DUI laws are complex and each case has different facts. It requires expertise in California criminal law to be able to navigate through any drunk driving offense, from arrest, the determination whether you are intoxicated, prosecution, and your defense. 

DUI arrests, in most cases, lead to two separate proceedings; an administrative license suspension proceeding through the DMV and a criminal court case. The DUI Defense Attorney will help take care of both proceedings on your behalf. We have a team of expert attorneys in Van Nuys, California, who understand California DUI laws. Below are questions related to a driving under influence offense as answered by our experienced DUI attorneys.


California Vehicle Code section 14601.2(a) makes it illegal for a person to drive with a suspended or revoked license. Getting caught while driving with a suspended license can cost your freedom, increase insurance premiums, and cause you to face fines and penalties. Chances of getting employment and even maintaining your job becomes difficult. The only way to avoid getting arrested for driving without a license is avoiding losing a driver’s license. Driving on a suspended license may lead to the following:

  1. You will serve a minimum of ten days in jail
  2. Your vehicle will be impounded for 30 days and you must pay the impound fee
  3. You pay fines and towing fees

Additionally, if you are on probation for an earlier conviction, this is likely to trigger a violation of probation terms.

The DUI Defense Attorney is a criminal defense firm with clientele in and around the Van Nuys, California area. Our attorneys are highly experienced in DUI laws and can assist you to possibly win at a DMV hearing if your driver’s license is revoked or suspended after a DUI conviction.

California’s DUI Laws

A DMV hearing usually results from a driving under the influence arrest. It is, therefore, necessary to define what constitutes an offense under California DUI Laws. Under Vehicle Code 23152, it is illegal for you to operate a vehicle with a BAC of at least .08%. This limit is lower at .04% for drivers of hired passenger or commercial vehicles. If the driver is on probation or under 21 years, the maximum blood alcohol concentration allowed is .01 percent. Also, it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. These laws apply to all drugs including illegal drugs, OTC (over the counter) drugs, drugs that contain alcohol, and prescription medications.

If you are arrested for DUI, the law enforcement officer will confiscate your driver’s license as required by the Admin Per Se law. The officer will hand the license over to the Department of Motor Vehicles, which is the only department authorized to suspend a driver's license. A suspension of your driver's license is a temporary withdrawal of your driving privileges. Once your license has been confiscated, you have ten days within which to request a DMV hearing for a chance to contest the suspension of your license.

Understanding DMV Hearings

A DMV hearing is a hearing held at a DMV driver safety branch office after you have been arrested for DUI. It is an administrative process, and its singular purpose is to determine whether or not you should maintain your driving privileges. Upon arrest for DUI, the arresting law enforcement officer will impound your driver's license and issue you with a notice of suspension which also serves as a temporary 30-day license. This document is significant because it also notifies you of your right to formally request a DMV hearing within ten days of your arrest. At the hearing, you get an opportunity to challenge the temporary withdrawal of your driver's license.

To arrange for your DMV hearing, you have to contact the area DMV driver safety branch office, because it will be the venue for your DMV hearing. If the ten-days window period expires before you request a hearing, you lose the right to contest the license suspension, and your license will automatically be suspended after 30 days from the day of your arrest. If you request a DMV hearing, your driver’s license will not be suspended until your DMV hearing is concluded.

The Difference between DMV Hearings and Court Hearings

The DMV hearing is independent of a court trial. A court trial determines whether or not you violated the law. On the contrary, a DMV hearing focuses on the circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest. It is only concerned with whether or not to suspend or revoke your driving privileges. The DMV hearing is an entirely administrative process, and its outcome is independent of court proceedings. DMV hearings are more informal and relaxed than court hearings with neither a judge nor a prosecutor present. They are often presided over by a hearing officer with no legal training. The DMV hearing sessions are recorded on tape and can be held over the phone or face to face, in a driver safety office. Finally, unlike a court hearing where you must appear, your attorney can appear on your behalf at DMV hearings.

