What is Driving Under the Influence?
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a term used by most states, including California, Florida and Pennsylvania, for being legally intoxicated or impaired while operating a motor vehicle. The threshold for legal intoxication is typically when a breath, blood or urine test registers a blood alcohol content of 0.08%. Minors under the legal drinking age may be declared under the influence at a lower BAC percentage. Similarly, law enforcement may arrest a motorist for being impaired even when their BAC is lower than 0.08%.
DUI is referred to as DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) in eight states, including New York and Texas, and OVI/OMVI (Operating a Motor Vehicle while Intoxicated) in Ohio. For the most part, the acronyms are equivalent and represent being charged with drunk driving. In a few circumstances however, DUI may represent a lower offense in a DWI state. Having a BAC higher than 0.08% would be called a DWI while a DUI would apply to motorists with a BAC of less than 0.08% who are still deemed to be impaired and thus incapable of driving safely.
The penalties vary for a DUI offense. Specific laws can be reviewed for The State of California.
If you have been charged with a DUI in California (Driving Under the Influence), there are two things that you need to consider:
Take your DUI charge very seriously.
A conviction for a DUI in California will have long lasting consequences. A criminal record can affect your employment, your future and your personal freedom.
Hire an experienced California DUI Lawyer or drunk driving defense attorneys who are experienced in the CA DUI laws.
A California DUI in the Courts
- $1,300 fine.
- 3 years probation (informal - no probation officer).
- 3-5 days sheriff work alternative program (picking up trash, cleaning buses, etc.)
- First Offender School (12 hrs/ 32 hrs / 45 hrs (3 month or 6 months) depending on blood alcohol levels.
- AND Once the DMV receives notice of conviction - 6 Months license suspension (this is in addition to APS action - see The Complication below).
If the DUI charge is reduced to a 'wet reckless' the fine is lower and the course is only 12 hours. BUT If you want a restricted license, the DMV requires a completion certificate for a first offender program. A first offender program is 3 months long (sometimes the county makes it 4 months long). So, here is the catch 22. The court tells you to do a 12 hour program BUT the DMV has NO forms for a 12 month program and ONLY accepts completion forms for a 32 hour program! Get it? If you've got a 'wet-reckless' then you have to complete a 3 month program to get your license from the DMV in California! A DUI lawyer can help you out with this.
This is in addition to the four months immediate DMV suspension that starts 30 days after your DUI stop.
The Complication of a California DUI
These two ACTIONS (court and DMV) are SEPARATE and do not influence one another. Many times someone gets their license back by going to the DMV hearing and then is convicted in the court. When this happens what happens to your license gets ever more 'complicated'. And the reverse is true, people are innocent in the court and yet still have a license suspension with the DMV.
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