In California, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher for most drivers who are 21 years or older. For commercial drivers, the legal limit is 0.04% BAC, and for drivers under 21 years old, any measurable amount of alcohol in the blood is illegal.
California has both criminal and administrative penalties for DUI offenses. Criminal penalties can include fines, jail time, and mandatory attendance at DUI school. Administrative penalties can include license suspension, impoundment of the driver's vehicle, and installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on the driver's vehicle.
Additionally, California has a "zero tolerance" policy for drivers under the age of 21, meaning that any measurable amount of alcohol in the blood can result in a license suspension and other penalties.
If a driver causes injury or death while driving under the influence, they may face more severe penalties, including felony charges and lengthy prison sentences. The severity of the penalties generally increases with each subsequent offense.
- License suspension: The driver's license may be suspended for up to four months, or longer if there was an injury involved.
- Jail time: The driver may face up to six months in jail.
- Fines: The driver may be fined up to $1,000.
- DUI school: The driver may be required to attend a DUI school for three to nine months.
- Ignition interlock device (IID): The driver may be required to install an IID in their car, which tests their BAC before allowing the car to start.
For subsequent offenses, the penalties become more severe, and the fines and jail time increase. Additionally, if someone is injured or killed due to a DUI accident, the penalties become much more severe and can include felony charges, substantial fines, and lengthy prison sentences.
Attorney Brian Michaels has handled thousands of DUI cases in his 21-year career both as a Prosecutor and as a Defense Attorney. DUI or driving under the influence is one of the most common offense that any criminal defense firm sees as they are one of the most common everyday offenses in the criminal justice system. While we are not exclusively a DUI firm, it makes up a good percentage of the misdemeanor criminal cases our office handles.
It is imperative that if you are arrested for a DUI that you contact and retain a criminal defense attorney within 10 days of your arrest. Failure to do so could cause a complete loss of your driving privilege due to a DMV suspension, which can often prevent or delay if you call us within that window.
Penalties for DUI have mandatory minimums; meaning that if you end up being convicted of a DUI the Court must impose certain mandatory penalties such as a large fine, classes, and in some places an Ignition Interlock Device. Jail becomes mandatory for 2nd and 3rd time DUI cases while 4th time DUI cases can become State Prison cases.
We handle more serious DUI cases including DUI Murder, or Watson Murder or other forms of DUI related crimes such as DUI causing serious bodily injury. Your DUI can be as a result of drugs or alcohol or both. Or perhaps you were wrongly arrested. Yes it does happen, more often then one might think.
Our goal is to get the best possible result for you. If your case is a misdemeanor we can normally handle all of the court appearances for you until the case is ready to go to trial or settles. Much of the energy we expend in DUI cases is keeping you informed and calm while we manage the case for you to completion.
Our representation in DUI matters typically always includes both your Court case and your DMV case if you were able to get counsel retained before your ten-day window expires. We can represent clients' accused of DUI related offenses throughout Southern California. Call for a free phone consultation if you have been arrested for DUI.