Your Rights at a DMV Hearing

The Federal and State constitutions protect you from being deprived of your personal property without the appropriate judicial procedures. Since your driver's license is personal property, the DMV must notify you of its intention to withdraw your driving privileges. You are also entitled to an opportunity to be heard before that action is taken. You have a right to representation by a lawyer, but the department will not provide you with one if you cannot afford your own. You are entitled to an opportunity to review the evidence presented against you and challenge it, as well as cross-examine testimony provided by witnesses for the DMV. It is your right to submit evidence, invite witnesses and to testify on your own account.

After the hearing, you have a right to be notified of the decision in writing. Should the outcome be negative, you have the right to either petition the DMV to carry out an administrative re-evaluation or file an appeal at the California Superior Court.

The DMV Hearing Procedure

Upon arrest for DUI, the arresting officer will impound your driver's license and give you a notice of suspension which also serves as a temporary 30-day license. On the temporary license, it is indicated that you have a right to request a DMV hearing within ten days. Either you or your attorney can request the hearing by contacting your local driver safety branch offices in writing or by telephone. You will be required to give your full name, date of birth, driver's license number, and your current mailing address. The department will later notify you of the hearing date in writing.

If you do not request for a DMV hearing within ten days after your arrest, you lose the right to a hearing and your driver's license suspension will automatically take effect 30 days after your arrest.

If you need a language or sign interpreter for yourself or your witness, you must contact the area Driver Safety Branch Office in advance and request for an interpreter to be provided at your DMV hearing. In case you request for a hearing, but neither you nor your attorney attend the hearing, the DMV proceeds to withdraw your driving privilege.

At the hearing, all the parties present will sit in an office, and the hearing officer will record all the proceedings on tape. You must be informed about the legal grounds prompting your license suspension. These legal grounds are found in the Government code also known as the Administrative Procedures Act, the California Vehicle Code and in different judgments by the Appellate and Supreme Courts. The documents relating to the case, such as driving records and police reports, will be marked as evidence and the department will present the evidence and any witnesses they may have against you. Among the documents tabled will be a police report signed by the arresting officer and showing the time of arrest, the location, the objective signs that the officer observed and the chemical test results. This report can be admitted as evidence without the arresting officer having to testify.

The arresting officer's report forms the bulk of the evidence against you. You will have a chance to examine and dispute this evidence by presenting your own testimony, witnesses, and your own statement to convince the hearing officer to adjust or reverse the action. After this, each side gets an opportunity to make closing arguments. The full hearing may take between one to two hours contingent on the specific facts of your case. After the hearing, the hearing officer will make a ruling to either sustain (uphold), modify, or set aside (rescind) the DMV action. The results will be communicated in writing and mailed to you within a period of one to two weeks.

Issues Considered at a DMV Hearing

At the hearing, the DMV hearing officer must establish three main elements: First, whether the arresting officer had probable cause to presume that you were under the influence while driving; second, whether your arrest was lawful; third, whether you were driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. Moreover, the hearing officer must determine whether your offense was ordinary DUI or driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher since the two are offenses under separate vehicle codes.

If the charge against you is refusing to yield to a chemical blood or breath test, the third element becomes irrelevant. The hearing officer must establish whether the arresting officer informed you that refusal of a chemical test would lead to a license suspension of one year or revocation of between two and three years. The hearing officer will also establish whether you consciously refused to provide a sample for a chemical test.

For the action to be sustained, the arresting officer must have predominant evidence to prove all the three elements. If this happens, the suspension is upheld, and you are notified of the date when the suspension will commence. If you prevail and convince the hearing officer that one of the elements cannot be proven, the hearing officer will set aside the action. You will continue enjoying your driving privileges provided that your license is not suspended later by the court for reasons related to the charges.

