Driving Under the Influence Charges in Southern California

Santa Ana DUI Attorney                 Glendale DUI Lawyer, Pasadena DUI Attorney
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If you are charged with a DUI, then you have 2 separate and unrelated proceedings against you. Your charges in Court and the DMV suspension/revocation action called an Admin Per Se hearing.

California has two basic driving under the influence laws, found in Vehicle Code section 23152, sections (a) and (b).

Subsection (a) is a general provision and makes it is a MISDEMEANOR to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Subsection (b) is narrower and only applies to alcohol. It makes it a MISDEMEANOR to drive with .08% or more of alcohol by weight in your blood. Under certain circumstances a DUI can be charged as a FELONY as well.

WARNING: When charged with a DUI, you must REQUEST A HEARING WITHIN 10 DAYS from the date of your arrest or you forfeit your right to a DMV hearing. Our office will take care of this for you.

Usually when someone is stopped for Driving Under the Influence charge, the officer will conduct a series of field sobriety tests and later ask for either a breath test or a blood test. The results of these examinations and testing become part of the record for both the Court and the DMV. There are different things that the Court and DMV are concerned with and as a result, it is possible in a given case that a DMV hearing may be won but at the same time the person can face a conviction in court.

A refusal of the breath or blood test creates a presumption that the person’s alcohol level was in fact over the legal limit and the DMV will suspend his/her license for a longer period of time. This is because anyone using the roads in California is deemed to have consented to chemical testing when asked by a peace officer upon probable cause to suspect DUI. A refusal generally works against the interests of the accused.

Driving Under the Influence (General) - California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) states - It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (Specific) - California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) states- It is unlawful for any person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle. For purposes of this article and Section 34501.16, percent, by weight, of alcohol in a person's blood is based upon grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

Generally, each county in California has a different approach on DUI charges because of local rules and regulations, as such, depending on where your charges are the potential outcome will somewhat depend on your local Court. As such if you are charged with a DUI, you need the assistance of a local DUI attorney that knows your local court and district attorney. Contact our office to speak with an attorney that is familiar with your local jurisdiction.

A person charged with a first time DUI is facing a 4 months suspension of their license with a 30 day mandatory suspension period and 3 months of restriction from the DMV upon showing proof or enrollment in DUI classes, paying $125 fee to DMV and presenting SR-22 proof of insurance. A first time DUI offender is also facing 3 years of informal/summary probation with the court, approximately $1300-1900 in fines depending on their jurisdiction, and a requirement for completion of a first-time AB-541 Alcohol Offender’s program (which is also required by the DMV in order to allow a restricted license).

In some circumstances such as a very high Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), speeding, being involved in a car accident with bodily injuries or refusing to take a BAC test will add more time to any of the basic penalties mentioned above. Any future violations will be punished more severely if you have a prior DUI on your record within the past 10 years. Further, repeat offenses carry increasingly harsh punishments, which include 45 days in jail and the loss of your license.


A 2nd time DUI (within 10 years of a first conviction) requires a minimum of 96 hours in jail but in Orange County most courts require 45-90 days in county jail. Also, the DMV will likely give a 1 year license suspension and the accused required to complete an 18-month alcohol program.

A 3rd time DUI (within 10 years of 2 prior convictions) requires a minimum of 120 days in jail but most people convicted of this crime in Orange County do between 6 and 9 months in county jail. Also, the DMV will consider revocation of license for 3-5 years.

A 4th time DUI (within 10 years of 3 prior convictions) is usually filed as a FELONY and requires a minimum of 180 days in jail but most people will end up with 1 year in county jail or 16 months in state prison. Also, the DMV will consider revocation of his/her driver’s license for 3-5 years.

In general, a DUI conviction is a huge, life-changing event that will affect your employment, your family and your financial well-being. If you've been charged with a DUI, you should contact our office as soon as possible. The right California DUI Defense Attorneys have the experience and the technical knowledge to find the weak points in the prosecution's case and win your case or get your charges reduced or dismissed.

When charged with a DUI, the need for an effective, accomplished criminal defense attorney is urgent, and it is real. A lifestyle, a family, a business, a career, and freedom itself are often at stake. 

Contact the attorney who can make a difference in YOUR case. If you, a friend or a loved one is charged with Drunk Driving in Los Angeles county, or facing DUI charges in Orange County, don’t hesitate, pick up the phone and call our office immediately, your call is FREE! 

We can resolve your conflict at law with our knowledge of your local Court and District Attorney.

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