In California, there are two parts to a DUI case. First, Vehicle Code section 23152(a) focuses on whether a person is too impaired to safely operate a motor vehicle at the time of driving. This can be assessed by looking at the person’s driving pattern, performance on field sobriety tests (FST), and other “objective signs” of intoxication. Second, under Vehicle Code section 23152(b), the prosecutor need only show that an individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level was .08% or more while driving. A driver under the age of 21 with as much as .01% BAC may also be cited for a DUI.
California’s DUI laws are very strict and can lead to months, years, or even a lifetime of negative consequences. DUI laws are complex because of all the variables that are involved in the case. How a person is charged and how penalties are imposed depend on a number of factors. An experienced attorney knows the intricacies of the law and have access to expert witnesses, all of which can help you build a stronger defense.
Living in California generally requires a great deal of driving. As a result, the chances of one getting pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence is high.
California law has mandatory penalties for DUI convictions. The legal consequences increase in proportion to the number of convictions and whether it is a misdemeanor or felony DUI. It goes without saying that the penalties for a 3rd or felony DUI are significantly worse than someone being charged with a first offense. Below you will find some of the possible consequences for being convicted of a DUI:
First Offense: Vehicle Code Section 23538(a)(1)
Second Offense in 10 Years: Vehicle Code Section 23542(a)
Third Offense in 10 Years: Vehicle Code Section 23548(a)
Fourth Offense in 10 Years: Vehicle Code Section 23552(a)
When in Doubt - Plead Not Guilty
It may seem counterintuitive to plead not guilty, but doing so may give you the most leverage throughout the DUI process. At your first court appearance, you may request a continuance in order to hire an attorney. Due to the complexities of a DUI (FST and blood/breath testing) hiring a lawyer will provide you with the clarity and assurance you need during these troubling times.
You are not alone. An experienced defense attorney can fight for you and help minimize the consequences of your arrest. Significantly, a skilled defense lawyer will be able to spot any issues with your case and proceed to trial if necessary.
This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney/client relationship. Attorney Jonathan Mendoza is an active member of the State Bar of California and is licensed to practice law in this state.
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