What are the DUI accident penalties in San Diego?


Getting behind the wheel while inebriated (DUI) is something that must be avoided at all costs.
Getting into an accident while under the influence of alcohol is regarded an aggravating factor, increasing the chances of harsher fines and the risk of costly civil liabilities.

In short the California Penal Code section 23152 sub-section (a) defines it to be an offense to drive while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage. Furthermore, sub-section (b) makes it an offense for a person to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher by volume.

Two Separate DUI Charges in San Diego

In San Diego County, prosecutors frequently seek convictions for two separate DUI offenses typically referred to as the “a” and “b” counts.

Many drivers mistakenly believe that a DUI conviction requires a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. No such requirement exists for the “a” count. In fact, consuming any detectable amount of alcohol and then operating a vehicle while it is still in the driver’s system is a criminal act in California.

Furthermore, in these circumstances, the definition of driving is nominal. Driving is defined by the law as “any movement, no matter how minor.” As proof of driving/intent, prosecutors can call any witness who witnessed the defendant drive, idle their vehicle, sit in the driver’s seat, attempt to start their vehicle, or just have keys in the ignition.

For the “b” count, there is the additional requirement of a 0.08 percent BAC. The same definitions of driving as for an “a” count apply.

The system is tricky and you will benefit from consulting with a knowledgeable San Diego DUI Attorney.


Most DUI’s are prosecuted as misdemeanors. However, the penalties can be very harsh, even for a first offense.

These penalties can include:

  • 1 year in the county jail
  • Up to 5 years of summary probation
  • Fines and court fees greater than $2000
  • 1 year license suspension
  • Mandatory enrollment in a court-approved alcohol program
  • Required to wear and pay for a SCRAM ankle bracelet to record and report alcohol consumption
  • Required to install and pay for an ignition interlock

In addition, the consequences associated with the vehicle accident can result in:

  • Liability insurance premium increases
  • Lawsuits deriving from property damages and personal injuries
  • Having to pay for the attorneys fees of the other injured parties
  • Facing the possibility of a felony conviction and enhanced penalties

Having a San Diego DUI Attorney can help manage your exposure to these DUI accident-related penalties.

What’s Next?

The consequences stemming from a DUI conviction when added to the civil liabilities you will face from an accident are life altering. You can lose your freedom, your driving privileges and the financial success that you have worked so hard to build. You need an experienced San Diego DUI Attorney to assist with your DUI criminal charges and accident liability damages. Contact Mova Law Group today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced San Diego DUI Attorneys about your case.


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