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Higher DUI Incidents in 2017

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According to the California Highway Patrol, arrests for DUI during the holiday season were markedly higher in 2017 than in 2016.

Higher Incidents of DUI in 2017

The CHP reported DUIs spiked dramatically during the 2017 holiday season. Across California, the CHP arrested 936 people for driving under the influence between the evening of Dec. 29 and Jan. 1. That number was 767 in 2016, marking a 22% increase.

“Anytime you see a rise it’s concerning, especially when we look at fatalities because that’s somebody’s loved one,” said CHP Officer John Fransen. “But the sheer number of arrests that are made, to see roughly 1,000 people arrested in every single maximum enforcement period, it’s disheartening.”

These numbers represent only drivers that received tickets from the CHP, and does not include citations issued by California’s local law enforcement agencies.

During maximum enforcement periods, which usually occur during holidays, the CHP has more officers on the road. It’s unclear why there were more arrests made in 2017. “I would just be guessing” why there was an increase, Fransen said. “It’s not necessarily that there are more officers, because anytime there’s a maximum enforcement period, any available officers are on the road. It could be that more people are choosing to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and think that they can drive after they’ve had a few too many drinks.”

Many of the arrests made at the end of 2017 are still pending investigation and the statistics are still unknown regarding whether those arrested were under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both.

The CHP and the California Office of Traffic Safety have partnered together for a public information campaign to educate people about driving under the influence of drugs. Now that marijuana has become legal across the state, driving under the influence of the drug has become a larger concern for law enforcement.

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2005 to 2015, the percentage of drivers in fatal collisions who had an impairing drug other than alcohol in their system (meaning marijuana, opioids, or preseciprtion drugs) increased from 26.2 percent to 42.6 percent.

“I think our biggest concern as we look at the statistics on other states that have legalized recreational marijuana, it seems like there’s a sharp increase in DUI-related traffic collisions and fatalities,” Fransen said. “We’re concerned because obviously we don’t want to see California follow that strong trend.”

Charges for DUI – Drunk Driving

Charges for drunk driving (“DUI”) are not only serious but also can carry serious consequences at any time, but especially on Halloween when children are trick or treating throughout their neighborhoods. Penalties for DUI vary by case and severity, but following are sentencing guidelines of what you may face if you drink and drive and are then convicted of a DUI.

First Conviction for DUI

For a first conviction for a DUI in California, you would receive:

  • Jail-time of at least 96 hours but not over 6 months.
  • A fine of at least $390 but not over $1,000, including penalties.
  • Suspension of your driver’s license of six months. The court may grant your a temporary restricted license, however it can’t be reinstated until you provide proof of the completion of a “driving under the influence” state-approved program, and also showing financial responsibility.
  • Based on the circumstances of your DUI, being a first time offender you may also be required by the court to install an Ignition Interlock Device, which will be installed at your expense.

> For a second conviction for a California DUI you would receive:

  • Jail-time of at lease 90 days but not more than 1 year.
  • A fine of at least $390 but not over $1,000, including penalties.
  • Suspension of your driver’s license of 1 year. Your license cannot be reinstated until you have provided proof of financial responsibility and proof of completion of a state-approved “driving under the influence” program.
  • Based on the circumstances of your DUI, being a first time offender you may also be required by the court to install an Ignition Interlock Device, which will be installed at your expense.

For a third California conviction for DUI you would receive:

  • Jail-time of at least 120 days but not more than 1 year.
  • A fine of at least $390 but not over $1,000, including penalties.
  • The state will consider you an “habitual traffic offender” for 3 years after you’ve been convicted.
  • Suspension for 2 years of your driver’s license. Your license cannot be reinstated until you have provided proof of financial responsibility and proof of completion of a state-approved “driving under the influence” program.
  • You may be able to apply to the court for a restricted driver’s license, but you may be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device, which will be installed at your expense.

For a fourth California conviction for DUI you would receive:

  • Jail-time which may include both jail and prison or at least 180 days but not than 1 year.
  • A fine of at least $390 but not over $1,000, including penalties.
  • The state will consider you an “habitual traffic offender” for 3 years after you’ve been convicted.
  • Suspension for 3 years of your driver’s license. Your license cannot be reinstated until you have provided proof of financial responsibility and proof of completion of a state-approved “driving under the influence” program.
  • You may be able to apply to the court for a restricted driver’s license, but you may be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device, which will be installed at your expense.

When you are arrested and then convicted in California of a DUI, typically a judge will apply guidelines that determine the minimum and maximum sentencing. A judge will also take into consideration the specifics of any previous convictions you may have for DUI.

Illegal Things to Consider When Driving in California

When driving in California, you should be aware of the fact that the following points are illegal:

  • Drivers under the age of 21 are prohibited from transporting or carrying unsealed wine, liquor, or beer, in their vehicle if they are driving alone. Exceptions are if it is work-related.
  • Drivers under the age of 21 are prohibited from driving with a blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) of 0.01 or higher.
  • Drivers under the are of 21 are prohibited from consuming any form of alcohol, including prescription drugs or cough syrup.
  • Any driver or any age is prohibited from driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. A BAC of 0.08 is the standard measurement all states use in order to establish whether a driver is impaired.
  • The driver of any vehicle requiring a commercial driver’s license is prohibited from driving with a BAC of 0.04 or higher.
  • A driver under the age of 18 is prohibited from driving with ANY measurable BAC.
  • Repeat offenders are prohibited from driving with a BAC of 0.01 or higher.

Although these laws are specific to California, the same DUI laws are similar in states throughout the United States.

Working with Sevens Legal, APC

If you are arrested and face a conviction for DUI, you need to work with a criminal defense lawyer such as Sevens Legal, APC. Once you have discussed the specifics of your cast with a Sevens Legal, APC, attorney they will let you know about your case’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the punishment you may face and your risk of conviction. Your defense attorney will also be able to discuss any plea deal as well as whether it would be best to move forward to a trial, taking into consideration your best interests.

The criminal defense attorneys at Sevens Legal, APC, believe every client has a right to the best defense possible. Contact Sevens Legal, APC, today for a free consultation.

Sevens Legal, APC
Criminal Defense Attorneys
3555 4th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: (619) 297-2800

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If you or loved ones is accused or charged with any type of crime call us. Let us support and help you during this tough time. Our firm award winning attorneys provides hope and peace of mind. The Sevens Legal, APC office is located in both San Diego and Escondido. We have time and time again helped Southern California residents get their cases dismissed or penalties reduced.

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