Oakland DUI Lawyer
Under California law, a DUI conviction is treated as a prior offense for ten years and penalties for a first DUI offense are more severe than in many other jurisdictions and increase significantly for subsequent offenses. In addition to large fines, potential jail time, and license suspension, those convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Oakland may be put on probation and required to complete extensive classes.
Moreover, a DUI conviction creates a criminal record with a whole host of unwanted consequences. However, there are defensive strategies that could result in a less severe result to your case. An experienced Oakland DUI lawyer could help you protect your rights and reach the best possible outcome based on your unique circumstances. To learn more or begin building your defense, consult with a defense attorney with our firm today.
Understanding Oakland’s DUI Laws
Many of the basic prohibitions against impaired driving in California are set forth in California Vehicle Code §23152. The first provision in this section simply states that “[i]t is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.” The second provision specifically prohibits driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more.
Therefore, someone may be found to be driving illegally in one of two ways— either based on a chemical test measuring blood alcohol, or based on conduct showing that they are substantially affected by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. One key element of both provisions is that the individual charged must “drive” a vehicle in order for a violation to occur. So, in certain cases, this caveat could provide grounds for defense from an Oakland DUI lawyer.
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence
Both administrative and criminal penalties can be applied for DUI offenses. First, someone convicted of DUI usually has their driver’s license suspended, although sometimes it is possible to avoid suspension or apply for a restricted license if certain requirements are met. Drivers who want to contest a license suspension must act within ten days from receiving an order of suspension or revocation.
Drivers may also have their licenses suspended for refusing to take a chemical test.
In addition, someone convicted of DUI is often required to take classes and install an ignition interlock device, both at a substantial personal cost.
Criminal penalties for a first DUI offense include up to six months in jail, three to five years of probation, and fines of up to $1,000. For a second offense within a ten-year period, there is a maximum term of imprisonment of one year, although in some cases any imposed sentence may be served under house arrest or through a work alternative program. If a driver is convicted of three or more DUI offenses within a ten-year period, the penalties increase substantially including a minimum mandatory sentence of 120 days making it important to consult with an Oakland DUI attorney.
Drivers Held to a Different Standard
The threshold for a finding of violation is lower for certain drivers. Commercial drivers considered to be driving under the influence with a BAC of .04 percent or more. This includes not just drivers with commercial licenses or those driving commercial vehicles, but also—as of July 1, 2018—any driver carrying passengers in exchange for compensation.
Furthermore, drivers under the age of 21 may face a license suspension for having any amount of alcohol in their systems and additional fines for a .05% BAC or above. Minors face misdemeanor criminal penalties for having a BAC greater than .08 percent.
Factors That Could Aggravate a DUI Offense
In addition to subsequent offenses, there are other circumstances that could increase the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Driving with a BAC of .15 percent or higher may result in stiffer sentences, and if someone causes serious injury to another while driving under the influence, the offense is often treated as a felony.
Get Legal Help From an Oakland DUI Attorney Today
There are numerous defenses that could be raised in opposition to a DUI charge in Oakland. From challenging the testing procedures to the actions taken by law enforcement, an experienced Oakland DUI lawyer may be able to choose the right defensive strategies to help reach the best possible outcome in your case. Call now for a free consultation to learn how a local attorney could help.