In the state of California, the penalties for a DUI are determined based on whether you have any prior DUI convictions from the past 10 years. The punishments are bad enough for a first offense, let alone a second and third.
When your pipes break, you hire a plumber. If you’re facing a DUI charge, especially if this is not your first go-round, hiring a DUI lawyer is the best way to protect yourself from these serious consequences.
A DUI lawyer is a kind of specialist in that they are particularly knowledgeable on the law when it comes to DUI cases. Facing a DUI arrest is definitely a situation where you want an expert on your side.
Penalties for First-Time DUI Offenders
A conviction for a DUI offense in the state of California will, without fail, lead to:
- Fines and fees
- Jail time
- The suspension of your license
- Mandatory DUI school
Even a first-time offender will face harsh penalties that could have consequences for years to come. A first-time conviction for DUI can result in:
- Fines and fees of up to $3,600
- Jail time of up to six months (though you may be able to knock this down to nothing if you agree to an additional 90 days of restricted driving privileges)
- Up to six months of license suspension, plus an additional two to five months of restrictions on driving privileges
- Three months of DUI school
- (Possible) 30-day vehicle impoundment
- (Possible) Installation of an ignition interlock device
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Penalties for Subsequent Offenses
While the penalties for a first offense can be severe, they only worsen if you are convicted of a repeat offense. A second DUI conviction can lead to:
- Fines and fees of up to $4,000
- Jail time of up to one year
- Up to two years of license suspension
- 18 or 30 months of DUI school
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device for one year
Things get even worse if you are convicted of a third or subsequent offense. The possible penalties include:
- Fines and fees of up to $18,000
- Jail time of up to 16 months (with a 16-month sentence being in state prison, rather than in a county jail closer to home)
- License suspension for up to three years
- 30 months of DUI school
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device for two years
- (Possible) 90-day vehicle impoundment, or the potential loss of the car entirely
As you can see, DUI convictions in the state of California are not to be taken lightly. This situation is too important to go it alone, especially if this is your third or fourth offense. The Simmrin Law Group can help you fight to keep your car, to keep more money in your pocket, and to get your life back.
The penalties previously mentioned are in relation to basic DUI charges. There are several aggravating circumstances that could potentially increase the penalties you face. Some of these aggravating factors include:
- If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is excessively high (0.15% or higher)
- Refusing to submit to a chemical test after a DUI arrest
- If your actions caused an accident
- If you were excessively speeding at the time of your arrest
- If there was a child under the age of 14 in the car at the time of your arrest
- If you were under 21 at the time of the DUI offense
- If someone was injured or killed as a result of your DUI
The potential penalties these aggravating factors will add to your sentence vary depending on the particulars. For some aggravating factors, a sentence can increase drastically. For example, if your DUI resulted in the death of another person, you could receive a strike on your record and may even be sentenced to life in prison.
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A “Wet Reckless” Charge
While you may be hoping to have your DUI charge dismissed altogether, if this is your third or fourth offense, the odds are less likely. The prosecution may offer you a plea in the form of a “wet reckless” charge.
A “wet reckless” charge is basically a reckless driving offense wherein alcohol was involved. As far as penalties go, a wet reckless charge is preferable in as much as the penalties for a wet reckless conviction more closely resemble those associated with a first offense for a DUI, or even just a simple reckless driving charge.
However, you should never take a plea bargain without consulting a lawyer first. What might sound like a great deal initially, may have hidden conditions that can permanently affect you going forward. Let the Simmrin Law Group review the proposal and advise you as to whether it truly is the better “deal” for you.
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In the state of California, the “implied consent” law requires that drivers agree to have their BAC (blood alcohol level) tested by law enforcement if they were legally arrested for a DUI. The driver can choose to submit to either a blood test or a breath test.
Before an arrest, you can refuse to submit to a BAC test without consequence. However, if you refuse to be tested after you have been arrested, you must then pay a $125 fine for the refusal. Not only that, but you may also have your license suspended, and the suspension periods increase with every offense.
For a first-time offender, the suspension period is one year, with an additional year added on for each additional offense. And it only gets worse if this is not your first offense. If you have refused this test, our lawyers can help you decide on the best course of action for your case.
Facing a DUI Conviction? Call Us Right Away!
DUI convictions in the state of California are serious business. All it takes is one conviction, and you’re already paying out the nose in fines and fees and potentially even facing jail time and the loss of your license. Don’t take on a case as important as this by yourself. Talk to one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers today.
Fill out our online contact form, or call us. We offer a free consultation with no obligation to retain. We will review your case, answer your questions, and advise you of your legal options. We have handled DUI cases for everyone from first-offenders to those with multiple convictions on their records. We know the law, and we are here for you. Call us today!
Call or text (310) 896-2723 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form