Getting arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or a drug in California can have serious criminal consequences. In addition, a DUI arrest can have significant negative effects on a person's employment and life. This is true for workers in both the public and private sectors.
The recent drunk driving arrest of a San Diego police detective shows that no one is exempt from committing this offense and jeopardizing their careers. According to a report from ABC 10 News, the officer had been out drinking and before 1:00 a.m., he crashed his undercover official police car into a utility box. There was a significant delay in taking the breath test. There are questions as to whether that delay was deliberate and intended to weaken the criminal case against him.
ABC 10 News further reported that the officer's blood alcohol content was not officially tested until approximately three hours after the crash. At that time, an Intoxilyzer test revealed that he had a blood alcohol content of 0.09. The legal limit for driving under the influence in California is 0.08. The delay may very well have helped reduce the blood alcohol level from a 0.15 B.A. to a 0.09 as the result of burnoff and natural dissipation.
The scandal became public after ABC 10 News came into possession of a surveillance video. An internal police investigation was launched into the issue, and the officer was placed on desk duty until the charges were resolved.
Ultimately the officer was convicted of misdemeanor DUI and was sentenced to five years of probation. The judge imposed 25 days of public work, a DUI program and over $ 2000 fine. He did not impose jail time, reasoning that the officer could lose his job if any actual jail was imposed.
California DUI penalties
While the officer in this case was fortunate not to receive any jail time, not everyone is so lucky. Even a first offense for driving under the influence of alcohol or a drug carries significant potential penalties.
A first-time DUI in California is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 with assessments which can substantially increase that fine. Offenders can also be sentenced to up to five years of probation. The penalties increase with each subsequent offense. In addition, the penalties can be higher if there are aggravating factors such as excessive speed, refusal to take a breath or blood test, 0.15 B.A. level or more, having a child under age 14 in the vehicle, or an accident. A DUI accident that results in injury or death to another is a felony with the potential of state prison.
Even if there is no jail sentence, there may be alternatives to custody like public work. ADUI conviction can seriously disrupt a person's life. Every person convicted of a first offense DUI in California may lose the right to drive for up to six months, or a year if there is a refusal to take the blood or breath test. Without the ability to drive, many people find it difficult to take care of their families or commute to work or school. It can also impact employment, vocational licensing, security clearances and many other areas of your life.
Working with a defense lawyers near me
Because of these significant penalties and impact on your life now and in the future, it is important for anyone charged with drunk driving in California to get the help of an experienced DUI defense lawyers near me. The attorney can evaluate the circumstances of the arrest, knows the issues and what to look for, as well as making sure everything is done to get the best result with the Court and DMV, whether that is a dismissal, lesser charges or lesser penalties.