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How is "DUI" Defined by California Law?

Posted by Terry A. Wapner | Mar 06, 2014 | 0 Comments

Maybe you've been arrested for a DUI offense in the past. Maybe you have never even been pulled over. Whatever your individual situation may be, it's not a bad idea to have a little more information on California law as it relates to drunk driving.

Pretty much everyone is familiar with the term “DUI” or driving under the influence, but not everyone really knows what it means or what it takes to get arrested for DUI in Fresno or other areas of California. Let's start with some basic legal information. Under California law, VC Section 23152, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is defined as the following:

(a) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle. (b) It is unlawful for a person who has .08% or more, by weight, or alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle. (c) It is unlawful for a person who is addicted to the use of any drug to drive a vehicle. (d) It is unlawful for a person who has 0.04% or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in Section 15210. (e) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle. (f) It is unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle.

So, what does this legal jargon mean? Generally, it means:

  • That an adult driver will be arrested for DUI with a BAC of .08% or greater;
  • That a driver of a commercial vehicle will be arrested for DUI with a BAC of .04% or greater;
  • You cannot drive if you are under the influence of any drug.

Also, if you are a minor driver (under 21 years of age), you will be charged with DUI for having a .01% BAC or greater.

Let's say you get arrested for DUI. What should you expect to happen? At this point, the officer is supposed to get a copy of a “completed notice of suspension or revocation form” and your driver's license after it's confiscated, to the DMV. Then, the DMV will hold an administrative review. This review is the time for examining the officer's report, the driver's license suspension or revocation order, and any other documentation.

If everything is approved after the review, you may request an administrative hearing to contest the suspension or revocation of your license. Keep in mind that you only have 10 days to petition for the administrative hearing. If you wait longer than that, you will have forfeited your right to a hearing. The state is very strict with this policy!

Also, remember that there is also a criminal component associated with your DUI. After the administrative portion, you will be expected to appear in court. The criminal component is the part of the process where you will be sentenced to any jail time, fees, or other penalties associated with your DUI charge.

Dealing with a DUI arrest is difficult. It's a good idea to consult with a DUI defense attorney who can help you to understand the laws and advise you on your best options.

About the Author

Terry A. Wapner

Terry A. Wapner confines his practice to the defense of persons accused of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and related crimes.

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