If you have been arrested for a DUI in California, it is important to seek legal counsel immediately. Having an experienced lawyer defend your case can make a world of difference in your end result. Attorney Johann Hall has years of experience defending DUI charges in the State of California. Call attorney Johann Hall today to get started with a consult on your case.
California DUI Law
In California, you can be charged with driving under the influence if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Charges for DUI are not just limited to illegal drugs; you can also be arrested for DUI if you seem to be impaired by prescription drugs, even if they were prescribed to you, as well as some medications that are available over-the-counter.
The threshold limit at which it becomes illegal to operate a motor vehicle in California is a blood alcohol content level of .08% or more. There are additional restrictions for certain groups of drivers. For instance, drivers of commercial vehicles have a legal blood alcohol level content of .04%, while drivers under the age of 21 have a legal limit of just .01%.
Drivers’ License Suspension
It is extremely important to hire an attorney to represent you if you have been charged with a DUI because the resulting penalties are not just limited to your charges in the criminal court system. Unfortunately, an arrest for DUI also can lead to a license suspension. There will likely be an administrative hearing before the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
If the officer confiscates your driver license at the time of your arrest, it will be returned to you once the suspension or revocation period you are subject to has concluded. To get your license back, however, you will have to pay a $125 reissue fee to the California DMV along with filing proof of financial responsibility. If you were under the age of 21 when arrested and suspended under the Zero Tolerance Law, the reissue fee would be lowered to $100. If you go through the administrative review process and the DMV concludes that there was no basis for the suspension or revocation, your license will be returned to you.
The DMV Administrative Review Procedure
The DMV will conduct an administration review that will involve an examination of the police officer’s report related to your arrest, along with any test results and the suspension or revocation order. If during the review your suspension or revocation of your license is upheld, then you have the option to request a hearing to fight the suspension or revocation.
There is a very short time frame during which you must exercise your right to request a hearing from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. You only have ten days from the receipt of your suspension or revocation to initiate your challenge. Your challenge will either result in the DMV setting aside your suspension or revocation, or it will proceed to an administrative hearing on the matter.
Penalties for Your First DUI Offense
Beyond the administrative process penalties regarding license suspension or revocation, by getting arrested for DUI, you are also subject to additional legal penalties depending on the outcome of your case in the criminal court system. For the criminal charges, you may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $1,000, and you may potentially be required to spend six months in jail. The judge may also order someone with their first DUI conviction to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle and attend a DUI class.
Penalties for Subsequent DUI Offenses
The legal penalties in the criminal court system for second or subsequent DUIs are more serious in nature. If you are convicted of your second DUI, you may be sentenced to up to one year in jail. The judge may also order you to pay a fine of up to $1,800. Your license suspension time period is typically longer for subsequent DUI convictions.
Consequences of the Implied Consent Law in California
You have the right in the state of California to refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test in the event you are pulled over for suspected driving under the influence. If you choose to exercise this right, however, your refusal to take the breathalyzer test may result in harsher penalties in California. Your refusal of the test can result in an automatic suspension of your license for one year or more.
In California, a DUI arrest and conviction can have serious consequences for your future. If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, call DUI attorney Johann Hall at (707) 360-8717 today for a consultation to get started on the defense of your case.