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DUI Arrests in Santa Clara County Fall in 2014

Posted on in DUI

Arrests for driving under the influence, or DUI, fell by ten percent in Santa Clara County. For the 2014 Christmas season, the county reports forty-six (46) fewer DUI arrests made at check points and other “saturation patrols.” 468 arrests were made as a part of DUI enforcement patrols in 2013 as opposed to 422 such arrests last year during the Christmas and New Year holiday season. This number does not reflect the total number of DUI arrests made in the county for the year, but just those arrests made as a part of DUI checkpoints and other “Avoid the 13” operations in the month of December.

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in California while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of both. It is also per se illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08% or above. (See Vehicle Code section 23152(a) and (b).)

The consequences of a DUI conviction as a first offense is 48 hours to six months in jail, entry into the First Offender Program, three years probation, and a six month license suspension. Each subsequent conviction raises the stakes for the driver including more jail time and longer suspension periods. For example, a conviction of second DUI will result in a one year suspension. A fourth DUI may be charged as a felony and may result in a state prison sentence.

Many people merely plead to a charge of driving under the influence not realizing that there are defenses (and not understanding all of the consequences). In fact there may be more readily available defenses to a DUI than most other crimes. These defenses include: “rising blood alcohol defense,” Title 17 or errors in blood collection, necessity defense, no evidence of driving, and no impairment defense are but a few. Additionally, if the police officer did not have probable cause to stop the driver, the case may be dismissed on those grounds.

Nevertheless, the good news is that DUI arrests are down for a second straight year. Hopefully this is due to a heightened awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence and the high risk to human life that it poses.

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