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Legal Blood Alcohol Level Ca

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The legal BAC – Explained

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What Is The Bac Test

BAC is short for blood alcohol concentration. That means the BAC test serves to measure the level of alcohol in your blood. The result will always be in percentage, and it shows the grams of alcohol per 100 millimeters of blood. The scale starts at zero and increases the more alcohol you consume. According to the local laws, the legal BAC level of adult Californian drivers should be lower than 0.08%.

Understanding Drunk Driving Laws In The San Francisco Bay Area

California has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country. Even a first-time DUI can incur heavy penalties and jail time, and the consequences for second and multiple DUIs are even harsher. If you have been arrested for DUI, it is important to understand California DUI laws and the most effective defense strategies to avoid jail time and minimize the negative consequences.

Since 1985, Burglin Law Offices, P.C. has successfully represented motorists charged with DUI in Marin County and throughout northern California. Attorney Paul Burglin co-authors California Drunk Driving Law, a two-volume legal guide commonly known as “the Bible of DUI defense.” Because of his in-depth knowledge of California DUI laws, Paul Burglin is frequently called on by judges, prosecutors, and DMV hearing officers when someone close to them is arrested for DUI.

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When Is A Driver Considered To Be Legally Drunk In California

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .04 percent or greater. In California, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
  • Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .01 or more.

Procedures That Officers And Technicians Must Follow Under Title 17

Blood alcohol levels
  • The test must be administered by a trained technician
  • Your blood must be placed in a vial that contains certain amounts of anti-coagulant to prevent clotting and preservative to prevent its spoilage.
  • The anti-coagulant and preservative must meet expiration dates
  • The technician must not swab your skin with an alcohol-based substance before drawing the blood sample
  • Your blood sample must be properly mixed with the anti-coagulant and preservative
  • The blood sample is to be properly marked for identification and stored
  • Your blood sample must be kept for one year

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You May Be Required To Complete A Dui Treatment Program

If you are convicted of a DUI, you may be required to complete a DUI treatment program. The length of the program depends on the severity of your offense and whether you have any prior DUI convictions. For first-time offenders, the program is typically three months long. For second-time offenders, the program is six months long. If you’re on your third DUI offense, the program may be nine months to twelve months long. Fourth and subsequent offenses may require the completion of an eighteen-month or thirty-month long program.

Legal Bac For Commercial Drivers In California

If a driver operates a commercial vehicle, the legal alcohol level is reduced to .04% by weight of alcohol in blood and another rebuttable presumption operates to presume that the person was above the legal limit if within three hours of driving he was above .04% blood alcohol level. The appropriate code section that addresses DUI while driving a commercial vehicle is California Vehicle Code section 23152.

In September of 2016 the California Legislature passed the law equating drivers for hire to drivers who operate commercial vehicles. Uber, Lyft, and Taxi drivers will be subject to this law and can be found guilty of a DUI when their blood alcohol level is .04% or above. This is a significant change from the previous law that allowed an Uber driver to be at an alcohol level of .07% or less alcohol while transporting a passenger. This new law will take effect on July 1 0f 2018 and is codified in California Vehicle Code section 23152 and 23153 as amended.

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How Is Bac Calculated

In California, there are multiple acceptable ways to check the amount of alcohol in your blood. The most common one is a breath test since its the fastest and easiest for everyone involved. However, a blood alcohol test is also an option to check the alcohol limit.

Here is more info about different methods of checking BAC in California!

  • DUI Breath Tests

If you get stopped by a policeman, they might ask you to do a DUI breath test. The local drunk driving laws consider this a legal way to check your BAC. The breath test only lasts a few seconds, and its minimally invasive. Since the results are available immediately, youll discover your BAC right away.

Its interesting that breath tests dont measure the amount of alcohol in your blood. Rather than that, they check the amount in your lungs, which is close to the blood supply. The machine takes the result and converts it to a blood alcohol percentage. According to the local DUI law, the partition ratio is 2,100:1.

There are two breath tests done in California:

  • PAS test. This is a preliminary alcohol screening, and it occurs when a traffic stop occurs. The driver has the right to decline it if they are 21 or over and they dont have any prior offenses or arent on probation.
  • Post-arrest breath test. If the police arrest you for DIY, youll do a breath test in the local police station. If you reject, you immediately lose your drivers license for at least 12 months.
    • DUI Blood Tests

    • Can BAC Be Measured by a Urine Test?

