DUI law breakdown of terms & regulations

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California’s strict drunk-driving laws work to prevent deadly alcohol-related car accidents that killed 950 people this year.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 31 percent of traffic accidents in California are caused by drunk driving. The numerous laws may be difficult to discern. Here is a break down of terms and offenses:

Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS): A test usually administered by a police officer to determine a driver’s level of intoxication. Common PAS tests include; breathalyzers, urine samples and blood tests.
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): The percentage of alcohol found in a person’s system. California’s legal limit is .08 percent for people 21 years or older, and for those under 21 it is illegal to have an alcohol content of .01 percent and over.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI): The legal charge for driving with a BAC of .08 percent or above.
DUI and DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) are used synonymously in California.
Ignition Interlock Device (IID): This small device is connected to the car’s ignition, requiring the driver to breathe into the device before the car will start. During driving, the IID will require periodic breath tests to ensure the driver’s BAC is below the legal limit.
Designated Driver (DD): A person who refrains from drinking in order to safely drive his or her friends who are drinking.

If a driver is 21 or older and his or hers BAC is .08 percent or more, he or she could be arrested for DUI. A first offense could result in a four month suspension of the person’s driver licence. A second offense will result in a one year suspension.

Here are the list of offenses for DUI:

First Offense
Jail: from 96 hours to six months
Fine: $390 to $1,000
Completion of Driving Under the Influence Program required
California SR22 Insurance Required for restricted license

Second Offense
Jail: 90 days to one year
Fine: $390 to $1,000
License suspension: two years
Completion of Driving Under the Influence Program required
California SR22 Insurance Required for restricted license
Driver may apply for a Restricted Driver’s License, but the installation of an IID is required.

Third Offense
Jail: 120 days to one year
Fine: $390 to $1,000
License suspension: three years
Driver is designated as a Habitual Offender
Installment of an IID is required
Completion of Driving Under the Influence Program required
California SR22 Insurance Required for restricted license

Fourth Offense
Jail: 180 days to one year
Fine: $390 to $1,000
License suspension: four years
Installment of an IID is required
Driver may apply for a Restricted Driver’s License after one year
Completion of Driving Under the Influence Program required
California SR22 Insurance Required for restricted license

*DUI becomes a felony after the fourth offense, and the driver receives a prison sentence.

If a driver causes an accident while driving drunk and people are killed, the driver can face manslaughter charges.

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