Posted in Drunk Driving on May 30, 2018
Facing your first DUI charge is a daunting prospect. It helps to know what to expect from the process, easing your mind while preparing you for what’s to come. Learn how the DUI process works in California and how an attorney can help you through this trying time.
In California, you may face a DUI charge if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% of more. A broader definition also applies – if an officer believes you’re “under the influence” of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two, he or she may arrest you for a DUI.
Most arrests in California do not lead to penalties unless a conviction follows. However, with a lawful arrest for DUI, you may face administrative penalties – fees and license suspension — whether ultimately facing a conviction for the offense or not. If you do ultimately face a DUI conviction, you could incur criminal penalties.
Following the first arrest for DUI the agency that performed the arrest will confiscate your driver’s license and submit an Order of Suspension. You’ll receive a temporary license that is valid for 30 days. The Order of Suspension will go into effect when the temporary license expires. Should you wish to contest the license suspension, you have 10 calendar days to request a hearing with the DMV.
An Order of Suspension typically lasts 4 months. On the other hand, following a 30-day period, you may qualify for a “restricted license” depending on the circumstances of your case. A restricted license allows you to drive to and from your job and any educational DUI programs. Obtaining a restricted license requires proof of insurance, enrollment in an approved DUI program, and payment to reinstate your license.
Everyone convicted of a DUI must complete an approved DUI education course, which can take three to nine months to complete. You will also be responsible for the $600-$1200 course fee.
Effective statewide in 2019, your car will have an ignition interlock device for 5-12 months following your license suspension. You will be responsible for the costs associated with installation and maintenance.
Refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test violates California’s implied consent laws. If you refuse chemical testing, the arresting agency will automatically suspend your license for one year. This suspension will remain effective, regardless of the criminal proceedings that follow.
The steps outlined above fall under “administrative penalties.” You may also face criminal penalties following your conviction. Under California law, a first DUI is usually a misdemeanor offense. Convicted motorists face up to $1000 in fines, as well as other penalties that can total thousands of dollars more. A judge may choose to jail a first offender anywhere between 2 days and 6 months, depending on the severity of the offense. You may not have to serve jail time if a judge grants you probation.
First time DUI offenders typically face probation instead of jail time. This can last three to five years. Conditions of probation may include:
It’s within a judge’s rights to impose other conditions, such as attending support groups or other programs as part of your probation. Violating any of the terms of your probation may lead to more serious penalties, such as jail time.
Knowing what to expect from the DUI process can better prepare you for what’s to come – and emphasizes the need for a DUI attorney to protect your rights throughout the process.