Category: Driving Under the Influence

California DUI | Los Angeles DUI Lawyer| Califronia DUI Defense | No Cuffs

Ignition Interlock Device Law Effective Date: January 1, 2019

Introduction:

Effective January 1, 2019, the Ignition Interlock Law will become effective California state-wide due to Senate Bill 1046 being signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. The new law will remain in effect until January 1, 2026.

In 2010, the pilot Ignition Interlock Device program became effective in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare Counties. This program required individuals whose driving privileges were suspended by the California Department of Motor Vehicles because of a conviction in criminal court for driving under the influence of alcohol or driving with .08% or more of alcohol in his/her system (as a misdemeanor or a felony) to install an Ignition Interlock Device (hereafter “IID”) for a minimum of 6 months after being sentenced.  The pilot program’s findings showed that the installation of IIDs reduced the number of DUI incidents and those who re-offend (continue to drive under the influence of alcohol.)

 

What is an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?

An IID is a breath machine which is connected to the starting-component of a vehicle.  For the vehicle to start, the driver must blow into the device. The device is installed on the vehicle’s steering column. The sample of air blown into the device is analyzed to ensure there is no alcohol in the breath sample.  If there is alcohol in the breath sample, the car will not start. Once the car is on, the IID will require the driver to provide breath samples during the time the vehicle is turned on and moving by alerting the driver that he/she needs to blow into the machine and provide a breath sample.  The driver blows into the device while driving and does not need to pull over, stop, or turn off the car to provide a sample.

Breath samples are recorded/saved by the device, which means the company which is responsible for maintaining and calibrating it will store all results of breath samples provided. A violation of the proper use of the device (i.e.: detection of alcohol in a breath sample, tampering, disabling the device) may result in the Department of Motor Vehicles reinstating a person’s mandatory suspension to legally drive California.

 

How much does the IID cost?

The monthly cost of having an IID in one’s vehicle depends on the make and model of one’s vehicle and includes the installation, maintenance/calibration every 2 months, and removal of the IID. It is approximately $75.00 per month to have an IID in one’s vehicle.

 

How Long Does a Person Need to have an IID?

The length of time a person needs to have an IID installed in his/her vehicle depends on the charge for which the person is convicted:

  • First DUI conviction within 10 years:
    1. Without injuries:
      1. 6-month IID where one can drive anywhere he/she chooses, or
      2. 1-year restricted license to only drive to and from work and a treatment program
    2. With injuries:
      1. 6-month IID
  • Second misdemeanor DUI conviction within 10 years:
    1. IID required for one year
  • Third misdemeanor DUI conviction within 10 years:
    1. IID required for two years
  • Fourth or subsequent DUI conviction within 10 years:
    1. IID required for three years

 

How does this affect drivers in pilot counties?

In Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, or Tulare Counties, the new law will not result in any significant effect to drivers who are convicted of a DUI starting in 2019. The one difference that this new law has created for all counties (including the pilot counties) is that a person, as of January 1, 2019, can have an IID installed in his/her vehicle after arrest to avoid any disruption in his/her ability to legally drive. In addition, a person will receive credit for the total amount of time he/she has the IID in his/her vehicle, even if the IID is installed in the vehicle prior to it being mandated by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

 

How does this affect a person who has both a criminal court case and an Administrative Per Se hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles pending?

Senate Bill 1046 signed into law addresses the mandatory actions suspension imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to a court conviction for a DUI. The law does not mention administrative per se hearing actions taken by the Department of Motor Vehicles when a person is arrested for a DUI.

However, we encourage anyone who is arrested for a DUI as of January 1, 2019 to take the following steps:

  1. Upon Arrest: steps to take by licensee
    1. You will receive a temporary license from police, it is on a pink sheet of paper. This license is only valid for 30 days.
    2. IF A PERSON WANTS NO HARD SUSPENSION: Within 30 days the licensee MUST:
  • Have your insurance company electronically file SR-22 w DMV (proof of insurance DMV form),
  • Register for an approved DMV alcohol class with proof of enrollment electronically sent to DMV.
  • Contact the Mandatory Actions Unit of the DMV to obtain approval to install IID (an attorney cannot call for you according to the DMV due to privacy issues), AND
    1. Reason you are calling: you must be on a specific list to have permission to have IID installed
    2. you will receive a unique number to obtain an IID
  • Pay a license reissuance fee to the DMV once you are approved for a restricted license.

