What is a DUI?

It is a crime to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol in California.
Driving under the influence causes your physical and mental abilities to be impaired to the point
that you are not the cautious person you otherwise would be if you are sober.
Often drivers can get behind the wheel of a car without realizing that they consumed enough
alcohol to put them above the legal limit. In the state of California, the legal limit for BAC is
0.08% for drivers 21 years old or older and 0.01% for drivers younger than 21 years old.
However, under the California Vehicle Code, even if your BAC is below the legal limit, you
could face DUI charges if there is clear evidence you were driving dangerously or erratically. In
this case, the prosecution can argue that, even though your BAC was not that high, your driving
was affected to the point of being unsafe.
A DUI is a “subjective” offense, which means the strength of the prosecutor’s case relies heavily
on the observations of the arresting officer, who will provide detailed information about your
physical appearance, your driving pattern and your field sobriety test performance. The officer
will likely testify that you were driving erratically, swerving or weaving through traffic;
displayed the “objective signs of intoxication,” which include slurred speech, red and watery
eyes, an unsteady gait and an odor of alcohol on your breath; and failed to perform the field
sobriety tests as demonstrated. In order to get a DUI conviction, the prosecution will have to
prove the following elements of the crime:

That you drove a vehicle; and
• When you drove, you were under the influence of alcohol.

You have the right to fight the DUI charges and the loss of your driver’s license under any
circumstance. No matter how strong the prosecution’s case against you may seem, a skilled DUI
defense attorney can use his or her knowledge of the California criminal justice system and DUI
laws to poke holes in their argument.

What charges could you face?

A DUI is a complex criminal charge, and the penalties for a DUI conviction can vary depending
on several factors since it is a complex charge. Your charges can be different if anyone was
injured, whether you have any previous DUI offenses, and how severe the judge presiding over
your case is.

For drivers 21 years old and older, a first DUI offense is a misdemeanor punishable by
immediate license suspension or revocation for six to 10 months, up to six months in county jail
and/or up to $1,000 in fines, plus a mandatory DUI program and installation of an ignition
interlock device.

As a second or subsequent misdemeanor offense, DUI carries increased penalties, meaning
longer jail time and more costly fines, in addition to other penalties. Felony DUI is punishable by
16 months, two years or three years in state prison and/or up to $1,000 in fines, plus license
suspension or revocation for four years and mandatory DUI School for 18 or 30 months.
A DUI charge may seem like the end of the world, but you do have options. There are strategies
you can use to get your charges reduced to a lesser offense, negotiate a plea bargain or win your
case during trial, and with a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney on your side, you may be able
to successfully fight your drunk driving charges.
DUI is a serious, life-changing criminal offense that can destroy your reputation and a
conviction can carry devastating consequences, including incarceration and significant fines, plus
a misdemeanor or felony on your permanent record. DUI convictions stay on your driving record
for 10 years and one slip-up can result in a lifetime of paying the price. Not only does a good
DUI defense attorney know what to expect from the arresting officer’s testimony and the
prosecution’s case, he or she knows the best way to challenge it and cast doubt on your guilt in
the eyes of the court. Contact our legal team at Moreno Law & Associates today to find out how
you can fight your DUI charges and move on with your life.