Crime in Kern County
If you are stopped by police in Kern County and are found to have a BAC over the legal limit (.08% for drivers over 21, .01% for drivers under 21), you will be charged with driving under the influence. According to a DMV report, in 2011, Kern County police made 4,633 DUI arrests. From 2010 to 2011, the number of DUI arrests in the county declined by 21%.
A DUI charge can result in 6 months of jail time, $1,000 in fines, license suspension, probation, community service, DUI driving classes, alcohol or drug treatment, ignition interlock system installation and more. If you have had prior DUI convictions the penalties will be even greater and if an accident with injury has occurred you could even be facing felony DUI charges. Kern County has a DUI conviction rate that is slightly higher than average for California and the majority of offenders serve at least some jail time, so it is important to seek competent legal representation.
Kern County DUI Charges
First DUI – Even first time DUI offenders can experience harsh consequences. California laws look to crack down on DUI drivers. It is believed that, in order to discourage repeat offenses, first time offenders should not be sentenced lightly. Without adequate legal representation, you could face 6 months of jail time, steep fees and more.
Second DUI – If you have been previously convicted of a DUI once before and you get arrested for DUI again, you will face even greater consequences. California courts look back 7 years in your criminal record and if you have prior DUI convictions in Kern County or anywhere else in the country, you will be considered a repeat DUI offender.
Third DUI – For every past DUI conviction you have in the past 7 years, each new DUI charge will be greater. In 2010 30% of all DUI convictions in Kern County were for a repeat offense. Courts look to punish repeat DUI offenders harshly with more jail time, steeper fines, longer license suspension periods and more. The more past convictions you have, the great the penalties will be.
DUI Injury – If you are involved in an accident where serious injury or death occurs, the police responding to the scene will likely test all drivers involved for drug or alcohol intoxication. This is important to remember because if you have an elevated BAC, you will be charged with DUI and held responsible for the injuries. It may even lead to vehicular manslaughter charges. In 2010, 169 people were charged with causing a DUI accident that lead to injury or death in Kern County.
BUI – Just like driving, operating a boat or watercraft while intoxicated is a crime. BUI or Boating Under the Influence is a serious crime and can lead to fines and fees, confiscation of your watercraft and even a jail sentence.
Under 21 DUI – In Kern County there is a zero tolerance policy for minors who drink and drive. This means that anyone under the age of 21 can be charged for DUI for driving with any amount of alcohol in their system. In 2011, .7% of all drivers arrested with a BAC over .08% were juveniles. If you are under the legal drinking age and have a BAC of .01% or greater, you will face underage DUI penalties.
Drugs and DUI – It is also illegal to drive under the influence of drugs. Any drug, whether it is illegal, prescription or over the counter can be accused of impairing your ability to drive. In 2010, 8.3% of serious DUI accidents were caused by drug DUIs. Drug DUI cases can be tricky because the process for testing and measuring levels in your system is not always reliable.
Criminal Courts in Kern County
Kern County's county seat lies in Bakersfield and the superior court is located at:
1415 Truxtun Ave #212
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Phone: (661) 868-5393
Kern County DUI Attorneys
DUI arrests can have many negative consequences. The good news is that you have defense options. An experienced lawyer can help you fight the charges and get great results. We fight for you by challenging every piece of evidence against you. Our DUI attorneys know that sobriety tests can be inaccurate and we want to make the prosecution work in order to prove that the results are defect free. For example, if you had a blood test we can request the sample be sent to an independent lab for analysis. We will not only look at the BAC reading of the sample, but how well the sample was preserved and if there were any factors that may have affected the sample's reading.
There are many ways that an attorney can help you. Even if you think that the evidence against you is overwhelming, call us for a free consultation to find out what an experienced Kern County attorney can do for you.