DUI law can be found in California Vehicle Code sections 23152 and 23153.
In order to convict a person of DUI, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused drove a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both; or, that the accused drove a vehicle with .08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in the blood.
A DUI case may be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. It may be charged as a felony where someone is injured ((meaning the punishment can be a term in state prison for a minimum of 16 months, usually when an accident is involved), or where the accused has three or more prior DUI convictions (or convictions that count as a prior DUI, such as a “wet reckless”). These convictions must have happened within seven years of the new charge to count against the accused as a prior conviction.
When someone is arrested for D.U.I., there are really two separate cases being prosecuted against the accused:
1. The DMV is a civil case, where the driver’s license can be taken away; and
2. The criminal case with the Superior Court that can result in jail, fines, an ignition interlock device being installed in the car, alcohol education classes, community service, impounding the defendant’s vehicle, or a combination of these things, depending upon the facts of the case.
One reason to contact an Attorney immediately is to request an Admin Per Se hearing from the DMV. This must be done within ten (10) days of your arrest in order to protect your right to a hearing within the time before your driving privilege is suspended for the next four months. Your license will be automatically suspended or revoked 30 days after your arrest if a Hearing Stay (postponement of license suspension until after the Hearing date) is not requested by your Attorney, or if this procedure is not executed.
When you are pulled over and the police officer suspects you of a DUI, there are certain things that the law requires you to do, and certain things that are voluntary. The only thing that the law requires you to do is submit to a chemical testing of your blood or breath at the station. Everything else, such as answering their questions, performing field sobriety tests, or blowing into the Preliminary Alcohol Screening test (PAS test), is voluntary!
Remember, there are two ways to be convicted of D.U.I.:
1. Failing to operate a vehicle with the same caution characteristic of a sober person under the same or similar conditions (being a sloppy driver as the result of drinking or taking drugs); or
2. Driving a vehicle while having .08 or more, by weight, of alcohol in the blood. So, how do prosecutors convict people of driving while intoxicated? The evidence typically falls into one of three broad categories: Driving, Field Sobriety Tests, and Chemical Tests.