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Charged With A Crime

Your First Call When
Charged With A Crime

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Did You Get Pulled Over For Driving Under the Influence?

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence or have been charged accordingly, you need to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney. Pleading guilty to a DUI can affect you in the future as it is a prior offense and will stay on your record for a period of 10 years. Allow our team to conduct a thorough investigation of your arrest and DUI charge.

The Law Offices of Robert Ernenwein, PC., utilizes a team approach and will bring in our investigator, as needed, to help clients achieve the best possible resolution. Robert Ernenwein is a criminal defense lawyer and he, along with attorney Michelle Mathes, provide our clients with a creative aggressive criminal defense. You can rely on our over 60 years of experience to defend you in your DUI case.

What You Face With A DUI Charge

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime in California. You don’t have to intend to break the law or even hurt anyone to face serious criminal charges that could put you behind bars and take away your driver’s license. Having a skilled DUI defense attorney can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case, and can be the difference between a costly conviction and a clean criminal record.

The Crime Of Driving Under The Influence

California law makes it illegal to drive a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above. (Vehicle Code section 23152)

Vehicle Code Section 23152

  • (a) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.
  • (b) It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle. For purposes of this article and Section 34501.16, percent, by weight, of alcohol in a person’s blood is based upon grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
    In any prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.
  • (c) It is unlawful for a person who is addicted to the use of any drug to drive a vehicle. This subdivision shall not apply to a person who is participating in a narcotic treatment program approved pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 11875) of Chapter 1 of Part 3 of Division 10.5 of the Health and Safety Code.
  • (d) It is unlawful for a person who has 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in Section 15210. In a prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.
  • (e) Commencing July 1, 2018, it shall be unlawful for a person who has 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a motor vehicle when a passenger for hire is a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense. For purposes of this subdivision, “passenger for hire” means a passenger for whom consideration is contributed or expected as a condition of carriage in the vehicle, whether directly or indirectly flowing to the owner, operator, agent, or any other person having an interest in the vehicle. In a prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.
  • (f) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.
  • (g) It is unlawful for a person who is under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug to drive a vehicle.
    (Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 765, Sec. 1. (AB 2687) Effective January 1, 2017.)

Vehicle Code Section 23152 (b)

  • It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.
  • For purposes of this article and Section 34501.16, percent, by weight, of alcohol in a person’s blood is based upon grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
  • In any prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.

Vehicle Code Section 23136

  • (a) Notwithstanding Sections 23152 and 23153, it is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years who has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test, to drive a vehicle. However, this section shall not be a bar to prosecution under Section 23152 or 23153 or any other provision of law.
  • (b) A person shall be found to be in violation of subdivision (a) if the person was, at the time of driving, under the age of 21 years, and the trier of fact finds that the person had consumed an alcoholic beverage and was driving a vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test.
  • (c) (1) Any person under the age of 21 years who drives a motor vehicle is deemed to have given his or her consent to a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test for the purpose of determining the presence of alcohol in the person, if lawfully detained for an alleged violation of subdivision (a).
    (2) The testing shall be incidental to a lawful detention and administered at the direction of a peace officer having reasonable cause to believe the person was driving a motor vehicle in violation of subdivision (a).
    (3) The person shall be told that his or her failure to submit to, or the failure to complete, a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test as requested will result in the suspension or revocation of the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle for a period of one year to three years, as provided in Section 13353.1.

Vehicle Code Section 23140

  • (a) It is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years who has 0.05 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.
  • (b) A person may be found to be in violation of subdivision (a) if the person was, at the time of driving, under the age of 21 years and under the influence of, or affected by, an alcoholic beverage regardless of whether a chemical test was made to determine that person’s blood-alcohol concentration and if the trier of fact finds that the person had consumed an alcoholic beverage and was driving a vehicle while having a concentration of 0.05 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood.
  • (c) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, upon a finding that a person has violated this section, the clerk of the court shall prepare within 10 days after the finding and immediately forward to the department an abstract of the record of the court in which the finding is made. That abstract shall be a public record and available for public inspection in the same manner as other records reported under Section 1803.
  • (Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 263, Sec. 32. Effective January 1, 2008.)

Vehicle Code 14103

  • Failure to respond to a notice given under this chapter within 10 days is a waiver of the right to a hearing, and the department may take action without a hearing or may, upon request of the person whose privilege of driving is in question, or at its own option, reopen the question, take evidence, change, or set aside any order previously made, or grant a hearing.

