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A DUI is considered a priorable offense, what does that mean?

If you are ever pulled over for driving under the influence of alcohol, you may feel it is not worth fighting in court to clear your name. However, not fighting could end up hurting you in the long run. A DUI is considered a priorable offense in California, meaning any DUIs on your record will count against you should you be charged and convicted with another similar offense.

Repeat DUI offenders may face severe consequences if prosecuting attorneys achieve a conviction. What are these consequences? Is there any way to defend yourself when facing DUI charges?

California DUI basics

In order for law enforcement officials to arrest you for driving under the influence of alcohol, your blood alcohol content has to be at a certain point, or you have to show signs of impairment. Currently, drivers of legal drinking age cannot operate vehicles if they have BAC levels of 0.08% or higher. There is a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage individuals drinking and driving. If convicted, current penalties include:

  • First offense: Six-month license suspension, court-ordered treatment program
  • Second offense: Two-year license suspension, treatment program, possible vehicle confiscation
  • Third offense: License suspension for up to 10 years, treatment program, possible vehicle confiscation and required installation of an ignition interlock device upon license reinstatement

If you injured or killed anyone while driving under the influence, penalties may include incarceration and fines as well.

Possible defenses

When facing a DUI charge, it is easy to feel defeated and hopeless. Most people do feel this way because they think such charges are impossible to fight. Thankfully, that is far from the truth. Several defense strategies may work to your benefit, such as questioning the results of field sobriety tests and examining the actions of the arresting officer -- among various others. Legal counsel can review the details of your case and help you settle on a defense that makes sense for you and your future.

Don't give up, fight

If you feel there is no way you can fight DUI charges, you may be tempted to just accept whatever punishment the court hands down. Know that you do not have to give up. Fighting the charges may be possible. With the right assistance, you can take steps to achieve the best possible outcome under the circumstances.

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