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What to do when someone is arrested for a San Diego DUI and their Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) is high. San Diego DUI Defense Attorney Lawyer

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2016 | Firm News |

When someone is charged with a DUI, one of the facts that need to be examined is the blood alcohol content. If you are a .08% or higher then you are considered DUI.  People will often have a BAC that is 2 or 3 times the legal limit.   High alcohol content in the blood will act as an aggregating factor for the prosecutor when determining how to handle your case.

What is a High Blood Alcohol Content?

California legislature has determined that a blood alcohol content of .15% or more comes with additional penalties. This is the first big threshold.  This is through Vehicle Code section 23578. So, if you have a blood alcohol content higher than twice the legal limit, so .16%, the prosecution will want you to have to pick up trash as part of the terms of your case, along with other terms such as an ankle monitor or the ignition interlok device.  These additional terms can usually be negotiated down with a proactive defense.  Call our office now for a free consultation at 858-751-4384.

Higher blood alcohol level may also influence the DMV side of a DUI. For example, if you live out of state but are convicted of a DUI in San Diego, your license will get suspended and the DMV will have a hold on your license in your home state. Although the court may require and authorize you to do the terms of your conviction out of state, the DMV is another story. That said, you may apply for a 1650 waiver from the DMV so the hold on your license is removed, so long as you qualify. However, when you are convicted of a DUI with an allegation that your blood alcohol content is high (usually .20% or higher) you will likely not be eligible for the 1650 waiver.

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Depending on the blood alcohol content, a DUI with a high blood alcohol may come with more terms. Some include picking up trash, but there are other things the prosecution may argue when negotiating your case. When there is a high blood alcohol content, the prosecutor may be asking for SCRAM, which is a device that detects the alcohol in your blood usually by an ankle monitor, or they may be asking for an ignition interlock device, which goes in your vehicle and requires you to breath into it prior to starting your vehicle. If there is alcohol detected on your breath, the vehicle will not start. These are ways to monitor the blood alcohol in your system so you do not drink and drive. These are a few devices the prosecution may require, and sometimes this occurs prior to being convicted of anything.

That said, numbers and the BAC level is not everything. In the end, the blood alcohol content is just a number that is part of the case. What terms you get really depends on the facts of the case. If there is an issue with your case, such as whether you were actually driving, it will also be a factor to look at. The prosecution uses the high blood alcohol content as a way to argue to increase your punishment, but in reality if there are other issues in your case the outcome of the case may not really be changed because of the blood alcohol level. Just a few weeks ago our firm was able to obtain a wet reckless for a person whose blood alcohol content was .30%. It is imperative to be proactive and start looking at the facts of your case as soon as possible to see if there are any issues in your case.


It is important to find a DUI attorney that knows all of these issues and is able to help. An attorney specializing in DUIs will know and understand all that comes with a high blood alcohol content, and will be able to help you be proactive and deal with these issues in court, and with the DMV.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI, it is important to get a lawyer who knows and understands all the issues that may come with that. Be proactive today and call our office at 858-751-4384.

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