Difference between (a) and (b) counts

There are various forms of DUI, including DUI with injury/accident, DUI with drugs, 2nd or subsequent offense DUIs, and standard DUIs. § 23152 of the California Vehicle Code defines a standard DUI as either (a) driving under the influence, or (b) driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater. This means that even if your blood alcohol level is less than .08 you can still be convicted if you were driving under the influence. It also means that if your blood alcohol content was .08 or greater you can be convicted even if you felt perfectly fine to drive and did well on the field sobriety tests.

DMV Punishment

A DUI conviction is a serious criminal offense. It can result in jail time, fines, a lengthy alcohol program, community service, and classes such as MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) panel or HAM (Hospital and Morgue). You may also be required to install an IID (ignition interlock device) on your vehicle in order to lawfully drive. Additionally, a DUI conviction will be counted as a prior for 10 years, meaning that if you are charged with DUI and have one or more previous DUIs within the last 10 years, you will face significantly increased punishment for the new DUI charge. If you or someone you know is facing DUI charges, whether it is a first offense or the District Attorney is alleging prior DUI convictions, it is imperative that you immediately contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss the unique facts of your particular case.

What the DA Must Prove

To prove that a person committed a DUI offense, the People must prove that:

  • 1. The defendant was driving a motor vehicle; and
  • 2. While driving the vehicle, the defendant was under the influence.

Refusal to Submit to Testing

Refusing to submit to DUI testing will result in a minimum of a least a one-year suspension of your driver’s license. California has something called an “Implied Consent” law, which states that if you drive a motor vehicle in California and you are legally arrested for a DUI, then you are deemed to have given consent for blood, breath and urine testing. Even if the court proceedings go in your favor and your charges are reduced or dismissed, the DMV may still choose to enforce the suspension/revocation of your driver’s license.

10 day rule

When you are cited or arrested for driving under the influence, the police officer will take away your license. You will then have only 10 days to request a hearing with the DMV or your license will be automatically suspended. In order to schedule a DMV hearing to contest your license suspension, you will need to contact (within 10 days) the appropriate DMV Driver Safety Office. The California DMV Driver Safety Offices can be found at the following website: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/fo/dsolistings.htm.

The DMV Hearing

If you failed to contact the DMV within 10 days of the date you were cited or arrested for DUI, your license will be automatically suspended and you lose your right to an administrative hearing. If you contact the DMV and set up a hearing within the 10 days then your hearing will be held at the appropriate DMV Driver Safety Office. These hearings can be either in-person or telephonic, and are conducted by a DMV “hearing officer.” Because these hearings are very technical and complex, it is vital to have an attorney appear on your behalf to contest the license suspension.

Restricted license

If you lose your administrative hearing or you are convicted in court of driving under the influence, the DMV will suspend your license. To check if you are eligible for a restricted license. you can contact the DMV Mandatory Actions Unit at 916-657-6525.


Anybody charged with a criminal offense that is not a United States Citizen should immediately consult with a criminal defense attorney and/or an immigration attorney about the immigration consequences of the crime for which you are charged. This is extremely important because a criminal conviction, no matter how minor it may seem, can lead to drastic immigration consequences, such as deportation, denial of naturalization, inadmissibility, etc. Even someone who is here in the United States as a lawful permanent resident (“LPR”) can suffer drastic immigration consequences from a criminal conviction. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime and is not yet a United States citizen, it is vital that you contact an attorney right away.