Each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws against driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs.  In California, driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or above is considered driving under the influence of alcohol.  Drunk-driving accidents take a terrible toll on society — from the injuries and deaths of loved ones, to the costs of paying for the damage caused by these auto accidents.

If you’ve been injured by a drunk-driver, you should think about meeting with a knowledgeable auto accident attorney.

DUI Laws for San Diego Drivers

Breaking a DUI law in California involves two different cases: one in court and one at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  If you’re arrested for breaking a DUI law, you’re required to request a hearing with the DMV within 10 days of the DUI charge.  If this step is not taken, California DUI laws state that you’ve plead guilty to drunk-driving, and you will automatically receive a car/motorcycle license suspension on the 30th day.

A criminal case for a drunk-driving in California focuses on these two DUI laws:

  • California Vehicle Code 23152 (a) — Whether or not the driver was “unable to drive the automobile with the same caution characteristic of a sober person, of ordinary prudence, under the same or similar circumstances.”
  • California Vehicle Code 23152 (b) — Focuses on the “per se” charge of “was the driver’s blood alcohol level .08 or higher.”

First time DUI offenders typically face the following, based on the situations surrounding the DUI arrest:

  • Fine between $390 and $1300
  • Probation for 3 to 5 years
  • Jail time ranging from 48 hours to 6 months
  • Sheriff work programs
  • First Offender School
  • Restitution

Almost all those arrested for DUI in California have to go to First Offender School in order to get their licenses back, but the length of time required for attendance varies depending on the BAC percentages at the time of arrest.

License Suspensions for California DUI Offenders

As of 2009, a California DUI conviction results in license suspension, which takes effect 30 days after the arrest.  The times for suspension by the DMV are as follows:

  • First DUI offense: 4-6 months
  • Second DUI offense: 24 months
  • Third DUI offense: 24 months or more.

This suspension is completely separate from criminal punishments dealt out by the courts, and typically the court will also suspend your license for 6 months.  These two overlap, but if you are given your license back by the DMV, you still face suspension as handed down by the courts.  You can get a restricted license to allow you to go to and from work, but you have to get this from both the DMV and the court.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a drunken driving accident, we urge you to contact our bilingual San Diego law offices as soon as possible following the accident at 1-858-551-2090 for a FREE consultation with an experienced automobile accident attorney or click here to submit your case for a FREE online review.  We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you owe nothing until we recover money on your behalf.