Common Legal Defenses at DMV Hearings

Under the California DUI laws, a traffic or police officer must have probable cause to arrest you for DUI. Your attorney could present a wide range of reasons why the arresting officer had no probable cause to arrest you.  If you prove this element, the hearing officer must set aside the suspension of your driving privileges. In addition, the California DUI law sets out strict legal requirements for DUI sobriety checkpoints. If you are arrested at a driver’s license or DUI checkpoint that does not adhere to these requirements, your arrest would be unlawful.

Furthermore, California DUI law requires that arrests for DUI be made only if the vehicle is moving. At the hearing, the arresting officer must provide evidence that he/she observed you driving, or present a witness who did.  Without such evidence, an arrest for DUI would be unlawful; therefore, the "no driving" defense can be used to set aside the suspension of your driver's license. An illegal arrest would override all other details of the case even if at the time of your arrest, you were driving under the influence or with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.

Under the California code of regulations, Title 17 regulates administration, collection, storage, and analysis of breath and blood tests. It also requires a 15-minute observation period immediately preceding a breath test. This period ensures that you don’t do anything that may interfere with the test results. Failure by the arresting officer to conduct this observation may provide unreliable results. With unreliable results, your charge of DUI with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher cannot be sustained. This will lead to an automatic win at the hearing.

The breath testing devices must be well calibrated and in good working condition. Title 17 stipulates that the tools must be subjected to an accuracy test every ten days or after 150 blows. If your breath test was administered using instruments that did not meet accuracy standards or were malfunctioning, then the BAC measurements could be inaccurate. Inaccurate BAC results cannot be used to sustain a license suspension by the DMV.

Under California's zero tolerance law, drivers under 21 years are prohibited from driving with any detectable alcohol in their system. Therefore, law enforcement officers mostly conduct preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) tests on these drivers. However, PAS devices are not controlled by Title 17. It is the responsibility of the arresting officer to set up mechanisms to prove the reliability of the PAS device in providing evidence during the hearing of your under 21 DUI case. Often, the officer will not know how to show the reliability of these instruments.

You could also argue that your BAC of 0.08% or higher was false as a result of physiological factors and not alcohol consumption. Medical conditions such as heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD can falsely increase your BAC level. Residual mouth alcohol and low carbohydrate, as well as high protein diets, can also cause erroneously high BAC results. If any of these was responsible for your BAC result of 0.08% or greater, then you were not violating the California DUI laws.

If you are arrested for refusing to submit to a DUI chemical test, the arresting officer must properly inform you of the repercussions of refusing to submit to the test. The officer must forewarn you that the refusal will result in an automatic one-year suspension of your driver's license. The officer is required by law to read the admonition verbatim. If the officer forgets or intentionally decides not to read the warning, delivers his/ her explanation, or misinforms you that a refusal could lead to a “mandatory” suspension, the DMV hearing officer could set aside the suspension of your driver’s license.

Furthermore, you cannot be accused of refusing to submit to a chemical test if the officer had no probable cause for a DUI stop or arrest, if your breath samples were insufficient, if a blood test was not offered as an alternative, or if you were inquiring about the procedure and the officer misinterpreted your questions as refusal. Additionally, you cannot be charged with a refusal to submit to the test if you were incapable of consenting or refusing to submit to a DUI test as a result of a medical condition or serious injury. However, if the incapacity is related to voluntary consumption of drugs or alcohol, you will be charged with refusal. If there are neither a refusal nor BAC results, the DMV hearing officer has no basis to sustain a suspension of your license.

You also have a chance to win at your DMV hearing if there were any costly errors with the paperwork. After your arrest, the arresting officer must fill out the requisite paperwork. This includes signing the paperwork, filling in the correct dates, and recording the BAC results. If the officer makes mistakes in any of these details and cannot independently remember the facts to correct these errors, the outcome of your DMV hearing may be in your favor.

