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California Drunk Driving Laws

Novato California DUI Laws Attorney

Marin County, CA DUI Law Attorney

Being pulled over for DUI in California is a traumatic experience. The laws are strict, and penalties for a conviction can be very harsh. If you are charged with drunk driving in Marin County, you may be facing even tougher penalties. The District Attorney's office is known for not negotiating plea bargains with even first-time offenders. These standards have changed slightly in recent years, but Marin is still a tough place to be facing DUI charges.

Attorney Paul Burglin has successfully defended motorists charged with DUI in Marin County since 1985. Attorney Burglin has in-depth knowledge of California DUI laws and how these laws are applied in the Marin County Superior Court. Since 2004, he has co-authored California Drunk Driving Law, a two-volume legal guide that contains authoritative legal interpretations of hundreds of DUI cases, as well as countless proven defense strategies and in-depth answers to virtually every DUI question. This guide is commonly referred to as the "Bible of DUI Defense", and it is frequently referenced by other DUI attorneys throughout the state.

DUI Laws in California

California's drunk driving statutes are found in Section 23152 of the state Vehicle Code. In most DUI prosecutions, the defendant is charged with two counts:

  • 23152(a): Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs; and
  • 23152(b): Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above, also known as "Per Se" BAC limit.

When you are arrested for DUI, the officer typically confiscates your driver's license and serves you with a "notice of suspension" from the DMV. You have 10 calendar days to request an Administrative Hearing to challenge the suspension. If you miss the deadline, your license suspension automatically goes into effect after 30 days.

What are My Legal Rights when I'm Pulled Over for DUI in California?

Being arrested for DUI does not make you automatically guilty. The arresting officer must follow certain procedures to ensure your legal rights are protected:

  • The officer must have probable cause (i.e., legally sufficient facts and evidence) to pull you over in the first place;
  • You must be advised that taking a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test is voluntary unless you are under the legal drinking age of 21; and
  • You must be advised of your Fifth Amendment "Miranda" rights after being placed into custody.

You can make it more difficult for the officer to establish probable cause by saying as little as possible and refusing to submit to a preliminary alcohol screening or field sobriety test. If you are arrested, however, you must submit to a chemical (breath or blood) test at the police station. Under California's "implied consent" law, refusal to submit to the chemical test can result in an automatic one-year driver's license suspension.

Commercial DUI Laws in California

The state of California has stricter standards for Class B and Class A driver's license holders who operate commercial vehicles and are arrested for DUI. Under Section 23152(d) of the California Vehicle Code, commercial drivers are guilty of DUI if a chemical test shows a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of just .04. Commercial driver's license (CDL) holders who are convicted for DUI can have their commercial license suspended for one year, even if they were arrested for drunk driving while operating a private vehicle.

Zero Tolerance for Minors

Under California Vehicle Code 23136, there is a "zero tolerance" law for minors under age 21 who are stopped for DUI. Minors with any amount of alcohol in their system face a one-year driver's license suspension. Under California Vehicle Code 23140, if a minor has a BAC of .05 or above, they are subject to a $100 fine and mandatory alcohol education in addition to losing their license for a year.

Speak with a Knowledgeable Marin County, CA DUI Lawyer

California DUI laws are among the toughest in the nation. In Marin County, the District Attorney's office does not offer much mercy in how the laws are applied. If you are facing DUI charges in Marin, you need a seasoned advocate who thoroughly understands the law, the inner workings of the county court system, and the most effective defense strategies to mitigate the situation as much as possible. Attorney Paul Burglin is the only lawyer in Marin County who is Board-Certified in DUI Defense (as approved by the American Bar Association), and because of his depth of knowledge and successful track record, he is frequently sought out by DMV hearing officers, prosecutors, and judges when someone in their inner circle is in trouble for drunk driving.

For a confidential and discreet consultation with attorney Burglin, contact our office today at 415-729-7300. We serve clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Marin County, including San Rafael, Corte Madera, Novato, Sausalito, Lagunitas, Belvedere, Bolinas, Dillon Beach, Fairfax, Forest Knolls, Greenbrae, Ignacio, Inverness, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marshall, Mill Valley, Muir Beach, Nicasio Valley, Olema, Point Reyes Station, Ross, San Anselmo, San Geronimo, Stinson Beach, Tiburon, Tomales, and Woodacre.

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