California DUI Lawyer

Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is sometimes referred to as “drunk driving” or “driving while intoxicated” (DWI). In the state of California there are both misdemeanor and felony penalties that may be applied under the state's DUI laws. The California Vehicle Code has two basic drunk driving laws. Under section 23152(a), “It is a misdemeanor to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.” Under section 23152(b), “It is a misdemeanor to drive with .08% or more of alcohol in your blood.” Although both sections may appear to be extremely similar, but in the majority of cases both offenses will be charged. A curious idiosyncrasy of the law states, however, that even though a defendant may be charged and convicted under both sections, he or she can only be punished under one section. The punishments for those convicted of both sections also happen to be identical.

Crimes and Punishment

A further section of the Vehicle Code, section 23153, includes so-called “Felony DUI” provisions that are activated when an offender causes injury to another party through the act of driving under the influence of alcohol. Should these actions result in death, the defendant may be charged under sections 191.5 and 192 of the state Penal Code.

The penalties for those convicted of DUI in California vary depending on the circumstances, though they generally increase in severity if it is a first, second, third or fourth offence. Minimum penalties include 3 to 5 years of Court Probation, a fine of $1400 to $1800 that includes court fees, a 6-month drivers license suspension, required attendance of between 12 and 45 hours at “DUI School” and 48 hours of jail time (though this is sometimes converted to work service). A fourth offense may be considered to be a felony depending on the circumstances. Punishment is severe, including up to 3 years jail time in a state penitentiary, permanent license suspension and more.

Getting Help

If you are arrested in California on a DUI offence, you can receive legal assistance from various kinds of lawyers. Some specialize in DUI cases, but criminal defense lawyers and public defenders will also take your case if asked. It's important to know that being charged with a DUI offense in California does not automatically lead to a conviction. Your lawyer may be able to have the charges reduced or even dismissed. Depending on the particulars of the case, arrest and subsequent processing by state law enforcement personnel, your lawyer may argue that the defendant's constitutional rights were violated. He or she may also successfully challenge blood alcohol concentration measurements and procedures. Police reports used in DUI cases must follow a complex procedure that must be meticulously checked for any lapses or deviations. An lawyer experienced in California DUI law is often your best defense if you should find yourself on the wrong end of a breathalyzer machine some day.

By Steve Levenstein           


Locate a California DUI Lawyer:

Murchison & Cumming
Symphony Towers, 750 B Street
San Diego, CA 92101

The Dolan Law Firm
The Dolan Building, 78 First Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

Pitcaithley & Hobbs, Lawyers
Suite 2, 1070 Felspar
San Diego, CA 92101

Allred, Maroko & Goldberg
6300 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1500
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Wasserman, Comden & Casselman L.L.P.
11755 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1230
Brentwood, CA 90025

Choulos Choulos & Wyle
425 California Street, 18th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104

Walters & Caietti, APC
3655 Nobel Drive, Suite 510
San Diego, CA 92122

D'Angelo & Jones, LLP
450 Sansome Street, Suite 910
San Francisco, CA 94111

Banning Micklow & Bull LLP
One Market -- Steuart Tower, Ste 1440
San Francisco, CA 94105-1429

Guzin & Steier
4525 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 201
Los Angeles, CA 90010-3837

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