When you commit a DUI offense in California, the penalties you face will vary depending on two main factors. The number of prior DUI offenses on your record will determine the penalties you face. The applicable penalties will also depend on whether another person suffered injuries because of your driving under the influence. First-time DUI offenders face lesser penalties than repeat DUI offenders do. If another person suffers injuries due to your drunk driving, you might face enhanced penalties.
In most cases, DUI offenses are misdemeanors according to California law. However, in extreme cases, the prosecutor may charge a DUI offense as a felony. If you are guilty of DUI, you need an experienced attorney to assist you fight the charges. San Diego DUI Attorney assists people facing DUI charges to fight the charges. An experienced Jacumba Hot Springs DUI attorney can help you come up with a proper defense.
California DUI Statutes
According to California Vehicle Code 23152(a), it is unlawful to operate your car while intoxicated with alcohol or drugs. It is against the law to drive under the influence of any intoxicating substances. The prosecutor may accuse you of driving under the influence of drugs even if the drugs in question are prescription or over the counter drugs. According to California VC 23152(a), Being intoxicated means that your physical and mental abilities are impaired. It implies that you cannot operate your vehicle with the caution of a sober person.
When accusing you of operating your vehicle under the influence, the prosecutor only has to prove that you were impaired by some substance, either drugs or alcohol. An offense under VC 23152(a) is a misdemeanor. However, if you have committed four or more DUI offenses in ten years, you might face felony charges.
According to Per Se DUI laws in California, you are intoxicated if your blood alcohol content is 0.08% or more. According to California law VC23152(b), you should not drive a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or more. As long the alcohol concentration in your blood exceeds the legal limit, you have violated the California DUI laws. Even if you felt sober when the officer arrested you, you may still face DUI charges. You might face charges for driving under the influence, even if you did not consider yourself impaired at the time the officer arrested you. As long as your BAC was 0.08% or more, the prosecutor does not have to provide any other proof to show that you are guilty of driving under the influence.
Operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or more is a misdemeanor offense. However, you might face felony charges if you have four prior DUI offenses in your record. You may also face felony charges for causing great bodily injury or death or another person due to drunk driving. You do not have to accept all the allegations the prosecutor brings against you. Your Jacumba Hot Springs DUI attorney can assist you challenge the prosecutor's evidence.
According to implied consent laws in California, all drivers should submit to DUI testing. Therefore, after the police stop your vehicle and suspect that you are intoxicated, they may impose a DUI testing. The police may require you to undertake several field sobriety tests. You may have to submit to a DUI breath test. While conducting a breath test, the police use breathalyzer equipment. The driver has to blow his/her breath into the breathalyzer machine. The machine analyzes the driver's breath to check for the presence of alcohol.
If a driver is too intoxicated to breathe into the breathalyzer machine, the police may impose a blood test. Some states in the U.S also allow the police to take blood samples from drivers who refuse to submit to DUI testing.
Despite the application of the implied consent laws in California, some drivers still refuse to submit to DUI testing. Refusal to submit to a DUI chemical blood or breath test is a distinct offense according to California law. Refusal to submit to DUI testing may lead to automatic suspension of your driver's license for a minimum of one year.
California Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV)
The California Department of Motor Vehicle, commonly abbreviated as DMV, plays a major role in enforcing DUI laws in California. California courts, which handle DUI cases, work hand in hand with the DMV. Typically, the courts are responsible for handling fines, probation requirements, sentencing, and incarceration. On the other hand, the DMV handles revocations and suspensions of driver's licenses. For instance, the DMV may suspend your driver's license if you refuse to submit to a chemical test.
After a DUI arrest in California, the DMV may notify you that it intends to take action against your privilege to continue driving in California. Before the suspension of your driver's license, you have a right to a DMV hearing. However, to enjoy this right, you have to request a DMV hearing within ten days from the date of DUI arrest.