 

  1. 10-Day Rule Still Applies
    1. A Licensee must still request an APS hearing within 10 days of arrest in order to preserve his/her right to a hearing.

 

  • If a person is convicted of a DUI in court:
    1. No hard suspension IF installed IID within first 30 days of arrest
      1. Credit for time licensee has had IID on vehicle
    2. Hard suspension IF a person did NOT install IID within first 30 days of arrest
      1. No credit because licensee did not obtain an IID within first 30 days of arrest
    3. Administrative Per Se Hearing – if the administrative suspension upheld, above applies as well

 

  1. Quick Reference Information:
    1. No stay AND IID (you can’t have both)
    2. Stay = no IID = hard suspension (a person IS NOT immediately eligible for a restricted license with the IID)
    3. No stay = IID = no hard suspension (a person IS immediately eligible for a restricted license with the IID)

 

Exceptions to being immediately eligible for the installation of an IID:

There are licensees who will not be allowed to put in an IID if his/her Administrative Per Se suspension is upheld:

  • Refusing to submit to a chemical test when requested by a peace officer
    1. 1-year hard suspension/ no driving (if convicted in court and/or APS hearing is upheld)
  • Commercial license holders (Class A or B)
    1. 1-year hard suspension/no driving (if convicted in court and/or APS hearing is upheld)
  • DMV Probation Violation upheld with the Department of Motor Vehicles
    1. Zero-tolerance for any measurable amount of alcohol while driving
    2. 1-year hard suspension/no driving
  • Drivers under 21 (if convicted in court for a traffic infraction of having any measurable amount of alcohol in one’s system while driving and/ or misdemeanor DUI):
    1. 30 days hard suspension (no driving)
    2. May apply for a critical needs license after 1st 30 days of no driving
      1. It is highly likely a person will be required to install the IID upon the DMV granting the application for a critical needs license.

 

Instead of installing an IID, may a person “sit out” during the suspension period? What if a person does not own a vehicle?

The Department of Motor Vehicles requires that a person who is suspended install the IID for the specified time frame. A person can request and be granted an exemption from installing the IID for not having a vehicle registered to him/her; however, he/she will not be legally able to drive.  The DMV will require the installation of the IID upon registering a vehicle in his/her name.

 

Driving a company vehicle

An individual may drive a company vehicle without the IID being installed; however, one must receive approval from the DMV. The Department of Motor Vehicles has a form which must be signed by the employer which indicates that the employer is aware of the employee’s restricted license status, and despite such, permits the person to drive the company vehicle. This does not avoid the need for an individual to install an IID on his/her personal vehicle.

 

Driving in California With A Suspended or Revoked License

Driving in California with a suspended or revoked license is prohibited under vehicle code 14601 .  However, a key factor in determining a verdict revolves around the driver’s knowledge of the suspension or revocation.

 

California treats the crime of driving with a suspended or revoked license more severely than driving without a license. Driving without a license refers to individuals who have never had a license. The state considers driving with a suspended or revoked license to be more serious because the DMV suspended or revoked the individual’s driver’s license for a reason. Moreover, by driving anyway, the individual disregards the ruling of the DMV.

 

The State of California classifies driving with a suspended or revoked license to be a misdemeanor offense, and convictions can result in jail time as well as substantial fines.

 

Injustice system court gavel hits person needing bail bond

 

To officially suspend or revoke a driver’s license, the State of California must send the message of suspension or revocation in one of three ways: by certified mail, by an officer serving the individual with a notice of suspension or revocation, or by a judge (in court) recommending a license suspension or revocation. If the state sent the message in one of these ways, the state will then presume that the individual knew of the suspension or revocation.