Appealing After a DMV Hearing Loss

At your DMV hearing, you will either win or lose your case. If you win, you will retain your driving privileges. If you lose, suspension or revocation of your driver’s license will take effect. The period of suspension or revocation will be determined by whether you have any prior offenses. However, after a loss, you have the right to appeal either by asking the DMV to carry out a departmental review or by appealing directly to the California Superior Court. If you choose a review by the court, you must file a writ of mandate. If you do not get satisfactory rulings after these procedures, you can file an appeal at the California Court of Appeals. All these three appeal procedures operate under a strict set of rules with specific timeframes, determined by the kind of hearing and as detailed in the Vehicle Code. You will get specific information about your right to appeal on the written document informing you of the DMV decision.

DUI Lawyer Near Me

The proceedings at your DMV hearing will determine whether you retain your license or not. If you are in Van Nuys or the neighboring cities, contact The DUI Defense Attorney at 818-253-1913 to represent you during the hearing and challenge the outcome of the DMV Hearing.

Most, if not all DUI cases have to appear in court. It is necessary to take action immediately to challenge your license suspension by the DMV. Getting in touch with The DUI Defense Attorney as soon as you get arrested with a DUI would be a big step in handling your case. We will immediately gather evidence, carry out research, file motions, and negotiate on your behalf to ensure you don’t go to trial. Our attorneys are experienced and understand the DUI Laws. If you ever get arrested for a DUI in Van Nuys, CA, call us at 818-253-1913 and we’ll aggressively fight your charges which may possibly result in a better deal for you.

Often, officers will ask you to submit to a preliminary alcohol screening test before arresting you for DUI. This test is a field sobriety test which is not covered by California’s implied consent law. You can’t be penalized for refusing to take this test unless you have prior DUI sentences or you are below the age of 21.

Some defenses for a chemical refusal test include:

  1. Lack of capacity - If you are unable to consent or provide sufficient sample for testing due to incapacity, it may be a defense under some circumstances. However, you must give valid reasons that the condition is not within your control, for example, a medical condition like epilepsy or a serious head injury;
  2. Improper stop - In California, an officer must stop you with a valid reason. You cannot be stopped based on baseless notions without facts, racial profiling, or other unlawful acts. If there’s no lawful basis to stop you, you can file a motion to subdue all the evidence acquired during the unlawful stop;
  3. No warning of consequences - DUI laws in California demands that you should be informed of the outcomes of refusing a chemical test. If the officers fail to advise you on this, then refusal to a chemical test should be excused;
  4. Unlawful arrest - If you are stopped because of a driving offense that doesn’t indicate impaired driving, the stop might be lawful but the potential cause for a DUI arrest will depend on the evidence obtained during the stop.

    If evidence obtained together with the motorist’s observation doesn’t create a potential cause of an offense, the driver may not legally be subjected to a chemical test because the test is only necessary after a lawful arrest.

  5. No refusal - No refusal to a chemical test can be used as a defense, though, the threshold for detecting a refusal is small. The officer will not give you a second chance and if you fail to blow enough air into the device, the officer may take it as a refusal.

Most motorists agree to court-appointed attorneys and take their pleas as soon as their case begins because they get the wrong assumption that chemical testing procedures are founded on valid science and produce faultless results, which could be right.

Many people are not even aware that breath testing devices do not measure the amount of alcohol in your blood. The testing devices use a conversion ratio that changes remarkably between individuals. Additionally, many variances like environment, procedure, and physiology may lead to a significant manipulation of the test results.

However, under California’s implied consent law, refusal of a chemical test of blood or breath will lead to increased penalties.

As soon as you get arrested for DUI, you need to find a lawyer. A drunk driving lawyer will follow in the following steps:

  • Gather Evidence - The lawyer will immediately locate and interview any prospective witnesses. They will also take photos of the scene and obtain any available video of the traffic stop.
  • Carry out research and file motions - Motions are filed and heard before a trial occurs. Under the California Penal Code 1538.5.a., frequent motions include a ‘Motion to Suppress Evidence.’ Any drunk driving lawyer knows what to research and what evidence is needed to support any motion. A successful motion to dismiss will result in a dismissal of the case.
  • Negotiate - Most DUI cases don’t go to trial. They end because of the negotiation between the lawyer and the prosecutor.

