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Numbers can seem boring or exhausting. But, when it comes to California’s DUI statistics, numbers tell a story. They hold important lessons and insights from which legislators and the public can benefit. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) unfortunately, stopped keeping track of DUI arrest numbers after 2013. But, the numbers we have so far can help us draw certain conclusions and tell us how these arrests could affect us and in what way.
The statistics between 2008 and 2013 show that a vast majority of DUI arrests in California tend to be misdemeanor arrests (a lesser offense) as opposed to felony arrests. For example, in 2013, the most recent year for which these numbers are available, there were 4,789 felony arrests and 155,599 misdemeanor DUI arrests.
Misdemeanor DUI charges are common in cases where a driver is stopped by the police and determined to be under the influence following a breath test and/or field sobriety tests. Often, in misdemeanor cases, there are no serious injuries although there may be minor property damage. Felony DUI arrests on the other hand almost always involve injuries or deaths. On the other hand, juvenile DUI arrests are typically not counted as misdemeanor or felonies because they are handled in juvenile court.
It is also a telling fact that nearly 25 percent of all DUI arrests statewide in 2013 were made in Los Angeles County. That year, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego and San Bernardino counties had more than 10,000 DUI arrests, accounting for 45 percent of all California DUI arrests.
When you examine the demographics, the median age for a California driver arrested on suspicion of a DUI was 30. Nearly 75 percent of drivers arrested were under 40. More than 75 percent of drivers arrested were male. However, the percentage of women arrested for DUI went up from 10.6 percent in 1989 to 23.4 percent. When we examine the race factor, Latino and African-American drivers make up a big percentage of those arrested for DUI. Latinos make up 35.4 percent of the state’s population, but account for 44.6 percent of the state’s DUI arrests. African-Americans account for 8.5 percent of the state’s DUI arrests while making up only 5.9 percent of its population.
These numbers show that driving under the influence is a significant problem in California. However, it would appear that advocates and other groups make it out to be a far greater problem than it actually may be. Statistics also show us that more than 525 percent of those arrested on suspicion of a DUI are not actually convicted.
If you or a loved one has been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in Southern California, you cannot underestimate the value of having a skilled DUI defense lawyer on your side. A knowledgeable and skilled defense lawyer will treat you as a person, not as a statistic. Our defense lawyers genuinely care about your case. Call our law offices to discuss you case at no cost.