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San Francisco DUI defense lawyerThough the United States is one country, there are 50 states that make up the country - and each can make their own laws. Because of this, many DUI laws differ from state to state, and that can cause confusion over what kinds of penalties will be given for a DUI conviction. Whether you are a new resident to California, a new driver on the road, or just are not clear on what the laws are surrounding DUI license suspensions in California, everyone can use a refresher on current laws and punishments for driving under the influence.

Can I Still Drive While DUI Charges Are Pending?

Yes, but only if you request a DMV hearing within 10 days after your arrest. If you do so, you will be able to retain your driving privileges until your case has been resolved.

In California, the state has put into place what is called an “admin per se” license suspension, which is carried out by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and is an action that is independent of any criminal DUI charges you may be facing in court. If you were pulled over for a DUI and the officer asked you to complete a chemical test, you face an admin per se license suspension if:

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Santa Clara County DUI defense lawyer, DUI, DUI stories, DUI statistics, DUI chargesDUI is a serious subject. Driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any other mind-altering substance is extremely dangerous and can even be deadly. Though DUI should not be taken lightly, there are stories you may hear about and will make you think, “Wait ... what?” Many people think you can only be arrested for DUI if you are driving a car; however, as some of these stories will tell, that is not always the case.

Here are some of the strangest DUI tales that have taken place around the world:

  • A Kentucky man was arrested for having a blood alcohol level of over twice the legal limit, which is .08. This would not be as strange of a tale, except police say he was riding a horse when they found him in possession of marijuana, a couple of beers, and a mason jar full of moonshine.

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San Jose boating under the influence attorneyWith California’s year-round mild weather, it is no surprise that nearly four million people enjoy recreational boating in the state each year. Unfortunately, dangerous boating accidents can occur, and nearly 25 percent of all motorboat-related fatalities involve alcohol in some way. California has laws governing alcohol use and consumption while you are aboard boats, much like the laws governing motor vehicles. Charges of boating under the influence (BUI) are similar to DUI charges, and an arrest can affect your driver’s license privileges, which is why it is important to respond to BUI charges as soon as possible.

Harbors & Navigation Code 655

California law states that no person shall operate a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This means that not only are you prohibited from using motor boats while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, but you are also prohibited from using:

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San Jose DUI defense attorneys, DUI charges, DUI, California drunk driving laws, DUI chargesWhen most people think of going on vacation in the spring they imagine getting away from the grind of work or exams and enjoying time with friends or simply relaxing. However, what starts off as a fun vacation may quickly turn into a nightmare if you are pulled over for driving under the influence.

The Risks of Binge Drinking and Driving

Eighty percent of drunk driving incidents in the United States are related to binge drinking, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. When a person is under the influence of alcohol, and especially if he or she has been binge drinking, the person may experience negative effects such as decreased concentration, blurred vision, and a reduced coordination and reaction time, which can cause accidents.

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San Jose DUI defense attorney field sobriety testsWhen a police officer pulls someone over on suspicion of drunk driving, they will be looking for evidence of the driver’s impairment. In many cases, they may ask a driver to get out of their car and perform a series of field sobriety tests, and based on their observations during these tests, they may decide whether to arrest the driver for DUI. If you have been pulled over, it is important to understand your rights and possible defenses against field sobriety tests.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has defined three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests that it recommends officers use:

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San Jose drunk driving defense lawyer St. Patrick's DayWhether someone is of Irish heritage or not, St. Patrick’s Day provides a great opportunity to get together with friends and enjoy a night out on the town. However, the large number of people who consume alcohol during this holiday has resulted in a spike in drunk driving accidents and deaths. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that between 2011 and 2015, there were 252 fatalities in car accidents involving drunk driving on St. Patrick’s Day. Due to the increased level of danger from drunk driving, police will be conducting DUI checkpoints in hopes of making arrests for driving under the influence before drivers cause dangerous accidents. 

Avoiding a DUI Arrest

People who are planning to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day should follow these tips to avoid being arrested for drunk driving:

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What to do if you are pulled over for DUIBeing stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence can be a frightening experience, because the penalties for DUI in California are severe. However, if you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, the last thing you should do is panic. Instead, you should remember your rights and take certain actions that can later help you in court if you are arrested.

After you are stopped by law enforcement on suspicion of driving under the influence, there are a few steps you should take to ensure that the DUI charges against you have a weak basis in court:

  1. Remember that you are not free to leave. While you are not in custody, you are considered detained when stopped by the police. Therefore, you are not free to leave even if you have not been arrested yet.
  2. Decline to answer questions. You are permitted to refuse to answer any incriminating questions. Keep in mind, however, that you must provide the police with your vehicle registration, driver’s license, and auto insurance.
  3. Refuse participation in field sobriety tests. You can refuse to participate in any field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests are physical tests that may require you to stand on one foot or walk in a straight line. These tests do not accurately determine whether the participant is intoxicated. In addition, if a suspected person is nervous or is confused by the officer’s questions, he or she may perform poorly on the test, which may result in the officer deeming the suspected person intoxicated.
  4. Do not refuse a chemical test. Although you may refuse to take a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test, you cannot refuse required chemical tests that determine your blood-alcohol content (BAC). If you do refuse to take a chemical test, you may be fined, imprisoned if convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, and your driving privileges will be suspended for up to one year if it is your first offense. 
  5. You can choose which type of test to take. If you do agree to submit to a chemical test, you will be given the choice of either a breath or blood test. A breath test can be easily challenged in court; however, a breath sample cannot be retested, while a blood test can. You may be required to submit to a blood test if the police officer has reasonable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence of a drug or both a drug and alcohol.

Contact Our San Jose Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are being charged with DUI, contact the San Jose DUI lawyers at the Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson. There are many possible defenses to a drunk driving test refusal or DUI charge. An experienced attorney can challenge the chemical tests used to determine whether a driver is under the influence. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 408-246-3004.

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DUI

California has some of the most restrictive DUI laws in the country. If you are an out-of-state driver, it is important that you understand these laws and what will happen if you are arrested on suspicion of DUI.

California DUI laws are applied to both in and out-of-state drivers. If you are from a state that is party to the Interstate Driver's License Compact, you may face consequences back home.

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