What happens when you get a DUI with a high BAC?

Question: What happens when you get a DUI with a high BAC?  Am I going to go to jail automatically?  and for how long would I be in Jail for?  Are there any defenses to a high BAC case?  Should I have taken the breath test or the blood test?  I took both in this case, but now I am thinking perhaps I should not have done that.

Are there additional penalties because my breath test result was so high?   I didn’t feel like I was super drunk, but, I do regret driving that night.

I am a nervous wreck right now.  The arrest took place in Reseda, but I have a court date in dept. 103 of Van Nuys Court for the DUI case.  I was in jail for about 8 hours prior to getting released.  I did not have to post bail.  I certainly never want to go to jail again for a DUI or for anything else for that matter.

Is this something that you think you can help me with?  Also, will I lose my license?

Answer: First, I understand how nervous you are, and getting a DUI is a nerve wracking experience.  I know you have a lot of questions.  It would probably be a good idea to set up a consultation so I can address your questions in more detail.  It is normal that every time I answer a question, the person on the other side of the table thinks of two more questions.  Further, I have questions for you that would need to be answered to allow me to give a more specific assessment of your DUI situation.

To start addressing your questions, yes, potential consequences for a DUI can be quite serious and include jail time.  There are many factors to consider on top of a high BAC.  Was there a car accident involved?   Do you have any prior DUI or wet reckless convictions, etc.  If there is jail time, how long it would be also depends on many factors, including how well your DUI attorney is able to defend your case.

There are defenses to high BAC  DUI cases.  Checking the accuracy of the breath machine or the machine used to test your blood for starters.  There are separate things to look at for each machine, as well as Title 17 violations.  Also there are other defenses that can help your DUI case regardless of what your BAC was.  For example, if the officer lacked probable cause to pull your vehicle over in the first place, then it is possible to get the entire case dismissed from court, regardless of what your BAC was.

Along the lines of whether you should have taken a breath or a blood test after being arrested, don’t worry about that now.  It’s too late to play Monday morning quarterback.  The goal now is to defend your case as best as you (or your DUI Attorney) can.  That being said, there are advantages and disadvantages to both generally, and depending on your drinking pattern that night, which has to do with the time your body was in the absorption phase vs. the elimination phase.  There are general answers to when someone can still be in the absorption phase, but everyone’s absorption phase differs and is not completely predictable.  Note, that is a potential defense to a DUI!

There are possible enhancements for having a high BAC level which can effect the length of a license suspension, a required alcohol program, and other potential consequences. It is recommended that you speak with an attorney in more detail about your case to get a more specific response.

As far as your drivers license is concerned, if you fail to timely request an APS hearing, or request but lose your APS hearing, there will be a license suspension.  If you are convicted of a DUI there will be a drivers license suspension.  If your DUI lawyer wins your APS hearing and gets the DUI charge dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense, then you will not have a drivers license suspension based on that arrest.

NOTE:  You or your DUI lawyer only has 10 days from the date of the arrest to request the APS hearing and to have the request granted  (in most circumstances).

I hope that my response to your questions has helped shed some light on your situation.  Remember, DUI charges can be fought and consequences mitigated.  Call me at 818-336-1384 to discuss your case in further details.  When speaking, I can give you a more in depth assessment of your case.


Philip Hache, Attorney At Law

DUI Defense Attorney throughout San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles County