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California DUI -

       The cornerstone of the Driving Under the Influence (DUI) laws in California is set forth in Vehicle Code §23152 that provides:

23152 (a) It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.
(b) It is unlawful for any person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.

The Criminal Attorney

       Most criminal attorneys will refer to either the "a" count or the "b" count. That is a referenceto the fact that most prosecutors will file alternative charges under VC 23152(a) and under (b), since they will allege that the driver was either driving under the influence or was driving while their blood alcohol was .08 percent or higher. In other words, if a person has the BA at .08 at the time of the driving, then the prosecution may not need to show that the person was under the influence.

Suspected Driving under the Influence

       If a person is stopped by the police and arrested for a suspected driving under the influence charge, the police will usually take the license from the person and give them a replacement form that is a temporary authorization to drive a car. This taking of the license by the police is considered to be an administrative suspension in that the officer is then required to complete certain forms with the DMV and state a basis for why the officer believes that you were driving with a BA of .08 or higher. If this was your first offense, then the DMV will threaten to suspend your license for a period of four months. This would be an administrative suspension not a court suspension. It operates independent of the criminal proceedings and it is very important that you consult with an attorney to protect your rights.

Challenging the Suspension

       Very often there are situations where you might be able to challenge the threatened administrative suspension of your driver license and it can be important to consult with an attorney right away. Certain protections can be lost after 10 days following the incident.

Attorney Representation

       Separate from whatever proceedings the DMV might take against your license, the local District Attorney will decide what, if any, charges should be filed against you. These are criminal charges and you do have the right to have an attorney represent you. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint an attorney to represent you. Again, it is very important to get an attorney to represent you as the consequences involve loss of license, jail time and significant fines and penalties.

- Written by , Attorney at Law





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