A typical DUI (Driving Under the Influence) case involves two charges. Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) makes it illegal for anyone to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) makes it illegal for a person with a blood alcohol level of .08% or more to drive a vehicle. These two charges are related but separate charges. A person charged with these two offenses may be acquitted of one of the charges yet be found guilty of the other. For example, a person who has a low tolerance for alcohol may only have a blood alcohol concentration of .04% and yet found to be too impaired to drive a car and thus guilty of violating Section 23152(a). A person who has a high tolerance for alcohol may not show any signs of impairment even at a blood alcohol level of .08% or more, and yet may be found guilty of Section 23152(b) for having a blood alcohol level over the legal limit.
DUI is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of six months in jail. However, if a person has a prior DUI conviction within ten years of the current offense, the maximum punishment increases to one year in jail. Also, a DUI offense may be charged as a felony punishable by a maximum of three years in state prison if it is within ten years of three prior DUI convictions. A DUI offense that causes injuries to another person will increase the potential punishment and may be charged as a felony. A DUI offense that causes the death of another person may be charged as a manslaughter or murder. At a minimum, a person found guilty of a DUI offense will have to complete a 3 month DUI class, pay fines totaling more than $1000, and his or her license will be restricted or suspended for a minimum of 3 months to a year.
A person charged with a DUI offense also has to deal with the proceedings initiated by the DMV, separate and apart from the court proceedings. If you are arrested for DUI, the DMV will suspend your license in a separate action from what the court is doing. Unless you request a hearing within ten days of the notice of suspension, you will lose your right to challenge the suspension.
Being charged with a DUI can be an onerous and costly experience. Being represented by an experienced DUI attorney who knows how to handle the DMV hearing as well as the court proceedings is crucial in ensuring that all of your rights are protected. At the Law Offices of Christian Kim, our attorney, Christian Kim, has successfully handled hundreds of DUI cases during his career as a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney. Having been on both sides of DUI cases gives him a unique advantage in handling your case. Whether in negotiating a plea agreement or defending your rights at trial, you can be assured that he has the experience needed to provide you with an intelligent and aggressive representation.
If you have been charged with DUI, contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to talk to our experienced DUI attorney about your case.