California DUI Laws: Do They Work?

California DUI Laws: Do They Work?

Looking at the Benefits and Costs

California has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country. Those who are convicted of driving under the influence in the golden state face a host of consequences such as jail time, large fines, DUI classes, and a suspended license. The stakes are high when it comes to drinking and driving in California; your freedom, time, and money are on the line. Knowing this, you may be wondering whether California’s DUI laws really work. Do they deter people from drinking and driving? Do they reduce recidivism? Do they make it safer, overall, for Californians to drive? These are important questions to ask. DUI laws should accomplish all these things, especially if they result in harsh punishments for those who make even a one-time mistake.

Judging whether or not DUI laws make a difference requires looking at the problem from many perspectives.

Different agencies make efforts to analyze information related to driving under the influence. The resulting statistics help guide lawmakers and policy developers to better suit the needs of the community. Sometimes these statistics are used as scare tactics to deter people from drinking and driving. Some have worked. Following the 1990 implementation of the admin per se law, which automatically suspends the license of anyone convicted of a DUI, recidivism rates steadily declined.

It is impossible to say whether reading a statistic alone can deter someone from making a mistake, but it is safe to say the numbers are telling. Drinking and driving kills. Alcohol is involved in a large share of traffic fatalities in California. DUI laws periodically change to better account for these kinds of statistics, making it more of a risk than ever to get behind the wheel after drinking. Unfortunately, increasingly strict laws won’t deter everyone, and the rates of alcohol-related traffic fatalities fluctuate both up and down.  

The Bigger Problem

Authorities in the field of traffic safety have recognized that DUI laws can only go so far because alcohol abuse is at the core of the DUI problem. Those who abuse alcohol are less likely to look to legal consequences to help them make their life choices. One of the components of DUI sentencing in California is the DUI education program, also called DUI classes. These classes address this core problem of alcohol abuse. Jail time, fines, and a suspend license can only go so far toward helping people rehabilitating their ways, and the classes are intended to fill in that gap.

California’s DUI laws contribute to the deterrence of driving under the influence while on California’s road. They also help reduce recidivism, making California’s road safer to drive on; however, this all comes at a cost. Innocent Californians are stopped and inconvenienced every day at sobriety checkpoints. Those who even have one drink before getting behind the wheel face significant risks. And those who are caught driving while under the influence will face jail time, steep fines, and several months without having their full driving privileges. Obviously, there are benefits and costs of any law; California DUI laws are no exception. Fortunately, there are dedicated DUI defense attorneys out there who specialize in taking advantages of the weaknesses in the legal code for your benefit.

If you are facing DUI charges in California, speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately. Attorneys who focus on DUI defense are best equipped with the knowledge and experience needed to defend your rights. Facing DUI charges on your own can be intimidating and often unsuccessful. California DUI laws are complex. This is due, in part, to their constantly evolving nature. What was legal twenty years ago may no longer be legal. This complexity has one benefit; it opens up new areas where the law can be challenged. There are several ways through which a knowledgeable attorney can defend your rights. There may be a DUI defense strategy that can be successfully employed in your case. DUI cases are dropped all the time because of insufficient evidence, compromised test results, or error on the officer’s part. The same could happen for your case, but you may need skilled legal representation to have the best chance at success.

Are you in the Visalia or Tulare area and facing DUI charges? At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we are experienced in DUI defense and can help you face your charges. Criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens has successfully represented clients in Fresno, Tulare, and Kings Counties for over ten years and will not be afraid to take your case all the way to trial. Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at MartensLaw@gmail.com to discuss your case.

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