The California Vehicle Code provides for two separate crimes in most DUI arrests: driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, “DUI” (VC 23152(a)), and driving with a .08% blood-alcohol content (VC 23152(b)). If the driver is under the age of 21, he or she cannot have a BAC higher than 0.01%.
When BAC levels reach the legal limit, a driver’s physical and mental capabilities become impaired, increasing the chances of getting in an accident that may cause damage, serious injury, or death.
If law enforcement suspects an individual is driving under the influence, they have the right to test the driver’s level of sobriety. This can be done through a series of basic field sobriety tests, or with a breath or blood test. After conducting these tests, if the law enforcement officer finds the driver has a BAC over the 0.08% legal limit, then he/she can arrest the driver on DUI charges. When a driver refuses to submit to a chemical test it may result in a suspension of driving privileges for one to three years.
In addition to these tests, law enforcement will look for common signs of intoxication, including slurred speech, an unsteady gait, bloodshot or watery eyes first time DUI, alcohol on the breath, or open containers.
If you get arrested for a DUI your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for 6 months. The department of motor vehicles may issue you a restricted driver’s license if you enroll in or complete a driving under the influence program. In addition, if you are convicted of a first time drunk driving offense, you could face a variety of legal penalties, including probation for 3 to 5 years, monetary fines, community service, AA or NA classes, required installation of an ignition interlock device, and up to 6 months in jail.
Certain factors may be used by the court to increase the punishment. These factors are referred to as “enhancements.” If any of the following circumstances are present in a DUI case, penalties may be substantially increased:
- Prior DUI or Wet Reckless w/in the last ten (10) years.
- Excessively high blood alcohol content – Penalties are increased if the blood-alcohol concentration exceeds 0.15%.
- Child endangerment – There is mandatory jail time if there was a passenger in the vehicle under the age of 14.
- Excessive speeding or reckless driving – If the driver exceeded the speed limit by 20 mph on a surface street or 30 mph on a highway with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08% or higher, penalties are increased.
- Refusal to submit to chemical test – May result in an increased jail term.
- Injury or accident – Property damage or injury resulting from the offense can result in felony charges and much more severe penalties.
Contact our Riverside County DUI Defense Attorneys
If you have been charged with DUI, it is important to contact an experienced DUI lawyer immediately. At The Law Offices of Ella Fernandez, our skilled Riverside County DUI attorneys are devoted to obtaining favorable results for clients charged with driving under the influence. Our attorneys personally investigate each case, challenge the district attorney’s evidence, and aggressively defend our clients in front of judges and juries. Furthermore, our firm offers each client viable options, multiple resources, personalized attention, and compassionate legal care.
If you are in need of a dedicated Riverside County DUI attorney, contact The Law Offices of Ella Fernandez today for your free consultation at (951) 683-5357.