    Cause Of Action For Supplying Alcohol To An Intoxicated Minor

    California Lawmakers Considering Lowering Blood Alcohol Limit

    In California, a cause of action may be brought against a licensed drinking establishment by, or on behalf of, a person who was injured by an intoxicated minor only when the establishment sold or served alcohol to the minor while he or she was obviously intoxicated and such sale or service of alcohol was the proximate cause of the persons injury.

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    Blood Alcohol Content Levels In Alcoholic Drinks

    A persons liver can process about one standard drink an hour.1 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , a standard drink contains 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol.

    Blood Alcohol Concentration levels in standard drinks include:2

    • 12 ounces of beer, or one bottle at 5% alcohol.
    • 8 ounces of malt liquor at 7% alcohol.
    • 5 ounces of wine at 12% alcohol.
    • 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, or one shot, at 40% alcohol.

    However, a persons BAC level is not only affected by how much alcohol is consumed but by other factors such as an individuals weight, gender, pattern of drinking, and genetics.

    Seeking Help For Alcohol Addiction

    If you suspect that you or someone you care about may be struggling with alcoholism, it may be time to seek professional help. No matter how serious the problem seems, recovery is possible.

    Our Admissions Navigators are available 24/7 to discuss treatment options with you today at

    More on this topic:

    • Resources about addiction and recovery
    • Information about our treatment process

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    Blood Alcohol Measurements During A Dui Investigation

    During a traffic stop, if the officer suspects a driver of being under the influence, he/she may start a DUI investigation. As part of the investigation, the officer may ask the driver to take a PAS test.16

    If the driver blows a BAC below the legal limit, the officer will usually let the person go with just a traffic ticket or a warning.

    If the test is positive, the officer will probably arrest the driver and require a post-arrest breath or blood test.

    Should a driver agree to a PAS test?

    An adult driver who thinks he/she may be over the legal limit is not usually well-served by taking a PAS test. He or she can politely decline to take one. The officer may arrest the person anyway.

    Someone who is under the legal limit also has the right to decline. Some drivers prefer, however, to take the test in order to show the officer that they are not drunk.

    Note that drivers who are under the age of 21 or on DUI probation may not refuse a PAS without consequences.17

    Californias Per Se Dui Code Sections


    Californias per se DUI code sections are:

    Drivers under 21 or who are on DUI probation violate these laws by driving with a BAC of .01% or higher. That person can also be charged with DUI if BAC is measured at any higher, applicable level .

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    What Is A Moderate Level Of Alcohol Consumption

    When it comes to a safe level of drinking, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 defines moderate drinking as up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.7

    Binge drinking is classified as 4 or more alcoholic drinks for females or 5 or more alcoholic drinks for males on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past month.7

    Binge drinking 5 or more days in the past month is considered heavy alcohol use which increases a person risk of developing an alcohol use disorder .7 Low-risk drinking for developing an AUD is defined as no more than 3 drinks on any single day and up to 7 drinks per week for women.7 For men, it is defined as no more than 4 drinks on any single day and up to 14 drinks per week.7

    Arrested For Dui In California Call Us For Help

    Contact our California DUI lawyers for help with your case.

    If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence, we invite you to contact our California DUI lawyers for a free consultation.

    We also have offices in Las Vegas and Reno for those that need to challenge BAC in a Nevada DUI case.

    Legal references:

  • Vehicle Code 23612
  • Vehicle Code 23612.
  • Vehicle Code 23158.See also 7 California Code of Regulations § 1219.1: Blood samples shall be collected by venipuncture from living individuals as soon as feasible after an alleged offense and only by persons authorized by Section 23158 of the Vehicle Code.
  • Vehicle Code 23158 VC.
  • Riverside DUI defense lawyer Michael Scaffidi is a former police officer and police sergeant who now uses his inside knowledge to defends clients accused of DUI and other criminal offenses throughout San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.
  • Vehicle Code 23612, endnote 9.
  • See, definition of per se.
  • Vehicle Code 23612, endnote 9.
  • Vehicle Code sections 13388 and 13389.
  • Vehicle Code 23612, endnote 9.
  • Vehicle Code 23612
  • Vehicle Code 23612 VC.
  • See California Criminal Jury Instructions 2130. Refusal Consciousness of Guilt.
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    What Is The Legal Bac In California

    In California, its against the law to drive if youre under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol affects everyone differently, so how can police determine if youre intoxicated in violation of the law? The state has drawn an arbitrary line which holds all drivers to the same standard. This standard relies on what is known as your blood alcohol concentration, or BAC. When your BAC exceeds the legal limit you can be charged with a DUI.