Vehicle Code 23540

  • (a) If a person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 and the offense occurred within 10 years of a separate violation of Section 23103, as specified in Section 23103.5, 23152, or 23153, that resulted in a conviction, that person shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 90 days nor more than one year and by a fine of not less than three hundred ninety dollars ($390) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). The person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle shall be suspended by the department pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352. The court shall require the person to surrender the driver’s license to the court in accordance with Section 13550.
  • (b) Whenever, when considering the circumstances taken as a whole, the court determines that the person punished under this section would present a traffic safety or public safety risk if authorized to operate a motor vehicle during the period of suspension imposed under paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 13352, the court may disallow the issuance of a restricted driver’s license required under Section 13352.5.
  • (c) This section shall become operative on September 20, 2005.

Penal Code Section 1538.5

  • (a) (1) A defendant may move for the return of property or to suppress as evidence any tangible or intangible thing obtained as a result of a search or seizure on either of the following grounds:
    (A) The search or seizure without a warrant was unreasonable.
    (B) The search or seizure with a warrant was unreasonable because any of the following apply:
    (i) The warrant is insufficient on its face.
    (ii) The property or evidence obtained is not that described in the warrant.
    (iii) There was not probable cause for the issuance of the warrant.
    (iv) The method of execution of the warrant violated federal or state constitutional standards.
    (v) There was any other violation of federal or state constitutional standards.
    (2) A motion pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be made in writing and accompanied by a memorandum of points and authorities and proof of service. The memorandum shall list the specific items of property or evidence sought to be returned or suppressed and shall set forth the factual basis and the legal authorities that demonstrate why the motion should be granted.
  • (b) When consistent with the procedures set forth in this section and subject to the provisions of Sections 170 to 170.6, inclusive, of the Code of Civil Procedure, the motion should first be heard by the magistrate who issued the search warrant if there is a warrant.
  • (c) (1) Whenever a search or seizure motion is made in the superior court as provided in this section, the judge or magistrate shall receive evidence on any issue of fact necessary to determine the motion.
    (2) While a witness is under examination during a hearing pursuant to a search or seizure motion, the judge or magistrate shall, upon motion of either party, do any of the following:
    (A) Exclude all potential and actual witnesses who have not been examined.
    (B) Order the witnesses not to converse with each other until they are all examined.
    (C) Order, where feasible, that the witnesses be kept separated from each other until they are all examined.
    (D) Hold a hearing, on the record, to determine if the person sought to be excluded is, in fact, a person excludable under this section.
    (3) Either party may challenge the exclusion of any person under paragraph (2).
    (4) Paragraph (2) does not apply to the investigating officer or the investigator for the defendant, nor does it apply to officers having custody of persons brought before the court.
  • (d) If a search or seizure motion is granted pursuant to the proceedings authorized by this section, the property or evidence shall not be admissible against the movant at any trial or other hearing unless further proceedings authorized by this section, Section 871.5, 1238, or 1466 are utilized by the people.
  • (e) If a search or seizure motion is granted at a trial, the property shall be returned upon order of the court unless it is otherwise subject to lawful detention. If the motion is granted at a special hearing, the property shall be returned upon order of the court only if, after the conclusion of any further proceedings authorized by this section, Section 1238 or 1466, the property is not subject to lawful detention or if the time for initiating the proceedings has expired, whichever occurs last. If the motion is granted at a preliminary hearing, the property shall be returned upon order of the court after 10 days unless the property is otherwise subject to lawful detention or unless, within that time, further proceedings authorized by this section, Section 871.5 or 1238 are utilized; if they are utilized, the property shall be returned only if, after the conclusion of the proceedings, the property is no longer subject to lawful detention.
  • (f) (1) If the property or evidence relates to a felony offense initiated by a complaint, the motion shall be made only upon filing of an information, except that the defendant may make the motion at the preliminary hearing, but the motion shall be restricted to evidence sought to be introduced by the people at the preliminary hearing.
    (2) The motion may be made at the preliminary examination only if, at least five court days before the date set for the preliminary examination, the defendant has filed and personally served on the people a written motion accompanied by a memorandum of points and authorities as required by paragraph (2) of subdivision (a). At the preliminary examination, the magistrate may grant the defendant a continuance for the purpose of filing the motion and serving the motion upon the people, at least five court days before resumption of the examination, upon a showing that the defendant or his or her attorney of record was not aware of the evidence or was not aware of the grounds for suppression before the preliminary examination.
    (3) Any written response by the people to the motion described in paragraph (2) shall be filed with the court and personally served on the defendant or his or her attorney of record at least two court days prior to the hearing at which the motion is to be made.
