DUI in California: Now What?

Drinking and driving has proven to be a dangerous combination. Alcohol impairs motor function, decision-making, and reaction time. It increases the risk of accidents for the driver and other road occupants. Every state has laws to deal with motorists who insist on mixing the two. So, you got caught with DUI in California: now what?

Blood Alcohol Level

Knowledge is power. Learn everything that you can about DUI laws so that you know what you are up against. In California, the blood alcohol concentration or BAC limit is .08 percent. Anything higher than this will merit a charge for those holding regular licenses. The legal limit is lower, at .04 percent, for those holding commercial licenses like truck and bus drivers. The lowest legal limit is .01 percent, which is reserved for minors, defined as those under 21, and those who are serving probation after a previous DUI offense. Any person may be charged, even if the limits are not breached, if they show signs of intoxication.

Drug Use

Drugs can also impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle. This includes both illegal drugs and prescription medication. People who are taking medicine that is known to cause drowsiness and other potentially dangerous side effects should refrain from driving.

Penalties

A DUI charge can come with several penalties and will often lead to a license suspension, whether it ends up in a conviction or not. A temporary license will be issued in place of this lasting for thirty days. This may come with restrictions such as limited travel privileges to home and work. The DMV can issue extensions or new permanent licenses. For those who are caught for the third time, the license can be suspended for up to three years.

Fines are also imposed on the drivers which range from $1,800 up to $18,000 depending on the severity of the offense and the number of convictions on record. They may also be sent to state-sanctioned alcohol treatment programs that cost a fair amount of money. They will also have to pay higher premiums for auto insurance once driving privileges have been restored – if they can even be insured.

Jail is a real possibility for DUI offenders. The time served will increase with each conviction from forty-eight hours for the first offense to a minimum of 120 days for the third offense. Probation may also be imposed for several years.

Defenses

Given the severity of the penalties, those who are charged with DUI have a multitude of reasons to defend themselves in court. Individuals who feel that they have been unfairly targeted or erroneously charged should contact a Sacramento DUI attorney to solidify their defensive legal strategy. They could question the evidence, the test procedures, the device accuracy, and other elements to get a dismissal.

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