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What Specific Offenses Are You Charged With In A DUI Arrest?


Interviewer: It is not just one single criminal charge when you are arrested for a DUI. What is the totality of the charges you face for a run-of-the-mill DUI?

 Aaron: Most DUIs involve some type of vehicle code violation,which leads to apolice officer pulling someone over or arriving at the scene of an accident.Those are usually infractions. Those typically go away.

 If we can get the case dismissed or charges reduced, what caused the officer to pull you over is not usually part of your disposition. Again, it usually goes away.

 If you get convicted of a DUI or a lesser offense, you are not going to get convicted of certain infractions. These include going over lane lines, failure to signal, illegal turn, running a red light and speeding.

 With speeding, it depends if you were going 20 or 30 mph over the speed limit and if it was on a highway or freeway­. The goal, of course, is to try and win everything.

 Interviewer: There is the initial reason they stopped you. However, with the DUI itself are you facing two more charges: your blood alcohol level is 0.08 or above; and you are impaired by alcohol regardless of the level?

 Aaron: Yes, in California many people will face twodifferent charges. If you took a chemical test- breathorblood- and your result is 0.08 or higher, you will becharged in most cases with a violation of VehicleCodesection 23152(b). That is the per se law. It is for being at or over a 0.08 blood alcohol level at the time of driving.

 The other charge the district attorney’s office usually files is Vehicle Code section 23152(a) for impaired driving. That is basically not driving with the care and caution of a sober person. Field sobriety tests, your demeanor, or any observations made- such as stumbling or slurring your words, will all go into that charge.

Other charges can exist if they find open containers in your car, or drugs in your car. The 23152(a) charge is impaired driving, and that actually will include being under the influence of alcohol or drugs or their combined influence. So, typically, Californians receive both charges in most DUI arrests.

 Interviewer: Is there a third charge relating to your driver’s license suspension?

 Aaron: Well, that is not a criminal charge. That is actually a civil notice you receive when you are arrested. Most people get a pink carbon copy, and sometimes they get a white copy depending on which county they get it from. That is usually given to them at the time of arrest.

 It is an admin per se order, which is basically your ten-day notice to request a hearing with the DMV. It is a 30-day temporary license. It acts as a number of things because they take your license away if you have a California license.

 They replace it with this sheet of paper. It notifies you that you have to request a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days or your license will be suspended.

 If you wait and do not make that request within 10 days, then you are going to be suspended. You can also hire a lawyer and have a lawyer request that hearing for you within the 10 days. It is very difficult if not almost impossible to get a belated hearing, or late hearing, after the 10 days is up.

 Also, your insurance rates are going to go up just by not requesting that hearing. This is because insurance will eventually see a suspension of your license on your record.

 Again, that is not a criminal charge. That is a civil matter. This is because a license is a privilege. It is not a Constitutional right. So the burden of that admin per se hearing is more of a civil burden.

 Meanwhile, the criminal charges we talked about, Vehicle Code section 23152(a) and 23152(b), are usually misdemeanors. Those require you to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order to be convicted and have a criminal record.

 Interviewer: At the time of a DUI arrest, are people aware they are actually facing three different issues: two different criminal charges and one civil charge?

 Aaron: Most people are very fortunate in that they have never had to deal with a DUI charge. Most people have never had any friends and family who had to deal with a DUI charge. They know every little about it. So yes, that is correct.You are facing different criminal charges and a civil case with the DMV.

By Aaron Bortel

Aaron Bortel

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