  • (g) If the property or evidence relates to a misdemeanor complaint, the motion shall be made before trial and heard prior to trial at a special hearing relating to the validity of the search or seizure. If the property or evidence relates to a misdemeanor filed together with a felony, the procedure provided for a felony in this section and Sections 1238 and 1539 shall be applicable.
  • (h) If, prior to the trial of a felony or misdemeanor, opportunity for this motion did not exist or the defendant was not aware of the grounds for the motion, the defendant shall have the right to make this motion during the course of trial.
  • (i) If the property or evidence obtained relates to a felony offense initiated by complaint and the defendant was held to answer at the preliminary hearing, or if the property or evidence relates to a felony offense initiated by indictment, the defendant shall have the right to renew or make the motion at a special hearing relating to the validity of the search or seizure which shall be heard prior to trial and at least 10 court days after notice to the people, unless the people are willing to waive a portion of this time. Any written response by the people to the motion shall be filed with the court and personally served on the defendant or his or her attorney of record at least two court days prior to the hearing, unless the defendant is willing to waive a portion of this time. If the offense was initiated by indictment or if the offense was initiated by complaint and no motion was made at the preliminary hearing, the defendant shall have the right to fully litigate the validity of a search or seizure on the basis of the evidence presented at a special hearing. If the motion was made at the preliminary hearing, unless otherwise agreed to by all parties, evidence presented at the special hearing shall be limited to the transcript of the preliminary hearing and to evidence that could not reasonably have been presented at the preliminary hearing, except that the people may recall witnesses who testified at the preliminary hearing. If the people object to the presentation of evidence at the special hearing on the grounds that the evidence could reasonably have been presented at the preliminary hearing, the defendant shall be entitled to an in camera hearing to determine that issue. The court shall base its ruling on all evidence presented at the special hearing and on the transcript of the preliminary hearing, and the findings of the magistrate shall be binding on the court as to evidence or property not affected by evidence presented at the special hearing. After the special hearing is held, any review thereafter desired by the defendant prior to trial shall be by means of an extraordinary writ of mandate or prohibition filed within 30 days after the denial of his or her motion at the special hearing.
  • (j) If the property or evidence relates to a felony offense initiated by complaint and the defendant’s motion for the return of the property or suppression of the evidence at the preliminary hearing is granted, and if the defendant is not held to answer at the preliminary hearing, the people may file a new complaint or seek an indictment after the preliminary hearing, and the ruling at the prior hearing shall not be binding in any subsequent proceeding, except as limited by subdivision (p). In the alternative, the people may move to reinstate the complaint, or those parts of the complaint for which the defendant was not held to answer, pursuant to Section 871.5. If the property or evidence relates to a felony offense initiated by complaint and the defendant’s motion for the return or suppression of the property or evidence at the preliminary hearing is granted, and if the defendant is held to answer at the preliminary hearing, the ruling at the preliminary hearing shall be binding upon the people unless, upon notice to the defendant and the court in which the preliminary hearing was held and upon the filing of an information, the people, within 15 days after the preliminary hearing, request a special hearing, in which case the validity of the search or seizure shall be relitigated de novo on the basis of the evidence presented at the special hearing, and the defendant shall be entitled, as a matter of right, to a continuance of the special hearing for a period of time up to 30 days. The people may not request relitigation of the motion at a special hearing if the defendant’s motion has been granted twice. If the defendant’s motion is granted at a special hearing, the people, if they have additional evidence relating to the motion and not presented at the special hearing, shall have the right to show good cause at the trial why the evidence was not presented at the special hearing and why the prior ruling at the special hearing should not be binding, or the people may seek appellate review as provided in subdivision (o), unless the court, prior to the time the review is sought, has dismissed the case pursuant to Section 1385. If the case has been dismissed pursuant to Section 1385, either on the court’s own motion or the motion of the people after the special hearing, the people may file a new complaint or seek an indictment after the special hearing, and the ruling at the special hearing shall not be binding in any subsequent proceeding, except as limited by subdivision (p). If the property or evidence seized relates solely to a misdemeanor complaint, and the defendant made a motion for the return of property or the suppression of evidence in the superior court prior to trial, both the people and defendant shall have the right to appeal any decision of that court relating to that motion to the appellate division, in accordance with the California Rules of Court provisions governing appeals to the appellate division in criminal cases. If the people prosecute review by appeal or writ to decision, or any review thereof, in a felony or misdemeanor case, it shall be binding upon them.
  • (k) If the defendant’s motion to return property or suppress evidence is granted and the case is dismissed pursuant to Section 1385, or the people appeal in a misdemeanor case pursuant to subdivision (j), the defendant shall be released pursuant to Section 1318 if he or she is in custody and not returned to custody unless the proceedings are resumed in the trial court and he or she is lawfully ordered by the court to be returned to custody.
