There are two Vehicle Code sections that apply for offenses of driving under the influence where alcohol is involved. The first is just a plain driving under the influence statute (Vehicle Code 23152(a)) and driving with a 0.08 or more blood alcohol level (Vehicle Code 23152(b)). This means that you do not necessarily have to be above a 0.08 to be arrested or convicted of drunk driving.
When a law enforcement officer suspects a driver of being under the influence of alcohol, upon arrest, there are three potential chemical tests the driver has a choice of taking in order to determine blood alcohol levels. These tests include breath testing, blood testing, and on rare occasions, urine testing. A conviction for this offense carries with it a six-month suspension of your driver’s license, and in four California counties, a first time conviction for DUI requires installation of an Ignition Interlock Device on all vehicles you drive.
Law enforcement has cracked down not only on those drivers who have illegal substances in their system such as marijuana, prescription drugs, cocaine, methamphetamine, or other narcotics, but there has also been a steady rise in the prosecution of driving under the influence of legal prescription medications.
These cases are very difficult for prosecutors to try before a jury because the science is not perfect in determining how drug levels found in a person’s system can render them “under the influence” by law. Drug driving offenses can also trigger a six-month driver’s license suspension or initiate a separate DMV proceeding against a driver called a Medical Re-Examination. If the DMV believes you are a danger to other motorists, your license may be revoked even if you beat the court charges.
Once you have been convicted of a DUI, it stays on your criminal and DMV record for a period of 10 years. Any additional DUI arrest within that 10 year period will be treated as a second offense. Typically, a first time DUI is a misdemeanor offense absent death or bodily injury as the result of an accident. A second or third time DUI may also be charged as misdemeanors, but carry more severe penalties based on the prior convictions.
If you have been arrested for a DUI and you have a prior DUI conviction, there may also be other consequences you will have to deal with. For example, you may still be on DUI probation for the first offense and this would greatly affect the amount of jail time you may be required to do. Call an experienced DUI attorney in Kern County to minimize the potential punishment you face in this situation.
When someone has been injured in an accident and a driver involved in the accident has been arrested for DUI, this elevates what would have been a simple misdemeanor offense to a felony charge. These offenses will be charged as violations of Vehicle Code 23153(a) and (b).
Under California law, any driver under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol level of just 0.01 will be arrested for DUI. This is commonly referred to as the “no tolerance” law. If you are under 21 years of age, a DUI will affect your driving privileges more severely. Your driver’s license may be suspended for one full year. As a “minor,” you are required to submit to a preliminary alcohol screen. These tests are generally scientifically unreliable.