Responsible Californians know it is a bad idea to drink and drive. It is not just illegal but incredibly dangerous. Understanding the basics of how one incurs a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, and what comes next, can help Californians practice better road safety to protect themselves and others.
What to expect when pulled over
When a San Diego police officer pulls a car over for a traffic violation, they will ask several questions. They will expect to see a valid drivers’ license, vehicle registration and perhaps insurance information. It is vital to answer all of their questions honestly, especially if they ask about drinking alcohol. Regardless, a San Diego police officer may require a driver to perform a series of field sobriety tests or blow into a preliminary alcohol device, commonly referred to as a Breathalyzer.
Based on these tests, the officer will arrest anyone they suspect of driving under the influence and take them to booking. The booking officers will then administer a more comprehensive blood-alcohol test. Offenders are then either released on bail or held until their arraignment up to 48 hours later.
Depending on the circumstances, the police may issue one of two charges. If the presence of drugs or alcohol in a driver’s system impaired their ability to drive, the driver will likely face a DUI charge. The second charge pertains to blood-alcohol content (BAC) directly — any result over the legal limit of 0.08%, regardless of driving ability, will incur a charge.
Those released on bail must attend an arraignment where they will enter their plea. From there, the case will enter the California court system.
A solid legal defense
An attorney experienced with California DUI laws can help review the charges and explore options. Most first-time offenses incur a fine and license suspension, with potential for substance abuse counseling or probation. Californians with questions about their DUI charge may find answers with a local lawyer.