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Misdemeanor DUIs

'Tis the Season

The Holidays are upon us. From Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve traditional federal and religious holidays are celebrated by family and friends. Unfortunately, many people get busted for DUIs after leaving parties. Jeffery K. Rubenstein offers good advice about what to do if you get caught in a DUI Sobriety Checkpoint or get pulled over by police.

California Vehicle Code Section 23152

This section of the Vehicle Code defines the penalties for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). All intoxicants are covered, alcohol, marijuana, LSD, amphetamines, downers, cocaine, heroin and other opioids. The penalties for misdemeanor drug and alcohol DUIs are quite similar.

Marijuana and the California Vehicle Code

Even though marijuana is legal in California, smoking pot in any type of vehicle is illegal and a misdemeanor DUI. Also having an open marijuana container in your car is an traffic infraction with a $100 fine. Jeffery K. Rubenstein suggests that you stop smoking weed at least an hour before you leave a party. And put your pot in the trunk. If you have a hatchback, leave your pot with your hosts.

What to Do if You're Pulled Over

If you are intoxicated and stopped by a cop for a traffic violation, Jeffery K. Rubenstein recommends these steps.

1. Stay in your car at first. You are required to provide the officer with your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance.

2. When asked to take an an alcohol breathalyzer or field sobriety test, exercise your Constitutional Rights to remain silent and avoid self incrimination. Simply say, “I want to call my attorney, Jeffery K. Rubenstein.”

3. At that point you'll be told to step out of your car, be handcuffed and put in the police car. Do NOT resist. And say nothing.

4. ASAP Call Jeffery K. Rubenstein at (310) 477-2100.

Yes, you'll probably spend a few hours in jail and your vehicle will be impounded. The cost to retrieve that vehicle is a bargain compared to the penalties for a misdemeanor DUI.

DUI...You Can't Afford One!

The criminal justice process, even for a misdemeanor DUI, can have catastrophic consequences for you, your family, your career, your finances and your reputation. The penalties for your 1st misdemeanor DUI can involve some or all of these penalties.


  • Fine up to $1,000.

  • 48 hours to 6 months in county jail.

  • 1 year of probation.

  • 3 months of DUI classes, which you have to pay for.

  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed in your vehicle to check your blood alcohol level before starting your car, which you have to pay for.

  • 4 to 10 months suspended license.

  • Attorney fees that rack up fast. Or you can take your chance with a free Public Defender.


Ultimately, the cost of your 1st DUI is upwards of $10,000. The penalties increase for your 2nd and 3rd misdemeanor DUIs within a 10 year period. Your 4th in a 10 year period becomes a felony. Stay tuned for the next JKRLAW Blog about Felony DUIs.

JKRLAW Offices of Jeffery K. Rubenstein

Jeffery K. Rubenstein is a Criminal Defense Attorney in Beverly Hills and a former LA County Prosecutor. He has lectured extensively on DUIs and has successfully defended many against charges of misdemeanor DUIs. He is currently accepting new clients. Jeffery K. Rubenstein considers client wellness part of his services. If you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI, he is an expert in non cash Bail and Alternative Sentencing. He can also refer you to a proven network of psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors, counselors, mental health and addiction specialists, treatment centers and support groups.

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