 

People accused of driving with a suspended or revoked license have a constitutional right to defend themselves in court. An effective defense attorney acts as a resource that can reduce the great imbalance of power between the American government and the American citizens. A skilled defense attorney challenges the state to be fairer, more accurate, and more just by diligently researching and investigating the situation in question.

 

Defining Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License in California

 

California state prosecutors must prove specific elements of the crime in order to convict someone of driving with a suspended or revoked license.

 

The elements include:

 

  1. The defendant drove a motor vehicle while his or her California driver’s license was suspended or revoked
  2. The defendant knew that his or her driving privileges had been suspended or revoked at the time

 

 

Element One

 

The first element concerns only a simple fact: either the individual in question was driving, or was not driving, at the time of the arrest. The officer’s testimony, together with other evidence, determines this element.

 

 

Element Two

 

The second element concerns knowledge of the suspension or revocation.

 

In order to presume that an individual had knowledge of the suspension or revocation, one of three things must have happened.

 

  • A certified mail carrier had delivered a letter of revocation or suspension from the DMV to the driver.
  • A police officer had served a notice of suspension or revocation to the driver at the time of arrest
  • A judge had informed the driver of a suspension or revocation during sentencing for a prior crime

 

Even if one of these three things did occur, it only creates a presumption of knowledge. It does not prove that the individual had knowledge of the suspension or revocation. In a jury trial, the prosecution will typically create a presumption, leading  the jury to conclude that the driver had knowledge of the suspension or revocation.

 

A skilled criminal defense attorney will build a case that challenges this presumption of guilt.

 

mail man and letter

 

Suspension or Revocation by Letter

 

The law presumes the individual received a letter if the prosecution can prove three things.

  1. The California DMV mailed the individual a notice of revocation or suspension
  2. A mail carrier delivered the notice to the individual’s most recently reported address
  3. The mail carrier did not return the DMV notice as undeliverable or unclaimed.

 

 

Example

 

Stanley suffers a traumatic brain injury, leaving him with severely limited cognitive abilities. For his safety and the safety of others, his family and doctor contact the DMV to revoke Stanley’s driving privileges.

Since the accident, Stanley has moved into an assisted living facility. The DMV sends the notice of revocation to his former address. The U.S. Postal Service returns the letter to the DMV as undeliverable.

 

In this case, if a police officer pulled Stanley over, he could not be arrested for driving with a revoked license. The DMV notice never reached Stanley. Therefore, the court may not presume that he had knowledge of the license revocation.

 

Suspension or Revocation by Verbal Order

 

The law may also presume that a driver knew of his or her license suspension or revocation if he or she received a verbal notice:

  1. A police officer may personally serve a notice of suspension or revocation at the time of arrest
  2. A judge may inform the driver of a suspension or revocation at a sentencing hearing for a prior violation that resulted in the suspension or revocation of the driver’s license.

 

 

Example

 

Again using Stanley as our example, things could be very different with just a few changes in circumstances.

 

After Stanley moves into the assisted living facility, new tenants began to rent his house.

When the DMV revocation letter arrives in the mail, the new tenants throw it out, and the US Postal Service never returns the letter as undeliverable. This scenario creates a presumption of guilt even though Stanley never received the letter.

 

The presumption does not indicate Stanley’s guilt under Vehicle Code 14601. Stanley’s criminal defense attorney can point out that he had moved, and therefore never received the letter of revocation.

 

gavel and scales of justice

 

California Laws Regarding Driving With a Suspended or Revoked License

 

California State Vehicle Code 14601 can only be used to suspend or revoke an individual’s driver’s license if the suspension or revocation is valid. Valid driver’s license suspensions and revocations are covered in a variety of sections of the code.

The State of California may suspend or revoke driving privileges under Vehicle Code 14601 for specific offenses, general offenses, DUI, habitual traffic offenses, or chemical test refusal and other DUI related offenses.

