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California Per Se Laws

California per se laws are a set of laws, which find it illegal to operate a motorized vehicle when the individual registers a blood alcohol concentration level above a given limit.

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This is measured using a blood or breath test and the current limit is set at .08%. If an individual registers a result above this limit, then the following laws become operational.

The first law is the California Administrative Per Se Law or simply called as the “on-the-spot” license suspension law.

This requires that the Department of Motor Vehicles suspend or revoke the driving privileges of the individual who registers a BAC level above the legal limit or refuses to take a chemical test upon arrest and booking.

The second law is called the “Zero Tolerance Level” which requires the DMV to impose the sanction of suspension upon an individual driving under the age of twenty-one and registers a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.1% or higher at the preliminary alcohol screening test (breathalyzer test) or refuses or fails to complete the test.

Upon arrest or detention, the driver’s license is confiscated immediately and the suspension is imposed unless otherwise later revoked.

These two per se laws are independent of criminal penalties imposable once a conviction for the crime is reached by a judge or jury.

A further complication under this law would be applicable for refusal of the BAC tests.

The sanctions include a one (1) year suspension of driving privileges for the first offense, a two (2) year revocation for a second offense, and a three (3) year revocation for three or more violations.

Violation of the per se law is not about the individual’s ability to properly and safely operate a motor vehicle.

The crux of the matter is the amount of alcohol present in an individual’s blood system prior to operating or during the operation of the vehicle.

The only question that needs to be answered in per se laws is if the individual’s blood alcohol concentration was within the legal limit.

It should be noted that since the blood or breath testing occurs after operating the vehicle, the testing only determines the blood alcohol level immediately after driving.

Many factors can affect the alcohol level at the time of testing, which may increase, decrease, or remain the same compared to the actual time of operation of the motor vehicle.

As can be seen, the California per se laws directly pertain to an individual’s DUI case.

In order to be properly advised and guided on the steps towards facing this kind of legal problem, call the DUI Lawyers of the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.


For more information about our services and the options in your case, please call our office and schedule a free consultation.
Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis 205 South Broadway, Suite 1000 Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 687-4412 |