    If the defendant’s motion to return property or suppress evidence is granted and the people file a petition for writ of mandate or prohibition pursuant to subdivision (o) or a notice of intention to file a petition, the defendant shall be released pursuant to Section 1318, unless (1) he or she is charged with a capital offense in a case where the proof is evident and the presumption great, or (2) he or she is charged with a noncapital offense defined in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 187) of Title 8 of Part 1, and the court orders that the defendant be discharged from actual custody upon bail.
  • (l) If the defendant’s motion to return property or suppress evidence is granted, the trial of a criminal case shall be stayed to a specified date pending the termination in the appellate courts of this state of the proceedings provided for in this section, Section 871.5, 1238, or 1466 and, except upon stipulation of the parties, pending the time for the initiation of these proceedings. Upon the termination of these proceedings, the defendant shall be brought to trial as provided by Section 1382, and, subject to the provisions of Section 1382, whenever the people have sought and been denied appellate review pursuant to subdivision (o), the defendant shall be entitled to have the action dismissed if he or she is not brought to trial within 30 days of the date of the order that is the last denial of the petition. Nothing contained in this subdivision shall prohibit a court, at the same time as it rules upon the search and seizure motion, from dismissing a case pursuant to Section 1385 when the dismissal is upon the court’s own motion and is based upon an order at the special hearing granting the defendant’s motion to return property or suppress evidence. In a misdemeanor case, the defendant shall be entitled to a continuance of up to 30 days if he or she intends to file a motion to return property or suppress evidence and needs this time to prepare for the special hearing on the motion. In case of an appeal by the defendant in a misdemeanor case from the denial of the motion, he or she shall be entitled to bail as a matter of right, and, in the discretion of the trial or appellate court, may be released on his or her own recognizance pursuant to Section 1318. In the case of an appeal by the defendant in a misdemeanor case from the denial of the motion, the trial court may, in its discretion, order or deny a stay of further proceedings pending disposition of the appeal.
  • (m) The proceedings provided for in this section, and Sections 871.5, 995, 1238, and 1466 shall constitute the sole and exclusive remedies prior to conviction to test the unreasonableness of a search or seizure where the person making the motion for the return of property or the suppression of evidence is a defendant in a criminal case and the property or thing has been offered or will be offered as evidence against him or her. A defendant may seek further review of the validity of a search or seizure on appeal from a conviction in a criminal case notwithstanding the fact that the judgment of conviction is predicated upon a plea of guilty. Review on appeal may be obtained by the defendant provided that at some stage of the proceedings prior to conviction he or she has moved for the return of property or the suppression of the evidence.
  • (n) This section establishes only the procedure for suppression of evidence and return of property, and does not establish or alter any substantive ground for suppression of evidence or return of property. Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit a person from making a motion, otherwise permitted by law, to return property, brought on the ground that the property obtained is protected by the free speech and press provisions of the United States and California Constitutions. Nothing in this section shall be construed as altering (1) the law of standing to raise the issue of an unreasonable search or seizure; (2) the law relating to the status of the person conducting the search or seizure; (3) the law relating to the burden of proof regarding the search or seizure; (4) the law relating to the reasonableness of a search or seizure regardless of any warrant that may have been utilized; or (5) the procedure and law relating to a motion made pursuant to Section 871.5 or 995, or the procedures that may be initiated after the granting or denial of a motion.
  • (o) Within 30 days after a defendant’s motion is granted at a special hearing in a felony case, the people may file a petition for writ of mandate or prohibition in the court of appeal, seeking appellate review of the ruling regarding the search or seizure motion. If the trial of a criminal case is set for a date that is less than 30 days from the granting of a defendant’s motion at a special hearing in a felony case, the people, if they have not filed a petition and wish to preserve their right to file a petition, shall file in the superior court on or before the trial date or within 10 days after the special hearing, whichever occurs last, a notice of intention to file a petition and shall serve a copy of the notice upon the defendant.
  • (p) If a defendant’s motion to return property or suppress evidence in a felony matter has been granted twice, the people may not file a new complaint or seek an indictment in order to relitigate the motion or relitigate the matter de novo at a special hearing as otherwise provided by subdivision (j), unless the people discover additional evidence relating to the motion that was not reasonably discoverable at the time of the second suppression hearing. Relitigation of the motion shall be heard by the same judge who granted the motion at the first hearing if the judge is available.
  • (q) The amendments to this section enacted in the 1997 portion of the 1997–98 Regular Session of the Legislature shall apply to all criminal proceedings conducted on or after January 1, 1998.
  • (Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 302, Sec. 19. Effective January 1, 2008.)

