Southern California Misdemeanor Driving Under the Influence

Most criminal charges may be filed as an infraction, misdemeanor or felony. However a DUI charge may never be filed as an infraction because infractions are reserved for simple offenses. The types of offenses that are charged as infractions include traffic tickets and those crimes that warrant nothing more than a fine.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI, that charge stems from California Vehicle Code 23152. The section of the Vehicle Code is broken down into two different parts, (a) and (b). The first section makes it unlawful for any person to be operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both. Section 23152 (b) makes it unlawful for anyone to have over a .08% blood alcohol content, which is generally measured through a breath test or blood test.

Does my Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) have to be over .08% to be charged with DUI?

Contrary to popular belief, your blood alcohol content does not have to measure .08% or more in order to be charged with DUI. You may be charged under section 23152(a) of the Vehicle Code, which does not require any set blood alcohol content. Although the case may be weaker if you have a lower BAC level, your case may not necessarily be dismissed for lack of a .08% BAC or higher.

It’s important to have a thorough understanding of your rights during a DUI stop and how DUI field sobriety testing is done. A DUI sobriety test that is performed improperly may have a detrimental impact on your DUI case.

What factors will cause my DUI charge to be a misdemeanor DUI?

The prosecution determines whether a DUI case will be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. In making this determination, the prosecutor will look at several different factors, including the presence of any injuries or accidents that cause damage. Even in cases where injuries and/or accidents are involved, the DUI case may still be filed as a misdemeanor based on the extent of any damage.

For example, if a driver charged with DUI hit a pole and scratched it slightly then the prosecutor for the DUI case has a strong inclination to file it as a misdemeanor. If the pole had significant damage from the accident, a felony DUI charge is more likely to be filed by the prosecution.

In a DUI case where other people are involved, the court will consider the extent of their injuries. If there are minor cuts and bruises versus broken bones and internal injuries, the case would likely be a misdemeanor DUI charge. The more severe the injury, the more likely the case is to be charged as a felony.

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor DUI in California, call the experienced DUI lawyers at Hoffman & Associates right away. We offer a  consultation so you can learn about your rights and how we will expertly prepare your defense against the DUI charges. Our attorneys appear in courtrooms throughout California and have over 30 years of experience.