It is not mandatory to attend the DMV hearing in person. Your Jacumba Hot Springs DUI attorney may attend the meeting on your behalf. If you fail to request a DMV hearing within ten days of your arrest, the DMV will affect the license suspension. The DMV initiates the license suspension process for any DUI arrest irrespective of whether you submitted to a chemical test or not.
During the DMV hearing, you will have a chance to outline why the DMV should not suspend your driver's license. If you win at the DMV hearing, you may be able to retain your driving privileges in California. However, if you lose at the hearing, you will lose your privileges to continue driving in California. However, if you win at the DMV hearing, you may continue to operate your vehicle freely.
After suspending your driver's license, you may apply for a restricted driver's license. With a restricted license, you may have the privilege to drive to various places like school, DUI school, and the place of work. It is important to note that if you refuse to submit to a DUI test, the Department of Motor Vehicle will not issue you with a restricted license.
After a DUI conviction, you may be able to continue driving without restrictions if you agree to install an ignition interlock device. An ignition interlock device (IID) is a form of breathalyzer fitted in the vehicle. Before you start your vehicle, you have to blow into the ignition interlock device. If the device detects the presence of alcohol in your breath, the vehicle cannot start.
If you record a BAC of or more than 0.15%, you must install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. The mandatory installation of an IID may apply if you drive your vehicle on a suspended license in California while on probation for a DUI offense.
DUI in California
According to California law, it is illegal for persons below the age of 21 years to consume or possess alcohol. If a person under the age of 21 years drives with a measurable amount of alcohol in his/her system, he/she will face DUI charges. An underage driver in California may face charges under California VC 23152. An underage driver may also face charges under California VC 23140 VC for DUI under 21. An underage driver may also face charges under California's zero-tolerance law outlined under California VC 23136.
As an underage driver, having a DUI conviction on your record may affect other areas of your life. For instance, it may be hard for you to get employment. While evaluating potential job applicants, most
employers conduct background checks on the applicants. An employer may be reluctant to hire you if you have a DUI conviction on your record. Your Jacumba Hot Springs DUI attorney can help to negotiate with the prosecutor to ensure that your DUI case does not progress to conviction. Together with your DUI attorney, you may seek expungement of your DUI offense from your record.
Penalties for DUI offenses in California
The presence of mitigating or aggravating factors will determine the penalties you face after committing a DUI offense in California. Mitigating factors are factors that may reduce your DUI penalties. Mitigating factors may include lacking prior DUI offenses on your record. Aggravating factors are factors that may increase your DUI sentencing. DUI penalties all vary depending on the type of DUI offense:
First-time Misdemeanor DUI Offense
After a conviction of driving under the influence for the first time in California, the penalties may include serving misdemeanor probation, also known as informal probation. The court may also impose jail time of up to six months in a county jail in California. Other penalties include fines, which may range between $390 and $1,000. You may be subject to a three-month or a nine-month court-approved DUI School in California.
After committing a first-time DUI offense in California, you may continue operating your vehicle freely if you agree to install an ignition interlock device. If you are not willing to install an ignition interlock device, the California Department of Motor Vehicle may suspend your driver's license for six to ten months. You may also apply for a restricted driver's license that will allow you to operate your vehicle to restricted places.
Penalties for a Second DUI Offense
If you commit a second DUI offense within ten years from when you committed the first offense, you will become a second offender. According to California law, a second DUI offense is a misdemeanor. The penalties for a second DUI offense in California include summary probation for three to five months. Other penalties include a minimum jail time of 96 hours in a county jail in California. The court may impose fines ranging between $390 and $1,000. You may have to complete a court-approved DUI school in California, ranging between 18 months and 30 months.
To continue enjoying driving privileges in California, you may have to install an ignition interlock device for one year. If you are not willing to install an ignition interlock device, the DMV may suspend your driver's license for two years. After one year of license suspension, the DMV may convert the suspended license to a restricted license.
