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California DUI Lawyers

The persecution of a DUI arrest in California begins immediately with the revocation of your driver’s license by the state Department of Motor Vehicles. California prosecutes these cases very aggressively even against a first time offender. With sentences that can include years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines and penalties, a defendant in a DUI case should not try and face these charges alone. Contact our Orange County DUI defense lawyers today for a free case evaluation to help get you and your case on the right track.

What is DUI?

Driving under the influence in California means that you were found to be operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater or were driving while under the influence of some other form of intoxicant. If you are under the age of 21, you will be charged with this offense if your blood alcohol content is anything above 0.01%. In California, the laws for driving under the influence are straight-forward. Expect to be charged if you are found to be driving while:

  • Under the age of 21 and operating a vehicle that contains open beer, wine, or liquor.
  • Under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol concentration of .01% or higher.
  • Over 21 years of age with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher.
  • Operating a commercial vehicle with a blood concentration of .04% or higher.
  • Under the age of 18 with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system.

It takes an aggressive attorney with experience in drunk driving offenses to achieve the best possible outcome for a defendant facing any of these charges.

The Prosecution

DUI charges have two main elements that must be proven by the prosecution in order to get a conviction. First, the defendant was operating a motor vehicle, and, secondly, the charged was under the influence at that time. If either one of these elements is missing or can be challenged and disproved, the charges for the offense can be dropped.

In addition, the prosecution will have to show probable cause for why the officer stopped you or suspected that you were driving under the influence as well as that it was a lawful arrest. Whether or not Miranda warnings were recited to the defendant rarely make a difference, but there are special circumstances in which they do.

Implied Consent

California is an implied consent state. This means that the state operates under the assumption that a driver is aware of the possibility of being asked to submit to a sobriety test if he is suspected of driving under the influence. The accused still has the right to refuse such a test but will face a fine as well as an automatic suspension of his or her driver’s license.

Administrative Penalties

In California, the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your driver’s license after your arrest. You have ten days to file for an administrative hearing to challenge that penalty. If you don’t file for the hearing in time, your license will remain suspended until the resolution of your criminal case.

Criminal Penalties

The criminal penalties for a conviction vary depending on how many times the accused has been found guilty of the offense:

  • 1st Time Offenders: Jail time ranges from 4 days to 6 months with possible fines from $1,400 to $2,600. Driving privileges are suspended for 30 days to 10 months.
  • 2nd Offense: A defendant convicted for the second time can expect to spend 10 days to a year in jail, plus be responsible for paying $1,800 to $2,800 in fines. License suspension will be for two years, and the defendant can be subjected to an interlock ignition device when the suspension is lifted.
  • 3rd Offense: The third conviction is at least 120 days to a year in jail and up to $18,000 in fines and penalties. The defendant can also be subjected to an interlock ignition device once the 3-year suspension on his or her driver’s license has been met.
  • Repeat Offenders: A second conviction in a 10-year period qualifies a defendant as a repeat offender. The acceptable blood alcohol concentration will drop to .01% to qualify as a charge, and the penalties increase for conviction. A fourth conviction in California is treated as a felony offense.

See what others have to say about us

  • Following my arrest, I had no idea how much trouble I was in. Randy made me feel like we were a team and that I could trust he would take care of things. He kept me out of trouble and I was able to keep my license during the proceedings.

    Susie S.
  • I had never gotten in trouble before, so I was pretty concerned when I called MacGregor & Collins, LLP. After a 30 minute consultation with Ron about my DUI with injury I felt like I was in the right hands. I went with them and was very happy with the result.

    Rob D.

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What Can a DUI Defense Attorney Do?

There are a number of defenses that can be used in a DUI case. An attorney will first look at the arrest record and make sure that if there was probable cause and if police procedure was followed correctly. Witness testimony could be needed to prove your physical and mental state at the time of the arrest. Challenging a police officer’s motives for suspecting alcohol-induced behavior is one of the most common defense tactics used.

A California DUI lawyer can also try and plea the case down to a wet reckless driving. This is only applicable in first offense cases where no accident or injury was involved. The charges are reduced to reckless driving, which carries no jail time.

For the best possible outcome, an attorney’s assistance is needed with any DUI charge. The penalties are severe even for a first time offender and a conviction makes a permanent black mark on their driving record. Even with a positive blood alcohol concentration result there is hope of avoiding a conviction and jail time.

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Those facing charges in Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, or San Diego County are encouraged to contact our skilled Orange County DUI attorneys for a free case evaluation. Call (888) 250-2865 now to get help today.