 

 

Vehicle Code 14601

Specific offenses leading to license suspension or revocation include:

  • Reckless driving
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Physical or mental limitations inhibiting safe driving
  • Being declared a negligent or incompetent operator.

 

Vehicle Code 14601.1

General offenses may also lead to a license suspension or revocation under Vehicle Code 14601.1. This section serves as a catch-all for prohibiting individuals from driving with a suspended or revoked license for any reason.

 

Vehicle Code 14601.2

In California, a serious consequence of a DUI conviction is the suspension or revocation of an individual’s driver’s license. Vehicle code 14601.2 punishes individuals for driving with the knowledge that his or her license has been suspended or revoked due to a DUI conviction. In California, DUI includes DUI resulting from drug use as well as DUI resulting in injury to another person. Vehicle Code 14601.2 lists all of these types of DUIs, and provides the foundation for charging an individual for driving with a suspended or revoked license due to a DUI conviction.

 

Vehicle Code 14601.3

Habitual traffic offenders may have their driver’s licenses suspended or revoked. Vehicle Code 14601.3 prohibits habitual traffic offenders from accumulating a history of driving problems while their driving privileges are suspended or revoked. Vehicle Code 14601.3 states that a driver becomes a habitual traffic offender under the following circumstance:

During a 12-month period, the driver is convicted of any combination of the offenses listed below, with the resulting suspension or revocation of his or her driver’s license.

  1. Two or more serious driving-related crimes, such as reckless driving or exhibition of speed
  2. Three or more general moving violations, such as speeding
  3. Three or more accidents causing injury or property damage totaling at least $750.

 

Vehicle Code 14601.5

Chemical test refusal in other DUI offenses may result in a driver’s license being suspended or revoked. Vehicle Code 14601.5 prohibits drivers from knowingly driving with a license suspended or revoked due to the following:

  • Chemical test refusal
  • California DUI under 21
  • Refusing a preliminary alcohol screening after being suspected of driving under the influence while on probation for DUI
  • Driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.01 percent or greater while on probation for California DUI
  • Driving with a 0.04% blood alcohol content or greater if the driver holds a commercial driver’s license

 

jail cells

 

Penalties for Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License

 

The State of California classifies driving with a suspended or revoked license as a misdemeanor offense. Potential penalties include fines and county jail time. However, the specific state-sanctioned punishment is determined by the following: the reason for a driver’s license suspension or revocation, any prior convictions relating to license suspension or revocation, and the individual’s driving history.

 

First-time offenders face various penalties depending on the specific violation.

Vehicle Code

14601

License revoked or suspended for specific offenses, including reckless driving, alcohol or drug addiction, negligent operator, physical or mental condition 5 days to 6 months in county jail Fines from $300 to $1000
Vehicle Code

14601.1

License revoked or suspended for general reasons which are not listed in other statutes Up to 6 months in county jail, no minimum Fines from $300 to $1000
Vehicle Code

14601.2

License revoked or suspended for DUI 10 days to 6 months in county jail Fines from $300 to $1000
Vehicle Code

14601.3

Habitual traffic offenders while license suspended or revoked 30 days in county jail Fines up to $1000
Vehicle Code

14601.5

License revoked or suspended for chemical test refusals and DUI-related offenses Up to 6 months in county jail, no minimum Fines from $300 to $1000

 

 

 

Driver’s License Reinstatement

 

Driver’s license suspensions expire. However, drivers still need to act in order to reinstate their driving privileges.

 

The California DMV explains that in order to reinstate driving privileges, an individual must visit a California DMV office in person with the required documentation. He or she must then pay the fines to the State of California. The driver must also prove that he or she completed all probation requirements.

 

we the people

 

Understanding Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License in California

 

California Vehicle Code 14601 prohibits individuals from knowingly driving with a suspended or revoked license.

 

The law contains various sections, and punishes convicted drivers differently depending on the specific section that he or she violated.

 

California law classifies driving with a suspended or revoked license as a misdemeanor crime.

