Under Section 23152(b) of the California Vehicle Code (CVC), a regular DUI arrest occurs when a driver has a Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) of over 0.08%. However, drivers can still get arrested for a DUI if their BAC is lower than 0.08% or if they refuse to take a sobriety test.
Most drivers will initially get pulled over for something else, such as a traffic violation or an accident. There, the officer will note that they either smelled alcohol on the driver or that they demonstrated signs of intoxication. Since the standard for an officer to issue a sobriety test is very low, this can include anything from obvious symptoms like slurred speech or belligerency, or less obvious signs such as a lack of focus or bloodshot eyes.
DUI while on Probation
The sentence for a first DUI can include a six-month license suspension and the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device which prevents the car from starting if the reading from the motorist registers a BAC over a certain level.
If you have already been arrested for a DUI (or another crime) and are still serving the probation for the first charge, your penalties automatically become much more severe. This is because violating probation is a crime by itself, in addition to the DUI crime. It’s also important to remember that when you are on probation, your blood alcohol minimum changes from 0.08% to 0.01%, effectively eliminating the privilege to consume any alcohol during the length of the sentence. Essentially, when you are on probation, the “zero tolerance” policy goes into effect and you are assigned the equivalent of youth driving status.
Under the CVC, getting charged for a DUI while on probation results in a combination of the following consequences:
- Minimum one year license suspension. This can go up to a maximum of two years if you refused to do the alcohol test at the scene—an action which is illegal in and of itself.
- Minimum 90-day prison sentence, and up to two years in prison. The reasoning behind the two years is to award one year per charge.
- Ineligibility for any type of license, including a restricted license.
A judge may also prescribe the following:
- Increased fines
- Installation of an ignition interlock device if one is not already in place
- Alcohol education classes
These are serious penalties, which are accorded under the CVC because you have committed two additional crimes apart from your first offense: a second DUI and a probation violation, which will now be added to your record.
Orange County DUI Lawyer
Unfortunately, both of these crimes carry the potential for jail time. To avoid this, you need a knowledgeable O.C. DUI lawyer who can successfully argue that you are not alcohol dependent and that you are not at risk of reoffending.
In California, DUIs are an extremely serious matter. Even for first-time offenders, judges are quite aggressive and prosecutors rarely show leniency if the matter goes to trial. That’s why it is extremely important to have a DUI attorney who truly understands the DUI court process.