San Rafael DUI Attorney
Free Case Consultation for DUI Cases
Driving under the influence (DUI) is among the more common criminal charges filed in California. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, there were more than 124,000 DUI arrests in the state in 2019. The vast majority – more than 119,000 – were charged as misdemeanors and nearly 5,000 were felonies. For the last few years, conviction rates have hovered above 70%. There were more than 1,000 DUI arrests in Marin County in 2019, 34 of which were charged as felonies. More than 100,000 first-time and repeat offenders had their driver's licenses suspended pending trial.
Chambers Defense provides targeted defense strategies for DUI clients. Keeping charges to a misdemeanor, arguing for pretrial diversion programs, or contending that charges should be dismissed outright are all possible approaches.
When you need knowledgeable and understanding counsel, our DUI lawyer in San Rafael can provide perspective and insight. Call (415) 423-2828 today to schedule a free consultation.
Blood Alcohol Content in DUI Cases
A standard consideration in whether to charge a driver with DUI is their blood alcohol content (BAC). Tests that show a BAC of .08 or higher will typically result in a DUI arrest. The BAC threshold in California is lowered to .04 for those driving a commercial motor vehicle. An arrest can happen without a high BAC if an officer believes the driver is under the influence of some substance, which is impacting their ability to drive.
You do not have to be behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle to be subject to the lower BAC threshold. Hired drivers may be arrested for DUI if their BAC is .04 while they are driving another person.
Because drinking under the age of 21 is illegal, a person under that age will be arrested for DUI if there is any discernable BAC. San Rafael, Marin County, Novato, Petaluma, and Richmond have zero tolerance for underage DUI.
Refusing DUI Tests
A common quandary is whether it will serve your best interest to refuse to take a chemical test if pulled over. Such DUI refusals will lead to immediate suspension of your license.
Refusing a blood or breath test (or urine test in certain circumstances) results in the following:
- One-year suspension for the first offense
- Two-year revocation for a second offense within 10 years
- Three-year revocation for a third (or more) offense within 10 years
Consequences of DUI Convictions
Like other offenses, the possible sentence for a DUI depends on the specifics of the case, including any prior criminal record of the defendant.
In general, possible sentences for misdemeanor DUI include the following:
- First-time offenders are typically charged with a misdemeanor. Fines may range between $390 and $1,000 while jail sentences may range between 48 hours and 6 months. Jail is often not ordered for first offenders. The driver's license is usually suspended for 6 months.
- A second DUI conviction within 10 years increases possible jail time to 96 hours to 1 year in jail. The fines are the same as for first-time offenders. There is a two-year driver's license suspension.
- A third conviction can mean a jail sentence between 120 days and 1 year in jail, plus a three-year license suspension.
Most misdemeanor DUI convictions also require informal probation of up to 5 years.
A fourth DUI within 10 years is generally charged as a felony.
Misdemeanor sentences may be elevated if there is a DUI accident involving injury.
DUI with Injury
A DUI with injuries is a wobbler – prosecutors determine whether to charge the offense as a felony or misdemeanor based on the totality of the circumstances. A DUI with a BAC of .08 and injury may count as a “strike” in the state’s three-strikes law, which means a minimum of 25 years in prison for a third strike.
Felony DUI convictions can generally receive sentences of up to 4 years in prison and $5,000 in fines. If there is a fatality, the driver can be charged with negligent vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, or second-degree murder. A conviction for second-degree murder carries a sentence of 15 years to life behind bars.
Aggressive DUI Attorney in San Rafael
If you or a loved one is arrested for DUI, do not wait to see what happens before calling in skilled legal advice. Make your first call to Attorney Chambers.
To schedule a free case consultation, contact us online or call (415) 423-2828.