Why Do I Need an Attorney for a DUI?
A Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge is very serious and can have long-lasting consequences. The effects of a DUI conviction can cause loss of employment, driving privileges and other things. Depending on if this is your first charge or if it’s charged as a felony or a misdemeanor can determine the severity of the punishments levied against you. An attorney that has experience in DUI cases can help you get the charges reduced or in some cases dismissed.
DUI Penalties In California
First Time Offense:• Probation ranging from 3 – 5 years • Up to 6 months in jail • Up to $1,000 in fines • A court approved alcohol/drug education program • A 6 – 10 month drivers license suspension
Second Time Offense:• Probation from 3 – 5 years • Anywhere from 96 hours to 1 year jail • Up to $1,000 in fines • Completion of an 18 – 30 month DUI school • A suspended driver’s license for 2 years
Third Time Offense:• Probation from 3 – 5 years • Anywhere from 120 days – 1 year in jail • Up to $1,000 in fines • Completion of a required 30 month DUI school • A suspended driver’s license for 3 years • Declared a habitual traffic offender (HTO)
Misdemeanor DUI With Injury:• Probation from 3 – 5 years • Anywhere from 5 days – 1 year county jail • Up to $5,000 in fines • Completion of an alcohol program • A 1 – 3 year license restriction • Restitution to everyone involved
Felony DUI with Injury:• 6 months – 10 years in California State Prison • A possible “Strike” against you on California’s Three Strike Law • Up to $5,000 in fines • Completion of a 30 month alcohol program • Declared a habitual traffic offender (HTO) • Restitution to everyone involved
If you’re a minor and get charged with a DUI the penalties can increase also. California has a “Zero-Tolerance Law” when it comes to underage drinking. So you’re blood alcohol content doesn’t need to be at the legal limit of .08% for them to charge you.Underage drinking can also have severe consequences and can affect your ability to be admitted into some colleges and also receive financial aid.
Having a qualified, experienced DUI lawyer may be able to get the charges reduced or even dropped. The lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea bargain and get the charges reduced to a “wet reckless.” A “wet reckless” is a reckless driving charge involving alcohol and is less severe than a DUI charge. The consequences of a “wet reckless” include a completion of a 6 week education program, a fine, and a possible suspension of your license.
Our first recommendation is to not drink and drive. If, however, you do find yourself being charged with a DUI it is important to have an experienced lawyer by your side to guide you through the difficult legal process.