Does California Have a “Zero Tolerance” Policy for DUI?
You may have heard through the social grapevine of a “zero tolerance” DUI policy in California. Although one is in place, it is not applicable to all situations or all drivers. A zero tolerance policy indicates that if you are caught driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in your body, you can face serious charges. State laws and officers are harsh on DUI, but they are not quite so severe as to say no drinks for anyone who drives, which eliminates a social hour after work or a drink at a ball game. To alleviate fears and rumors, let us discuss what the zero tolerance policy is all about.
The zero tolerance policy does not change by any traditional California laws for those over the legal drinking age. Instead, it is an extension of the regulations. First and foremost, the zero tolerance does impact underage drinking and driving. Instead of normal drinking limit, those who are underaged must have less than a 0.01% blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which happens to be the smallest amount of alcohol that a breathalyzer will detect. Even commercial drivers do not have these strict of standards, as their limit is 0.04% by state law.
Prior DUI Convictions
The other group of individuals impacted by the Zero Tolerance Policy are those who have a recent previous conviction of DUI. This group of people is subject to a summary probation, which differs than typical probation in that they do not have a probation officer for accountability, eliminating the need to “check in” regularly. For anyone on summary probation, a separate set of rules and restrictions are in place, and if they break the rules, they face additional charges. One obligatory restriction is that it is illegal to drive with any amount of alcohol in your system. The restrictions often include:
- BAC must be under 0.04% if stopped,
- Loss of the right to refuse a breathalyzer,
- They may not reject a chemical test after arrest.
Avoid the Probation Punishment
If you face drinking and driving charges, you do not need to accept the charges against you. If you are of age and do not have prior DUI convictions, your BAC limit remains at 0.08%, and the zero tolerance policy is nonapplicable. However, facing DUI charges under any circumstances has the potential to become life-altering. Consider contacting an experienced attorney to create a solid defense for your case. Our goal is to reduce or dismiss your charges to lessen the harsh penalties imposed by the state. If you would like to discuss your case with a San Jose, CA DUI defense attorney, contact the Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich today. We offer a free and confidential initial consultation to those who call 408-625-1130.