DUI is charged under the California Vehicle Code, sections 23152(a) and (b), which state respectively:
“It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, to drive a vehicle.”
“It is unlawful for any person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.”
In addition, if you cause bodily injury to another person while driving under the influence, you may be charged under Vehicle Code sections 23153 (a) and (b), which state respectively:
“It is unlawful for any person, while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle and concurrently do any act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver.”
“It is unlawful for any person, while having 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle and concurrently do any act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver.”
Drunk driving may be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor, but most DUIs are misdemeanors. If you have been convicted of four or more DUIs, you can be charged with a felony if the District Attorney so chooses, as well as if you are accused of causing injury while driving under the influence. Remember, a felony prosecution can result in over a year in state prison.
As always, every punishment depends on the crime. Generally, for a first time DUI offense with a blood alcohol level below .20%, the maximum penalty includes:
You may be assessed additional penalties if your blood alcohol was above .20%, you injured someone, or had a child in your car.
For a second time DUI, all of the fines and penalties mentioned above will increase, plus:
For a third or fourth time DUI, all of the fines and penalties mentioned above will increase, plus:
In addition, you may have to pay increased insurance premiums for SR-22 coverage, tow and impound fees, alcohol rehabilitation program costs, and legal fees for an attorney and the court.
Upon conviction of DUI, the court will send an abstract to the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend your license. This is an action separate of any suspension that may have been imposed through an Administrative Per Se hearing based solely off of the arrest.
A commercial driver driving a commercial vehicle is held to a .04% BAC instead of the normal .08% BAC requirement. The Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your commercial license for one year without eligibility for a restricted commercial license but you may apply for a Class C restricted license after 30 days of hard suspension. Additionally, even if you are not driving a commercial vehicle but are found to have violated VC 23152 (a) and/or (b), and hold a commercial license, the DMV can suspend your commercial license for one year on a first offense and revoke the privilege for a lifetime on a second offense.
There are many defenses available in a drunk-driving case. Some of the common ones include:
The police have to read you your Miranda rights before they question you in custody. If the police didn’t read you your Miranda rights before questioning you, the evidence they obtained from your statements, and the statements themselves, might be excluded at trial through a motion to suppress evidence.
If you have been arrested on charges of driving under the influence, here are some of the most common mistakes for you to avoid:
Circumstances vary from case to case requiring different defense strategies. However some defenses that may be approachable if you are charged with Domestic Violence of Spousal Abuse include self-defense, insufficient evidence, factual innocence and matters of jurisdiction. Simple errors on the part of law enforcement in preparing, filing or serving summons and complaints could warrant dismissal of a case. An experience attorney who knows the ins and outs of Domestic Violence law can pinpoint and initiate your best avenue of defense.
Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction will vary depending upon the circumstances of each case, such as whether or not the defendant had prior charges of Domestic Violence or a history of violence and the severity of injury to the victim. The prosecutor may file Domestic Violence charges as a misdemeanor or a felony.
If charged with Domestic Violence or Spousal Abuse penalties may include jail time in a county jail or state prison, probation, community service, a Criminal Protective Order placed against you, court-ordered enrollment in a 52-week anger management course, counseling and fines.
An arrangement for mediation may be necessary to negotiate visitation if you are charged with Domestic Violence or Spousal Abuse against the parent of your shared child. You may also be ordered to only see your child or children under supervision.
State law defines child abuse as:
Child neglect is defined as negligent treatment that threatens the child’s health or welfare, such as failure of a parent/guardian or caretaker to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or supervision, and in more severe instances, where the child’s health is endangered, such as in cases of severe malnutrition.
Committing Spousal Abuse in the presence of a child can bring charges of child endangerment.
Yes. The unlawful attempt to commit a violent injury upon a person (Assault), or the willful and the unlawful use of force or violence upon a person (Battery) is grounds for conviction. Any offensive touching, including actions that may not render visible physical injury, such as pushing, pulling hair, or severe shaking, can be considered a battery. Verbal or emotional spouse abuse coupled with threats of violence can also result in a conviction.
No. Once Domestic Violence has been reported to law enforcement, the District Attorney and City Attorney will aggressively pursue prosecution, even if the alleged victim tries to deny the initial accusations or refuses to press charges. Alleged victims who refuse to testify in court or who change their story could face charges, such as falsely reporting to authorities or perjury.
Domestic Violence is abuse inflicted upon a spouse or former spouse, an intimate partner (boyfriend or girlfriend) or former intimate partner, a cohabiting elder or child, or upon the other parent of a shared child. Abuse is causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, intentionally or accidentally, sexual assault and/or molestation, and violating a Restraining Order. Domestic Violence and Spousal Abuse can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.
In order for you to qualify for the services of a court appointed Public Defender, you must first prove that you are financially unable to hire an attorney. If a Public Defender Attorney is assigned to your case, though capable, it most likely will be one of many on his or her case list. Retaining your own experienced attorney will usually mean your case receives more personal attention, a more thorough investigation and more time will go into building the best defense possible.