DUI refers to driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. DWI stands for driving while impaired by a prescribed or illegal substance. Both terms are used interchangeably in some states to describe a situation where an individual operates a vehicle under the influence of substances.
They say there are many ways to skin a cat, and in California, there are many ways to get charged for driving under the influence, including drunk driving, prescription or illicit drug driving, and other forms of DUI. So how can you tell the difference between a DUI and DWI charge? Do they carry the same penalties, or is one more severe than the other?
This article will unpack the differences between a DUI or DWI offense and look into the regulatory framework outlined by California’s driving under the influence laws. We’ll also talk about where you can find help if you need it.
Defining DUI and DWI Violations
A DUI charge and a DWI charge describe slightly different legal concepts, and many states across the US define them as a separate impaired driving classifications. In fact, there are several terminologies used in America that detail driving a motor vehicle while impaired, such as:
- DUI: Driving Under the Influence
- DWI: Driving While Intoxicated
- OWI: Operating While Intoxicated
- OWPD: Operating With the Presence of Drugs
- OWVI: Operating While Visible Impaired
In California, DUI is effectively the same thing as DWI. The two terms are used synonymously, though DUI is more common to describe all types of substance-impaired driving. Therefore, in California, anyone arrested for DUI may be charged for driving with a blood-alcohol level that exceeds the legal limit or is otherwise compromised by alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit substances.
Why Are There Multiple Terms?
In the California Vehicle Code Section 23152-23229.1, neither DUI nor DWI is mentioned. In other states, the law stipulates the slight difference between the two, which would entail providing proof that the driver is impaired whether or not they are over the legal limit.
In these states, DWI is a more serious offense and carries heavier penalties because proving that a driver is impaired when driving is more challenging than simply proving they have alcohol in their system. Most states, including California, have moved away from this system.
If you have been arrested for DUI or any other drunk driving charge, it’s necessary to speak with a competent local DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. Louis J. Goodman is a criminal defense attorney with a proven track record of creating reliable defense strategies for those charged. Contact him today to start building a strong testimony for your case.
What does “Impaired” Actually Mean?
Impairment is a term used to describe a state in which the mind or body is affected as a result of ingesting or using a substance. When somebody is substance-impaired, their judgment and physical or mental reactions become compromised.
Alcohol and illegal substances undermine an individual’s ability to safely operate a vehicle, no matter how good at driving they usually are. When a person uses a substance that causes them to feel relaxed or drowsy, they are impaired. By the time an individual is intoxicated, they are already extremely impaired. Some prescription drugs have side effects that may affect your alertness and reaction time, which is why these substances – while legal – also fall into the same category when you’re on the roads.
How Do Authorities Test For Driver Impairment?
Law enforcement authorities employ several methods to test whether a driver is impaired by substances or alcohol. Typically a field sobriety test will be followed by a breathalyzer test and a blood or urine test if required.
Field Sobriety Test
A police officer may observe strange behavior on the roads, such as weaving in and out of lanes, hesitating to advance on a green light, running a red light, driving very slowly, or exceeding the speed limit. When they pull an individual over, they will take notes on physical signs of impairment, such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or dilated pupils. They will also notice any questionable behavior from the driver.
If the officer believes you are impaired, they may ask you to perform a series of field sobriety tests (FSTs) to check the accuracy of your mental and physical responses. These tests may include:
- Walking heel-to-toe in a straight line, then turning around and coming back
- Following an object with your eyes while keeping your head still
- Standing on one leg with your arms at your sides
Whether or not you pass the field sobriety tests is at the law enforcement officer’s discretion.
If the officer believes you are impaired based on your performance in the FSTs, they will ask you to do a breath alcohol test. Here, you will be required to blow into a tube that measures the degree of alcohol in your blood.
These tests are not always completely accurate, however, they do offer a reliable indication of whether or not you are likely to be over the legal blood alcohol limit. Drugs and substances do not show up on these tests, so if the officer believes there is a reason for further doubt, they may take you down to the station to perform a blood or urine chemical test.
Chemical tests usually get taken at the police station or a hospital. They use a blood or urine sample to determine an accurate reading of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or any substances present in your system.
California’s Implied Consent Law
California, like many other states, imposes an implied consent law. When you receive your California driver’s license, you sign a document agreeing to a breath or blood test to determine your blood alcohol content if you become lawfully arrested under suspicion of DUI.
