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All-Inclusive Guide to California DUI Penalties

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What You Need to Know About California DUI Penalties

Although drinking and driving are not unusual, people who operate a motor vehicle under the assumption that they’re safe to drive are still subject to California DUI penalties.

Suppose you are pulled over or detained at a routine traffic stop, and the police officer believes you to be impaired. In that case, you will likely be given a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Your blood alcohol content will determine whether you will be charged. If you are over the legal limit, you will be the object of a DUI arrest.

According to California drunk driving laws, even a single DUI arrest can have serious repercussions. The consequences are more severe for prior DUI convictions or with additional aggravating factors. If you are charged with a DUI offense, you should educate yourself about the complex California vehicle code and criminal penalties.

To improve your chances of getting your DUI charges dropped, you should contact a reputable law firm to retain the services of an experienced Van Nuys DUI attorney. Whether it is for your first DUI offense or you have prior convictions, having an experienced DUI attorney can ease your mind as you face your DUI case.

The Most Common DUI Penalties in California

Knowledgable DUI attorneys will explain that avoiding penalties in California can be particularly difficult. The DUI process in CA is complex because the courts and the DMV are involved. The typical penalties are:

  • DUI probation
  • DUI school attendance
  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • License suspension
  • Restricted license with an ignition interlock device

You must request a DMV hearing ten days from the arrest to avoid losing your license automatically. You can retain your license in the interim, and if your criminal case is dropped, your DMV case may also be dismissed. A California DUI attorney can handle both cases for you. 

How Much Are Typical California DUI Fines?

Since it is considered a misdemeanor offense, California DUI fines generally run from $390 to $1000 for a first offense, a second, and a third DUI. If drunk driving causes an injury, it can result in $390 to $5000 in fines. When charged with a felony, offenders will receive severe penalties, including over $1,000 in fines.

DUI offenses also receive other penalties based on whether they are an initial or second offense committed by commercial drivers or the driver will plead guilty. Your fines may be reduced or additional fees added if there are aggravating factors, such as a high BAC.

As you can see, California DUI penalties can have serious repercussions. You should understand the process and seek legal counsel to ensure you understand your rights and how to navigate the court process.

Other important considerations include how a DUI affects auto insurance and employment opportunities and California’s zero-tolerance law for those under 21. It is wise to consult with a qualified DUI lawyer in Van Nuys to ensure you are prepared for the worst-case scenario.

Understanding the California DUI Penalties Chart

When conferring with an experienced DUI lawyer, they will likely consult a California DUI penalties chart designed to conduct penalty assessments. The chart divides penalties based on how many prior DUIs a person has and whether anyone has been injured.

DUI laws for adult drivers in CA are divided into Vehicle Code 23152(a) and 23152(b). The first makes driving under the influence of alcohol illegal, and the second makes it illegal to operate a vehicle with a BAC of over .08 per cent. The code for DUIs with a commercial driver’s license is Vehicle Code 23152(d), and a person driving under the influence of drugs is charged based on Vehicle Code 23152(f).

A reliable law firm may be able to help you avoid being convicted of a DUI in California. An experienced California DUI attorney in Van Nuys can help you negotiate the process to protect your rights, and you have the best chance of obtaining a favorable outcome.

How to Reduce DUI Charges and Penalties in California

The proper legal counsel can explain how to reduce DUI charges and penalties in California before entering your plea with the judge. Your lawyer will investigate the case looking for discrepancies.

Depending on the case, your counselor may file motions to suppress specific evidence like inaccurate or improperly performed breath tests. If you were illegally pulled over or searched, your attorney will likely file motions and negotiate with the prosecuting attorney to reduce DUI penalties or dismiss the charges.

Felony DUI California Penalties

Although your case will likely be a misdemeanor DUI, felony DUI California penalties are more severe. Felony convictions are usually for multiple DUIs within ten years. You can also receive felony DUI charges if you have a prior felony DUI or your impaired actions caused an accident and one or more people were injured or killed.

Some California DUI convictions also carry jail time for California DUIs of 16 months or two to three years in state prison. They may be required to attend 18 or 30 months in a DUI school. Although they might receive a driver’s license suspension of up to 5 years, in many cases, they can continue to drive if they install and use an ignition interlock device.

CA DUI Penalties First Offense

Driving while intoxicated is a serious crime, and the penalties for a first offense can have long-term effects. The direct costs include:

  • County jail sentence of up to 6 months
  • DUI school for 3 or 9 months
  • Fines of $390 to $1000
  • Six months with an ignition interlock device or suspended driver’s license for 4 to 10 months

If you are arrested for DUI, you should immediately contact a law firm with experience defending drunk driving charges. The accumulated expenses can climb to around $15,000 when you factor in court fees, DMV, and other expenses.

A first-offense DUI conviction carries a minimum of three days in jail and a sentence of up to six months. With the proper legal counsel, you may persuade the judge to give informal probation rather than jail time.

Choosing a DUI Defense Attorney

Whether you are arrested for your first DUI, or you are a habitual traffic offender, you should retain the services of an attorney familiar with California DUI laws. Developing an excellent attorney-client relationship with a criminal defense attorney in Sherman Oaks can be integral to waging a successful fight against a possible conviction and penalties.

A first-time DUI charge is no laughing matter. Even if you thought you were driving safely or were under the influence of prescription or over-the-counter medication rather than alcohol while driving, you would still face repercussions. A skilled and compassionate lawyer will work with you to develop a strong defense strategy for your DUI cases. They will be able to explain California DUI penalties and help you make informed decisions about your case.

An experienced DUI attorney understands that a conviction carries long-term implications and can hurt your career, finances, personal relationships, and even your ability to obtain or maintain insurance. They will fight tirelessly to protect your rights and ensure that you receive fair treatment.

Contact an Experienced DUI Lawyer Now

At The Law Offices of Christopher Chaney, we understand that a DUI offense is a serious criminal charge with potentially devastating consequences.

If you have been charged with any DUI or drunk driving offense, whether first, second, third, fourth, or subsequent DUI offense or negligent vehicular manslaughter related to a drunk driving accident, contact us now for a free consultation.

Our lawyers are experienced and knowledgeable in California DUI penalties and will work diligently to protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome for your case. We will ensure you understand your legal rights and the potential penalties associated with your DUI charge.

Call us now at 818-453-6994. Don’t risk your future – trust the experienced and compassionate attorneys at The Law Offices of Christopher Chaney.

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Regardless of your circumstance, you are not alone in your fight. We are ready to stand by your side and fight for your rights, freedom, and reputation. Contact us today to schedule a free remote or in-person consultation, and let us assist you in finding a solution to your problem.