A Drug Recognition Expert is a law enforcement officer, trained to administer tests on motorists suspected to be driving while impaired and determine the substance causing the impairment. The officers must follow a Drug Influence Evaluation which is a 12-step procedure, to determine the category of drugs causing the driver impairment.

The DRE will look for any signs of drugs suspected to cause impairment by looking at the effects of the drugs on the human body. There are seven different classification categories that a DRE will look out for. Their testimony will then be used in the prosecution of DUI cases.

After getting arrested for DUI, it is crucial to schedule a DMV administrative per se hearing within 10 days of your arrest, otherwise, you’ll automatically lose your driver’s license. The APS hearing will allow your attorney to present your case as to why your license suspension is not justified. For your license to be suspended, the officer must prove to the DMV the following:

  1. That you were lawfully arrested
  2. That your BAC level was 0.08% or more at the time of your arrest
  3. That the officer had reasonable cause to believe you violated Vehicle Codes 23152 and 23153

If you don’t win your DMV hearing on a first offense and your BAC is below 0.2%, you may get four months suspension or one-month suspension followed by five months of a restricted driver’s license. A restricted license will allow you to drive to and from work and school.

If your BAC is above 0.2%, you get:

  • Nine months instead of three months DUI school
  • One suspension followed by 10 months of driving on a restricted license to and from work and DUI School.

To obtain a restricted license, you have to obtain an SR-22 certificate from your insurance carrier to show that you have met their minimum requirements.

If you are not found guilty, you become eligible for an expunction of your record. The expunction process requires you to file an expunction request then sending it to the law enforcement agencies who will remove your arrest from all databases.

One main advantage of a DUI expungement is for employment purposes: Once you receive a conditional job offer, the employer will ask about any conviction. A DUI conviction has to be disclosed but an expunged conviction doesn’t have to be disclosed.

Expungement makes it easier to obtain any professional state license. It may also help you avoid some consequences like deportation.

In the state of California, if you are charged with a DUI unless the court dismisses crucial evidence that will prove the charge, it is less likely that a prosecutor will agree to completely dismiss your case. However, in some cases, the charges may be reduced to ‘wet reckless’. Wet reckless is an alcohol-related careless driving offense. Penalties for wet recklessness are less severe compared to those of a DUI.

If you get convicted with DUI, you will get a permanent criminal record, unless the charges are erased. Expungement is obtained provided you get sentenced and successfully complete your DUI probation.

To be able to reinstate your driver’s license after a DUI, you have to do the following:

  1. Finish your revocation period or suspension
  2. If your car was fitted with an ignition interlock device, you have to keep it for the ordered time
  3. Complete any ordered drug or alcohol treatment programs successfully, as well as the DUI program
  4. Provide any state-approved proof of financial responsibility or file your SR-22
  5. Complete any probation order, community service, or jail term
  6. Pay your license reissue fee, all applicable fines, and any other fee

DUI stands for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A person is said to be ‘under the influence’ if they are significantly affected by alcohol, drugs, or both combined. In the state of California, DUI laws forbid all motorists from operating their vehicles when they are intoxicated. The Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) limits the blood alcohol level to 0.08%. Therefore, if you’re pulled over by traffic police and your blood alcohol level is more than the limit, then you get charged with DUI.

For certain drivers, for example, commercial drivers, the BAC standards are stricter. Commercial drivers can get arrested if they are caught driving with a BAC of more than 0.04%. Additionally, the state of California has zero tolerance law, thus, making it illegal for anyone under 21 years to be driving with a BAC of 0.01% or more.

