Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol in the Bay Area is a criminal act prosecuted through the criminal justice system, not handled through the DMV like minor traffic infractions. If you are charged with a DUI, choose lawyers who have specific DUI defense experience to receive the most vigorous defense.
A DUI can be charged if your “blood alcohol content” (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. The “BAC” is a measurement of how much ethanol as opposed to blood is found within the bloodstream by volume. Drivers under 21 have a legal limit of 0.01% BAC, while commercial driver’s license holders have a limit of 0.04% BAC. To determine BAC, an office may test a driver’s breath, urine, or blood.
If a driver doesn’t meet the legal limit to be charged with a DUI, he can still be charged with reckless driving when appropriate. Moreover, the District Attorney will charge a high blood alcohol allegation if a defendant’s blood alcohol level is .15 percent or greater; this can carry increased penalties such as a longer DUI program and a longer jail sentence.
Being Convicted of a DUI in the Bay Area is Serious and Extremely Costly
Even if you are facing a first-time DUI charge, the criminal penalties in California can be onerous. It is believed that the harshness of these penalties has led to lower arrest rates for misdemeanor DUIs. The criminal procedure is separate and apart from the DMV’s administrative procedure for a DUI. If you are arrested with a DUI, you should hire experienced DUI attorneys to help you fight the charges, which can result in harsh consequences.
In criminal court, a convicted driver that has no prior DUI convictions can still receive a 30-day to 10-month suspension of driving privileges. First offenders convicted of misdemeanor DUIs who have not injured anyone can receive fines that run from $390-$1,000. Jail time for a first offender can range from 4 days up to 6 months. Over ¾ of these enter a first-offender DUI program.
Second and third offenders who are convicted of misdemeanor DUIs may face even greater penalties. The driver’s license of a second offender can be revoked for one to two years. Jail time ranges from 90 days to one year. Fines again start at $390 and go up to $1000. Third-time offenders may be sentenced to 120 days-1 year jail time and fined $390-$1,000. They may have to go into 18 or 30-month program. Additionally, their license can be revoked for 3 years. On January 1, 2012, a new law went into effect that allows a court to order a license revocation for ten years for any individual with three or more DUI convictions in the past ten years.
Alameda County, where Fremont is located, is one of four counties in the state participating in an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) pilot program. The device does not allow a driver to start his vehicle without passing an alcohol breath test first. The pilot program mandates that every individual convicted of a DUI in Alameda County (or one of the other three counties participating) on or after July 1, 2010, to install an IID on every vehicle they own or drive. The length of time the individual must install the IID varies depending on the number of prior offenses and other circumstances of the DUI.
Convicted individuals also must provide the DMV with a form verifying the installation, pay a $45 administrative service fee (ASF), and meet other reinstatement requirements before the DMV can reinstate, reissue, or restrict their driver license. If successful after five years, this pilot program may be implemented in other California counties, too.
If a person is injured as a result of a DUI or in the case of felony DUIs, all of these fines and jail times may increase. For example, someone convicted of a felony DUI with an injury may face 16 mo.-10 years in prison, and an additional sentence based on how many were injured and how badly, between $1015-5000 in fines, mandatory treatment in an alcohol or drug program, habitual traffic offender status for three years, and have to pay restitution to the persons injured. On top of these criminal penalties, people who are convicted of a DUI must also deal with court fees and DMV fees and a record that lasts 10 years. If an individual is arrested for a DUI, and he was convicted of one or more DUIs within the last 10 years, he or she is a second- or third-time offender.
If You Need Help Challenging a DUI Charge in the Bay Area, contact Bay Area DUI Lawyers at Dudek & Cintean, LLP
The penalties for a DUI can be severe. Dudek & Cintean, LLP can help you fight a DUI charge. We have extensive experience handling criminal defense cases, and we have helped many clients get DUI charges dropped or reduced based on faulty tests, improper procedures, unlawfully acquired evidence, and many other reasons. For a confidential consultation, call Dudek & Cintean, LLP at our San Francisco office at (415) 946-4020 or our Contra Costa office at (925) 335-6444.