DWI Information

Driving under the Influence, Driving While Intoxicated, Drunk Driving is all the same term for the serious offence that you committed – drinking and driving. Even if this is your first DUI, you will face DUI penalties that might include loss of driving privileges, substantial fines, and jail time loss of job, insurance, etc.

In some jurisdictions, if you do not act right away, a DUI arrests leads to automatic suspension of your driving license. If your DUI arrest is for your second DUI, third DUI, or more, involves an accident or other conditions that might lead to years of imprisonment, plus expensive fines, community service and even more terms left to the court’s discretion.

Penalties for a first DUI conviction (unenhanced) in California typically include:

  • 3 to 5 years of court probation
  • A fine, including court fees and costs of $1400 to $1800
  • 6 month loss of California Driver License
  • Forced attendance at DUI School
  • 48 hours of jail time

DUI penalties may also be enhanced if there are aggravating factors such as a child in the car (under 14), speeding, driving on a suspended or restricted license, accidents, high blood alcohol content (over .20), etc.

Here are some DWI/DUI Facts & Fiction: Urban Myths by David J. Hanson, Ph.D. He is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the State University of New York in Potsdam, New York. His 30 years of research into subject of alcohol and drinking has gained him extensive knowledge about the subject.

The subject of DWI and DUI is surrounded by common myths which are corrected here with scientific information and evidence.

Myth: Sucking on pennies will lower a person’s BAC reading.

Fact: Sucking on pennies or other copper has no effect on alcohol breath tester BAC results. Don’t be a sucker… it makes no cents!

Myth: “Alcohol on the breath” is a reliable sign of alcohol consumption and intoxication.

Fact: Alcohol is actually odorless…. it has no smell. What people perceive as alcohol on the breath is actually the odor of things commonly found in alcoholic beverages. The breath of a person who drinks a non-alcoholic beer will smell the same as that of a person who has consumed an alcoholic beer.

Research using experienced law enforcement officers has found that odor strength estimates are unrelated to blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which ranged in the experiment from zero to .13 (almost twice the legal limit for driving). The estimates made by the officers were no more accurate than random guesses. The researchers concluded that estimates of alcohol on the breath are unreliable.

Myth: People who abstain from alcohol are “alcohol-free” and can’t be arrested for DUI.

Fact: The human body produces its own supply of alcohol naturally on a continuous basis, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s called endogenous ethanol production. Therefore, we always have alcohol in our bodies and in some cases people produce enough to become legally intoxicated and arrested for DUI.

Myth: A Breathalyzer will clear from suspicion those diabetics suffering hypoglycemia, whose slurred speech, disorientation, staggering, drowsiness, poor motor control, and flushed face cause them to fail field sobriety tests.

Fact: Hypoglycemia causes acetone in the breath, which the Breathalyzer will record as alcohol on the breath. Unfortunately, about one of seven drivers is diabetic and at risk of false arrest and conviction for DUI/DWI.

Myth: Breathalyzers and other breath testers are accurate.

Fact: There are many, many sources of error in breath testers. For an explanation of some of them visit Breath Analyzer Accuracy.

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