Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

We handle all aspects of Driving under the Influence charges.  They can include the following:

  • DUI with Injury
  • DUI Refusals
  • Felony DUI
  • First Time DUI
  • Leaving the Scene
  • Multiple DUI
  • Out of State DUI
  • Underage DUI
  • Vehicular Manslaughter
  • Murder (Watson)

Standard Offense of Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

California’s DUI laws prohibit all motorists from driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more. A person is considered “under the influence” if substantially affected by drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two.

Blood Alcohol Concentration Limits (BAC)

It is illegal for any person to operate a vehicle with a:

  • BAC of 0.08% or higher, if the person is 21 years old or older.
  • BAC of 0.01% or higher, if the person is under 21 years old.
  • BAC of 0.01% or higher at any age, if the person is on a DUI probation.
  • BAC of 0.04% or higher, in any vehicle requiring a CDL—with or without a CDL issued to the driver.
  • BAC of 0.04% or higher, when a passenger for hire is in the vehicle at the time of the offense.

The penalties for a DUI in California vary based on the circumstances of the case. However, the law provides ranges of allowable penalties that are, for the most part, dependent on how many prior convictions the defendant has. In California, a DUI conviction will stay on your record and count as a prior for ten years. 

California also has similar laws that prohibit riding bikes and scooters while intoxicated and boating under the influence (BUI). Provisions (California Harbors and Navigation Code) apply when you operate any vessel, aquaplane, jet skis, water skis, or similar devices. These convictions are placed on your driving record and will be used by the court to determine “prior convictions” for motor vehicle DUI sentencing. These convictions are also used when determining the length of a suspension or revocation action or the reinstatement requirements, because of a violation you committed while driving a motor vehicle.

Implied Consent

California’s “implied consent” law requires all drivers who are lawfully arrested for driving under the influence to submit to BAC testing. Generally, the driver gets to choose between a blood or breath test. Drivers who refuse testing face license suspension.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

California Vehicle Code §23152 addresses the use of drugs and driving, and makes it illegal to drive when:

  • You’re under the influence of any drug 
  • You’re under the combined influence of drugs and alcohol

Under California law, being “under the influence” simply means that the substance impaired your ability to drive so that you no longer exercised the same caution you would if you were sober. There is no legal limit for the amount of drugs you can have in your system.  Any amount that shows up in a blood test can result in a DUI charge. 

Medical marijuana is not a defense. Additionally, it does not matter whether the drug was legally prescribed. If the drug impaired your ability to drive, you can be charged with driving under the influence of drugs regardless of whether the substance in question was a street drug such as heroin, methamphetamines, or marijuana, or a prescription drug.

DUI - Murder

Based on the court’s ruling in People v. Watson, you can be charged with second degree murder if you drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and someone dies as a result of your conduct. The Watson murder rule allows the prosecution to charge this offense as second-degree murder under California Penal Code section 187.  You face fifteen years to life for this charge.