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California DUI Laws & Penalties

Southern California DUI Lawyers | Zentz & Zentz

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California DUI LAWS - All You Need To Know

It is against California's law to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription medications. The offense is referred to as driving under the influence (DUI). You may be required to submit to a blood-alcohol test to determine the amount of alcohol in your body if you are stopped by a police officer while operating a vehicle. If the test shows impairment, you may be arrested and charged with DUI.

If you find yourself in legal trouble, you need to contact an experienced San Diego DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. A good DUI lawyer may be able to have the case dismissed or the charges reduced. Here's what you need to know if you are facing a DUI charge in California.

DUI Terms To Understand

Implied consent:  Under California's implied consent law, you are required to take a breath test to determine your blood alcohol concentration if you have been arrested for DUI. Refusal to submit to a test can result in the suspension of your license. 

Blood alcohol concentration: BAC is the concentration of alcohol in your bloodstream at the time of testing. Your blood alcohol concentration is used to determine your level of impairment. 

Drug recognition expert: A drug recognition expert is a law enforcement agent specially trained to determine a DUI suspect's alcohol impairment level. 

DUI checkpoint: A DUI checkpoint, also referred to as a sobriety checkpoint, is a law enforcement tactic to test motorists for drug or alcohol intoxication. Checkpoints are typically set up at high-traffic intersections during nights, weekends and holidays.

California DUI Laws

California has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country. Understanding the regulations is essential to plan your next steps if you are facing a DUI conviction. A first offense's punishments may include up to $2,000 in fines, license suspension and participation in a court-mandated alcohol treatment program. If you are convicted of three or more DUI offenses within 10 years, you could face up to 16 months in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.

Blood alcohol limits depending vary depending on a variety of factors. The per se blood alcohol limit is .08%, while you cannot have a blood alcohol limit of more than .02% if you are underage. You may face enhanced penalties if you have a blood alcohol limit above .16%.

Why You Need a DUI Lawyer in San Diego, CA

A DUI arrest is a serious matter that can impact your family situation, finances and future employment opportunities. If you have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, you could face license suspension, hefty fines and possible jail time. Also, if you injure yourself or another motorist due to your impaired driving, you could face years of psychological issues.

While some minor legal issues can be handled without assistance, a DUI arrest likely warrants the service of an experienced San Diego DUI defense team like Zentz & Zentz. Our team has a proven track record, and we have successfully defended hundreds of DUI cases. We understand California DUI laws' intricacies, and our team has specialized knowledge of traffic laws, ignition interlock devices and motor vehicle laws.

Our team of qualified DUI lawyers handles a variety of legal matters involving DUI arrests, DWI convictions and other drunk driving-related issues. After evaluating your case, we may be able to help you:
• Reduce jail time
• Reinstate a revoked license
• Reduce your charge to a lesser offense
• Avoid a trial by negotiating a plea bargain

Additionally, our team may be able to challenge certain aspects of your DUI charge that are incomplete to reduce or dismiss your charges. We understand the complexities of DUI defense tactics and can help guide you through this confusing legal process.

Common Drunk Driving Defenses

If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence, specific steps must be followed, or you will not be convicted. The investigation process is highly technical, and a qualified attorney has the knowledge to potentially point out fallacies or inaccuracies to have the case dismissed or the charges reduced. Here are the most common drunk driving defenses in California.
Unreasonable traffic stop

An improper stop is one of the most common arguments used in DUI cases. An attorney may argue that the police officer lacked probable cause or evidence to make the original traffic stop that led to the arrest.
Police error at sobriety checkpoints

DUI checkpoints are highly regulated, and law enforcement officers must follow specific rules and requirements during traffic stops at checkpoints. Any deviation from court mandate on sobriety checkpoints can be used as a defense by your DUI defense attorney. The defense process may include a motion alleging improper search and seizure.
Breath test procedure violations

A breathalyzer is commonly used to test the blood alcohol level of motorists. Unfortunately, these tests are occasionally inaccurate. If law enforcement officers do not follow proper testing measures, your blood alcohol concentration result can be deemed inadmissible in court.

For instance, California law states that a police officer must observe your actions for a minimum of 15 minutes before requiring you to submit to a breathalyzer test. If the test is administered right after you are pulled over, you may have a chance to get the test results dismissed. Also, certain medical conditions, including diabetes, have been known to cause false breathalyzer readings. Your attorney may use your medical diagnosis to fight the accuracy of the test results.

This is not a comprehensive list of all drunk driving defenses. It is your attorney's responsibility to examine the facts of your case and recommend the best defense.

Contact Zentz & Zentz DUI Attorneys Today

If you are searching for an experienced San Diego DUI defense attorney, contact Zentz & Zentz for assistance. Our legal team has the experience to help you successfully navigate California's complex legal system. Don't risk your future by fighting your charges alone. You deserve to have an experienced legal team on your side. Contact us right now to set up a no-obligation consultation.

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