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An Overview Of DUI Offenses In The State Of California

Interviewer: What kind of clients do you typically work with when it comes to DUIs? Is there a standard demographic? Do you work with more:  older or younger people, men or women, etc.?

Matthew Murillo: It goes across the board. I’ve had a variety of clients. I’ve had everything from underage young adults, middle-age individuals, older individuals, retired, I’ve had some business owners, some nurses, people with professional degrees, people whose job is on the line if they’re convicted. So, it varies substantially, from an underage person or college student up to a professional whose livelihood depends on whether or not they get convicted.

Drunk Drivers are Not Necessarily the Only People Charged With a DUI

Interviewer: The general public seems to have this idea, or this notion, that people get arrested for DUIs are “Drug people”, or drunk drivers or alcoholics. Is that the case, first of all, and do most of your clients have alcohol levels substantially over 0.08%?

Matthew Murillo: No. The DUI propaganda does a good job of making the offense seem like it’s just a horrible thing.  Most people, when they hear “DUI”, do assume drunk drivers but that’s not necessarily the case. A lot of the clients that I have had a low BAC, or maybe slightly over the legal limit but even in that scenario, they’re still arrested for DUI, I’ve even had some that are below the legal limit, get arrested for DUI. It’s not against the law to drink and drive, it’s against the law to drive impaired and it’s against the law to drive with 0.08 BAC level or more but there are a number of factors that go into that BAC level, based on the person’s individual characteristics.

People Are Generally Pulled Over for Minor Traffic Infractions like Speeding and Then Charged with a DUI

There are factors to take into consideration, such as when they were consuming alcohol, if they ate anything, how much time elapsed or different things like that. But no, most of my clients, are generally relatively low in BAC level and they’re either below the legal limit or just above it. Most of the time they’re getting pulled over because their taillights weren’t working properly or speeding. Very rarely is it because of any visible impaired driving. There really isn’t anything that you can say, that applies across the board, that proves somebody was driving under the influence and that’s why they were impaired. Usually, the reason for the stop is a random or coincidental occurrence, like registration being expired or speeding.  That’s the reason for someone getting stopped, then the stop turns into a DUI investigation.

At Least a Few Thousand People Get Charged with a DUI Every Month in California

Interviewer: Can you give us an idea about how many people per year get DUIs? How many DUI arrests happened in 2014?

Matthew Murillo: DUIs, just in California alone, comprise the most cited offense out of all possible charges. They are the most popular offense in Riverside, San Bernardino County and virtually every other county in California. Just between Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, there’s an average of about 1,000 to 1,300 arrests per month.  Think about that.  If you extrapolate that out for 12 months, it’s a good sized number and that’s just the Inland Empire. If you extrapolate that in Orange County, it is usually around 700 or 800 a month, and Los Angeles County, another several thousand, you’re looking at a few thousand a month which is pretty significant.  The reason for this is because it can, literally, happen to anyone, at any time.

The Typical Scenario Resulting in DUI Charges In The State of California

Interviewer: Is there any sort of particular kind of story or a scenario that you keep hearing over and over from potential clients?

Matthew Murillo: Usually the scenario is that a person went out to have dinner or went to some restaurant for some special occasion with family or friends. They have a couple of drinks whether it’s beer, wine or hard liquor. Usually it’s something like that and then they leave the restaurant.  As they’re leaving, they notice that there’s an officer waiting in the shadows. A few minutes later, they get pulled over and the rest is history. Then, they go through the whole field sobriety tests, the breath test and the blood test and they get arrested for DUI, even if there was no real impairment.

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