New DUI / DWI Laws for 2009
Several new driving laws went into effect in California on January, 1, 2009. Understanding these new laws will help you avoid being in trouble with the law. However, should you need the help of a skilled defense lawyer, a knowledgeable California attorney from 1800DUILaws.com is here to help. Contact an experienced California attorney any time at 1-800-DUI-LAWS for answers to all of your questions about driving laws.
Probably the new California law that has received the greatest amount of attention is the prohibition on texting while driving. Beginning January 1, it's became illegal to read, send or type electronic messages while driving. The new text-messaging law is punishable by a $20 fine for a first offense and a $50 fine for a repeat offense. However, California imposes "penalty assessments" that will result in the fine being substantially greater.
Although no one enjoys getting a ticket, perhaps it's even more significant to note that a violation of the new texting ban provides police with probable cause to stop you and can possibly lead to more serious criminal charges such as DUI.
Another new California law affects drivers who are on probation for drunk driving. California passed a new zero-tolerance law that dictates that individuals on probation for DUI who are caught driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in their systems will have their driver's licenses suspended.
California has also changed the laws governing the use of ignition interlock devices, or IIDs, in DUI cases. California law used to require that the judge give "heightened consideration" to ordering IIDs in DUI cases where the driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .20 percent or greater. The new law lowers that threshold to .15 percent.
Another new California law requires individuals convicted of DUI or alcohol-related reckless driving - also called "wet-reckless" - to complete a nine-month alcohol-education program if they've been convicted of another DUI or wet-reckless offense within the past decade.
Starting in July 2009, individuals caught driving with suspended licenses because of a DUI conviction also must use an ignition interlock device. Authority over the use of ignition interlock devices will be transferred from the courts to the California Department of Motor Vehicles at the same time.