Facing DUI charges is stressful, confusing, and overwhelming. Aside from worrying about your future, you will be encountering many legal terms you may not understand. But to face your charges with confidence, you will need to understand the basics of DUI law. To help you do that, here are ten DUI terms you need to know:
- Admin Per Se: California's administrative per se law is fairly basic. Per se means “by its self”. Under this law, the California Department of Motor Vehicles suspends the license of anyone arrested for a DUI. This is an automatic suspension and is independent of any suspension the criminal court will instate.
- Wet Reckless: A wet reckless is a reckless driving charge that involved alcohol. This is typically what a DUI is reduced to in a plea bargain. This is still a driving crime but it won't carry with it all of the DUI penalties you would normally face.
- Probable Cause: A police officer must have probable cause to pull you over. Probable cause is a reasonable basis for believing a crime has taken place. In other words, the officer must have a reasonable basis for believing you were driving under the influence before he or she can lawfully stop you. Police can, however, stop you without probable cause at sobriety checkpoints. This is the one exception.
- Hard Suspension: A hard suspension is a license suspension with no restrictions or exceptions. You cannot drive under any circumstances if you have a hard suspension on your license.
- Restricted Suspension: You can also have a restricted suspension, which means you can only drive for certain purposes.
- IID: Ignition interlock devices are sometimes referred to IIDs for short. These are devices installed in your car ignition that require an alcohol-free breath sample before allowing you to start your car. It is mandatory for DUI defendants in Alameda, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Tulare counties to install an IID in their car, but a judge can order a defendant in any county to install one.
- BAC: BAC stands for blood alcohol content or concentration. This is the measurable amount of alcohol in your blood. Many DUI Cases hinge on the BAC level of the defendant.
- SR-22 Filing: SR-22 is a special kind of insurance certificate that must be submitted to the DMV before you can get back on the road after a DUI. An SR-22 filing is proof of financial responsibility for high-risk drivers. This will most likely raise your insurance rates.
- Zero Tolerance Law: This pertains only to drivers under the age of 21. Underage drivers can face DUI charges for driving with a BAC of .01% or more. While drivers over the age of 21 can have some amount of alcohol in their blood and still be legal to drive, there is no such tolerance for underage drivers.
- Implied Consent: All California drivers have given their implied consent to submit to a BAC test if arrested for a DUI. This is a condition to obtaining a driver license in California. Thus, refusing to submit to a BAC test when arrested for a DUI triggers automatic penalties.
Facing DUI charges doesn't have to be overwhelming. Learning about some of the terms you may come across as you deal with the DMV and the criminal court can help you feel more confident about your case. It can also help you have a more productive consultation with a DUI defense attorney should you choose to speak with one. It is also important to understand how these terms connect to better understand why you are facing certain penalties.
Speak with an experienced California DUI defense attorney if you have any questions about these terms or questions about the DUI process in general. Knowledge is most certainly power when it comes to facing criminal charges, and the more you know the better chance you have of beating your charges.
If you are in the Tulare, Fresno or Kings County area and have questions about DUI charges, call experienced DUI defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we can help you understand the DUI process so you can feel confidence about your case. Attorney Martens has over ten years of criminal defense experience and will fight hard for your rights. Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.