Have you been charged with a DUI?  Before you proceed to take matters into your own hands or get the opinion of an acquaintance that went through the process, inform yourself of the law and your responsibilities.

 Commonly referred to  in the industry as DUI, Drunk Driving or Deuce or 23152.

A DUI is a crime that can be classified as a Misdemeanor or a Felony.  The difference between a Misdemeanor and Felony DUI are a 4th DUI or any DUI resulting in injury.  If you injure your passenger or another driver you will be charged with a felony. The severity of a Misdemeanor DUI will increase depending on how many times in the last ten years you were convicted of DUI.

The misdemeanor DUI can be found in Vehicle Code Section 23152.  It is broken up into an (a) and (b) subsection.  Subsection (a) makes it unlawful to drive under the influence or any alcoholic beverage or drug.  If your driving is impaired in any way regardless the level of alcohol in your system you can be charged with DUI.  Subsection (b) makes it unlawful to drive with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) above .08.  This is not much so you are best off not driving at all if you drink or wait a few hours just to be sure.  In order to determine your BAC the police must take a sample of your blood, breath or urine. I have yet to see a urine sample in San Diego, so most times it will be blood or breath.  If you do not provide a sample your license will be suspended automatically.  The police can use two different devices to get a breath sample and they are not to be confused between the PAS (Preliminary Alcohol Screening) device and the Intoximeter.  The Intoximeter is what is admissible to establish your BAC.  The PAS is used to establish probable cause for arrest which is usually given after other field sobriety tests.

The hardest part of getting arrested and convicted of a DUI is staying out of trouble and not driving on a suspended license. If you plead guilty the court can put you on probation. Probation is in lieu of actual custody.  There are many conditions that you must follow while on probation.  If you violate a condition the court can put you into custody.  Of my client’s that violate probation the most common and easiest to follow is attending a MADD or DUI program.  In addition, the fines are not cheap but they can be paid over time.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI your attorney can appear on your behalf.  This alone makes it worth the fees.  You don’t have to take time off of work and spend all day in the courthouse terrified if you are going to jail or wondering could have done more.  All felonies you have to appear in person in California.  If you are charged with a felony don’t plan on going or moving anywhere because you have to be present.

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