Vehicle Code Section 23103.5

  • (a) If the prosecution agrees to a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a charge of a violation of Section 23103 in satisfaction of, or as a substitute for, an original charge of a violation of Section 23152, the prosecution shall state for the record a factual basis for the satisfaction or substitution, including whether or not there had been consumption of an alcoholic beverage or ingestion or administration of a drug, or both, by the defendant in connection with the offense. The statement shall set forth the facts that show whether or not there was a consumption of an alcoholic beverage or the ingestion or administration of a drug by the defendant in connection with the offense.
  • (b) The court shall advise the defendant, prior to the acceptance of the plea offered pursuant to a factual statement pursuant to subdivision (a), of the consequences of a conviction of a violation of Section 23103 as set forth in subdivision (c).
  • (c) If the court accepts the defendant’s plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a charge of a violation of Section 23103 and the prosecutor’s statement under subdivision (a) states that there was consumption of an alcoholic beverage or the ingestion or administration of a drug by the defendant in connection with the offense, the resulting conviction shall be a prior offense for the purposes of Section 23540, 23546, 23550, 23560, 23566, or 23622, as specified in those sections.
  • (d) The court shall notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of each conviction of Section 23103 that is required under this section to be a prior offense for purposes of Section 23540, 23546, 23550, 23560, 23566, or 23622.
  • (e) Except as provided in paragraph (1) of subdivision (f), if the court places the defendant on probation for a conviction of Section 23103 that is required under this section to be a prior offense for purposes of Section 23540, 23546, 23550, 23560, 23566, or 23622, the court shall order the defendant to enroll in an alcohol and drug education program licensed under Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 11836) of Part 2 of Division 10.5 of the Health and Safety Code and complete, at a minimum, the educational component of that program, as a condition of probation. If compelling circumstances exist that mitigate against including the education component in the order, the court may make an affirmative finding to that effect. The court shall state the compelling circumstances and the affirmative finding on the record, and may, in these cases, exclude the educational component from the order.
  • (f) (1) If the court places on probation a defendant convicted of a violation of Section 23103 that is required under this section to be a prior offense for purposes of Section 23540, 23546, 23550, 23560, 23566, or 23622, and that offense occurred within 10 years of a separate conviction of a violation of Section 23103, as specified in this section, or within 10 years of a conviction of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153, the court shall order the defendant to participate for nine months or longer, as ordered by the court, in a program licensed under Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 11836) of Part 2 of Division 10.5 of the Health and Safety Code that consists of at least 60 hours of program activities, including education, group counseling, and individual interview sessions.
    (2) The court shall revoke the person’s probation, except for good cause shown, for the failure to enroll in, participate in, or complete a program specified in paragraph (1).
  • (g) The Department of Motor Vehicles shall include in its annual report to the Legislature under Section 1821 an evaluation of the effectiveness of the programs described in subdivisions (e) and (f) as to treating persons convicted of violating Section 23103.
  • (h) This section shall become operative January 1, 2026.
  • (Repealed (in Sec. 24) and added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 783, Sec. 25. (SB 1046) Effective January 1, 2017. Section operative January 1, 2026, by its own provisions.)

