What Is the Legal Blood Alcohol Level in California?
Being charged and convicted for driving under the influence in California can have severe consequences. If you or a loved one has been charged with a first, second, or third DUI, our Ventura and Santa Barbara criminal defense attorneys can help.
To speak to a professional about your case in a free, confidential consultation, call the Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC, today at (805) 585-5056.
Legal Blood Alcohol Levels in California
Recent years have seen a rise in vehicular accidents due to driving while under the influence of alcohol. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every day, close to thirty people lose their lives due to drunk driving in the United States. Furthermore, the NHTSA has found that more than 10,000 lives are lost every year due to alcohol-related crashes around the country.
These numbers show one harsh reality: Alcohol and driving claim too many lives every year in our country, and sadly, California is no exception. Every year, many people lose loved ones or face life-changing injuries due to drunk driving. To combat this trend, California has set a limit on the amount of alcohol people are allowed to have in their bodies when they sit behind the steering wheel.
The legal limit on blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in the state of California is 0.08%. This means that if a police officer pulls you over, performs a breathalyzer test, and finds that your BAC is 0.08% or higher, you can be arrested and charged with a DUI. For underaged drivers, California’s DUI laws are even more stringent. For instance, the BAC limit for young people in California is a mere 0.02%.
Additionally, DUI charges can be enhanced depending on the driver’s BAC. For instance, if your BAC is double the legal limit, you may face increased DUI charges, which can lead to dire consequences. Our Ventura and Santa Barbara criminal defense lawyers can help you defend against DUI charges in California.
Criminal Penalties for DUI Convictions in California
A DUI conviction can change the course of your entire life. The legal, social, and professional consequences of a criminal conviction can last for decades and place you under a lot of stress. This is especially true for people who are convicted of a DUI in California. The severity of your penalties will depend on a number of different factors. For instance, first-time DUI offenders will face milder consequences compared to those who are repeat offenders. However, if there is an accident that caused injuries, you will likely face more severe consequences.
Generally, a first DUI conviction will be considered a misdemeanor. This means that as a first-time DUI offender, you are not likely to face severe consequences, although this doesn’t mean you can avoid any adverse effects. If you are found guilty of your first DUI charge, you will need to pay thousands of dollars in fines. Additionally, you may face up to six months in jail, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. In addition to these penalties, you may have your license suspended for up to six months.
If you are found guilty of a second DUI offense, you can also face thousands of dollars in fines in addition to up to a year in jail. Additionally, if you are convicted for a second DUI, your license can be suspended for up to two years, and you will not be allowed to drive until the suspension is lifted. If you are convicted of a third DUI offense, the consequences can be even harsher.
The criminal consequences for a DUI conviction can worsen if it involves the injury or death of another person. For instance, you can be charged with a felony if you kill a person as a result of a DUI. In severe cases, you can face second-degree murder charges, which are punishable by many years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. In addition to these already punishing penalties, you can suffer the consequences associated with a conviction, such as a criminal record, difficulties finding a job, and difficulties finding housing.
Defending Yourself Against DUI Charges
You should not lose hope if you are charged with a DUI. While DUI laws are very stringent in the State of California, there are ways you can defend yourself against them. For instance, one of the ways you can protect yourself against a DUI charge is by challenging the breathalyzer test results. These types of tests rely on the use of a machine to read your BAC. There are times when breathalyzers are not regularly serviced or updated, which can result in a false reading of your BAC. By challenging the validity of these results, you may be able to have your charges dropped altogether.
Another way to fight your DUI charges is by challenging the legality of your arrest. Police officers must follow rigorous legal procedures to preserve your constitutional rights. For instance, if a police officer pulls you over and proceeds to arrest you and interrogate you without having probable cause or reading your Miranda rights, you can challenge the arrest and establish a constitutional rights violation. Our Ventura and Santa Barbara criminal defense lawyers can help you during this time of need.
DUI Criminal Defense Lawyers Serving Ventura and Santa Barbara
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI, our criminal defense attorneys can help. At the Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC, our DUI defense lawyers can help you uphold your rights as a defendant. Thanks to our experience, dedication, and knowledge, we are able to provide high-quality criminal defense strategies to all of our clients. To discuss your case in a free, confidential consultation, call our law offices today at (805) 585-5056.