California DUI Defence FAQ

California DUI Defence FAQOur experienced DUI lawyers have been representing clients who have been accused of driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated since 1987. If you have been arrested for a DUI in California, it is important that you seek legal representation from a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney that you can trust. Our drunk driving defense lawyers will implement a variety of techniques and use our expertise in DUI law to successfully represent you.

What is a DUI?

DUI is an abbreviation for “driving under the influence.” If a person operates a vehicle after he or she has consumed an amount of alcohol that causes them to become impaired (0.08% BAC or higher) they are driving under the influence. A DUI is against the law and has serious consequences. The Department of Motor Vehicle Code 23152 (a) states that, “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 and drug, to drive a vehicle.”

What is a blood alcohol level?

A blood alcohol level refers to the amount of alcohol in your blood stream. It is measured by calculating how many milligrams of alcohol are found in every 100 milliliters of blood. A person’s age, weight, and sex are all factors that may affect how quickly they become intoxicated. For example, if a 140 pound woman drives a vehicle after consuming 2 drinks in a one hour period, she will have a BAC of 0.07%, which is most likely a DUI.

What are the effects alcohol has on an individual?

People who are under the influence of alcohol may experience a large range of effects, which include: relaxed feelings, lack of alertness, decrease in coordination, lack of good judgment, mood change, drowsiness, slow to react, poor balance, dizziness, confusion, slurred or garbled speech, nausea, vomiting, inability to stand up or walk, lack of consciousness. If a person consumes an excessive amount of alcohol, they may experience alcohol poisoning, go into a coma, or die.

What type of driving may make a police officer think that someone is intoxicated?

Changing lanes often, driving too close to another car, swerving, making wide turns, excessive braking, driving on the wrong side of the street, improper signaling, driving without the headlights on, or driving at slow speeds may cause suspicion in a police officer. The police officer may think that the driver is under the influence of alcohol and pull him or her over. There are countless reasons why a person may perform the above mentioned maneuvers while driving, and in no way does the performance of the maneuver alone prove that a person is intoxicated.

What is a field sobriety test?

A field sobriety test is a test that law enforcement officers use to help establish if a person is drunk. When a police officer pulls over a suspected drunk driver, the officer typically has the suspect perform between three and five different field sobriety tests. Walking heel-to-toe, touching your own nose, and standing on one foot are all types of field sobriety tests.

Why should I seek a DUI attorney to represent me in court?

Driving under the influence is a very serious charge. A DUI conviction has many consequences, such as fines, jail time, suspended drivers license, and community service. A DUI attorney has the knowledge and skills to competently represent you and protect you from the severe penalties you are facing. When you hire an experienced drunk driving defense lawyer, you will have a much better chance of a successful outcome in your case.

How long will a DUI appear on my record?

If you are convicted of a DUI in California, it will appear on your record for as long as seven years.

Will I have to undergo an alcohol treatment program?

If you are convicted of a DUI for the first time, you will have to attend a program for drunk drivers. If you have been previously convicted of a DUI and you are convicted again, you will have to attend and complete a lengthy drunk driving program. Some of the DUI programs designed for repeat offenders may take up to two and a half years to complete.

What is California’s Zero Tolerance Law?

The state of California has a “zero tolerance” policy that applies to drivers that are under the legal drinking age of 21. Since it is illegal for a person under 21 years of age to consume alcohol, the blood alcohol level can be far less than 0.08% to be deemed legally intoxicated. Any person under the age of 21 who is pulled over and either refuses to take or fails a blood alcohol test or breathalyzer test may have their license taken away on the spot. Some of the penalties an underage person found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol may face include: an alcohol treatment program, expensive fines, and a suspended license.

The Department of Motor Vehicle Code 23136 (a) states that, “Notwithstanding Sections 23152 and 23153, it is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years who has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test, to drive a vehicle. However, this section shall not be a bar to prosecution under Section 23152 or 23153 or any other provision of law.”

Is there more than one type of chemical test to determine if a person has been drinking?

Yes. There are three: urine test, blood test and breathalyzer test. A breathalyzer test is somewhat accurate, depending upon the quality and maintenance of the device. Due to its portability and convenience, the breathalyzer test is the most commonly used chemical test. The most accurate and reliable chemical test is a blood test, although it cannot be performed at the location where a person has been pulled over. A urine test is the least reliable test and is rarely used in California to test for alcohol in an individual.

If I have been pulled over for a suspicion of DUI, do I have to submit to a chemical test?

No, you do not have to submit to a chemical test, but, if you choose not to, there may be legal consequences. The DMV’s administrative law requires that a person submit to a chemical test if impaired driving is suspected, and if you do not, you may be penalized. If you refuse to take a chemical test, it may make you look as if you are trying to hide something, or that you know you’re intoxicated. If you have been pulled over for a suspected DUI, it may be in your best interest to submit to a chemical test.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in California’s South Bay, contact us today!

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