A DUI is one of the most common of crimes, even within an otherwise law-abiding population. Alcohol is embedded in our culture that going to happy hour after work or grabbing a few beers at a friend’s house is extremely common and, nowadays, socially acceptable. However, getting behind the wheel while under the influence can get you in trouble with the law. If the court convicts you of driving under the influence, you could change your life forever.
What does the law say?
In California, it is against the law to drive under the influence, which means that your Blood Alcohol Content level is (BAC) 0.08% or higher. Additionally, the limit is lower if you are driving a commercial vehicle, at 0.04%. If you are underage, under 21, 0.01% is enough to get you into trouble with the law.
How can a DUI hurt me?
If the state tries and convicts you of a first-time DUI in California, you will face the following:
- A sentence of up to 6 months in jail
- A six-month driver’s license suspension
- Monetary fines
- Suspension of your driver’s license if you refused BAC testing
- Probation, anywhere from 3 to 5 years
- Completion of a 3-month DUI school program
Repeat offenders receive harsher penalties, including additional jail time, longer license suspensions and longer terms at DUI school. In addition, you would now have a criminal record, which could result in missed opportunities, lack of employment, and issues with licensing if your profession requires a license. If you are a parent facing a divorce and have children, this could also impact child custody matters.
Being a first-time DUI offender may sound like a minor thing when it is actually quite serious. The consequences are significant and could impact your life for years to come.