Like many other states, California imposes strict rules against drinking and driving. Under California law, it’s illegal to operate a motor vehicle with any of the following blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentages, also known as the California legal limit:
- .08 or higher if you are 21 or older, while operating a regular passenger vehicle.
- .04 or higher if you are 21 or older while operating a commercial vehicle.
- .01 or higher if you are younger than 21.
If you are pulled over by local law enforcement, and your BAC is found to be higher than the legal limit, you may be arrested for a DUI offense. DUI charges are considered very serious in California. Upon conviction, you may face significant jail time, fines, license suspension, permanent DUI record, and other consequences.
You should consult with an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible when facing a DUI-related charge. A skilled lawyer can help defend you in court and potentially negotiate a deal with the prosecutor, convince a judge to dismiss your case, or secure a not guilty verdict from a jury. Contact McElfresh Law today to receive a free and confidential consultation.
How BAC is Calculated
Blood alcohol content is the concentration of alcohol in your bloodstream, and it is typically measured as mass per volume. Factors that affect your BAC level at any given point include:
- Type of beverage consumed
- Number of beverages consumed
- Hours since you began drinking
- Combination of drugs or medication
For most adults, having a BAC level above .08 will negatively impact their ability to drive safely, which is one reason why it was established as the California legal limit. Your reaction time may be delayed. Your vision may become blurred. Your judgment will most likely be affected. You may even lose control of the wheel, and cause an accident that results in injury to someone else. Before getting behind the wheel, you should calculate your BAC to make sure that you are within the legal limit.
BAC Tests in California
When a police officer suspects you of driving under the influence, he may pull you over and check for signs of intoxication, such as bloodshot eyes or slurred speech. You may also be asked to perform various BAC tests, including:
- Roadside field sobriety tests: This is usually the most common set of tests conducted by police officials when they suspect someone of drinking and driving. For example, you may be asked to walk in a straight line, or stand on one leg while reciting the alphabet.
- Breathalyzer test: In the field, police officials often carry handheld breathalyzer machines. When you blow into the device, your BAC level will be automatically calculated. However, results are not always accurate.
- DUI chemical tests: More reliable forms of BAC measurement, through blood or urine tests, can be performed at the local law enforcement facility. Blood and urine tests are not commonly administered.
Police officers have established rules and must follow the standard protocol when conducting BAC testing in the field. If these procedures are not properly followed, the evidence collected against you may be thrown out of court. With the right California DUI defense attorney on your side, you may be able to get your charges dismissed or reduced.
Speak With A California DUI Defense Attorney
It is important to find a San Diego DUI lawyer who is familiar with California DUI laws and the local courts. When you are arrested on a DUI-related charge in the San Diego area, the dedicated legal team at McElfresh Law is prepared to help.
California DUI defense attorney Jessica McElfresh has years of experience in successfully defending clients’ rights in California. She has handled many complex criminal cases, and will be able to help you build a strong defense. She can evaluate your individual situation and guide you through the entire legal process, from arraignment to trial.
Call today at (858) 756-7107 to meet with a skilled California DUI defense attorney and get the high-quality representation that you deserve.