In order to convict an individual of driving with a suspended or revoked license, the prosecution must prove two elements of the crime.

  1. The individual was driving the vehicle
  2. He or she understood that his or her license was suspended or revoked

 

The driver’s knowledge is an integral part of the crime. Moreover, if the driver did not know of the suspension or revocation, then he or she cannot be proven guilty of driving with a suspended or revoked license.

 

A skilled criminal defense attorney can help the individual stand up against the court system. Defense lawyers hold the court accountable by representing people accused of crimes. Furthermore, without experienced legal counsel, it is almost impossible to obtain a positive outcome in a driving with a suspended or revoked license case.

 

However, most people do not have the time, energy, or resources available to research and investigate the situation with enough specificity to build a successful defense.

 

Will my insurance know I got a DUI?

- Will my insurance know I got a DUI

The penalties for being convicted of a DUI in California are serious and should not be taken lightly. While most DUI is treated as misdemeanors, there is still the loss of one’s drivers license, fines, and varying jail sentences to contend with. In addition, a very significant consequence of receiving a DUI conviction is that your automobile insurance premiums will increase a great deal.

Having to spend a few hundred dollars more for car insurance can cut into anyone’s fixed budget and mean participating in far fewer of life’s pleasures. Over a ten-year period, you could pay a total of ten to twenty thousand of dollars more in car insurance premiums if you are convicted of a DUI.

 

At the DMV

The good news is that neither the court nor the California DMV will be automatically informed of your conviction if this is your first offense. When you go to renew your auto insurance policy or when you file a form SR-22 to have your driver’s license reinstated, your insurance company will be notified. You can expect that there will be an increase of about 50% over and above the current premiums you pay and more if you were involved in an accident causing personal injury or property damage.

 

Your Insurance

If this is not your first DUI then you may have your automobile insurance canceled completely or you could be placed in a “high risk” category and charged an amount that could make driving prohibitively expensive. If your automobile insurance is canceled you face the difficulty of having both a DUI and an insurance cancellation on your record when trying to convince another insurance carrier to issue you a policy. Your premiums, in this case, will be two to three times as high as your original premium.

After the ten year period has elapsed starting from your most recent DUI conviction, your DUI will be cleared from your driving record and you should be able to once again get less expensive car insurance. That is assuming you have no other motor vehicle infractions.

In addition to DUI, other factors that an automobile insurance company will take into consideration when determining your premium are how old you are, your gender, your driving history and the model of car you drive. Each auto insurance company is different so it will pay to shop around and get multiple quotes.

10 things that happen when you get a dui

What Happens Now After I got a DUI

The first thing that happens when you are arrested and charged with a California DUI is that you are put in handcuffs, tossed into the back of a police cruiser and taken to the local police station. Once arrested and in police custody, you will have to undergo a mandatory breath, blood or urine test to determine the amount of alcohol in your blood. You will be fingerprinted and booked. If you are arrested late at night you will probably spend the rest of the night in jail. After you are released you will receive a summons to appear in court.

You will have to hire a DUI defense attorney. Even if you plead guilty you will need an attorney to work out any plea to a lesser charge and to file the appropriate paperwork. If you are a repeat DUI offender there could be mandatory jail time and you will have to arrange for bail to be released pending your trial.

Your driver’s license will be taken from you and you will have to make an appointment and go to a California Department of Motor Vehicles to get it back or receive a conditional license.

You will be required to pay any fines that are levied against you. Even a first-time California DUI conviction can cost over $1000 in fines and administrative penalties.

Your auto insurance will be notified of your DUI when you renew your policy or when you file form SR-22 to reinstate your suspended driver’s license and at that time your auto insurance premiums will go up a lot. The amount you pay could double or triple and this can add hundreds of dollars to your cost of driving every month. If you have multiple prior DUI’s your automobile insurance may be canceled entirely when the policy comes up for renewal and you could be classified as a “high risk” driver.

