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California DUI Laws May Get Tougher

Posted on in DUI

San Francisco DUi lawyer

In almost every state across the nation, .08 is the legal limit for an individual’s blood alcohol concentration when driving. Assembly Bill 1713, proposed by two California assembly members -- Democrat Autumn Burke and Republican Heath Flora -- would lower the legal BAC to .05. They say the reasoning behind the proposal is that drivers begin to show impairment well before reaching .08. If the bill passes, California will follow in the footsteps of Utah, where the .05 BAC standard was adopted in December 2018. If passed, the new law will result in many more DUI arrests each year.

How Many Drinks to 0.05 BAC?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, women weighing 160 pounds may only need one drink before reaching .05, and a man weighing 180 pounds could get by with two drinks and still legally drive. At the current level of .08, most women can legally drive after two drinks and some men after as many as four.

Drunk Driving Charges

A first-time DUI conviction is punishable up to six months in jail, $5,000 in fines, and a six-month driver’s license suspension. Penalties increase depending on a driver’s BAC level. Those convicted must also complete a DUI program, the duration of which also depends on the BAC level.

Punishments for subsequent DUIs escalate dramatically. A second DUI conviction within 10 years can send a person to jail for up to 12 months, with fines of $5,000 or more, and license suspension for up to two years. Again, you would have to complete a DUI program. For a second offense, the programs are typically 18 or 30 months.

For a third DUI within 10 years, there is a minimum four-month jail sentence and a one-year maximum, along with $5,000 or more in fines, and license suspension up to three years. 

If a DUI results in serious injury or death, charges and penalties are more severe and a civil lawsuit is likely as well. Also in California, underage drinking and driving falls under a zero-tolerance policy, so an arrest is automatic if any alcohol shows up on a BAC test.

Contact an Experienced San Jose, CA DUI Attorney for Help

The Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson fights for the rights of those accused of DUI, including the preservation of driving privileges. Contact an experienced Santa Clara County criminal defense lawyer for help with your DUI case. Call 408-246-3004 to set up a free consultation today.


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