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Criminal vs. Administrative DUI Proceedings

In Orange County and throughout California, drivers can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol if the police officer that conducts the stop has “probable cause” to believe the driver is impaired, or when the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) registers .08% or higher.

Under California’s DUI law, a driver can be driving unsafely and be arrested for DUI, even though their BAC is under the .08% legal limit. Conversely, if someone is driving perfectly, they can be arrested for DUI if their BAC is over the legal limit.

For example, an officer can pull someone over because their taillights are out (not because of any traffic violation), the officer smells alcohol on the driver’s breath and asks the driver to submit to a breath test. When the BAC comes back too high, the driver can be arrested for DUI on the spot.

What are the different DUI penalties?

Any person that is arrested for a DUI has two different proceedings they must deal with as a result of their actions. There will be a criminal case that determines whether they are guilty of a crime and whether they must face criminal penalties, and an administrative case by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) concerning their driving privileges.

Criminal penalties for a DUI conviction in California may include:

  • Imprisonment
  • Fines and court fees
  • 3 to 5 years of probation
  • Driver's license suspension
  • Attendance at alcohol programs
  • Ignition interlock device installation

On top of these criminal charges, a driver has 10 days to contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles and arrange a DMV hearing concerning the loss of driving privileges. A first time offense can result in a 4 to 6 month loss of a driver's license while subsequent convictions can lead to a longer loss of privileges. Should a driver choose not to request a DMV hearing, they will automatically lose their license 30 days after their arrest.

With so many DUI consequences, it’s important for DUI defendants to have an attorney they can trust. Since hearings begin quickly following a DUI arrest, having a fast-acting and reliable DUI defense attorney can make the difference in a case.

Contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry to speak with Orange County’s DUI Queen for free!