The impact a DUI has on your life depends on a number of factors such as your age, your prior DUI convictions, whether or not you are currently on DUI probation, and most importantly, whether or not you were involved in an accident causing personal injury, loss of life, or extreme property damage. There are however a number of life-altering consequences to receiving even a first DUI that can have a negative impact on your life.

How long does a California DUI stay on your record?

How long does a California DUI stay on your record

How long a California DUI stays on your record depends on a number of factors and also which record you are talking about. A California driver builds a record at the Department of Motor Vehicles as well as a personal criminal record. Each record serves different purposed when it comes to how your California DUI affects your life.

Your Driving Record

A DUI conviction stays on a person’s driving record for 10 years. Both the Department of Motor Vehicles and law enforcement can see and use this information when you seek to have your driver’s license reinstated. The number of years a DUI remains on a driving record was increased to 10 from 7 years in 2007. Driving records cannot be removed until the term, which begins on the date of your first arrest, has expired, however, your driving record is not accessible by potential employers or other criminal investigators. If you are arrested and charged with a DUI, your DMV driving record is accessed to determine the critical date of your first, second or subsequent DUI arrests to determine the charges. The difference between a third and fourth DUI is an elevation of the charges from a misdemeanor to a felony and as such the penalties can have life-altering consequences including a long loss of driving priveledges and a long period of imprisonment. Your California car insurance company also has access to your DMV record and will increase your car insurance premiums based on the number of points you have from DUI. Your driver’s license will be suspended if you have 4 points in two years, 6 points in three years or 8 points in any four-year period.

Criminal Record

A DUI conviction stays on a person’s criminal record permanently. While most DUI’s are misdemeanors, a California DUI can be charged as a felony if it is the fourth within 10 years or if you were DUI and caused personal injury. Under certain circumstances you can have a DUI expunged and cleared from your criminal history. This expungement will eliminate the charge when a third party such as a potential employer performs a criminal background check but does not affect the DMV record of your DUI’s. If you are faced with a DUI it is always a good idea to talk with a knowledgeable and experienced DUI expungement lawyer especially if you are concerned with how the conviction will affect your employment of professional status.

How Long Will Your License be Suspended

There are a number of scenarios that present themselves following a California DUI and the penalties depend on several factors. If there is no personal injury or property damage involved, the length of one’s California driver’s license suspension depends on the number of prior DUI offenses on one’s record. There are additional penalties added to your DUI conviction should you refuse post-arrest chemical testing. The following are common California DUI scenarios and how each affects your driving privileges.

If you are over 21 years of age, not on DUI probation, and this is a first DUI conviction without causing personal injury or property damage, and you complied with the required chemical testing, you will face a 4-month driver’s license suspension. Second and subsequent DUI convictions will result in a one-year suspension. If you are on DUI probation and test positive for drugs or alcohol, you face a one-year license suspension with no allowances for getting to and from work. If this is your first DUI and you were involved in an accident that caused personal injury or property damage, you will lose your driver’s license for at least one year. Felony DUI convictions carry a three-year driver’s license suspension.

Refusing Chemical Testing

If you are convicted of the above DUI and do not comply with chemical testing requirements, i.e., breath, blood or urine testing, a first DUI conviction will receive a one-year suspension, second offenses within a 10-year period a two-year suspension, and if this is a third or subsequent DUI offense, a three-year driver’s license suspension.

Zero Tolerance for Under 21 Drivers

For those under 21 years old, a one-year license suspension is applicable if preliminary alcohol screening or chemical testing that show even a .01 blood alcohol content.

If your DUI accident did not cause severe injury or death to another individual and you are convicted of DUI for the fourth time you will face a four-year driver’s license suspension and forced to complete a 30-month multi-offender program to get your license back. If your DUI caused the death of another, you may be charged with DUI causing injury, vehicular manslaughter, or in certain instances second-degree murder, all resulting in a permanent loss of your California driver’s license.

If you are involved in any California DUI situation, you should immediately contact a California DUI defense lawyer to advise you of the penalties that are applicable to your unique situation. Your age, the number of prior convictions, whether or not you are on DUI probation, and if another person was injured or killed or you caused property damage all will have an effect on how long you will be unable to drive.

