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DUI – Overview: Why is CA so strict on DUI?
It has been repeatedly observed that drunk driving is a sever hazard to public safety. Take, for example, this statement issued by the California Supreme Court:
The drunk driver cuts a wide swath of death, pain, grief, and untold physical and emotional injury across the roads of California and the nation. The monstrous proportions of the problem have often been lamented in graphic terms by this court and the United States Supreme Court. In fact, from 1975-1980 there were many more injuries to California residents in alcohol-related traffic accidents than were suffered by the entire Union Army during the Civil War. Given this, our observation that drunken drivers are extremely dangerous people seems almost to understate the horrific risk posed by those who drink and drive.
It is following this analysis that California Legislature has enacted several strict laws outlawing and punishing driving under the influence. Understanding the dire perils presented by the drunken driver is essential because appellate courts construing these provision have also sought to maximize the scope and application of the DUI laws. For example, the following is illegal while driving in the state of California:
- Drivers under 21 with unsealed alcohol (while driving alone)
- Drivers under 21 with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration of 0.01 or higher
- Drivers under 21 consuming alcohol in any form (including high dosage of cough syrup or prescription drugs)
- Any driver with a BAC of 0.08 or higher
- A driver of a commercial vehicle driving with a BAC of 0.04 or higher
- A driver under 18 driving with ANY measurable BAC
- Repeat offenders with a BAC of .01 or higher
California is strict when it comes to drunk driving laws, especially for offenders under 21 years of age and repeat offenders. It is important to note there is a no tolerance law for drivers less than 18 years of age.
This blog will, in a series of posts: discuss the statutes that define drunk driving in California, go over various definitions for the involved offenses, provide an overview of the possible penalties, list potential defenses. Basically, by the end of it, you will know more than you ever imagined about DUI charges in California.