Wednesday, June 26, 2013

July 4, Independence Day - A day of hot dogs, fireworks, and DUIs?

Every 4th of July, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) designates the Independence Day holiday as a "Maximum Enforcement Period", in which the CHP will use all available officers to crackdown on drunk drivers. This year will be no different. Last year, the CHP arrested almost 500 people for driving under the influence, a significant reduction compared to 2011, in which the agency arrested around 1600 people.

Keep in mind, it's not only the CHP on the lookout for those drinking and driving. Expect numerous DUI checkpoints statewide, stepped-up enforcement from local county sheriffs and police departments, as well as Caltrans "reminders" to "Report Drunk Drivers. Call 911".

The best solution is not to drink and drive - call a cab, designate a sober driver, or spend the night at a friends house (assuming you are there drinking). If you are pulled over on suspicion of drinking and driving, and you've been drinking, remember these 3 rules

  1. Be polite and courteous with the police officer (your demeanor and cooperation are often noted in the police narratives and may help with plea bargaining);
  2. Politely refuse to take the "Field Sobriety Tests" (FSTs); and
  3. Politely refuse to take the ROADSIDE "Preliminary Alcohol Screening" device test. (but please remember California's "implied consent" law wherein you are required to take a blood, breath and/or urine test at the police station or at a medical facility, or risk losing your driving license for one year and still face DUI charges).
The police officer should tell you that these tests are voluntary, most often though, they do not. If you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, call 949-440-3240 to schedule an appointment to speak to an experienced and successful DUI lawyer or visit

Above all, please remember it is dangerous to drink and drive, so please have plenty of fun, but be safe.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Federal Agency Proposes Changing BAC Limits to 0.05%

June 5, 2013 - The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended in May that states change their "Per Se" Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) legal limits to 0.05%, down from the current 0.08% level that is uniform nationwide. While states have the final say on DUI laws, the federal government has used its considerable leverage by conditioning federal highway funds apportioned to states on their adopting the 0.08% limit. Conceivably, they could do the same for the 0.05% NTSB recommendation. But they will have a fight ahead of them. Numerous industries would be affected by a reduction in the BAC per se legal limits, including the beverage, restaurant, bar and nightclub, and sporting event industries. With powerful lobbyists at their disposal, and politicians friendly to their cause (and money, of course), it is unlikely that the NTSB would be able to lower the limits...for now.

As it is, many people don't realize that you can still be arrested and convicted for driving under the influence even if your BAC is under the 0.08% limit (CVC 23152(b)). Under CVC 23152(a), "[i]t is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combines influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle." As you can see, one can still be charged with DUI in spite of their BAC being under 0.08%, if they "were under the influence."

If you or someone who know has been charged with a DUI, you must act fast to: a) retain your driving privileges; and b) fight your pending criminal charges to minimize the potentially severe penalties associated with a DUI conviction. Call 949-440-3240 to speak to a licensed attorney or visit for more information on DUIs.