Need to know what happens to you with a misdemeanor charge for driving under the influence (DUI)? All drivers accused of a misdemeanor face criminal charges. Drivers may also have their license suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). However, the truth is, not all drivers charged with a misdemeanor DUI face the same penalties in California. The effects of a misdemeanor charge may vary depending upon:
- The number of previous DUIs on your record.
- Whether or not someone was hurt while you were under the influence.
Find out more about what to expect from a misdemeanor DUI charge with this article.
You Face Criminal Charges for a Misdemeanor DUI
All misdemeanors are considered criminal charges in California. Drivers arrested for a DUI often go before a judge for an arraignment hearing. The judge reads your sentence at this hearing — this tells if exactly what charge you are facing and whether it is a misdemeanor. You must also enter a plea at your arraignment hearing. You may plead:
- No contest
- Not guilty
Your case ends if you plead no contest or guilty. The judge may decide upon the penalties you face for a DUI in this situation. You may also plead not guilty. It’s generally recommended that you contact a DUI lawyer before your arraignment hearing. Call (310) 929-6503 to reach a law firm now.
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License Suspensions and Misdemeanor DUI Charges
The DMV may suspend your license within 30 days of a misdemeanor DUI arrest. It does not matter if you are not yet through with your court case, and you must request a DMV hearing to prevent this automatic suspension.
You only have 10 days from the time of your arrest to request a DMV hearing. At your hearing, a lawyer may work to protect your driving privileges. Note that you may avoid a license suspension by agreeing to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle.
An IID works as your personal breathalyzer. It measures your blood alcohol content (BAC) each time you try to turn on your vehicle, and the vehicle will not start if your BAC is elevated. Many drivers convicted of a misdemeanor in California receive a court order to install an IID.
You’ll Face Questioning After a Misdemeanor DUI Accusation
The prosecution and police officers are concerned with securing a conviction in your misdemeanor DUI case. They may try to question you regarding your charges. You should not speak with anyone about your DUI without contacting a lawyer first.
The prosecution may also offer you a plea bargain for a misdemeanor DUI. You are more likely to be offered a plea bargain if you are dealing with your first DUI charge. Plea bargains allow you to receive lessened penalties for a DUI.
However, you must plead guilty to another charge to accept a plea bargain. Make sure you allow a DUI lawyer to assess any plea bargain before you agree to it. Not all plea bargains are in your best interest in California.
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Results of a Misdemeanor DUI Conviction in California
The court could find you guilty of a misdemeanor DUI. The penalties you face for a conviction depend upon the number of previous DUIs on your record. For example, a:
- First DUI could lead to up to six months of jail time.
- Second or third DUI could lead to up to one year of jail time
The fines you face for a misdemeanor DUI also increase with each conviction. Note also that DUIs are not always treated as misdemeanors in California. Some DUI charges are prosecuted as felonies. You may face felony charges if you have three or more DUIs on your record. The court may also use felony charges if someone was hurt or killed in a DUI accident.
A lawyer may help you take on misdemeanor or felony charges in California. You may resolve misdemeanor charges by accepting a plea bargain or going to court. In some cases, the court dismisses misdemeanor DUI charges in California.
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Speak to a Lawyer About What Happens with a Misdemeanor DUI
No two misdemeanor DUI charges are treated the same way. Still, a lawyer may help you understand what happens to you with a misdemeanor DUI in California. You may reach out to the Simmrin Law Group now to get help on your side. Contact us for a free consultation regarding your case.
Reach us by calling (310) 929-6503. You may also fill out our online contact form. We are ready to help with your defense.