There are two different statues that govern how an individual can be charged with DUI in the state of California. The first applies to whether or not the person who is driving under the influence is impaired more than a sober person would be. The officer on the scene is allowed to make a subjective judgment about an individual's driving capabilities. If the officer feels that you are impaired due to either alcohol or drugs to the point that your driving is not safe, you can be arrested for DUI.
The other way to be charged with DUI in California is based on your blood alcohol content, or BAC. If your BAC is .08% or higher, you can be arrested for DUI, even if you pass all of the field sobriety tests and are driving as any sober person would.
DUI Arrests in California
Being arrested for DUI in California automatically sentences you to two separate cases. You face both a criminal court case and a case in the Department of Motor Vehicles. Both are serious cases, but the DMV case comes with more urgency. According to California DUI laws, you only have 10 days after your arrest to request the DMV hearing. If you fail to do so in the required time frame, you will automatically lose the privilege to drive after 30 days. For this reason, it is imperative that you connect with a qualified California DUI attorney to file the necessary paperwork to get your hearing with the DMV.
Basic Consequences for First Time Offenders
While consequences vary based on the situations surrounding the DUI arrest, first time offenders typically face the following:
-Fine between $390 and $1300
-Probation for 3 to 5 years
-Jail time ranging from 48 hours to 6 months
-Sheriff work programs
-First Offender School
Almost all those arrested for DUI in California have to go to First Offender School in order to get their licenses back, but the length of time required for attendance varies depending on the BAC percentages at the time of arrest.
License Suspensions for California DUI
A California DUI results in license suspension, which sets in 30 days after the arrest. The times for suspension by the DMV are as follows:
-First offenders: 4-6 months
-Second offenders: 24 months
-Third offenders: 24 months
This suspension is completely separate from the punishments the criminal court sends your way, which usually also includes license suspension. Typically the court will suspend your license for 6 months. These two overlap, but if you are given your license back by the DMV, you still face suspension as handed down by the courts. You can get a restricted license to allow you to go to and from work, but you have to get this from both the DMV and the court.
When you are convicted of a California DUI, you will face consequences with your insurance company as well as in the courts. In order to get your license back or be approved for a restricted license, you will have to have proof of insurance. This can prove difficult, however, because the insurance company will raise your premiums incredibly high due to your DUI. Your insurance company may even drop your coverage and refuse to cover you. If you are able to find coverage, you can expect to pay a high price for it.
For more information regarding your Southern California DUI arrest contact expert DUI attorney Eugene Ellis, (866) 666-6384.