DUI

DUI Defense for the Sacramento Region
If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving, you need a high quality Sacramento DUI attorney to defend you. With 25 years of criminal law experience I provide my clients the expert representation they need to get their lives back on track. Call me at (916) 442-1200 for a free consultation regarding your case.
Types of DUI Charges
There are many types of DUI charges under California criminal law. The severity of the fines and penalties depends on the circumstances of the incident, whether it is categorized as a misdemeanor or felony, and the number of prior drunk driving convictions a person has had within the last ten years.

Penalties for Vehicle Code 23152 (DUI)
Vehicle Code 23152(a) states that it is illegal for a person to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Section 23152(b) specifies that you can’t drive with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.

Note that with California’s new laws regarding marijuana possession and use, VC 23152 (f) and (g) and VC 23153 (f) and (g) give police the authority to charge you with DUI if they determine that your ability to drive safely is impaired regardless of the type or amount of drugs that you have ingested.
  • First offense: minimum of six month license suspension, forty-eight hours to six months of jail time, three to five years of probation, attendance at drunk driving education program, plus court imposed fines and fees totaling $2000 or more.
  • Second offense within ten years of a previous drunk driving conviction: up to two year license suspension, ninety-six hours to one year of jail time, three to five years of probation, attendance at drunk driving education program, plus court imposed fines and fees totaling $2000 or more.
  • Third offense within ten years of two drunk driving convictions: up to ten year license suspension, one hundred and twenty days to one year of jail time, three to five years of probation, attendance at drunk driving education program, plus court imposed fines and fees totaling $2000 or more.
  • Fourth offense within ten years of three drunk driving convictions: A fourth DUI within ten years is typically charged as a felony violation.
Penalties for Vehicle Code 23153 (DUI with Injury)
Vehicle Code 23153(a) makes it a crime to injure another person while driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. Section 23153(b) specifies that it’s illegal to injure someone while driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08% or above.

In California criminal law, a DUI with injury is called a ‘wobbler’ because the District Attorney has the discretion to charge it as a misdemeanor or a felony. If convicted of a misdemeanor DUI with injury, the penalties below apply. A felony can result in probation with jail time or prison.
  • First offense with injury - VC 23554, 23556, 13352(a)(2) - one year license suspension, up to one year of jail time, three to five years of probation, attendance at drunk driving education program, plus court imposed fines and fees totaling $2000 or more.
  • Second offense with injury within ten years of any previous drunk driving conviction - VC 23560, 23562, 13352(a)(4) - three year license suspension, up to one year of jail time, three to five years of probation, attendance at drunk driving education program, plus court imposed fines and fees of approximately $5000.
  • Third offense with injury within ten years of any previous drunk driving convictions - VC 23566, 23568, 13352(a)(8) - up to ten year license suspension, one year of jail time, three to five years of probation, attendance at drunk driving education program, plus court imposed fines and fees of approximately $5000.
Defense Process
I fight to defend my clients’ rights and interests. Unlike some other law firms, I do not bring on clients and then pass them off to less experienced attorneys. I represent all of my clients through each step of the defense process, including court appearances, DMV Admin Per Se hearings, and conferences with the District Attorney’s Office. As a Sacramento DUI lawyer with twenty-five years of criminal law experience, I know how the courts work in each of the Sacramento region’s counties - Sacramento, Yolo, Placer, and El Dorado - and can evaluate your case and determine the best legal strategy. I also work with the region’s best investigators to gather evidence from the arrest scene, interview witnesses, and review surveillance videos.

Ignition Interlock Device RequirementSenate Bill 1046 was signed into law last year providing for a two year extension of the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) program in Sacramento County through 2018. This means that all people convicted of DUI in Sacramento County must have IIDs installed in their vehicles. The length of time that the devices must be installed varies with the number of prior DUI convictions and whether the incident involved injuries. For DUIs without injury, the installation periods are five months for a first offense, twelve months for a second, twenty-four months for a third, and thirty-six months for a fourth. For DUIs with injury, the installation periods are twelve months for a first offense, twenty-four months for a second, thirty-six months for a third, and forty-eight months for a fourth. Note that this program will go into effect throughout the state beginning January 1, 2019. 

Criminal Court versus DMV HearingWhen you’re arrested for DUI you actually have to deal with two separate reviews of your case, each of which can result in fines and loss of driving privileges. In the court proceedings, the District Attorney’s Office will present evidence and work to get a criminal conviction while your defense attorney works to prevent conviction and instead get an acquittal or reduction of charges. The other review that happens at the same time is called a DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) Admin Per Se hearing. During this hearing, a DMV Hearing Officer oversees a review of the facts of the arrest and attempts to determine whether there is sufficient evidence that the arrested person was driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher. If there is sufficient evidence, then the driver license is suspended with the length of the suspension dependent on the facts of the incident and whether the defendant has previous drunk driving convictions.
Wet RecklessIn some DUI cases it’s possible to negotiate what is called a ‘wet reckless’ and avoid a conviction for drunk driving. California Vehicle Code 23103.5 makes it a crime to drive recklessly after having consumed alcohol. There are numerous advantages to a wet reckless, including avoiding suspension of your driver license, shorter probation and jail terms, smaller fines, and penalties that might come with a DUI conviction if you work in certain professions. There are some potential disadvantages - a wet reckless will be counted as a prior if you get another DUI conviction in the next ten years, possibly higher insurance rates, and possible suspension of your driver license through the DMV hearing process - but the wet reckless is still an option that some people should consider if the circumstances of their cases are right.
DUI rules for Uber and LyftNew laws went into effect this year for anyone who drives for Uber, Lyft, or another transportation network company. Now anyone who has a DUI conviction is not permitted to drive for Uber or Lyft. In addition, an Uber or Lyft driver can have a maximum blood alcohol content (BAC) of only 0.04% while driving for hire. This standard is substantially lower than the 0.08% BAC for a non-commercial driver.

Free and Confidential Consultation

The law regarding drunk driving in California is complex and the penalties are severe. Call me at (916) 442-1200 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. Evening, weekend, and out-of-office appointments are available for your convenience.