It is ilegal to drive with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08% or more (.04% for commercial vehicle drivers and .01% if under 21 years of age. Other factors, such a fatigue, medication or food may affect your ability to legaly operate a vehicle. The table below gives an estimate of blood alcohol levels based on the number of drinks consumed, gender and body weight. REMEMBER: Even one drink is likely to affect your ability to drive safely!
If you are convicted of driving while under the influence of either alcohol and / or drugs or both (DUI), and you have an excessive BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) level, you may be senteced to serve up to six months in jail and pay a fine between $390 – $1,000 (plus about three times the fine in penalty assessments) the first time you are convicted. Your vehicle may be impounded and is subject to storege fees.
On the first conviction the court will suspend your driving privilege for six months and require you to complete a DUI program before your driver license can be reinstated. The length of the program my vary. If your Blood Alcohol Content is 0.15% or higher, and you already have a record of violations for other reasons, or you refuse to submit to a chemical test, the court may order you to complete a nine-month or longer program. If your Blood Alcohol Content is 0.20% or higher, and the court refers you to an enhaced DUI treatment program, your license will be suspended for 10 motnths. You could also be required to install an ignition interlock device(IID) on your vehicle. A court may also order you to install an IID if your Blood Alcohol Content is 0.15% or higher, or you have two or more prior moving violations, or you refuse a chemical test at the time of your arrest. An IID prevents you from starting your vehicle if you have any alcohol on your breath. If anyone was injured as a result of your driving under the influence, the suspension period in one year.
In cases involving serious injury or death, you may be punished under the California Three Strikes Law. All DUI convictions will remain on DMV’s records for 10 years. The courts and/or DMV may impose more stringent penalties for subsequent violations during that period.
A Blood Alcohol Content below legal limits does not mean that you are safe to drive. Al-most all drivers show impairment by alcohol at levels lower than the legal limit. The impairment you exhibit at the time you are stopped may be enough to convict you of driving under the influence even without a Blood Alcohol Content measurement.