Vehicle Code 23103

  • (a) A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
  • (b) A person who drives a vehicle in an offstreet parking facility, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 12500, in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.
  • (c) Except as otherwise provided in Section 40008, persons convicted of the offense of reckless driving shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than five days nor more than 90 days or by a fine of not less than one hundred forty-five dollars ($145) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, except as provided in Section 23104 or 23105.
  • (Amended by Stats. 2010, Ch. 685, Sec. 2. (AB 2479) Effective January 1, 2011.)

Vehicle Code 23109 (c)

  • A person shall not engage in a motor vehicle exhibition of speed on a highway, and a person shall not aid or abet in a motor vehicle exhibition of speed on any highway.

Vehicle Code Section 23612

  • (a) (1) (A) A person who drives a motor vehicle is deemed to have given his or her consent to chemical testing of his or her blood or breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her blood, if lawfully arrested for an offense allegedly committed in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153. If a blood or breath test, or both, are unavailable, then paragraph (2) of subdivision (d) applies.
    (B) A person who drives a motor vehicle is deemed to have given his or her consent to chemical testing of his or her blood for the purpose of determining the drug content of his or her blood, if lawfully arrested for an offense allegedly committed in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153. If a blood test is unavailable, the person shall be deemed to have given his or her consent to chemical testing of his or her urine and shall submit to a urine test.
    (C) The testing shall be incidental to a lawful arrest and administered at the direction of a peace officer having reasonable cause to believe the person was driving a motor vehicle in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153.
    (D) The person shall be told that his or her failure to submit to, or the failure to complete, the required breath or urine testing will result in a fine and mandatory imprisonment if the person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153. The person shall also be told that his or her failure to submit to, or the failure to complete, the required breath, blood, or urine tests will result in (i) the administrative suspension by the department of the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle for a period of one year, (ii) the administrative revocation by the department of the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle for a period of two years if the refusal occurs within 10 years of a separate violation of Section 23103 as specified in Section 23103.5, or of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of this code, or of Section 191.5 or subdivision (a) of Section 192.5 of the Penal Code that resulted in a conviction, or if the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked pursuant to Section 13353, 13353.1, or 13353.2 for an offense that occurred on a separate occasion, or (iii) the administrative revocation by the department of the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle for a period of three years if the refusal occurs within 10 years of two or more separate violations of Section 23103 as specified in Section 23103.5, or of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 of this code, or of Section 191.5 or subdivision (a) of Section 192.5 of the Penal Code, or any combination thereof, that resulted in convictions, or if the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked two or more times pursuant to Section 13353, 13353.1, or 13353.2 for offenses that occurred on separate occasions, or if there is any combination of those convictions, administrative suspensions, or revocations.
    (2) (A) If the person is lawfully arrested for driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, the person has the choice of whether the test shall be of his or her blood or breath and the officer shall advise the person that he or she has that choice. If the person arrested either is incapable, or states that he or she is incapable, of completing the chosen test, the person shall submit to the remaining test. If a blood or breath test, or both, are unavailable, then paragraph (2) of subdivision (d) applies.
    (B) If the person is lawfully arrested for driving under the influence of any drug or the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug, the person has the choice of whether the test shall be of his or her blood or breath, and the officer shall advise the person that he or she has that choice.
    (C) A person who chooses to submit to a breath test may also be requested to submit to a blood test if the officer has reasonable cause to believe that the person was driving under the influence of a drug or the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and a drug and if the officer has reasonable cause to believe that a blood test will reveal evidence of the person being under the influence. The officer shall state in his or her report the facts upon which those beliefs are based. The officer shall advise the person that he or she is required to submit to an additional test. The person shall submit to and complete a blood test. If the person arrested is incapable of completing the blood test, the person shall submit to and complete a urine test.
    (3) If the person is lawfully arrested for an offense allegedly committed in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153, and, because of the need for medical treatment, the person is first transported to a medical facility where it is not feasible to administer a particular test of, or to obtain a particular sample of, the person’s blood or breath, the person has the choice of those tests, including a urine test, that are available at the facility to which that person has been transported. In that case, the officer shall advise the person of those tests that are available at the medical facility and that the person’s choice is limited to those tests that are available.