Is Drug Addiction a Treatable Disease?

Is Drug Addiction a Treatable Disease

It is difficult to think of drug addiction as anything other than the fault of the addict. Drug addicts are portrayed in the media as living in the slums of crack houses, filthy and homeless. Drug addicts are viewed as nonredeemable losers with little or no chance of rehabilitation and they are also looked at as a danger to society. Television, movies and the media has made it very easy to dislike drug addicts.

The majority of drug addicts, however, are very different from the stereotypical version. Drug addicts occupy every conceivable profession from secretary to surgeon and it is estimated that one in five adults is addicted to one drug or another. Fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers can be can be addicted to drugs and nobody would even know. There is no specific look or personality that defines a person addicted to drugs. As a matter of fact, most drug addicts go to great lengths to conceal their addiction and will deny that they even have a drug problem until they make a mistake that changes their lives. There is certainly no way to force a drug addict to get the treatment they need if neither they nor anyone else can even identify that there is a problem.

When measured in terms of crimes committed, reduced work productivity, and increased healthcare costs, substance abuse costs our nation over $750 billion per year. In addition to saving thousands of lives every year, reducing substance abuse by forcing DUI drug offenders into clinical rehabilitation could have profound economic benefits to society.

There is a movement afoot to think of drug addiction as an illness and a treatable disease and to force those that commit a drug-related driving offense as to get the treatment they need. Each year the state of California arrests prosecutes and punishes thousands of people that are caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Could receiving a DUI for a second or subsequent time automatically qualify the driver to be designated as an alcoholic, a substance abuser or a drug addict and force the person into rehabilitation? Why send someone to prison only to have them come out and re-offend when they could be put into rehabilitation instead and come out truly rehabilitated and take their place as a productive citizen?

California gives first time DUI offenders that have not caused bodily injury or the death of another, the opportunity for rehabilitation. First time DUI offenders are forced to successfully complete a three-month alcohol-treatment program that is extended to nine months if a person’s BAC is over 0.20%. For repeat offenders, “DUI school” can be extended to 30 months.

Whats Causing the Increase in Marijuana DUI Arrests

Whats Causing the Increase in Marijuana DUI Arrests

Because of the legalization of marijuana for recreational as well as medical purposes, marijuana usage and overall awareness is at an all-time high. The publicity of more and more people using marijuana has prompted a response from law enforcement who are concerned that a rise in motor vehicle accidents and the corresponding fatalities may be about to follow.

While using marijuana may be legal, California marijuana DUI is a serious crime that is equal to DUI alcohol and has serious, life-altering ramifications. The penalties for first time California DUI marijuana are 3 to 5 years of informal probation, 96 hours to 6 months in jail, a $390 to $1000 fine, and a 6-month driver’s license suspension. California police have taken the firm step to counter the potential for marijuana-related motor vehicle fatalities by training police officers in every aspect of marijuana detection.

Police Drug Recognition Training

Responding to more and more Californians using marijuana and potentially driving under its influences, police have been educated to be more aggressive in investigating potential instances of DUI marijuana. Police throughout the state are being trained to become certified as drug recognition experts.

Tests for Marijuana

Shining a flashlight into the eyes of a driver that has been pulled over for suspicion of DUI and looking to see the pupil response is the primary test for DUI marijuana. Running a finger back in forth and watching for the person’s eye responsiveness in tracking is another. When you are pulled over a police officer will request you roll down your window so that he can smell alcohol or marijuana and will also look for marijuana smoking paraphernalia.

Police Training is Responsible For The Increase in DUI Marijuana Arrests
No one can put their finger on the exact cause of the increase in California DUI arrests as blood testing for marijuana alone is up over 40% this year according to California county crime lab technicians. California police chiefs tend to concede that although marijuana use is up, enhanced drug enforcement training of its officers is more responsible for the increase in DUI marijuana arrests. It is clear that people are being tested more frequently for marijuana, however, there is no way to know if increased usage due to legalization or increase testing due to enhanced police training is the root cause of the problem.

