Understanding California DUI Laws

If you have been arrested for a DUI in California, it is important to discuss your DUI case with a California DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. A DUI lawyer can take immediate action and help develop your DUI defense. According to California DUI laws, an APS or Administrative Per Se Hearing must be scheduled within 10 days from the date of your DUI arrest. Failure to seek adequate legal counsel can result in harsh penalties for your DUI arrest including:

  • Jail time
  • Large monetary fines
  • Suspended or revoked driver’s license
  • Increased California car insurance premiums
  • Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device
  • Probation
  • Participation in a DWI education program
  • Loss of a commercial license- if you are a commercial truck driver

Failure to contact a DUI attorney in California is a mistake. California DUI laws and mounting a DUI defense can be complicated. A DUI conviction will stay on your driving record for at least 7 years. A California DUI lawyer can help. Call a DUI attorney today for a free consultation about your DUI arrest.

What is a DUI?

In California it is illegal to drive under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug. California DUI laws define “under the influence” as being “unable to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances”. Proof of a DUI can be obtained from the observation of an individual. The officer watches for slurred speech, the inability to walk or blood shot eyes. Additional evidence can be obtained through a Blood Alcohol test. In California it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. If your BAC is 0.08 or higher, you can be charged with a DUI even if you are not exhibiting any signs of being “under the influence”.

California DUI penalties

First Offense:

·         The court will sentence the defendant to a jail term for a minimum of 48 hours.

·         Fines can range from $1400 – $1800 and additional court fees are included. All DUI fines must be paid within 45 days or financed to be paid. Some fines may be discharged by community service.

·         A 3- 5 year probationary period will be imposed.

·         Required 10 month license suspension (limited driving may be allowed for school and work)

·         Required attendance of a 3-6 month drug and alcohol program is mandatory

Second Offense

·         Required jail term for a minimum of 96 hours

·         A 3-5 year probationary period

·         $1800 – $2800 in fines and penalties must be paid plus additional court fees

·         18 month driver’s license suspension, drivers may apply for a restricted license 12 months after the DUI arrest

·         The defendant must attend a drug and treatment program for 18 months.

Third Offense

·         Required jail term for 120 days minimum

·         3-5 years probation

·         $1800-2800 in fines and penalties for the 3rd DUI conviction, plus court costs must be paid

·         A mandatory driver’s license suspension for 18 months to 3 years.

·         A mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.

Common DUI questions

Is a DUI arrest like a traffic ticket?

No, if you are convicted of a DUI there can be very serious penalties including a suspended license, probation and increased insurance rates. A DUI conviction is either a misdemeanor or a felony. It is important to take your DUI seriously and talk to a California DWI/DUI attorney as soon as possible.

How do I find a good DWI Lawyer?

Find a DUI attorney who has experience in criminal law. Find someone who is easy to talk to and wants to help you with your DUI case. Does the DUI lawyer listen? Did they answer all of your questions? Make sure you find someone knowledgeable about California DWI laws. Beware of a DUI defense attorney who guarantees results. There is no attorney who can guarantee a dismissal of your case.

Do I have to hire a DUI lawyer or can I represent myself?

Unless you fully understand the complexities of California DUI law it does not make sense to try and represent yourself in a DUI criminal case. If you do decide to represent yourself, you will need to file a hearing with the DMV within 10 days of your arrest. A DUI arrest is a serious matter, it is important to talk to a California DUI attorney as soon as possible.