Driving under the influence can have serious consequences in any state and can result in jail time and fines. Aside from the immediate consequences, it can also affect your employment and insurance rates. Working with a drug crimes defense lawyer in California is the best way to avoid harsh sentences and lasting impacts.
The penalties related to a DUI can follow you for many years, which is why hiring a lawyer is so essential. Here are some of the potential outcomes if you are convicted of driving a motor vehicle under the influence.
Getting Arrested for DUI in California
If a police officer suspects you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may pull you over. Then, they’ll test your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to see if you are an impaired driver.
By driving in the state of California, you are automatically consenting to potentially have your blood, breath, or urine tested. You are not entitled to a lawyer before being tested.
For people under 21, there is no legal amount of alcohol that can be found in your bloodstream. For people over 21, a BAC of 0.08% or higher is considered driving under the effects of alcohol. When driving a commercial motor vehicle, it is a BAC of 0.04% or higher.
If you are convicted, you’ll likely be subject to a fine, jail time, and possibly hours of community service or alcohol highway safety school. The office may also take your driver’s license or give you a 30 days license suspension.
Driving Under 21 – California Zero Tolerance Law
California has a zero-tolerance law for drivers under the age of 21. That means any amount of alcohol found in your bloodstream during an alcohol screening is an unlawful alcohol level. A police officer will use some kind of alcohol testing device as a preliminary screening.
If alcohol breath testing devices show a level of 0.01% or more, you may face a one-year license suspension. If they show levels of 0.05% or more, you will be arrested for a DUI. It is important to note the differences between these two situations.
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in California
Depending on the circumstances, there are several possible outcomes if you are convicted of driving under the influence. The results may depend on if you have prior convictions, license suspension, and other factors, such as how much over the legal limit you were.
Here are some of the main concerns for anyone who may be dealing with a DUI conviction in California.
DUI – First-Time Offenders
First-time offenders are less likely to get the harshest penalties. In some situations, the person receiving the DUI will have to spend three years to five years on probation.
The probationary period may include jail time, several days of community service, an alcohol treatment program, and fines of hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
The penalties may be more severe if the offender was driving at an excessive speed, with a minor in the car, or was involved in a collision. The court may require additional penalties in this situation, such as payment for property damage.
DUI – Prior DUI Offenders
A DUI remains on your driving record for 10 years, even if you have had it expunged. Subsequent offenses may result in more serious penalties. This includes mandatory jail time, a longer probationary period, and a longer driver’s license suspension.
More than four DUI incidents may result in a felony charge with time spent in the county jail or prison.
Driver’s License Suspension
Being convicted of a DUI means having your driver’s license automatically suspended, regardless of what happens in court.
Loss of your driving privileges is the most basic penalty for driving while impaired. The defendant must request a hearing within 10 days of the arrest in order to halt the suspension.
It’s possible to petition for limited driving privileges for work purposes but not for commercial drivers. If the defendant refused to undergo alcohol testing, the suspension is automatically a year long, with no option for a restricted license.
Aside from the immediate legal issues, there are also collateral consequences to any DUI conviction. For example, during the interview and background check process for your dream job, the company could turn up your history of drunk driving.
A history of DUIs and other drug crimes can affect your employment opportunities, whether or not landlords agree to rent to you, and more. It can also cost you other opportunities, like the ability to volunteer with children or in the health care field.
For those who work in a field that requires a license, like teachers, health care professionals, or commercial drivers, it can affect their ability to stay at their current job. Anyone who has been arrested for driving under the influence should seek legal counsel as soon as possible to avoid as many of these negative outcomes as possible.
Jail Time and Fines for Driving Under the Influence in California
- The first DUI offense comes with a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- The second offense comes with a sentence of up to an entire year and the same range of fines.
- The third offense carries a minimum sentence of 120 days in jail and up to a year. The maximum fine is $1,800.
Defend Yourself from DUI Conviction with LibertyBell Law Group
If you are facing potential DUI charges, a drug crimes defense lawyer in California can be your best ally. A legal professional who specializes in drug crimes can help you negotiate a plea deal, decrease the charges, or find some other way to improve your situation.
We are devoted to helping clients get the best possible legal outcome. We are passionate about helping people navigate the complex legal system and avoid jail time.
To schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help your case and what your legal options are, contact us at 877-545-3559 at LibertyBell Law Group today!
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