If you are charged with a DUI in the state of California, the first thing you may do is panic. What if they take your license away? What if you can’t drive to work? What if you can’t pay your bills because you can’t get to work? Even worse…what if you go to jail?
Our criminal defense team here at the Simmrin Law Group has years of experience dealing with DUI cases just like yours. Let us do the worrying for you, and give us a call today to discuss your case.
Trial Versus Plea Bargain
You may want to speak to a Los Angeles DUI lawyer to determine whether or not it is better in your particular case to take a plea bargain or go to trial. It may sound tempting to go to trial because if you win, the case is dismissed. But if you lose, then you are risking what could be jail time, hefty fines, and a record.
When you are offered a plea bargain, this is the prosecution’s attempt at settling the case with you. A qualified lawyer can help you determine whether the offer being made is good enough to take, or if you should negotiate for a better deal. The silver lining of a plea bargain is that there are no surprises. A judge doesn’t decide what happens to you; you already know the penalties you are agreeing to in accepting the deal.
Types of Plea Bargains
Every case is different, and so too is every plea bargain. However, there are types of plea bargains that are more commonly offered, which you can either consider taking on your own or discuss with a licensed DUI lawyer. The types of plea bargains you may be offered in the state of California include the following:
First DUI Offense
3 years probation, maximum of $1,800 in fines, three months participation in an alcohol rehabilitation program. You may also receive a six-month suspension on your license, but after a month you can usually get a conditional license that will allow you to travel to and from work.
Second DUI Offense
3-5 years probation, minimum of $1,800 in fines, participation in an 18-month alcohol rehabilitation program, 96 hours of jail time, 1 year suspension of your license with no option for a conditional license.
Third DUI Offense
5 years probation, minimum of 120 days in prison, minimum of $1,800 in fines, participation in an 18-month alcohol rehabilitation program, and your license is revoked for three years.
If this is your fourth offense in a 10-year period, you are not likely to be offered a plea bargain. In this case, you are looking at your charges being bumped up to a felony with potential jail time in state prison.
However, this outcome is not necessarily guaranteed. A good lawyer can negotiate on your behalf and attempt to convince the prosecution that the threat of the severe punishments you are facing this time around is enough to finally scare you straight.
DUI Under 21
If you are under the legal drinking age of 21 and you receive a DUI, the penalties you receive may be harsher, due to California’s Zero Tolerance Law. This law states that if you are under the age of 21 and you’re charged with drunk driving, then you can be subjected to one or more of the following penalties even if this is only your first offense:
- Your license may be suspended for up to one year.
- You may be criminally charged.
- You may have to attend driving school.
- You may have to pay what could amount to hundreds of dollars in fines.
However, all is not necessarily lost. Even if you are under the age of 21, you are still entitled to a DMV hearing in the state of California. Because the penalties here are so severe, you may want to consider retaining a lawyer to help you defend your case.
Charged with a DUI in Los Angeles? Call Us!
A DUI conviction can ruin your life and embarrass your family. Should you take your chances at a trial, or just accept a plea bargain? One of the experienced criminal defense lawyers on Simmrin’s legal defense team can help you make the decision that’s best for you and your family.
Fill out our contact form to the right, or give us a call at (310) 997-4688 to speak with one of Simmrin Law Group’s esteemed criminal defense lawyers. You will receive a free consultation, free of judgment and with no obligation to retain.