After you get arrested for DUI, the officer will seize your license then hand you an Order of Suspension/Revocation. If the officer doesn’t give you such an order, the DMV will send it to you. The order includes a temporary driving license valid for 30 days from the date it was issued. Your original license will be given back to the Department of Motor Vehicles. You can request a hearing within 10 days after receiving an APS suspension if you have a reason to believe that the suspension/revocation was erroneous.

To have your license restored, your insurance company has to file an SR-22 with the DMV. An SR-22 certificate verifies that you’ve met the minimum requirements of the insurance. You also need an SR-22 to obtain a hardship license that will enable you to drive to and from places like work or school while your license is suspended due to a DUI.

DUI with injury can be charged as a wobbler in California. In other words, it can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor depending on the severity of the injuries or your past criminal record.

For a misdemeanor you get;

  1. Fines between $390 - $5,000
  2. Detention of five days to one year in jail
  3. Compensate the injured victims
  4. One to three years license restriction
  5. 3, 18 or 30 months in DUI School
  6. Three to five years’ summary probation

For a felony you get:

  1. Fine between $1,000 - $5,000
  2. 16 months to 10 years detention
  3. Compensate the injured victims
  4. Four-year driver’s license revocation
  5. 18 to 30 months in DUI School
  6. Habitual Traffic Offender status for three years by the Department of Motor Vehicles

In California, the penalties for DUI may vary depending on the circumstance of the case. Despite that, the law has laid out a range of penalties that depend on the number of previous convictions. In the state of California, a previous DUI conviction will stay on your record for 10 years. Possible sentences for a first, second and third time DUI offenders with non-injury will include:

  1. Jail term - First time offenders may get 48 hours to six months jail term. Second-time offenders may receive a jail term of 96 hours to 1 year. Finally, for third offenders, the jail term may range between 120 days to one year;
  2. Fines - They range from $390 - $1000 for first and second time offenders and may go up to $1800 for the third time offense;
  3. License suspension - Your license may be suspended for 6 to 10 months if it’s your first time, 2 years for a second time, and 3 years if you’re convicted for the third time;
  4. Interlock Ignition Device - This is a device that requires you to blow into the device’s mouthpiece each time before you start the vehicle. If you’ve been drinking alcohol, the device will prevent the vehicle from starting. For a first DUI offense, the device may be installed on your vehicle for 5 months, 1 year for a second offense, and 2 years for a third DUI offense;
  5. DUI School - Three to nine months in a court-approved drug and alcohol education program for a first offense, 18 or 30 months for a second offense, and 30 months for a third offense;
  6. Impound - The driver’s vehicle may be impounded if it’s the first offense; for second and third offenses, the vehicle may be permanently seized;
  7. Probation - You get three years of informal probation for a first offense, three to five years of informal probation for a second offense, and five years of summary probation for third-time offenders.

If you are above 21 years old, caught driving with a BAC of 0.08% and above, you’ll be charged with DUI. After getting arrested, the officer will accompany you to their station to start processing your charges. Once at the station, the officers will get your personal information then you’ll be booked. They will place you in a cell until you are able to post bail or you’re released on your own recognizance.

Arraignment begins on your first appearance in court for your DUI charges. Arraignment might be the first and only time most people will need to be in court. If you plead guilty, your punishment will be decided and you won’t have to return to court. Nevertheless, if you plead not guilty to your charges, you’ll need to reappear in court for a preliminary hearing and trial. At the preliminary hearing, the judge will decide if there’s enough evidence to hold a trial.

An intoxicant is a substance that produces feelings of happiness or pleasure in a person. Some people use drugs and intoxicants to avoid the feeling of psychological or physical pain. Alcohol and drugs may diminish one’s mental and physical control if taken to the point of intoxication.  

