New DUI Laws
Recent DUI Legislation
Over the past few years, several new DUI laws have been enacted. This includes a new zero tolerance law for any drivers on probation for a DUI conviction that get behind the wheel with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.01% or higher. If you are on probation, and refuse to take a breath or blood test after being pulled over by law enforcement, you will be subject to license suspension or revocation for a period of one to three years.
Residents in this area who have been previously convicted of DUI, including first time offenses, are also now legally required to install an Ignition interlock device (IID) in order to obtain a restricted driver's license. IIDs are mini-breathalyzer instruments that prevent a vehicle from operating unless the driver provides an alcohol-free breath sample. Judges can also order drivers convicted of DUI with a BAC of only 0.15% to install an IID on their vehicle.
Restricted licenses can now be obtained by a person found guilty of DUI for a second time after their 90-day license suspension, as well as third-time offenders after their six month license suspension. In both cases the driver must enroll in a DUI program, and an IID in their vehicle. Restricted licenses allow a person to drive to and from work, school and court-ordered alcohol and drug treatment programs.
Floyd, Skeren & Kelly, LLP is professional criminal defense firm with extensive DUI case experience. Our attorneys can provide qualified legal representation for misdemeanor, felony and federal DUI charges. A conviction in a DUI case can result in everything jail time and fines to court-ordered drug or alcohol treatment, as well as community service and the loss of driving privileges. We are well-versed in DUI laws and know what to expect from the prosecution. We will thoroughly review your case and explain your legal options and possible defense strategies.
2014 DUI Law Changes
2014 brings a couple changes to California's DUI laws. California's misdemeanor DUI laws are found in Vehicle Code section 23152. The legislature changed the format and this could have impacts on DUI cases filed on or after January 1, 2014.
The biggest change is that the legislature separated alcohol DUI and drug DUI. Previously, 23152(a) covered all three of the following: being under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both combined. Now, 21352(a) only covers being under the influence of alcohol. That can be good because it means people charged with alcohol DUI won't have to fight to have the drugs language stricken from the case documents. The legislature added other subdivisions to cover DUI drugs and DUI combined drugs and alcohol.
Vehicle Code 23152(e) now prohibits driving under the influence of any drug. Given the newness of the statute there are not any cases on it but it is pretty clear that "under the influence" of a drug means the same thing as "under the influence" of alcohol. Being under the influence of a drug means that the driver was so impaired by the drug that he/she no longer possessed the ability to operate a motor vehicle with the same care and caution characteristic of a sober person under the same or similar circumstances.
The legislature also added Vehicle Code 23152(f) to cover situations where the driver is suspected of being under the combined influence of drugs and alcohol.
Some of the most important effects of these changes have yet to be determined because of how recently the changes were made. In particular, many other sections of the Vehicle Code make specific reference to 23152(a) and 23152(b) -- driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a BAC of .08% or higher respectively -- so the courts will have to decide how those sections are affected by these changes.
The essence of DUI in California remains the same but considering these changes and the potential consequences, it is more important than ever to hire a lawyer who concentrates on DUI law.
Expungement of a Crime - Erase Your Convictions
Methods for Erasing Prior Criminal Records
Expungement is a legal process that allows one to erase a prior criminal record, including that of being arrested, charged with a crime or convicted of a crime. If a person has completed the terms of their sentencing, such as a probation period, then they can become eligible to seek an expungement. The petition will be made to the court for a judge to give a decision in. If an expungement is granted then the guilty plea is revoked, a not guilty plea given and the case will then be dismissed.
In addition to the record clearance method of expungement, one can also do away with the effects of a prior record through a Certificate of Rehabilitation. This certificate is issued as an order from a court, and states categorically that a person convicted of a felony has been rehabilitated. It can be issued for a variety of felony offenses, and in the case of sex crimes, can serve to allow one to cease registering as a sex offender for the remainder of their lives.
Eliminating the legal impact of a prior arrest or conviction can provide an individual with new opportunities for success and growth in life. Criminal records have the potential to limit a person in many ways, including denying them the ability to get a good job, apply for a home or vehicle loan, or pursue secondary education. Should a person seal or destroy a criminal record through expungement, they will have the legal right to say that they were never involved with the crime in question in any way. If you are interested in seeking an expungement for a drunk driving charge, do not hesitate to get the involvement of our firm as soon as possible. We have extensive experience in this area of the law and will be able to advise you on the best course of legal action.
What is difference between the various CA DUI laws? - 23152 explained
I often get asked about the different DUI statues in California. California Vehicle Code section 23152 is the misdemeanor statute governing DUI. The driving under the influence statute, provided in subdivision (a) of section 23152, states that it is unlawful for any person to drive while under the influence of drugs, alcohol or any combination of the two. Subdivision (b) of section 23152 is the per se driving under the influence law, making it illegal for anyone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above 0.08% (by weight) to drive. Under this subdivision, it is a “rebuttable presumption” that a person was above the legal limit while driving if a chemical test, administered within 3 hours of driving, indicates a BAC at or above 0.08%. The prosecutor's office generally files both of these charges in response to a DUI arrest (even if the BAC was under .08%). 23152 subdivision (c), makes driving illegal for any drug addict who is not currently enrolled in a narcotics treatment program (this is considerably less common). Vehicle Code Section 23152 (d) provides the per se law regarding drivers of commercial vehicles. Under subdivision (d), the driving of a commercial vehicle by a person with a BAC at or above 0.04% is unlawful. The rebuttable presumption regarding results from chemical tests administered within 3 hours of the time of driving applies as it does in subdivision (b) with the legal limit adjusted from 0.08% to 0.04%.
Felony Charge: Driving Under the Influence
When is a DUI a felony?
In certain cases, a DUI will be charged as a felony rather than a misdemeanor. This will automatically occur if you already have three or more prior DUI convictions on your record within the last ten years, or one prior felony DUI. Even if this is your first DUI, it may be charged as a felony if you committed a criminal act in addition to drunk driving, or if you caused injury to another. A DUI which results in the death of another will always be charged as a felony.
Felony DUIs carry much harsher penalties than DUIs charged as misdemeanors. If you are faced with a felony DUI charge, it can be extremely difficult trying to understand what is legally required of you or what options you have. There is also the emotional impact of an arrest on top of an already grueling situation.
At Floyd, Skeren & Kelly, LLP, we can do much that may improve the outcome of your case. Our criminal defense department is well-versed in what needs to be done if you are facing a felony DUI charge. Firstly, we will endeavor to have the charge reduced to a misdemeanor in appropriate cases. Where a DUI is not automatically considered a felony by law, but may be charged as such, a skillful address of the court may result in the charge being reduced to a misdemeanor. Our familiarity with such cases means we can also advise you on whether or not a plea bargain may be the best way to try to achieve this reduction.
A thorough grasp of your options and the outcomes that may be available is vital in determining your best course of action. Being rated Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell means we offer superior professional skill and ethical standards in representing you. When you are facing the possibility of increased jail time and a longer period of license suspension, we are here to help you through. We will do all we can in pursuit of the best possible outcome.