There are certain crimes for which an individual can claim ignorance; a person who buys a stereo that turns out to be stolen, for instance, may have had no intention of committing the crime of receiving stolen property. When it comes to driving under the influence, however, a person would be hard-pressed to convince a jury that they didn’t know what they were doing. Unfortunately for many individuals, it’s not even necessary to fail a breathalyzer to be convicted.
DUI Charges in California
There are actually several laws related to driving under the influence in California. This law under California Vehicle Code 23152(a), states that an individual is guilty of DUI if they’re under the influence of drugs, alcohol or a combination of the two while in control of a vehicle. As mentioned, a conviction of this subsection isn’t contingent on the failure of a breathalyzer device.
California also has a “per se” DUI law which states that having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over .08 percent is automatically considered driving under the influence. It’s not necessary, however, to meet this threshold to be charged with driving under the influence. If a person refuses a Breathalyzer or an officer simply believes that their driving is impaired due to having alcohol or drugs in their system, they can be charged even if their BAC wasn’t above .08 percent.
Getting Bail after DUI Charges
Driving under the influence is a bailable offense in California, but police will usually keep an individual for a certain period of time, sometimes around eight hours, to ensure that they’re sober when they leave custody. In some instances, a person may be released on their own recognizance and likely just be given a court date that they must attend.
It’s important to note, however, that a person may have to post bail for DUI in some instances. These bail amounts can vary immensely between counties, so it’s essential to consult with a bail agency, such as Bail Hotline. In addition, set bail may change dependent on certain factors of the arrest. In Sacramento County, for instance, a person could face a $100,000 bail amount if they have five prior DUI convictions. In Santa Cruz County, on the other hand, a person with even one prior DUI conviction may have to post a bail amount of $25,000.
Penalties for Driving under the Influence
Even though violations of Vehicle Code 23152(a) don’t require the usual .08 percent BAC used to convict most individuals, breaking this law can still bring about the same consequences. A person convicted of their first DUI, for instance, can face up to six months in jail and fines of up to $2,600. In addition, their license could be suspended for up to 10 months and an ignition interlock device may be required in some counties.
It’s important to note, though, that subsequent convictions can prove much more detrimental. A second DUI conviction in California, for instance, can actually result in a year in jail and a license suspension of up to two years. These penalties are obviously severe, and are a testament to the state’s intention to reduce the occurrence of impaired driving on its roadways.
There are well over one million arrests for DUI in America every single year, and the consequences faced due to a conviction can quite literally leave a person’s life in ruin. It’s important to note, however, that an arrest doesn’t constitute an automatic conviction, and this is especially the case when a person is charged under Vehicle Code 23152(a). Since there is often no breathalyzer evidence of a heightened BAC when these charges are faced, a person with experienced legal help may be able to avoid the aforementioned repercussions.