    (4) The officer shall also advise the person that he or she does not have the right to have an attorney present before stating whether he or she will submit to a test or tests, before deciding which test or tests to take, or during administration of the test or tests chosen, and that, in the event of refusal to submit to a test or tests, the refusal may be used against him or her in a court of law.
    (5) A person who is unconscious or otherwise in a condition rendering him or her incapable of refusal is deemed not to have withdrawn his or her consent and a test or tests may be administered whether or not the person is told that his or her failure to submit to, or the noncompletion of, the test or tests will result in the suspension or revocation of his or her privilege to operate a motor vehicle. A person who is dead is deemed not to have withdrawn his or her consent and a test or tests may be administered at the direction of a peace officer.
  • (b) A person who is afflicted with hemophilia is exempt from the blood test required by this section, but shall submit to, and complete, a urine test.
  • (c) A person who is afflicted with a heart condition and is using an anticoagulant under the direction of a licensed physician and surgeon is exempt from the blood test required by this section, but shall submit to, and complete, a urine test.
  • (d) (1) A person lawfully arrested for an offense allegedly committed while the person was driving a motor vehicle in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 may request the arresting officer to have a chemical test made of the arrested person’s blood or breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of that person’s blood, and, if so requested, the arresting officer shall have the test performed.
    (2) If a blood or breath test is not available under subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), or under subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), or under paragraph (1) of this subdivision, the person shall submit to the remaining test in order to determine the percent, by weight, of alcohol in the person’s blood. If both the blood and breath tests are unavailable, the person shall be deemed to have given his or her consent to chemical testing of his or her urine and shall submit to a urine test.
  • (e) If the person, who has been arrested for a violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153, refuses or fails to complete a chemical test or tests, or requests that a blood or urine test be taken, the peace officer, acting on behalf of the department, shall serve the notice of the order of suspension or revocation of the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle personally on the arrested person. The notice shall be on a form provided by the department.
  • (f) If the peace officer serves the notice of the order of suspension or revocation of the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle, the peace officer shall take possession of all driver’s licenses issued by this state that are held by the person. The temporary driver’s license shall be an endorsement on the notice of the order of suspension and shall be valid for 30 days from the date of arrest.
  • (g) (1) The peace officer shall immediately forward a copy of the completed notice of suspension or revocation form and any driver’s license taken into possession under subdivision (f), with the report required by Section 13380, to the department. If the person submitted to a blood or urine test, the peace officer shall forward the results immediately to the appropriate forensic laboratory. The forensic laboratory shall forward the results of the chemical tests to the department within 15 calendar days of the date of the arrest.
    (2) (A) Notwithstanding any other law, a document containing data prepared and maintained in the governmental forensic laboratory computerized database system that is electronically transmitted or retrieved through public or private computer networks to or by the department is the best available evidence of the chemical test results in all administrative proceedings conducted by the department. In addition, any other official record that is maintained in the governmental forensic laboratory, relates to a chemical test analysis prepared and maintained in the governmental forensic laboratory computerized database system, and is electronically transmitted and retrieved through a public or private computer network to or by the department is admissible as evidence in the department’s administrative proceedings. In order to be admissible as evidence in administrative proceedings, a document described in this subparagraph shall bear a certification by the employee of the department who retrieved the document certifying that the information was received or retrieved directly from the computerized database system of a governmental forensic laboratory and that the document accurately reflects the data received or retrieved.
    (B) Notwithstanding any other law, the failure of an employee of the department to certify under subparagraph (A) is not a public offense.
  • (h) A preliminary alcohol screening test that indicates the presence or concentration of alcohol based on a breath sample in order to establish reasonable cause to believe the person was driving a vehicle in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153 is a field sobriety test and may be used by an officer as a further investigative tool.
  • (i) If the officer decides to use a preliminary alcohol screening test, the officer shall advise the person that he or she is requesting that person to take a preliminary alcohol screening test to assist the officer in determining if that person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs. The person’s obligation to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test, as required by this section, for the purpose of determining the alcohol or drug content of that person’s blood, is not satisfied by the person submitting to a preliminary alcohol screening test. The officer shall advise the person of that fact and of the person’s right to refuse to take the preliminary alcohol screening test.
  • (Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 177, Sec. 3. (AB 2717) Effective January 1, 2019.)

California law makes it illegal to drive a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above. (Vehicle Code Section 23152 (b)) For drivers under the age of 21, the limit is even lower. (Vehicle Code Section 23136) (Vehicle Code Section 23140).

