What You Need To Know About
DUI Charges In California



It’s likely that if you get arrested for a DUI in California, you will initially be charged with two separate misdemeanor offenses:

1. Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, under California Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC, and

2. Driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or greater, pursuant to California Vehicle Code 23152(b) VC.



After your arrest, you have 10 days to schedule your DMV hearing, otherwise you forfeit your hearing and your license goes into automatic suspension after 30 days.

The DMV hearing is a separate proceeding from your criminal charge of DUI. The primary objective at the DMV hearing is to convince the DMV not to suspend your license. However, the DMV hearing can also be used as a forum to gather evidence for your criminal proceeding.

After the DMV hearing, a decision is usually mailed to you within 30 days. If the DMV finds in your favor then your license will not be suspended (note: a conviction in the criminal proceeding could trigger a separate license suspension).

If your license is suspended, you can usually get a restricted license within 30 days.

This restricted license will allow you to drive to and from work related activities, school, or any alcohol programs that are imposed by the DMV or the court.



Most DUI criminal proceedings last several months and may include multiple court appearances. There are numerous factors that will determine if your DUI will be charged as a misdemeanor (standard) or a felony.

Some of these factors include: your intoxication level, whether or not their was a collision, the extent of injuries sustained by passengers, or other third parties, whether a hit-and-run was a factor, whether you have multiple DUI convictions on your record, etc.

Fighting a DUI charge is not impossible. There are a number of factors that may weaken a prosecutor’s case against you:

  • – Police officers may deviate from mandated procedures in DUI roadside investigations
  • – DUI blood testing and breathalyzers are prone to error
  • – Medical conditions may erroneously cause higher readings in breathalyzers
  • – Lack of reasonable suspicion by the police officer that pulled you over
  • – Lack of probable cause for your arrest

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