24/7 call for a free consultation 212-300-5196




When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

Los Angeles DUI: BAC Above 0.20 Percent

Los Angeles DUI: BAC Above 0.20 Percent

Getting pulled over for a DUI is scary enough, but getting charged with a DUI for having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.20% brings even harsher consequences. This article will break down what happens when you get a DUI with a BAC above the 0.20% limit in Los Angeles.

What is Considered a High BAC in California?

In California, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or higher if you are over 21 years old. This is considered the legal limit [3]. However, a BAC above 0.20% is considered particularly high and excessive. According to California law, a BAC above 0.15% is defined as excessive [5].

To give you an idea of how much alcohol it takes to reach these BAC levels:

  • For a 120 lb woman:
    • 0.08% BAC = 3 drinks in 1 hour
    • 0.15% BAC = 5 drinks in 1 hour
    • 0.20% BAC = 7 drinks in 1 hour
  • For a 160 lb man:
    • 0.08% BAC = 4 drinks in 1 hour
    • 0.15% BAC = 6 drinks in 1 hour
    • 0.20% BAC = 8 drinks in 1 hour

As you can see, reaching a BAC of 0.20% requires consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time. This level of intoxication significantly impairs your ability to drive safely.

Penalties for DUI Over 0.20% BAC

In Los Angeles, a first-time DUI conviction over 0.20% BAC can lead to the following consequences:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail
  • Fines up to $1000 plus penalty assessments
  • Driver’s license suspension for 1 year
  • 3-9 months of DUI classes
  • Installation of ignition interlock device (IID) for 1 year

In addition, your insurance rates will skyrocket. A first-time DUI can increase your premiums by an average of $1,800 per year for 3 years . However, a DUI above 0.20% BAC is likely to result in even higher premium hikes.

If this is your second DUI offense, the consequences are even more severe. You may face up to 1 year in jail, fines up to $1000 plus assessments, an 18-24 month license suspension, and an IID requirement for 2 years . Your insurance rates could also double compared to a first offense.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Aggravating Factors

Certain circumstances may also enhance the penalties if you are charged with a high BAC DUI in Los Angeles. These include:

  • Traffic collision: If your drunk driving results in an accident with injuries or property damage, you may face additional criminal charges like reckless driving. The injuries, damage amount, and your level of fault in the crash will also be considered during sentencing.
  • Child passengers: If you had passengers under 14 years old in your vehicle when you were arrested, your DUI penalties may be enhanced. This is especially true if any of the minors were injured.
  • Speeding 20+ mph over limit: Excessive speeding can turn a DUI charge into a “DUI with injury” felony offense in California. Even without an accident, speeding over 20 mph over the limit leads to extra fines and jail time if combined with a DUI.

Defenses Against High BAC DUI Charges

Because the penalties for BAC over 0.20% DUI charges are so severe, it is critical to examine potential defenses with your attorney. Here are some common defenses used in Los Angeles high BAC DUI cases:

  • Illegal traffic stop: If the officer did not have probable cause to pull you over in the first place, any evidence gathered after that point may be inadmissible. This includes the results of your breath or blood test.
  • Faulty breathalyzer: Breathalyzers can produce inaccurate readings if not properly calibrated or administered. Your attorney can examine if the device was working correctly.
  • Medications: Some prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause elevated BAC readings on a breathalyzer, even if you were not impaired. Your lawyer can argue the readings do not reflect your true level of intoxication.
  • Rising BAC: It takes time for alcohol to be fully absorbed into your bloodstream. So it’s possible your BAC was actually below 0.20% when you were driving but then rose by the time you were tested. A forensic toxicologist may be able to estimate your true BAC based on your weight, gender, food intake, and other factors.

An experienced DUI lawyer can help investigate whether any of these defenses apply in your case. They may be able to negotiate reduced charges or even get your case dismissed altogether.

Long-Term Consequences

Beyond the immediate penalties, a conviction for DUI over 0.20% BAC can negatively impact your life for years to come. Some long-term consequences include:

  • Employment: Many employers require background checks and will not hire applicants with a recent DUI. Some professions, like driving jobs, will not allow you to work at all with a DUI on your record.
  • Housing: Landlords frequently deny housing applications for those with a DUI conviction. This can make finding an apartment extremely difficult following a DUI arrest.
  • “Habitual traffic offender”: Multiple DUIs on your record over a certain period can lead to you being declared a “habitual traffic offender” in California. This results in a license revocation for 3-5 years.
  • Social stigma: There is still a strong social stigma associated with DUI arrests. The damage to your reputation can be severe, especially in professional circles.

Because of the lasting effects on your life, it is wise to seek legal counsel if facing DUI charges over 0.20% BAC. An attorney may be able to plea bargain for a reduced offense, such as a wet reckless charge. This can help minimize the impact on your future.

Get a Consultation Today

Being arrested for DUI is a frightening experience on its own. But add in a BAC reading over 0.20%, along with the increased penalties, and it can feel downright overwhelming. Don’t go through this alone. Connect with a knowledgeable DUI attorney in Los Angeles to discuss your case. They can help put together a strong defense to get your charges reduced or dismissed. Don’t leave your future up to chance – get the legal help you need and deserve.

Schedule Your Consultation Now