Aside from being prosecuted on the state court level for driving under the influence, a driver can also be cited for a DUI on federal land. Federal DUIs are possible whenever someone is drinking in areas such as national parks, recreational areas on federal land, military installations, and Indian reservations to name a few. Federal agents commonly patrol these areas and are just as interested in performing DUI arrests as state, city or county police officers. As with California state law, a person can be cited for a federal DUI if they are caught operating a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. Drivers under the age of 21 can be cited if their BAC is .001 or higher.
The field sobriety tests used by federal officers are similar to those used in state DUI investigations. It is also commonplace that PAS devices or breathlyzers are employed to confirm officers’ suspicions of DUI activity. Suspects may also be subject to a blood draw to help establish a person’s BAC. As with state offenses, implied consent (choosing to drive means you implicitly agree to take a breath test) applies and additional penalties can be assessed for persons who refuse to test.
The central difference between California DUIs and their federal counterpart is that federal offenses are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney and the proceedings take place in federal district courts. Federal DUI cases begin with the issuance of a notice of violation which is akin to a state level citation. Another key difference is that the applicability of federal law to a DUI offense will depend on whether the act takes place in the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, or some other federal jurisdiction. Those offenses which occur under the National Park Service will be prosecuted using the Code of Federal Regulations. Offenses in other federal jurisdictions will be subject to the applicable California law, but will be handled but federal prosecutors in federal court.
If someone is convicted of a Federal DUI, it will be considered a class B misdemeanor. This means that one’s sentence could include up to five years of probation, a maximum fine of five thousand dollars, and/or a maximum prison sentence of six months in a federal facility. As with state offenses, there are various enhancements that can be applied to increase the sentence. The factors leading to these enhancements are very similar to those at the state level: having someone under fourteen years of age in the vehicle, driving in a reckless manner, having previous convictions, or having a very high BAC. You also stand the risk of having your drivers license suspended even though the offense technically occurred outside of state jurisdiction. If you are in the military or an employee of the federal government, additional punitive action may be taken.
The United State District Court, Eastern District of California handles all DUI related offense if you were cited or arrested in Sacramento, Yolo, Placer, Colusa or El Dorado County. The courthouse location is in Sacramento. Specifically, at 501 I Street Sacramento, CA 95814. Sacramento Federal DUI Lawyer Michael Rehm is available for free, consultations at (916) 233-7346.
Federal DUI Resources: