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Back To The Basics Of A California Dui


I spend a lot of time trying to find DUI-related topics to talk about, from DUI laws to drunk driving research to recent drunk driving arrests. It occurred to me that in all of the writing and searching for unique topics, that the basics of a California DUI have been long since talked about.

So here’s the gist:

Officers need probable cause to arrest a person on suspicion of a California DUI. Following a traffic stop, they likely do not have the probable cause to believe a person is driving drunk. However, they obtain the probable cause using their observations (slurred speech, smell of alcohol, and blood shot, watery eyes), field sobriety tests, and a pre-arrest breathalyzer.

Once arrested, the officers must advise the DUI suspect that they must submit to either a breath or a blood test.

After the arrest, law enforcement sends their report to the appropriate prosecuting agency who then makes a decision to file criminal charges. If a DUI is charged, it will typically be under California Vehicle Code section 23152(a) and/or 23512(b). Simply put, Vehicle Code 23152(a) makes it illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol and Vehicle Code 23152(b) makes it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher.

If a person is arrested having been suspected of driving while under the influence of an intoxicant other than alcohol, they will likely be charged with California Vehicle Code section 23152(e).

The filing of charges triggers a criminal case in the appropriate courthouse. The court will schedule a hearing called an arraignment. At arraignment, the DUI suspect, who is now a DUI defendant, will enter a plea, be advised of their rights, and the charges pending against them.

Following the arraignment, there may be several or no pretrial hearings to allow the prosecutor and any defense attorney, either private or a public defender, to assess the merits of the case negotiate a plea deal. A plea deal may include a reduction in charges to a “wet reckless,” “dry reckless,” or some other lesser charge. It may also include a reduction in sentence.

If no deal can be reached, the case proceeds to a trial where the prosecutor will have to prove to a jury that the DUI defendant drove a vehicle either under the influence of alcohol, under the influence of a drug, or with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher.

If the jury finds the person not guilty, they suffer no legal penalties. However, if the finds the person guilty, they face a minimum of three years of summary probation, a fine between $390 and $1,000 plus penalties and assessments, and a three-month drunk driving program known as AB-541, and up to six month in county jail.

This is a mere scratching of the surface. However, as you can see, it is not a simple process. I never suggest that people who have been suspected of driving drunk attempt to navigate the process on their own. Do yourself a favor and hire a California DUI attorney.

The post Back to the Basics of a California DUI appeared first on Law Offices of Taylor and Taylor - DUI Central.

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