Alin Cintean, Attorney at Law and Richard Dudek, Attorney at Law are an experienced Bay Area DUI defense firm. With two former prosecutors and a board-certified criminal law specialist, you can rest assured that you are in good hands. Your attorneys know use their knowledge of the criminal court process to defend you. Alin Cintean, Attorney at Law and Richard Dudek, Attorney at Law have offices in San Francisco and Contra Costa, serving both in and out-of-state drivers facing DUI charges in the California Bay Area.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
California and other states have “implied consent” laws that presume the driver’s consent to chemical testing when pulled over for a suspected DUI. Drivers consent to testing when they sign their license, often forgetting the harsh penalties imposed if they refuse. Refusal to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test may result in arrest, an administrative DMV hearing, immediate license suspension, or revocation for up to four years.
Breathalyzers Measure BAC
Breath tests are the most popular means of testing blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. The legal limits for BAC in California are:
- 0.08% or above for most drivers
- 0.04% for commercial driver license (CDL) holders
- 0.01% for underage drivers (younger than 21) and motorists on probation for DUI
Remember that DUI charges are not based on how drunk or intoxicated you feel, but by any impairment caused by consumption of alcohol or drugs. Even a small sip of alcohol or minor side effect of medication could impair your reaction time, leading to a DUI arrest.
Driving While Impaired by Drugs
Officers may also pull over drivers they suspect are on drugs. Driving under the influence of any medication, even if legal, is a crime. Drugs that can affect your ability to operate a car include:
- Cough syrup, Nyquil
- Narcotics, anticonvulsants
- Medical marijuana and edibles
- Prescription anxiety medication
- Herbal relaxation, sleep remedies
- Over-the-counter allergy medication
Drivers who are suspected of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs may have to undergo a more intrusive blood or urine test. Having a prescription for medicine or medical marijuana license is not a defense to DUI.
DUI Penalties: First Offense
DUI penalties are purposely strict for underage drivers and CDL holders, who can register above the legal limit without having finished one drink. All drivers face suspension or revocation of their license depending on their driving history. The first conviction may involve:
- 6-month jail sentence
- 9-month DUI program
- Criminal fine of up to $1,000
- “Penalty assessment” of up to $3,000
- $125 Driver’s License Reinstatement fee
In some counties, first-time and repeat offenders are required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) that tests your blood alcohol level before you can start the engine.
Subsequent DUI Convictions
Repeat DUI offenders may lose their license for up to four years. This is especially tough in California, a car-dependent state. Second or third convictions make the driver ineligible to complete any of the penalties listed above for first-time offenders. The DUI course and IID are only available after the two to four-year revocation period ends. Further, if an alcohol or substance-related accident results in death or injury, the California Three Strikes law may apply. This subjects the driver to a potential jail sentence of 25 years to life, suit in civil court, and an administrative hearing with the California DMV.
An Experienced California DUI Lawyer Can Help
If you have been arrested for DUI or an alcohol-related offense, contact the Bay Area DUI defense lawyers at Alin Cintean, Attorney at Law and Richard Dudek, Attorney at Law today. Never sign a waiver or give a written statement without consulting an attorney first. You should have an experienced advocate at your side from the beginning. Alin Cintean, Attorney at Law and Richard Dudek, Attorney at Law will protect your rights and ensure that no unlawfully obtained evidence can be used against you. We have challenged numerous blood, urine, and breath tests and had the results thrown out. Our track record shows strong success in having many DUI charges dismissed or diminished so that you can drive again. Whether you are a first-time or repeat offender, we are dedicated to defending your rights and helping you get back on your feet. For a confidential consultation, call our San Francisco (415) 946-4020 or Contra Costa (925) 335-6444 office or contact us online.