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Napa County Defense Attorney

As law enforcement focuses on its battle with drunk driving, lawmakers will often introduce new bills in order to strengthen the tools that police have to catch drunk drivers and the penalties that the courts can enforce if the driver is found guilty. Some of these bills pass and some do not, but it can make it confusing to understand what the current DUI laws in California are. The following are some of the common FAQs about drunk driving that the legal team at Burglin Law Offices, P.C. are often asked.

What Is Considered Legally Intoxicated Under California Law?

Under current California, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level that could result in a DUI charge is:


California Underage DUI Laws

Posted on in DUI

san franscisco dui defense lawyerCalifornia prohibits drivers from operating while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Both legal adults who are able to legally consume alcohol as well as people less than 21 years of age can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Adults in California face charges if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent or greater. People under 21 years of age must comply with the zero-tolerance policy in California under which a person can face possible penalties for driving with a BAC of as little as 0.01 percent.

A zero-tolerance violation results in a one-year driver's license suspension. Alleged offenders with BACs of 0.05 percent or higher face a one-year suspension as well as mandatory alcohol education classes. If an underage driver has a BAC above 0.08 percent, he or she will face the same DUI penalties as adults over 21 years old. 

Underage DUI Penalties

When a juvenile is charged with the standard DUI offense because of a BAC of 0.08 or more, or they are exhibiting signs of impairment to police officers, then the penalties will increase to fines as high as $1,000, three to five years misdemeanor probation, and a one-year suspension of driving privileges. Drivers under 21 years of age can also face driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) charges or possibly DUI causing injury, vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, or DUI murder charges when they cause traffic accidents while impaired.


Common DUI Defenses in California

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california dui defense lawyerMany people who are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in California become immediately fearful that a conviction is imminent. In actuality, many alleged offenders in these cases have a variety of defenses that could allow them to avoid conviction.

Prosecutors in these cases are motivated to try and portray alleged offenders as being particularly reckless, but a criminal defense attorney can make a world of difference in determining your defense options. 

Possible Legal Defenses Against DUI Charges

When you are considering possible DUI defenses, these are some of the most common defenses:


Sonoma Drunk Driving LawyerIn the United States, we have important rights when it comes to our privacy. The Fourth Amendment protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. However, there are exceptions to this rule. One exception is when the police have reason to believe that a crime has been committed. It is crucial for everyone to know when police officers have the authority to conduct a traffic stop and assess a driver for signs of intoxication.

If a DUI traffic stop is conducted without justification, evidence obtained during the traffic stop may be unusable in court. This means that if an alleged drunk driver can prove that the officer who pulled him or her over had no grounds for doing so, any evidence of intoxication gathered during the stop may not be used against the driver. This could lead to the charges being dismissed entirely.

Reasonable Suspicion is Required for a Traffic Stop

To understand when police have the authority to pull someone over on suspicion of drunk driving, it is important to know what "reasonable suspicion" is. To initiate a traffic stop, police must have a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is taking place. Actual violations of the law, such as speeding or running a red light, are justifications for conducting a traffic stop. Unsafe driving or driving that makes the officer suspect criminal activity may also justify a traffic stop. For example, if an officer witnesses a driver erratically moving from lane to lane, the officer may assume that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Police must be able to specify the reason that he or she suspected someone of breaking the law. Officers are not permitted to pull someone over for no reason. Sobriety checkpoints are one exception to the reasonable belief requirement.


Can a DUI Threaten My Nursing License?

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Richmond County DUI Defense LawyerWhen someone is arrested for suspected drunk driving, their main concern may be jail time or driver’s license suspension. However, for licensed professionals, getting a drunk driving charge can also threaten their livelihood.

When a licensed nurse is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in California, he or she can face additional penalties through the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). If you or a loved one are a nurse who was recently arrested for DUI in the Marin County area, reach out to a lawyer for help. All hope is not lost and there may be steps you or your loved one can take to avoid losing your nursing career.

Fighting Drunk Driving Charges

DUI charges are often based on the results of a field sobriety test or breathalyzer test. These tests are not perfect and false positives have been known to happen. With help from a skilled DUI defense lawyer, a nurse arrested for DUI may be able to get the charges dropped or receive a “not guilty” verdict.

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