The Old Sacramento Bridge


College Students and Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

Some students unfortunately get caught up in the college culture of drinking and partying and then all of a sudden find themselves facing criminal charges for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI) or Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID). Police, sheriff, and CHP departments do not give any breaks to college and university students who drink and drive. You need a skilled criminal defense lawyer who can help defend you and your longterm interests. Call me at 916-442-1200 for a free and confidential consultation.

California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) makes it "unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, to drive a vehicle.” For DUIs involving alcohol, vehicle code section 23152 (b) specifies that a blood alcohol level of 0.08% is considered under the influence.

For DUIs involving drugs, there is no defined level of drugs that must be present in a person's system to be considered under the influence. Instead, law enforcement gathers evidence of a person's behavior that indicates the influence of drugs, as well as evidence from blood or urine tests. In DUIs involving drugs, many law enforcement agencies call to the scene a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), an officer with special training in the evaluation of people suspected of using drugs. Your defense attorney must know the law and police procedures in order to properly defend you. My past experience as a prosecutor - including working as the lead drug enforcement attorney - gives me the knowledge to properly evaluate your case and build an effective defense.

DUI Penalties

Both DUI and DUID convictions have serious penalties, including fines of $2000 or more, jail time ranging from a few days to one year, driver's license suspension from six months to three years, and probation from three to five years. In addition, a fourth DUI is charged as a felony, and aggravating circumstances such speeding and driving with a suspended license substantially increase the penalties.

DMV Hearings

In California, when you're charged with a DUI, you actually are faced with two separate reviews of your case. One review goes through the superior court system in the county in which you were arrested and involves criminal charges filed by the local district attorney's office. If you are convicted in the courts, you get a criminal record and are subject to the penalties described above.

Another review of your case takes place at the same time in the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in an Administrative Per Se Hearing. This hearing is completely separate from what goes on in the courts. A DMV Hearing Officer, after reviewing the evidence presented by law enforcement and hearing arguments from your attorney, determines whether DMV will suspend your driver's license. Importantly, the outcome of the DMV hearing is separate from what happens in the courts. It's even possible to be found not guilty in the courts but still have your license suspended by DMV. Moreover, DMV hearings have different rules of procedure and evidence than are found in superior courts. These include use of the lower standard of preponderance of evidence instead of beyond a reasonable doubt in determining guilt, and the ability to introduce hearsay evidence. Obviously, a defense lawyer needs to be well-versed in these rules to build an effective, credible defense. I have dealt with hundreds of DUI cases and can give you a realistic evaluation of your situation.

Experienced and Aggressive Legal Representation for Students at
UC Davis - Sac State - Community Colleges

Criminal court procedures and DMV hearings are confusing and intimidating, especially to young people used to the relatively serene environment of a college or university. An experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can help you through the challenges you face when arrested for a DUI. Call me at 916-442-1200 so we can discuss the defense options available to you.

Client Reviews
Nancy King was patient, persistent, and polite. She followed up and kept me informed, took a lot of the stress off of me. She was very instrumental in eventually getting the case against me dismissed. It was money well spent. Linda
My son's case involved felony theft and drug charges. We were thrilled when Nancy was able to obtain a dismissal on all charges. My son's now back on track with his career. Nancy is the kind of attorney who fights hard for her clients and actually cares about them. I recommend her highly. Shawn M.
Nancy King represented me on a DUI. I was involved in an accident and had a blood alcohol level of .13/.14. Nancy King kept pushing in the negotiation process. She was able to get me a wet reckless. Nancy King is someone you can trust. She knows what she's doing and works hard for her clients. I recommend her highly. D.V.
I was wrongfully targeted by the police for a felony offense. Nancy took care of everything for me and got the police to realize that they had made a mistake. Everything was handled promptly and professionally and I was able to protect my reputation. D.B.