The penalties for drunk driving are tough in California. If convicted, you can lose your license, pay significant fines and even spend time behind bars. That's why it's important to work with an Orange County DUI attorney who can defend you against these allegations. Orange County criminal defense attorney Ronald D. MacGregor has more than 30 years of courtroom experience.
If you are stopped, the police may conduct a field sobriety test before subjecting you to a breathalyzer. The blood alcohol content limit in California is .08 for drivers, .04 for commercial vehicle operators and .02 for people under 21 years of age. Many drivers consider refusing the breathalyzer test because they don't believe they are intoxicated. In California, having a driver's license means that you give "implied consent" to take such tests. Refusal may result in automatic penalties. However, an experienced Orange County DUI attorney can argue a refusal defense at administrative and court hearings on your behalf.
The penalty for refusing a breathalyzer can result in losing your license for 1-3 years. Prior offenses may be considered when determining a suspension. For each drunk driving conviction, the penalties increase. First-offense convictions can mean six months in jail, fines up to $1,000, loss of license and ignition locks being installed in your vehicle. Commercial drivers face even stiffer penalties. If someone suffers an injury or you have three priors, state prosecutors can enhance the charge to a felony. That could mean real jail time if convicted.
Just because law enforcement has charged you with drunk driving, doesn't mean they can secure a conviction. Overzealous police officers sometimes exceed their authority and make unlawful stops. In many cases, the police dashcam video can be helpful. If you passed a field sobriety test, the officer may not have had probably cause to haul you in for a breathalyzer. While blood alcohol content testing is the current accepted science, it's not an exact science. Faulty readings can result from: