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California DUI defense attorneysAlthough there have been national efforts in the past few decades to prevent drunk driving, it still occurs on our country’s roadways. Alcoholic beverages and controlled substances significantly impair a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Studies have shown that driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol can be deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, there were 3,602 fatalities on the state’s roads and 37 percent of those deaths were alcohol-related. 

Thousands of motorists are arrested for DUI every year in the state of California. However, some of these arrests are made erroneously due to faulty testing equipment or mistakes made by police. If you are a California driver, it is important to know the laws and your options regarding DUI in case you are ever charged with this crime.    

California Drunk Driving Laws 

In California, the legal limit is .08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). The penalties for DUI in California vary depending on if it is a driver’s first offense or if he or she has had multiple convictions. For some, the punishments can involve fines, jail time, loss of driving privileges, or mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicle.

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San Jose DUI defense attorneyThere is no question that drunk driving can be disastrous. Statistics show that alcohol-related crashes can cause serious injuries and even fatalities. That is why it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) in the United States. In 49 out of 50 states, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08. (Utah uses a 0.05 percent standard.) Anyone who is over that amount can be arrested for DUI. Many motorists believe that being charged with a DUI is not really that big of a deal. However, a DUI charge is very serious and the penalties can range from a misdemeanor to a felony depending on the circumstances. In California, offenders may face fines, probation, or imprisonment. But, does a DUI automatically mean your driver’s license will be taken away?   

Driving Privileges Under California Law

If you are stopped for suspicion of DUI and the police officer has probable cause to arrest you, it is important to understand your rights in regard to your driving privileges. The arresting officer must fill out an official police report and send a copy of the suspension or revocation form along with your confiscated driver’s license to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV will then review the documents, in addition to any blood test results that may have been taken at the time of your arrest.

Referred to as Administrative Per Se (APS), this is an immediate administrative action taken against your driving privileges only. This is separate from any court-ordered prison sentence, fine, or other penalty enforced if you are convicted for DUI.

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Santa Clara County DUI Defense AttorneysIt is that festive time of year with the Christmas and New Year’s holiday soon to be upon us. ‘Tis the season for work parties or get-togethers with friends and relatives. Many of these gatherings involve traveling but can also involve cocktails. If people are going to partake in alcoholic beverages, they should always appoint a designated driver who remains sober. However, if a person has one or two drinks, he or she might think it is OK to drive. Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol impairs a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. This impairment can cause a car crash, resulting in severe injuries or death.  

Know Your Limit

Many states have created drinking and driving prevention programs in an effort to reduce the number of car accidents caused by intoxicated drivers. Still, drunk driving is a leading cause of vehicle crashes that result in serious injuries and even fatalities. Reports from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) show there were 1,140 DUI arrests over the 2019 New Year holiday, and at least 36 people were killed in car accidents. 

Everyone’s tolerance for drinking alcoholic beverages is different depending on body type as well as the kind of alcohol. For example, the percentage of grain alcohol in beer or wine is typically less than what is found in hard liquor like vodka, gin, bourbon, or whiskey.  

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San Jose criminal defense lawyerDrunk driving is a problem throughout the country, and California is no exception. According to the most recent data provided by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, California had 1,120 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2017 and saw a 9.3% increase in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities from 2008 to 2017. Driving under the influence (DUI) is taken very seriously in California, and a recent death has prompted legislators to propose tighter restrictions on those who drive with alcohol in their system. 

Liam’s Law

On September 3, 2016, 15-month-old Liam Kowal died from traumatic brain injuries after being struck by a drunk driver. His death prompted his parents to advocate for tougher legislation on drunk drivers, including a stricter blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) standards for those on the road. Almost three years later, on February 22, 2019, California Assembly members Autumn Burke and Heath Flora proposed Assembly Bill 1713, also known as “Liam’s Law”.

If passed, the law will lower the BAC state tolerance level from 0.08 to 0.05. In other words, drivers may face DUI charges much sooner than before. This bill has resulted in different opinions from both sides. According to an ABC7 report, supporters claim that the restriction would reduce deaths by 11% yet many do not think that such a change is the right action to be taken to keep people safer on the roads. For most, this BAC reduction will put drivers over the legal limit after just two drinks.

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San Jose DUI Defense AttorneysDriving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is illegal in all 50 states. In California, if a driver has a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more, he or she is considered impaired or under the influence. Penalties for DUI can carry serious consequences. If an individual is convicted of a DUI in California, the court may order completion of an Alcohol and Drug Education and Counseling program provided by a state-licensed service provider. The duration of the program depends on whether this is a motorist’s first or subsequent DUI offense within a 10-year period.

California DUI Classes

The California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP) licenses more than 400 DUI education program services across the state. The programs are designed to provide participants with the necessary tools to reflect on attitudes and behavior, promote positive lifestyle changes, and reduce or eliminate the use of alcohol and/or drugs altogether.

For eligibility in one of these programs, a person must be referred by either the court or the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The state of California offers different levels of DUI education programs to those drivers who are ordered to attend them. In some situations, classes can be as short as 12 hours for first-time offenders with low BACs or as high as 30 months for repeat offenders.

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