Right now in California, people are still being arrested for DUI’s at a record pace. Thousands of people are arrested every single month. I’ve been practicing criminal defense now for twenty-five years and I still see, just based on my own business, that most of the crimes that people are arrested for are DUI’s. And yes, a DUI is considered a crime. It could be filed as a felony or a misdemeanor. You could be facing jail or prison time and a whole host of other issues, including the loss of your driver’s license for a period of time.
These DUI’s are taken very seriously and I think part of the thinking behind it is, you’re not just putting your own life at risk when you get into a car after consuming alcohol. You’re putting other people’s lives at risk, and when you do that the government feels they are justified in getting involved and making sure that people who do this are punished. And it is a very political issue. You have Mothers Against Drunk Driving and a number of other organizations.
The CHP — the California Highway Patrol — that’s all these guys are trained to do — is to catch people who are drinking and driving on the road or using other things that could put you in an unsafe position. For example, drugs, prescription medication, a combination of alcohol and both.
The bottom line is, California is taking this very seriously. Recently, Colorado passed a law where the new legal limit is .05 and there’s a lot of talk that California is going to follow suit. The problem with this not happening is there’s nobody to champion the rights of individuals who drink and drive.
I mean, who would do that? How would they do it, and they would be laughed at. So, that just lets the legislature run wild. They can do whatever they want. They can pass laws and everybody’s going to say, that’s such a good law, and of course, when they pass it they’re going to have victims/families of victims of DUI accidents there right behind them and nobody’s going to take up any type of a challenge against that.
If the new legal drinking level goes to a .05, that’s going to be devastating for many people because there are still people who go out, drink alcohol and they drive. The .05 means for a lot of people, a drink or two will put you in a position where you’re going to get arrested for a DUI even if you have the argument that you feel fine.
You do not feel like you’re under the influence of alcohol. A lot of people don’t realize that you don’t have to be drunk to get a DUI. I mean, if you’re drunk you’re going to get a DUI for sure. The issue is whether you can safely operate a motor vehicle, and that’s why they do those field sobriety tests out in the field, because those tests are supposed to be designed to determine whether somebody can safely operate a motor vehicle.
Also, they put this presumption in the law. Right now, if your blood alcohol is a .08 or greater, it’s presumed you can’t safely operate a motor vehicle. For that to go down to a .05 is going to put a lot of people in jeopardy.
Another thing that people should realize is deciding if you’re going to drive a vehicle or not is not a decision that should be made after you’ve had some drinks. It’s not a decision that should be made when you’re out in the community and you can’t get back home and your car is there. The decision as to whether or not you’re going to drink and drive is a decision that needs to be made before you take off that night. Before you drink you need to say, I may be drinking tonight.
Therefore, I’m going to set things up so that I don’t put myself in a position to get a DUI, and that means taking Uber, letting somebody else drive, walking — whatever you have to do — because once you get arrested for a DUI, you’re put in the back of a police car. You’re handcuffed. You’re put in a drunk tank with a bunch of other people.
Then you’re going to realize, what have I done here? What type of a position have I put myself in, and now the DMV is going to get notification, so they’re going to try to take your driver’s license away You’re going to have to appear in criminal court. So, it is a real possibility that the driving legal limit is going to be reduced, and if it is, that’s going to cause hundreds of more people to be arrested.
So, if you have a DUI and you need help, you need damage control, you need to get out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible, pick up the phone and call The Hedding Law Firm. We’ve been handling these type of matters for many years with much success.