What Is the Difference Between DUI and DWI?

DUI stands for driving under the influence, while DWI can stand for driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired. These terms have similar meanings, but they are not typically used interchangeably. In the state of California, the term DUI is used rather than DWI. However, many people, particularly those who are originally from another state, use both terms. The term that you will hear from a legal perspective, though, will be DUI.

What Is a DUI in California?

California has a specific set of guidelines that determine what will constitute a DUI charge. It is important to understand exactly what is considered to be a DUI in the state, along with the types of penalties that you might face.
The blood alcohol concentration that would be considered a DUI for a person who is 21 or older and operating a normal passenger vehicle would be 0.08%. For those who are operating a commercial vehicle or a for hire passenger vehicle, 0.04% or higher is considered to be a DUI. DUIs are handled differently for minors, as you will see below.
Something that is very important to note in California is that this state also includes medication, and illegal drugs and legal drugs like marijuana in DUIs. When it comes to medications, these include both prescription and over the counter medication.

Underage Drinking and Driving in CA

There is zero tolerance for the use of alcohol in California by minors. Those who are under 21 years old are required to take the handheld breath test, a preliminary alcohol screening or PAS, or a chemical test. Those who have a blood alcohol concentration measurement that his 0.01% or higher on the PAS could have their license suspended for as much as a year.
However, that’s not the extent of the potential problems for the underage drinkers. If the BAC is 0.05% or greater, the officers could require submission to a blood test or a breath test. If that additional test confirms that the BAC is 0.05% or higher, the driver’s license will be suspended and the person will be arrested on a DUI charge.

What Types of Penalties Could Be Levied Against You?

Penalties for DUI will vary based on various factors. The charges and penalties that you could face will vary based on the type of license that you have, your age, and whether you have had any prior convictions or not. A DUI conviction has the potential to stay on your record for 10 years if you don’t take action reduce your penalties.
One of the penalties that you could face right away when you are pulled over for a DUI is called Admin Per Se. This is a type of suspension allows the officer to immediately take your driver’s license. They can issue a temporary license for 30 days and give you an order of suspension. The officer can also require submission for blood or breath testing. According to the law in CA, you do not have the right to consult with a lawyer before selecting or completing a test.
Refusal to submit to the tests could mean suspension of your license. If the BAC is 0.08% or higher, the officer could arrest you. Those who refuse submission for chemical testing when they are pulled over could have their license suspended for a year on the first offense, two years on the second offense, and three years on the third offense.
Of course, there are plenty of other types of penalties that you may have to face in addition to having a suspended license. There is a change that you could face time in jail. It could be up to six months on a first offense, and much longer for subsequent offenses. Fines of up to $1,000 or more for the first offense are common, as well. There are fees for reissuing the license, and you may need to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. These can be costly, and they are often embarrassing.
Offenders who are convicted of a DUI are required to go through a DUI program. By going through one of these programs, and paying restriction and reissue fees, it’s possible to get a restricted driver’s license in many cases. However, these drivers do need to be at least 21 years old, and they will need to file a California Insurance Proof Certificate (SR 22/SR 1P). Those with their first conviction will be able to use the license that will allow them to drive to and from work, during the course of their employment, and to and from a DUI program.
However, not everyone will qualify for this. Those who are considered to be a risk may find that the court will not allow the DMV to grant them a restricted license.
The exact penalties that you will be facing can vary based on the circumstances surrounding your case. The best course of action is not to drink and drive, but sometimes, mistakes are made. When this happens, things can start to get scary rather quickly. This isn’t about changing your past. It’s about helping you now and preserving your future.

Get Legal Help

When you are faced with a DUI in California, it can seem overwhelming. It can feel like you don’t have any options available and nowhere to turn. You are worried about losing your license and potentially going to jail. Sometimes, even the people that you counted on in your life are nowhere to be found, leaving you to feel very much alone.
It’s important that you don’t try to face a DUI charge on your own, thought. You need to make sure that you get in touch with an attorney who knows and understands the DUI laws in the state and who can help you through your case from start to finish. The¬†Law Offices of Randy Collins¬†will help you to understand what’s happening with your DUI/DWI case each step of the way and we can provide you with the peace of mind you need. Call (844) 285-9559 for a free case evaluation.

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