Most Viewed Stories
DUI: An expensive way to travel
Nobody plans to drive drunk. Everyone knows it is bad. There is no opposing view.
There are no advocacy groups extolling the virtues and or promoting the benefits of driving intoxicated.
After decades of government-sponsored awareness programs and years of predictable and routine media stories of holiday tragedy, law enforcement says drunken driving continues to be a serious and deadly problem.
"I have no idea why it still happens when there are so many other options," said Dennis Hauck, a Yuba City police traffic officer. "I don't think you're going to find anybody that thinks it's OK and the potential risk they make for themselves and others is just not worth it."
First-time offenders with no criminal history and clean driving records should expect a minimum of two days in the county jail, three years of probation, at least 24 hours of community service and fines between $1,700 and $1,800, according to prosec tors in Sutter and Yuba counties.
"Your driver's license is also subject to suspension for up to four months," said Bradley Enos, a Yuba County deputy district attorney.
Arrested drivers face a minimum of four hours in the so-called "drunk tank," Sgt. Chris Sachs said.
"They have to hold you until they believe you can care for yourself," Sachs said. "So, it can be longer than that, if needed."
Police seize the person's license and issue a temporary 30-day replacement, Sachs said.
"You can petition (the Department of Motor Vehicles) for an extension, but that's up to them," Sachs explained.
A study published last year by researchers at UC San Diego showed even a trace of alcohol, .01 percent, typically less than one full drink, increases the odds of a traffic collision.
"You can also get a DUI if you (have a blood-alcohol level of) below a .08," Sachs said. "If you can't operate your vehicle and you're swerving all over the road, you can still be arrested even if you're below."
Penalties increase the more a driver has had to drink.
Kimberly Webb, a deputy Sutter County district attorney, said those baseline fines climb if a driver's blood-alcohol level is .15 percent or above and will climb again over. 20.
"The fines also increase if there are prior convictions, or if there is a collision without an injury," Webb said. "If there is an injury in a collision, it can be a felony."
Repeat offenders involved in a fatal collision can face homicide charges.
Sachs noted that driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or greater is a separate misdemeanor offense from driving under the influence.
In California, DUI-related deaths have fallen steadily since 2006, but drunken driving still accounts for nearly a third of all traffic fatalities, according to the state Office of Traffic Safety.
Nearly 40 people have been arrested for drunken driving just since Dec. 14 in Sutter, Yuba and Colusa counties, authorities said.
"Consumption of alcohol is legal," Enos said. "But, it's a question of judgment and an active responsibility for everyone not to drive if you've had something to drink."
CONTACT Rob Parsons at email@example.com or 749-4785. Find him on Facebook at /ADcrimebeat or on Twitter at @ADcrimebeat.