Unlike most criminal laws, you can be guilty of DUI regardless of whether you intended to break the law, or whether you knew you were over the legal BAC limit. You can be found guilty of DUI even if no one was hurt in any way. You can even be charged with a DUI if your BAC was under the legal limit. (Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a))

Criminal And Administrative Aspects Of A DUI

One confusing part about DUI charges is that they involve both criminal and administrative aspects.

The criminal part of a DUI charge involves prosecutors and the courtroom as the state of California tries to punish you for violating the law. If you lose, you get convicted, pay fines, have a criminal record and could even face jail time.

The administrative aspect of a DUI charge involves you and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). They will try stripping you of your driving rights by suspending your license and putting obstacles in your way to getting it back. You only have 10 days after a DUI arrest to request a DMV hearing or you will automatically have your license suspended. (Vehicle Code Section 14103)

Penalties For DUI In California

If you get convicted for DUI in California, the penalties that you could face, from both the criminal and the administrative portion, depend in large part on whether you’ve been convicted for DUI before and whether there are any aggravating factors involved.

Type of DUI Jail Time Fine License Suspension
Misdemeanor (First offense) Up to 6 months $390 – $1,000 6 to 10 months (restricted license possible)
Misdemeanor (Second offense) 4 days to 1 year $390 – $1,000 2 years (restricted license possible after 1 year)
Misdemeanor (Third offense) 120 days to 1 year $390 – $1,000 3 years (restricted license possible after 18 months)
Misdemeanor (Resulting in injury) 5 days to 1 year $390 – $5,000, plus restitution 1 to 3 years
Felony 16 months to 3 years $390 – $1,000 4 years
Felony (Resulting in injury) 16 months to 16 years $1,015 – $5,000, plus restitution 5 years

A conviction for a DUI in California will appear on your record for 10 years. (Vehicle Code Section 23540) This can impact your insurance costs and your ability to find or hold a job, making avoiding a conviction absolutely critical.

How Police Enforce California’s DUI Laws

DUI is a very politically charged crime: Advocacy groups have gotten the ears of local and state lawmakers, pressuring them to enforce drunk driving laws in the state. Police departments devote lots of time and resources toward finding intoxicated drivers.

This makes getting pulled over by police who suspect you of being under the influence a common occurrence. Once on the side of the road, police have several tools at their disposal to tease out evidence of a DUI crime. Unfortunately, they can be very unscientific and prone to inaccuracies that can get you in trouble, even if you are abiding by the law.

Both field sobriety tests, which test your body’s reactions to set stimuli for signs of drunkenness, and chemical breath tests, which need to be properly calibrated and can be manipulated by law enforcement, can lead to false positives that create false evidence against innocent DUI suspects.

How To Defend Against A DUI Charge

Despite the field being tilted in favor of law enforcement, it is still possible to raise effective defenses against a DUI charge.

One of the most common defenses is challenging whether the arresting officer ever had probable cause to initiate the traffic stop. (Penal Code Section 1538.5) A traffic stop is both a search and a seizure, so police need to have a reason to do it or else they violate your civil rights. If the traffic stop is a violation, any evidence they get whether for DUI or for another crime will be thrown away. These challenges are commonly referred to as motions to suppress the evidence.

Even if the police didn’t violate your rights, there are still ways to challenge the evidence that they manage to go to trial.

Plea Deals Can Minimize The Penalties While Avoiding A Trial

In between the criminal charge and the trial, there will be an opportunity to discuss a plea deal. Prosecutors, and especially judges, often want criminal cases to be settled out of court.

In some of these cases, a plea deal can be negotiated by your defense lawyer who manages to protect your interests. Depending on your circumstances, this offer might be worth thinking about because you might be in a position to deal with the repercussions of the plea, but not a bad outcome at trial.

The help, knowledge and experience of a DUI defense attorney can be invaluable at this time as you make a decision that will have a significant impact on the rest of your life.

Free Consultations With Aggressive DUI Defense Lawyers

The attorneys at The Law Offices of Robert Ernenwein, PC., provide professional legal guidance for clients facing criminal allegations. We have practiced criminal law for more than 60 years, and we know that there are alternatives to taking a plea deal. Rely on us to defend you as if your criminal allegation were our own.

We offer a free consultation at our office in Torrance; call us at 424-552-3901. You can also reach us by completing this online contact form.