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If you are under the influence of alcohol, then do not drive. Take a taxi or get a friend to take you home as it will be a far better outcome than getting caught by the police while you are driving under the influence (DUI). While a breathalyzer test is the first test the police may request you to take, if the results show a high alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent and over, a blood test may also be needed for final verification.

Refusing Tests

All states have Implied Consent Laws, meaning that when you apply for a driver’s license, you also “agree” to take field sobriety tests at the scene of a vehicle stop by police. Some drivers refuse to take them and, in California, may get a citation instead, unless they consent to a blood draw.

If refusing both tests, or a urine test, if the other two tests are not available, the driver is arrested after being informed of the penalties, such as an automatic fine ($125) for test refusal, loss or suspension of driver’s license, and if convicted, time in prison.

While a refusal to take any breathalyzer and chemical tests will go against your case in court, your San Diego DUI lawyer can build a better defense case to reduce your penalty, or even drop charges based on a technicality.

California has tough laws for DUI charges, so you will certainly want to avoid having a DUI record

California has tough laws for DUI charges, so you will certainly want to avoid having a DUI record, especially if you have been arrested on an earlier DUI charge. Laws and penalties are even harsher for drivers who are under 21 years old. A NO tolerance law dictates that young drivers cannot have a BAC level of .01 or higher when stopped. Nor should they take prescription drugs, including cough syrup that can impair efficient driving decisions.

Go here to see a BAC estimation chart of how many drinks it takes to reach a certain BAC level, based on body weight. Be mindful that each person processes alcohol and drugs at different levels. There is no one absolute standard.

Cars may also be inspected for any unsealed liquor, beer, or wine containers when not accompanied by an adult. Any drivers, 18 years old and younger, may not consume any alcohol, including prescription drugs and cough syrups.

Here are some of the penalties you may receive.

DUI Charge* Penalties
-Minimum License Suspension or Revocation Outcome  
  ·         1st offense 6 months
·         2nd offense 2 years
·         3rd offense Up to 10 years
-Mandatory Alcohol Education, Assessment and Treatment If under 21, education only
-Vehicle Confiscation Yes
-Ignition Interlock Device Possible; Yes, if 3rd offense
* Based on current FindLaw notes. Always check with your defense lawyer first on what the most current laws and penalties are.


Every case has special circumstances that may need different solutions. If you need help for your DUI defense case, please call Kerry L Armstrong Law Offices at 619-234-2300 to set up your consultation.

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Kerry L. Armstrong

Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm, the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, in June 2007. In 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys. In 2017, he was also selected for the Super Lawyers Top 50 in San Diego list. In 2014, he was selected as a Top Attorney by Los Angeles Magazine. Additionally, Mr. Armstrong was also named as a Top Attorney by the San Diego Business Journal in 2014.

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