The D.E.P. Academy Driver Education Course


Drugs And Alcohol Page 2

Driving Under The Influence (DUI)

  • A DUI in California includes being under the influence of prescription, non-prescription, or illegal drugs and/or other substances, as well as alcohol.  If you are 21 years of age, or older, you are legally considered to be under the influence when your BAC is .08% or greater. You can also be convicted of DUI at any BAC level if you exhibit symptoms of being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. It is illegal at any age and under any circumstances to operate a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or greater, and .04% or greater when operating a commercial vehicle. Research shows that your driving ability may become impaired even with a BAC level as low as .05%.
  • If you are under 21 years old, it is unlawful for you to drive with a BAC of .05% or higher. The court may convict you of DUI, in addition to the penalties imposed under the non-criminal "zero-tolerance" law that makes it illegal for persons under 21 to drive with a BAC of .01%.
  • Any person who drives a motor vehicle is considered to have given his or her consent to being tested for alcohol or drugs any time he or she is arrested on suspicion of DUI. 
  • Your drivers license may be suspended or revoked if you refuse to take a test of your BAC after being requested to do so by a peace officer. You can still be convicted of DUI even if you refuse to take the test. You do not have the right to be represented by an attorney while you are deciding to take, or taking, the BAC test.
  • You must not drink any alcoholic beverage while you are behind the wheel, or have an open alcoholic beverage container inside the vehicle which is accessible to you or your passengers. 
  • If you, or one of your passengers, is 21 years of age or older, an opened alcoholic beverage container may be carried in the trunk of your vehicle. If there is no person in the vehicle who is at least 21 years of age you are not allowed to have any alcoholic beverage container, opened or not, anywhere in the vehicle. This includes the trunk, unless you are transporting it in the course of your employment.

Administrative Per Se

  • The term "Administrative Per Se" refers to the law which requires the DMV to suspend or revoke the driving privilege of persons who are driving with a BAC of .08% or greater, and persons under the age of 21 who are driving with a BAC of .01% or greater. 
  • If you refuse to take a test for your BAC, the Administrative Per Se Law allows the police officer to confiscate your driver license and serve you with an order suspending or revoking your license for the refusal.
  • These are administrative, non-criminal procedures which are separate from any criminal charges that may also be brought against you in court. In many cases the Administrative Per Se action can still take effect, even without a DUI conviction. The immediate suspension or revocation is served by the officer at the time of the arrest. The suspension for the first offense will be 120 days in length. If you have prior alcohol related offenses on your record, you may be suspended for 1 year.

DUI Penalties For Persons Under 21

  • If you are under 21 years old, there is a "zero tolerance" law for drinking and driving. If any measurable level of alcohol (.01% or greater) is detected in your system, you will lose your license for 1 year if it is your first offense.
  • Your license will be revoked for 2 to 3 years if it is your second, or subsequent offense. You may also be required to go to a DUI program. 
  • If you do not have a driver license yet, the court will tell DMV to make you wait a year longer before you can apply for a license. If you're under the age of 21 and refuse to take a breath or blood test for alcohol or drugs  when arrested for suspicion of DUI, your license will suspended for one year. 
  • If your BAC is .05% or greater you may also be convicted of DUI.

DUI Penalties For Persons 21 And Older

  • DUI penalties include mandatory jail time, substantial fines and fees, suspension or revocation of your driver license, restrictions on when and for what purposes you may drive, being assigned to an alcohol or drug treatment program, installation of an ignition interlock device on your car, and the impoundment of your car. 
  • A first offender must be jailed for at least 48 hours, can be fined up to $1,000.00, be restricted to driving to and from work, or to and from an alcohol treatment program.
  • You also may be ordered by the court to attend either a three or six month alcohol treatment program, be required to file proof of insurance with the Department of Motor Vehicles, or be required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your vehicle.
  • The person must blow into the IID to have his or her BAC checked each time the vehicle is started. Maintenance costs for the IID are paid for by the offender. 
  • Your first DUI conviction could result in fines, penalties and other costs that can easily exceed $5,000.00.

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