San Diego DUI Attorney


The state of California has rigorous drunk driving laws. An “impaired” driver will have more than .08 percent blood alcohol level in their system and is subject to arrest. There is a NO tolerance law for anyone under the age of 21 in possession or impairment from alcohol. Duplicate offenders may not have more than .01 percent blood alcohol level.

Here are the California Drunk Driving Laws:

  • Drivers under the age of 21 may not drive with a blood alcohol concentration (or BAC) of .01 or higher.
  • Drivers under the age of 21 may not carry unsealed liquor, wine or beer in their automobile while they are driving unaccompanied.
  • Drivers under the age of 21 may not consume alcohol on any level. This rule includes prescription drugs as well as cough syrup.
  • Any driver may not operate a vehicle with a BAC of .08 percent or higher.
  • A driver under the age of 18 may not drive with ANY percentage BAC.
  • The driver of an automobile that requires a CDL may not drive with a BAC of .04 percent or higher.


Fines and Penalties:

  • First offense: 4 days to 6 months in jail, up to $1000 fines, 30 days to 10 months license suspension
  • Second offense: 10 days to 1 year in jail, up to $1800 in fines, 2 years of license suspension with the possibility of reduction to 1 year
  • Third offense: 120 days to 1 year in jail, up to $1800 in fines, 3 years of license suspension
  • Fourth offense (within 10 months of third DUI): 16 months in jail, up to $18,000 in fines, 4 years of license suspension
  • Ignition interlock device is now a mandatory form of penalty which registers a driver’s BAC in order to operate the vehicle
  • Refusal to submit breath for breathalyzer- 1st offense: 1 year license suspension, 2nd offense: 2 year license suspension, 3rd offense: 3 year license suspension


There is an opportunity in San Diego County to plea for a “wet reckless” bargain which entails the drunk driving charges being reduced to merely a case of reckless driving. If there were no motor vehicle accident, borderline BAC levels and no previous DUI record, this may be a possibility. Alcoholics Anonymous is a typical penalty for anyone convicted of a DUI in the state of California as well as “victim panels”. Another penalty is the mandatory request for a restricted license. A restricted license can only be requested if it is not the defendant’s second DUI within the last 10 years of the first DUI. Also, the defendant must have agree to the breathalyzer and chemical tests as well as their license not being suspended.

The DMV fee is $125 or $100 if younger than 21 years old. SR-22 is a law in California stating that a driver MUST have car insurance and proof of financial responsibility. In order to request a license back after a DUI arrest and conviction, a certificate must be obtained in order to prove the driver is carrying the state’s “minimum liability coverage”.

The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong come equipped with the best San Diego DUI lawyers in order to represent and defend the accused on all DUI cases. The talent of the lawyers is apparent due to the sensitive nature of these cases and the special attention each defendant receives throughout this tedious process.