Yes, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, such as marijuana, in California. The punishments are severe, and all Californians would do well to avoid drinking any alcohol before driving. Otherwise, you will be working with a Los Angeles traffic ticket lawyer for a while.
What Constitutes “Under the Influence?”
For individuals who are at least 21 years old, it is illegal to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. People younger than 21 cannot have a BAC over 0.01 while people operating commercial vehicles have a limit of 0.04.
However, the police can arrest you if your BAC is below 0.08. It comes down to the discretion of the arresting officer. In some cases, the driver’s mental faculties are clearly impaired, and that person should not be behind the wheel even with a BAC of 0.05. Additionally, a person impaired by marijuana may not have a high BAC, but the officer can see the individual is high and should not be driving.
What Are the Punishments for a First Offense?
In the event this is your first DUI, you could face up to six months in jail. Your license will be suspended, and you could have to pay up to $1,000 in fines. The judge may also decide you need to install an ignition interlock device. This system requires you to prove you have no alcohol in your system before your car will start. You will have to assume the cost of installing this. All this and more are possible, especially if you do not hire a traffic ticket lawyer Santa Ana to fight for you.
It is never worth it to drink and drive. You should find another way to get home. If you end up making a big mistake, then do not hesitate to contact a traffic ticket attorney to defend you in court.