South Lake Tahoe DUI Defense Attorney

The most important thing to understand regarding a South Lake Tahoe DUI is that the Court and DMV are acting independently of each other.  You can face separate and independent consequences from the Court and the DMV.  After a DUI arrest, you must contact the DMV within 10 days to request a hearing or DMV will automatically suspend your license after 30 days.

Criminal Charges

DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs) encompasses many charges under the California Vehicle Code.  The charges a person faces will depend on driving history, blood-alcohol concentration and any injuries, among many other factors.  In California, DUI is a typically a misdemeanor, but certain factors such as repeat offenses or injury can elevate the charge to a felony.  Hiring a skilled DUI lawyer will ensure the best outcome to your case.

California Vehicle Code

California Vehicle Code § 23152(a) – Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
  • 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.
  • This is the charge when police believe that you are impaired to the point where you cannot safely operate a vehicle.
  • Remember, if BAC is 0.07% or lower, the police may still charge this offense based on their subjective opinion of your impairment.
California Vehicle Code § 23152(b) – Driving with 0.08% blood-alcohol concentration
  • 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 police will charge this if there is blood or breath results that show 0.08% BAC or higher.
  • You can be punished for either Vehicle Code 23152(a) or 23152(b), so even if you beat the 23152(a) charge, the punishment would still be the same if you are guilty of 23152(b).
Felony Driving Under the Influence
  • California Vehicle Code § 23550 – Multiple offenses within 10 years
    • The Vehicle Code treats the fourth (4th) DUI within 10 years as a felony.
  • California Vehicle Code § 23153 – Driving under the influence and causing bodily injury to another person
    • It is unlawful for any person, while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle and concurrently do any act forbidden by law or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver.
Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing
  • California Vehicle Code § 23612 is the implied consent law for the state of California.
    • Requires all drivers in the state to submit to chemical testing upon request by a peace officer.
    • Consent is provided at the time of acquiring a driver’s license and is also deemed to have been given by the act of driving within the state.
  • California Vehicle Code § 13353 mandates suspension for refusal to submit to chemical test.
    • Automatic one year suspension through the DMV.
  • There are no separate penalties for the refusal, except the one year suspension.  A refusal will be charged with § 23152(a).  There cannot be a § 23152(b) charge because there is no test to show BAC.
Wet and Reckless
  • Reckless driving in California is Vehicle Code § 23103.  This used to be a good option to settle DUI cases, but Vehicle Code § 23103.5 changed that and took away many of the advantages.
  • If a person is charged with DUI and pleas guilty or no contest to a charge of reckless driving, the offense is called wet and reckless.  § 23103.5 requires the offender to participate in DUI alcohol education classes and also allows the offense to count as a prior DUI offense for a period of 10 years.
  • The other penalties a person may face are:
    • Jail: possible sentence of 5 – 90 days
    • Fine: $145 – $1000 + fees and penalty assessment
    • License: No court suspension
    • Record: 10 years
    • Class: AB-541 first offender program
    • Possible probation as term of plea
  • Remember DMV may still impose its penalties even if a plea is reached with the court.

DUI PENALTIES

Court Imposed Penalties for California Vehicle Code § 23152
  • First Offense
    • No probation Granted
      • Jail: 4 days – 6 months (at least 2 continuous days, weekends)
      • Fine: $390 – $1000 + fees and penalty assessment (~$1500-$2500)
      • License: 6 month suspension
      • Record: 10 years
    • Probation Granted (3-5 years)
      • Jail: possible sentence of 2 days – 6 months
      • Same fine, license and record consequences
      • Possible 90-day restricted license
      • Alcohol class – first offender AB-541 (3, 6 or 9 months)
      • New limit = 0.0% BAC
      • Judge can impose additional probation terms
  • Second Offense
    • No Probation: 90 days – 1 year in jail + same fine
    • Probation: 4 days – 1 year in jail + fine
    • 18-30 month alcohol class – SB-38
    • 1-2 year license suspension
  • Third Offense
    • No Probation: 120 days – 1 year in jail + fine
    • Probation: 30 days – 1 year in jail + fine
    • 30 month alcohol class
    • 3 year license suspension
Felony Penalties
  • Injury
    • Jail: 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in state prison or 90 days – 1 year in county jail if no probation
    • Probation: 5 days – 1 year in jail
    • Fines + alcohol classes + license suspension
  • Habitual Offender
    • 4th DUI in 10 years
    • Jail: 1, 2, or 3 years in state prison or 180 days – 1 year in county if no probation
    • Probation: 180 days – 1 year in county jail
    • Fines + alcohol classes + license revocation
Enhancements
  • Extra charges can be file and you can face additional penalties (including additional jail time) for each of the following enhancements:
    • Multiple victims
    • Refusal to submit to blood-alcohol testing
    • Excessive speed
    • Excessive BAC
    • Children passengers
DMV Drivers License Suspension
  • The most important thing to understand regarding DUI in California is that the Court and DMV are acting independently of each other. You can face separate and independent consequences from the Court and the DMV. After a DUI arrest, you (or your attorney) must contact the DMV within 10 days to request a hearing or DMV will automatically suspend your license after 30 days.
  •  If the police have proof of BAC over 0.08% then they will usually confiscate the license and issue a temporary 30 day license. At the end of the 30 days, your license will be suspended by DMV for 120 days for a standard first offense.
  • You must request a hearing within 10 days of arrest to contest the DMV suspension. If DMV cannot hold the hearing within the 30 days, the suspension will be stayed until the hearing is held.
  • At the DMV hearing, a skilled attorney will not only argue against DMV suspension, but will also use the opportunity to test the evidence before court.
  • DMV Suspension Details:120 Day license suspension
    • SR-22 insurance required
    • Alcohol education classes required
    • $125 license reinstatement fee

 

If you have been charged with a DUI, please call South Lake Tahoe attorney Adam T. Spicer at (530) 539-4130 to ensure that your rights are preserved.

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