    Contact A Lawyer For Excessive Blood Alcohol Charges In California

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    Any BAC level over 0.15% is considered excessive in California. Drivers with a high BAC can face additional penalties if they are convicted of a DUI. This makes it very important that you contact the Simmrin Law Group to get legal help after an arrest. Call or fill out our online contact form to get started.

    You can focus on your defense by getting a FREE initial case evaluation from our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles.

    Call or text or complete a Free Case Evaluation form

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    Felony Dui Charges In California

    Most standard DUI offenses are misdemeanors. However, a DUI that involves certain aggravating factors can also be a felony. These factors include:

    • causing serious injuries to another person while driving under the influence
    • causing the death of another person while driving under the influence
    • having three or more prior DUI convictions within the past ten years, and
    • having a prior felony DUI.

    When a DUI is a felony, the possible penalties are much more severe and can include time in prison.

    Contact A California Criminal Defense Attorney Today

    Ultimately, it’s crucial to get your defense strategy in place as soon as possible with any DUI charge. Contact the law offices of Peter James Chambers today to get started with your defense and acquire the services of one of California’s best criminal defense attorneys working for you with a free consultation.

    Thank you for contacting us. We will get back to you shortly.

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    How Is Bac Used During A California Dui Prosecution

    During a California DUI case, the prosecutor will use BAC and other evidence to prove that the driver either:

    • Was over the legal limit and, therefore, guilty of a DUI per se, or
    • Was actually impaired and, therefore, guilty of driving under the influence.

    DUI per se relies on an objective measurement of impairment. If BAC is at or above a specified level , a driver is legally considered too drunk to drive.

    Driving under the influence is a subjective test. The prosecutor must show that the driver was unable to drive safely due to alcohol.

    BAC is just one element of a subjective drunk driving prosecution. The higher a drivers BAC, the more likely that the person was impaired. But additional evidence of impairment is usually required.

    Such other evidence might include:

    • Testimony from the arresting officer about driving pattern and physical symptoms of intoxication,
    • Proof of when the driver drove, and
    • Testimony from other witnesses .

    Criminal Penalties For Dui Convictions In California

    Ontario Blood Alcohol Limit Age

    A DUI conviction can change the course of your entire life. The legal, social, and professional consequences of a criminal conviction can last for decades and place you under a lot of stress. This is especially true for people who are convicted of a DUI in California. The severity of your penalties will depend on a number of different factors. For instance, first-time DUI offenders will face milder consequences compared to those who are repeat offenders. However, if there is an accident that caused injuries, you will likely face more severe consequences.

    Generally, a first DUI conviction will be considered a misdemeanor. This means that as a first-time DUI offender, you are not likely to face severe consequences, although this doesnt mean you can avoid any adverse effects. If you are found guilty of your first DUI charge, you will need to pay thousands of dollars in fines. Additionally, you may face up to six months in jail, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. In addition to these penalties, you may have your license suspended for up to six months.

    If you are found guilty of a second DUI offense, you can also face thousands of dollars in fines in addition to up to a year in jail. Additionally, if you are convicted for a second DUI, your license can be suspended for up to two years, and you will not be allowed to drive until the suspension is lifted. If you are convicted of a third DUI offense, the consequences can be even harsher.

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    How To Drink Without Exceeding Alcohol Legal Limit In California

    A DUI in Los Angeles will typically be prosecuted when a person is above the legal limit. In California, a permissible alcohol level in blood in equal to 0.08% for adult non-commercial drivers who are not on DUI probation. Commercial drivers, when operating a commercial vehicle, are permitted to have no more then 0.04% blood alcohol content. Minors are not allowed to have any alcohol under a zero-tolerance California law. A violation of zero-tolerance California violation is not a crime, but will have a one year license suspension. A minor DUI, is an infraction level offense that has the legal limit of .05%. An infraction is not a jailable offense but will also cause a one year license suspension.

    A 0.08% DUI, charged as a violation of California Vehicle Code section 23152, arguably, the most common crime in Los Angeles. Los Angeles DUI attorneys are experts in defending any DUI related charged in Los Angeles county and will represent you in court and at the DMV.

    A standard alcoholic drink is considered a 1.5 ounce of hard liquor, a 12 ounce bottle of beer, or a 5 ounce glass of wine. The alcohol level in blood will be affected by the number of standard drinks and by the weight of a person. A heavier person will be affected less by a standard drink. A person who weights 200 pounds might reach the legal limit of .08% BAC after 4 drink. In contrast, a person who weights 100 pounds might reach the legal limit of .08% BAC after only 2 drinks.

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