They include the following:

  1. Driving under the influence causing serious injury - As much as DUI is usually a misdemeanor, if you cause serious bodily injury you will be charged with a felony;
  2. Fourth DUI offense within ten years - The most recent DUI will be charged as a felony if you’re convicted of the same offense four times within a period of ten years;
  3. Other DUI penalty enhancements - The court may impose other terms and conditions. Factors that may lead to penalty enhancement include;
    • Endangering the life of a passenger who is under 14 years old
    • BAC level above 20%
    • An accident without serious injury
    • Reckless driving and driving at excessive speeds
    • Chemical test refusal
    • Under 21 years when committing DUI

California DUI laws prohibit a person from driving under the influence of drugs. The drug in question must cause impairment to the driver’s physical and mental abilities that they are not able to drive carefully and cautiously like a sober person.

Besides alcohol, punishable drugs under DUI laws include:

  1. Prescribed medication
  2. Over the counter medication
  3. Marijuana
  4. Illegal drugs

Different ways are used to administer chemical tests for DUI marijuana and DUI drugs. A standard breath test is used for DUI alcohol suspects. A breath test will not show the presence of marijuana or drugs. Drugs, therefore, are best tested using a blood test.

The implied consent law in California demands that all drivers that are arrested for DUI lawfully, must submit to a blood alcohol concentration test. There are two options for the driver; you either take a breath or blood test. Those who refuse the test must pay a fine of $125 and face a license suspension. Suspension periods for drivers that refuse to take a test for first, second, and third offenses are one year, two years, and three years respectively.

Other penalties for a first DUI offense for refusing to take a chemical test are;

  • Two additional days in jail
  • Nine months of DUI school as opposed to three months
  • Lack of eligibility for a restricted license

Also, if you are on DUI probation and you violate the conditions, your probation may be revoked. The judge can then reinstate the sentence which includes a jail term.

As per the DUI laws of California, it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle with any of the following BAC percentages:

  • 0.01% or higher - if you are younger than 21 years old.
  • 0.04% or higher - if operating a commercial vehicle.
  • 0.04% or higher - if operating a for-hire passenger vehicle with passengers in the vehicle.
  • 0.08% or higher - if you are 21 years old or older operating a non-commercial vehicle.

California DUI laws also include medication. It is unlawful to drive if you’ve taken illegal drugs, prescription medication, over the counter medication and uncontrolled amounts of drugs that contain alcohol.

This law does not allow a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.01% or higher for drivers who are younger than 21 years old.

The penalties for a first time DUI offender below 21 years include fines and penalties, DUI school, one-year license suspension, and community service.

BAC is the Blood Alcohol Concentration. A BAC-based drunk driving offense, as opposed to the driver’s level of impairment, is known as a ‘per se’ DUI. Factors that will determine the amount of alcohol one has to take to reach the legal limit includes the following:

  • The size of your body
  • Your gender
  • The duration over which the drinks were consumed
  • Some medical conditions which may affect alcohol metabolism by the body
  • The number of drinks and the alcohol percentage

In California, most drivers arrested for DUI are charged with two distinct misdemeanor offenses. The offenses under both provisions carry the same penalties. If convicted you can be sentenced under either provision but not both. The two offenses are:

  1. Traditional DUI - This is based on impaired driving abilities. You can actually be convicted with traditional DUI even if your BAC is below 0.08%. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, in this case, means that your mental or physical abilities are impaired such that you can’t drive like a sober person. However, some physical conditions can be signs of illness, drowsiness, allergies, fatigue, fever, and so on, and they may have nothing to do with drugs or alcohol impairment.

    Significant evidence for this offense is failing the field sobriety tests. The officer will observe your behaviors prior to being stopped before subjecting you to these tests if they suspect that you are intoxicated. The indications of intoxication during the stop include slurred speech, unsteady gait, impaired coordination, alcohol-smelling breath, red eyes, and other various symptoms.

  2. DUI Per Se - This is based on having a BAC that exceeds 0.08%. In other words, you are culpable of DUI without necessarily being under the influence of drugs or alcohol provided your BAC level is 0.08% or higher.