Penalties for a Third DUI Offense in California
If you commit a third DUI offense within ten years, the penalties include minimum jail time of 120 days and a maximum of one- year jail time in a county jail in California. You might have to pay fines ranging between $390 and $1,000. Other penalties include completing a 30-month court-approved DUI school.
The DMV may require you to install an ignition interlock device for two years. If you are not willing to install an ignition interlock device, the DMV may suspend your driver's license for three years. After the suspension of your driver's license for 18 months, the DMV may convert the license to a restricted license.
A third DUI conviction in ten years mat earns you the status of Habitual Traffic Offender given by the DMV.
According to California law, most DUI offenses are misdemeanors. However, in some instances, a DUI offense may automatically attract felony charges:
DUI Causing Injury or Death
For instance, you might face felony charges if you commit a DUI offense and cause injury or death of another person.
For you to face charges for DUI causing injury, the prosecutor has to prove that you operated a vehicle under the influence. It should also be evident that you violated another vehicle code. For instance, the prosecutor may point out that in addition to driving under the influence, you also engaged in negligent or reckless driving.
The prosecutor may charge you with felony DUI under California VC 23513 for driving under the influence causing injury. The prosecutor may also charge you under Penal Code 191.5 (a) for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. Felony DUI charges may also apply under Penal Code 191.5(b) for vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. The prosecutor may accuse you of DUI second-degree murder, also known as Watson murder.
The specific felony DUI charges that the prosecutor assigns to you will depend on your criminal history and the facts of your case.
Multiple DUI Convictions
Operating a vehicle under the influence in California is a priorable offense. This means that you face more severe penalties for every subsequent offense you commit. If you have three or more DUI offenses on your record and you commit a fourth offense within ten years, you will face felony DUI charges.
Some of the offenses that qualify as priorable offenses according to California law include California DUI and a wet reckless offense. If you have an out-of-state conviction for an offense committed in California, the offense will qualify as a priorable offense.
Prior Felony DUI Offense
You might face felony DUI charges if you have a prior felony DUI conviction on your record, and you commit a subsequent DUI offense. This may apply even if the subsequent offense is a simple DUI offense.
Penalties for Felony DUI
For a felony DUI conviction in California, the penalties include imprisonment in a California State Prison for sixteen months, two years, or three years. The court may also impose fines ranging between $390 and $1,000. You may be subject to the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device IID for one year. If you are not willing to install an ignition interlock device, the California DMV may suspend your driver's license for up to four years.
Upon committing a felony DUI offense, the California Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) may deem you a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO). If a felony DUI offense results in the death of another person, you may earn a strike on your record in line with the California Three Strikes Law. You may also be subject to life imprisonment.
The penalties of felony DUI offenses in California are severe. To help fight the charges and negotiate for a plea bargain, you need an experienced Jacumba Hot Springs DUI attorney to negotiate on your behalf.
The Importance of a DUI Attorney
An experienced Jacumba Hot Springs DUI attorney will go a long way in determining the outcome of your case. With the help of your DUI attorney, you can come up with appropriate defense strategies to assist you fight the charges.
Your DUI attorney can challenge the evidence the prosecutor presents against you. For instance,The attorney might challenge the credibility of the breathalyzer test results. If the breathalyzer was faulty, the attorney might fight for a dismissal of evidence collected using the faulty breathalyzer.
If unqualified personnel administered the DUI testing, the attorney might challenge the credibility of the BAC test results. The tests might not be reliable if the testing officer did not adhere to the right testing procedure.
Your attorney may also fight DUI charges against you if the police conducted an illegal arrest or subjected you to illegal police brutality.
Find an Experienced Jacumba Hot Springs DUI Attorney near Me
While facing DUI charges, you need someone to stand by you and fight on your behalf. San Diego DUI Attorney assists people facing DUI charges to come up with a good defense. Contact us at 619-535-7150 and talk to an experienced attorney.