D.U.I. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is DUI?
DUI is shorthand for Driving Under the Influence. In California, a
person is guilty of DUI if he or she drives or is in actual physical
control of a motor vehicle and is under the influence of alcoholic
beverages or any chemical or controlled substance to the extent
that his or her mental faculties are impaired or when his or her blood
alcohol level (BAC) is .08 or above.
Can I still be in trouble for driving, even if my BAC is below
the legal limit?
Yes. It is also unlawful to drive with your normal faculties impaired.
Normal faculties are those faculties of a person, such as the ability
to walk, talk, judge distances, drive an automobile, make judgments,
act in emergencies, etc.
Does the car have to be moving for me to be guilty of DUI?
No. You can be arrested for DUI by driving while over the legal BAC
or while impaired. But, you need not actually operate the car in
order to be arrested. You can still be found guilty if you had the
capability and power to dominate, direct, or regulate the vehicle,
regardless of whether you were exercising that capability or power at
the time of the arrest. In other words, simply sitting behind the wheel
with the keys in the ignition can lead to your arrest for DUI by being
in actual physical control of the car.
Do I have to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test?
The answer to this question is Yes and No. After being stopped, a
police officer will request you submit to a PAS Test. The PAS Test is
done at the scene of your stop by you blowing into a handheld
devise the police officer carries in the patrol car. You do not and
should not submit to this test. However, you are required to submit
to a breath or blood test back at the station after you are arrested.
Refusing a breath or blood test is generally not a good idea as the
motor vehicle department will automatically suspend your privilege to
drive. In addition, your refusal to submit to a test upon the request of
a law enforcement officer may be admissible in any criminal
proceeding against you as evidence of you consciousness of guilt.
By accepting the privilege extended by the State of California to
drive, the courts have determined that you have given your consent
to submit to an approved chemical or physical test of your breath for
the purposes of determining your BAC. Therefore, when you sign
your name on your license, you are saying that if stopped for a
possible DUI, you will accept to take the test.
If I am arrested for a DUI, will I lose my license?
The law enforcement officer will seize your license if you are
arrested for DUI with an unlawful BAC or after you refused to submit
to a chemical or physical test. Your license will be seized and the
officer will issue you a temporary driver's license and as your notice
of suspension. However, you may request a review of the driver's
license suspension by the department of motor vehicles within 10
days following your arrest. It is very important that a review is
requested because many times we are able to save your license for
How long will I lose my license?
In California, if you have refused to submit to a chemical test, your
license will likely be suspended for a period of one year for a first
refusal, or for eighteen months if you have previously refused to
submit to such a test. If you have an unlawful BAC, your driving
privilege will likely be suspended for four months for a first offense,
and one year for a second offense. It is possible to obtain a
restricted license allowing you to drive to and from work after an
initial 30 day suspension.
What else will happen to me?
Once again, this varies from county to county in California. But more
than likely, you will be given a jail term. Most counties, including
Ventura County, mandatory 48 hour jail time on the first offense. In
addition, most second offenses, results in a mandatory 30 day jail
term and a third offense can result in a sentence in State prison.
Furthermore, your insurance company may discontinue its coverage
or at the very least, assign you to a high-risk category, resulting in a
substantial increase in your premiums.