Does an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) mean you’re a criminal in California? DUIs are criminal acts. This means you may get classified as a “criminal” if you are convicted of a DUI. Some DUIs even lead to felony charges. The court may consider you a convicted felon if you are found guilty of a felony DUI.
However, you don’t just have to accept DUI charges in California. You may be able to face these charges. You may have your charges dismissed or reduced. In some cases, you could even secure a not-guilty verdict after you’re charged with a DUI. Check out this article to find out more about your legal options for handling DUI charges.
DUIs Are Criminal Acts in California
Some traffic violations – like speeding – are often treated as infractions in California. You face minor penalties for an infraction. For example, you may get fined if you are accused of speeding. However, these minor charges don’t lead to penalties like jail time.
DUIs are not infractions. All DUIs in California are treated as either misdemeanors or felonies. Most “basic” DUIs are considered misdemeanors. However, you may face felony charges if you:
- Have three or more prior misdemeanor convictions on your record
- Have one or more prior felony DUI convictions on your record
- Hurt someone in a DUI accident
- Killed someone in a DUI accident
Both misdemeanors and felonies are considered criminal acts. This means that the court considers you a criminal if you are convicted of a DUI.
Results of a Criminal Conviction for a DUI
You may not know what to expect if you are convicted of a DUI in California. DUI convictions have a number of serious results. After a conviction, you may face:
- Thousands of dollars in fines
- Time in jail or prison
- Orders to use an ignition interlock device (IID)
- Orders to attend DUI school
Additionally, a DUI conviction stays on both your criminal record and your driving record. A DUI on your criminal record may show up on background checks. This means that a DUI could impact your ability to secure a job or get the approval of a landlord. An institute of higher education may also run a background check if you apply for schooling.
Your DUI remains on your criminal record indefinitely. It stays on your driving record for 10 years from the time of your arrest. All DUIs are considered “priorable.” This means that they count against you if you are arrested for a subsequent DUI in California.
The penalties for DUIs increase each time you are convicted. Get help handling a first or subsequent DUI today. Just contact a DUI lawyer for assistance by calling (310) 896-2723.
Build a Defense to Avoid a DUI Conviction
You may not get convicted after you are arrested for a DUI in California. You are not considered a criminal if you are not found guilty of a DUI. There are a number of steps your lawyer could take to help you avoid a conviction. Your lawyer may:
- Provide you with advice during legal questioning
- Work to block evidence against you
- Dispute the results of your blood alcohol content (BAC) tests
A lawyer could get your charges dismissed in some cases. A lawyer may also work to help you get a fair plea bargain. Some plea bargains lower your charges to an acceptable level. However, you should know that plea bargains still require you to plead guilty. This means you do end up with a charge on your criminal record.
Your lawyer may also take your case to court to represent you in front of a judge and jury. This could result in a not guilty verdict. You may even have some options if you are convicted of a DUI in California. Some drivers work to get a DUI expunged from their criminal record.
Expunged charges do not show up on background checks. However, DUIs remain on your driving record even after an expungement. This means they still count against you if you are arrested for a subsequent DUI.
Find Out if a DUI Conviction Means You’re a Criminal
A DUI is considered a criminal act in California. This means you may be a criminal if you are convicted. However, you don’t just have to accept your charges. You can work to avoid a conviction by reaching out to the Simmrin Law Group. Start working with our DUI lawyers in California right now. Discuss your options with a free consultation.
Reach us by calling (310) 896-2723. You can also complete our online contact form.