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Criminal Defense From A Former Prosecutor

What constitutes DUI and its related punishments in California?

When it comes to being stopped on suspicion for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in California, unfortunately it's probably one of the worst states where you could be stopped for such an offense. That's because California is notorious for having among the most stringent of DUI laws in the entire county.

In understanding what is considered to be above legal limits in California, any blood alcohol content (BAC) in excess of 0.08 percent is considered to be drunk driving. For underage drivers, any BAC limit in excess of 0.02 can result in a DUI charge, whereas for adults, any BAC higher than 0.16 is considered to qualify for enhanced penalties. Consent to a BAC is considered to be implied in California.

Additionally in California, there is a type of driver's license or suspension referred to as "Admin Per Se". In this case, any motorist either who refuses to take a BAC test or is stopped with a 0.01-percent of higher BAC while out on probation, may automatically have their license either suspended or revoked on the spot. In this case, a defendant may request a hearing within 10 days of the stop to challenge the charges.

For a first time offense, not only can you expect to booked in jail for at least a 48 hours stay, but your license will be suspended for six months as well. You additionally will be assessed fines as a high as $2,000 and be required to complete an alcohol education program lasting three-months according to sentencing guidelines.

If charged with any subsequent DUIs, especially within a 10-year time frame, you are likely to not only to face an extended incarceration within the state prison system of up to 16 months, but you will also be assessed fines as much as $18,000. Those convicted may also be required to complete an alcohol treatment program lasting as long as 30-months as well.

Also, those charged and convicted of DUI for a second and third time in California are subject to a mandatory two- and ten-year suspension of their driver's licenses respectively. In either case, your vehicle might be confiscated. A third conviction carries with it a mandatory ignition interlock device installation as well.

If you or someone you know has been charged with driving drunk, a Van Nuys, California, can provide advice and guidance in your legal matter.

Source:, "California DUI laws," accessed March 29, 2017

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