Most drivers in California never leave the house with the expectation to drive home drunk. However, things happen along the way and one thing leads to another. A lot of the time, drivers are on the borderline of feeling sober and maybe just had one too many. Unfortunately, the police don't have a sliding scale for penalties. If you are at or over the limit, you are under arrest.
One of the consequences of a drunk driving conviction is alcohol substance abuse education and counseling. A drunk driving arrest can be the first time many people are presented with the possibility that they may have difficulty moderating their alcohol abuse.
Whatever the reason for an Oakland DUI arrest, you deserve to be represented by a legal professional who understands your rights and legal defense options. If you want to avoid a drunk driving conviction on your record, contact East Bay DUI defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.
How Many California Drivers Drink Regularly?
According to a report from Pennsylvania State University, 65% of U.S. adults aged 21 and older consume alcohol. The rates are higher (80%) in households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more. A higher level of education is also associated with a greater percentage of drinkers.
Alcohol has a potential for abuse, including psychological and physical dependence. However, unlike other addictive substances, it has a long history in human culture. America tried to ban alcohol for 13 years during prohibition. Not only did it not work, it was also associated with a rise in organized crime.
California (at 16%) comes in about the same as the national average (17%) for adults who binge drink. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 15,400 Californians die every year from excessive drinking.
When Does Alcohol Become a Problem?
How much is too much when it comes to drinking? According to California Vehicle Code 23152, when it comes to driving, too much is:
- When the driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher; or
- When, as a result of drinking, the driver's mental or physical abilities are so impaired that they are no longer able to drive with the caution of a sober person.
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to control or stop alcohol use, despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 38.6 million adults (18 or older), have alcohol use disorder. Men are more likely than women (13.2% compared to 9.5%), with the highest rates among American Indian/Alaska Natives and the lowest rates among Asians.
DUI School and Substance Abuse Counseling
For many drivers in California, DUI school may be the first time they are directly confronted with the possibility that they may have a substance abuse problem.
Anyone convicted of drunk driving or a wet reckless in California may be required to participate in a qualifying DUI school program. DUI school involves group and individual counseling. It is part educational program and part substance abuse counseling and evaluations. According to the state, the purpose of DUI school is to:
- Reduce the number of repeat DUI offenses; and
- Provide participants an opportunity to address problems related to the use of alcohol and/or drugs.
There can be real incentives for drivers to take substance abuse counseling seriously. Even before waiting to be required to go through DUI school, proactively seeking out substance abuse counseling can help with the criminal judge in your case. It may help your chances of getting a plea deal, reducing the charge to a wet reckless, or getting better probationary terms. It is a way to show the court you are taking this seriously.
DUI Defense Attorney for Drivers in Oakland and the East Bay
A drunk driving arrest can be a one-time mistake or a sign that there may be some dependence on alcohol. If you were arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in Oakland or the East Bay, call an experienced DUI defense attorney for help. East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 40 years of California DUI defense experience and understands the consequences of a drunk driving conviction. Contact East Bay DUI defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.