can I be arrested for DUI if my BAC is below 0.08 percent?
Yes, you can be arrested for having any amount of alcohol in your system if it impairs your ability to drive. Also, while the average adult driver is held to the .08 standard, a commercial driver and drivers under the age of 21 are held to a much lower standard. If you are under 21 or are a commercial driver, you can be arrested for drunk driving if your BAC is .04 percent or higher.
If I have been convicted of DUI, can I get a restricted license so I can drive to work?
For a first time DUI offense, you may be able to get a restricted license that will allow you to drive back and forth to work or school. Ask your DUI attorney how you can qualify for a restricted license.
Call Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you love is facing California DUI charges, contact a Wallin & Klarich DUI attorney immediately. Our skilled attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending those charged with DUI and related crimes. We will analyze the facts of your case and plan a defense strategy that will help you get the very best outcome possible in your case.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help 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.