Are the police using marijuana legalization simply as a rationale to look more closely for marijuana usage? Were DUI marijuana arrests previous to legalization slipping through the cracks and being charged as simple DUI alcohol before the light of public attention was cast on marijuana? Until the statistics roll in over the coming years that will be an impossible question to answer.

California Drivers License Sanctions for Repeat DUI Offenders

Drivers License Sanctions for Repeat DUI Offenders

Having a driver’s license is essential for functioning in society, i.e., going to and from work, going shopping, traveling around for pleasure etc. It is easy to forget that in California driving is a privilege and not a right and if you abuse the privilege of driving and commit an illegal act such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol you can lose your drivers license for a period of time, and with the penalty losing a driver’s license comes potentially life-altering consequences. A person could lose their job from not being able to get to and from work, the children could suffer from not having someone to chauffeur them to and from soccer and ballet lessons.

The more times a person is convicted of DUI, the greater the penalties that affect one’s ability to drive. California DUI’s are “priorable” offenses meaning the more times within any given 10-year period you are convicted, the greater the license sanctions. The clock starts the day of your first arrest that led to a conviction.

Restricted License for First Time DUI Offenders

The state of California recognizes that everyone makes a mistake now and then and wants to be as lenient as possible on first time DUI offenders as they will lose their driver’s license for 6 to 10 months. So as not to make this penalty unduly harsh, the driver may be able to convertible to restricted license which would allow one to go to and from work and the grocery store. After your first DUI driver’s license suspension the license sanctions start to escalate. A second time DUI conviction is still a misdemeanor in most instances unless one causes personal injury or property damage and that person will lose their licence to drive for 2 years and will have to wait one year until they can apply for a provisional license like the one previously mentioned. A third time DUI offender loses his/her license for 3 years and must wait 18 months to apply for a restricted license. Four or more DUI’s are an automatic felony and carry a four-year driver’s license suspension.

California lawmakers have made eliminating DUI a top priority. California police strictly enforce DUI laws which are tough but fair and take human error into consideration. Repeat DUI offenses, however, are not tolerated and will negatively affect many areas of one’s life.

Implied Consent And The Fourth Amendment

Implied Consent And The Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides the people the right against unreasonable searches and seizures, however, a person who has obtained a California driver’s license has given the state, under Vehicle Code § 23612, “implied consent”. Implied consent means that if lawfully arrested for DUI the license holder must submit to chemical testing. When challenged in Nevada and Nebraska, the state supreme court upheld the constitutionality of the concept of implied consent when it applied chemical blood alcohol tests.

For most states, mandatory chemical testing is the final word. In California, however, things are a little different in that for any reason such as the accused being a heavy smoker or asthmatic, the person may refuse the breath test and must instead take a blood test. It is the constitutionality of the physically intrusive blood test that has been successfully challenged.

The Supreme Court has ruled on the appeal from states cases that implied consent does not produce the requisite physical intrusion into a person’s privacy when they are mandated to perform a breath test since only the test results remain. Blood tests are different since there is an intrusion into a person’s body with a needle to take blood. The Supreme Court held that the state cannot penalize a person for refusing to submit to the blood test. It is feasible to challenge sentences for refusal to submit to the blood test, and criminal charges for failing to consent could be overturned.

If after being arrested and taken into custody the person refuses both breath and blood testing, additional severe penalties are applicable. First-time DUI offenders face a 1 one-year license suspension, and jail time up to 48 hours coupled with 9 months of substance abuse education classes.
For the second-time offender, there will be a 2-year driver’s license suspension, possible 96 hours jail time. Third-time DUI offenders will have their driver’s license suspended for 3 years and may have to spend up to 10 days in jail.

When you receive your California driver’s license you have given your consent to chemical blood alcohol testing in the event you are lawfully arrested on suspicion of DUI. If you refuse the breath test you must take the blood or urine test.