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All You Need to Know About DUI Laws in California

Date Added: May 14, 2008 11:53:02 AM
Author: Sophie
Category: California: Drunk Driving Defense
The first and most important rule to bear in mind is to not place yourself in a position where you could end up endangering your own life and the lives of others by drinking and then deciding to drive. Even just one alcoholic drink can impair your judgment and make you a danger on the roads. This article will explain the DUI laws that exist in California and how motorists are expected to respond to these important laws.

1. The one hour rule

Most motorists are aware of the "one hour rule". For every alcoholic drink that you have consumed, you must allow your body one hour to process and get rid of it. For example, if you had one drink at 6:00pm, you would have to wait until after 7:00pm before you could legally get behind the wheel of a car again. However, you must not use the one hour rule as an excuse to drink throughout the evening and then try to drivehome again at 1:00am. Each person's body is different and handles alcohol in different ways. So one hour might work for one person, but not for everyone. The safest option is to appoint a designated driver who is reliable and will not drink any alcohol.

2. Designated Driver Programme

The Designated Driver Programme is an anti-DUI initiative that has been put into place to try and combat the growing problem of DUI's and DUI-related incidents on the nation's roads. To qualify as a designated driver, a person must be over the age of 21 who holds a valid driving licence, be part of a group of two or more persons and then specifically identify themselves as a designated driver to the server. This person must not consume any alcoholic beverages, as they have agreed to be responsible for safely transporting people who have been drinking to their respective homes. It is important to choose a designated driver who is not otherwise impaired. For example, someone who has taken any illegal or even some legal, prescription drugs, would not be able to take on the weighty responsibility required of a designated driver.

3. Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

In the state of California, it is illegal to with a Blood Concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher (.04% for commercial vehicle drivers; .01% for drivers under the of 21), according to page 65 of the Driver's Handbook. The Driver's Handbook also makes it clear that even if you have a BAC that is below .08% it does not give you rein to drink until you reach your "limit". There are other factors to take into account such as your sex, height, and the type of alcoholic beverages that you have consumed, as some have a higher concentration of alcohol in them than others.

4. What is the total of drinking and driving?

According to page 68 of the Driver's Handbook, the total of drink driving is around $8,240. This includes the costs that will be incurred for towing, of your car, the community service fee and the inevitable increase in insurance premiums. This assessment does not even take into account lawyer's fees. Initial consultations have been estimated at around $750 to $1,000. The penalties for drink driving quickly add up and are staggering.

5. Suspension of driving privileges and prison

If you are convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol you will have your licence suspended by a judge for six months. The judge may also decide to sentence you to a six month prison term, as well as issuing you with a fine. In order to have your driving privileges restored, you will have to successfully complete a state approved DUI programme. The suspension period increases to one year if you caused actual bodily harm to someone while you were driving impaired.

As we have seen from the above, driving laws deal strictly and justly with people who are caught driving under the influence of alcohol. Rather than trying to stay within "safe limits" and still home, it is best to appoint a designated driver who can safely take you back afterwards. It is a far better and safer option than taking your life and the lives of others in your hands just for the sake of a drink. It is just not worth it.


California Driver's Handbook 2006, State of California, DMV, Department of Motor Vehicles, 2006
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