Types of DUI Charges

Increase in Complexity and Severity of DUI LawsThere are numerous charges you can face if caught driving under the influence. Over the years, the law pertaining to drunk driving has become more complicated, penalties have become increasingly severe, and district attorney’s offices in Sacramento, Placer, and Yolo counties have become increasingly likely to charge defendants with multiple violations. These factors raise the stakes for you and highlight the need for representation of an experienced DUI attorney.

Misdemeanor DUIThe vast majority of drunk driving cases are charged as misdemeanors. Most first, second, and third DUIs within a ten year period fall in this category. A first offense can result in fines up to $1000, time in jail and suspension of driving privileges for up to six months, probation, and other requirements. Second and third DUIs result in harsher penalties, including jail up to a year and license revocation up to ten years. Click here for detailed descriptions of the penalties for misdemeanor drunk driving.

Felony DUIHaving four drunk driving convictions in a ten year period or a DUI with injury will result in felony charges, which means the potential for much stiffer penalties, including jail up to a year and license revocation for as many as ten years. Click here for more details on felony DUI.

DUI with InjuryUnder California law, DUI with injury is classified as a wobbler, which means the circumstances of the incident dictate whether it will be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. In all instances, drunk driving involving injury results in greatly enhanced penalties. For instance, conviction for a third DUI with injury can mean up to four years in state prison and classification as a habitual traffic offender. Click here for more details on DUI with injury.

DUI with DrugsMost people are familiar with the way police arrest DUI suspects when alcohol is involved: they see a car weaving, initiate a traffic stop, ask questions, and then administer a breathalyzer to test the alcohol level in the suspect’s blood system. A reading of 0.08% or higher will result in an arrest. But it is important to know that police can also arrest you for driving under the influence of drugs. Arrests in these cases are made at the discretion of the officer and his/her ability to administer field tests that determine if evidence exists that your ability to operate a vehicle is impaired. Click here for more details on DUI with drugs.

Wet RecklessThough wet reckless is not an official term in California criminal law, it is a sentencing option available to some people depending on the circumstances of their DUI. The desired option, of course, is to have charges dismissed. But in some instances it is advantageous to negotiate a plea agreement for reckless driving involving alcohol since that does not count as a DUI conviction. The D.A.’s office might be interested in this if they are not certain of getting a conviction on DUI charges because a wet reckless conviction allows that incident to be counted as a prior DUI if in the next ten years you get a subsequent DUI conviction. Negotiating a wet reckless is possible in a limited number of instances. With my many years practicing in the Sacramento region as a DUI defense lawyer, I can help you determine if it’s possible in your case and if it’s the right option. Click here for a detail description of wet reckless advantages and disadvantages.

High Blood Alcohol Level DUIIf you have a high BAC you will be facing more substantial penalties. Enhancements begin if your BAC is 0.15% or higher. Having an experienced defense attorney is critical in these types of cases.

Underage Drunk DrivingNumerous laws come into play in cases of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs when you’re younger than 21 years of age. Minor in possession of alcohol in public, possession of alcohol in a vehicle, use of fake identification, and underage purchase and consumption of alcohol are all possible charges. Click here for more details on underage DUI.

Boating Under the InfluenceBoating under the influence has rules similar to those for drunk driving. Specifically, operating a recreational boat with a 0.08% or higher BAC will result in BUI charges. However, there’s also a provision of the law that allows BUI charges if a water ski or aquaplane is operated after any amount of alcohol or drug consumption. Click here for more details on BUI.

Cycling Under the InfluenceYou can be arrested for biking under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The important thing to remember about these violations is that the 0.08% BAC that is used in cases involving driving motor vehicles does not apply to CUI cases. Determination of cycling under the influence is strictly up to the discretion of the officer who observes you. Erratic behavior and unstable riding combined with some evidence of consumption of alcohol or drugs can be sufficient to find yourself charged with CUI. Click here for more information on CUI.