This means that you are legally allowed to refuse a breath test before being arrested. However, you are legally obliged to comply with testing after being detained according to drink driving laws. You may get an immediate license suspension and incur additional fines and penalties if you refuse to take a test.
Moreover, a prosecutor may also use your refusal to test against you in court. If you have already been convicted of a DUI and refuse to take a test, you may receive sentencing to jail time.
Legal Blood Alcohol Content Levels in California
The legal BAC limits for drivers vary in each state. California state’s legal limit prohibits drivers from operating a motor vehicle with the following blood alcohol content levels
- 0.08% for those aged 21 years and over
- 0.01% for those under 21 years old
- 0.01% if the individual is currently on DUI probation
- 0.04% if the individual is driving a vehicle that requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- 0.04% if there is a commercial passenger in the car when the offense takes place
Can I Be Charged With DUI if I am Under the Legal Limit?
Yes. Even when the driver’s BAC is below the legal limit, they can be found guilty of impaired driving if they cannot operate the vehicle as a sober person would under similar conditions.
This is because alcohol affects every individual differently. Those who are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol or prescription drugs should take their limits into account before choosing to operate a vehicle. Drivers are uniquely responsible for deciding whether or not they can safely drive.
Does DUI or DWI Carry More Severe Penalties?
In states where the difference between DUI and DWI violations is expressed in the local driving laws, DWI usually carries a more severe penalty. This is because, to arrest somebody for driving under the influence, an officer must have reasonable suspicion.
For instance, it may be more challenging for an officer to prove that a driver is impaired when under the legal limit (even if they are impaired) than proving that a driver’s BAC exceeds the state’s limits.
DUI Charges in California
DUI violations are typically charged as a misdemeanor in California. However, in the presence of aggravating factors, they may come with increased severity of penalties or even be charged as a felony. Aggravating factors include:
- Having three or more DUI convictions in the past ten years
- Causing serious corporal injury or death to another person as a result of driving under the influence
- Any previous felony DUI convictions
- BAC levels that exceed 0.15%
- Driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle
What are the Drunk Driving Penalties In California?
If you are convicted of a DUI, the penalties will depend on whether it’s your first, second, third, or a subsequent conviction. You may be sentenced to some or all of the following penalties:
The amount you are fined for a drunk driving offense sometimes depends on how many prior DUI convictions you have had previously. If you have caused injury, death, or damage to property while driving under the influence, you may be responsible for paying victim restitution and property repairs too.
It’s common for DUI offenders to receive jail time or jail alternatives in California. If you are charged with a felony, you could be sentenced to state prison.
Probation is a non-prison sentencing option that offenders usually receive for a DUI. The judge will determine your probation sentence and terms, though for misdemeanor offenses it is usually between three and five years.
When on probation, you are required to show up in court if summoned, obey all laws, and keep your contact details current with the Probation Department. The courts may rule on further requirements for your probation.
If you are arrested for DUI, the police officer will confiscate your driver’s license and issue a temporary driving permit, active for the 30 days following your arrest. You, or your attorney, must contact DMV within 10 days of the date of the stop to request a hearing.
Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
If you get prosecuted with DUI, you will be required to get an ignition interlock device installed in your car. You must blow into the device before you can start the ignition of your car, and if you have consumed alcohol before driving, the engine will not start.
The amount of time you must have an IID in your vehicle varies from 6 months to 3 years, depending on whether it’s your first or subsequent offense.
Alcohol Treatment or Driving Education
It’s common for DUI and DWI offenders to be ordered to attend drunk driving education courses or to attend rehabilitation if a habitual issue is identified. These courses offer defensive driving education and encourage drivers to respect the local impaired driving laws.
Alternatively, treatment can provide valuable help for those who may have an alcohol or substance abuse issue.
A DUI and DWI charge can impact your life in many ways. In some cases, if a DUI offense occurs it can become challenging for a parent to gain custody of their children. Your right to own a firearm will likely be revoked for both misdemeanor and felony offenses in California.
Driving convictions are registered on your Department of Motor Vehicle records, so when it comes time to renew your car insurance rates, your insurance company will increase premiums. Future employment may also become jeopardized if you have a criminal record.
Reducing DUI Charges
If you have the help of a good criminal defense lawyer, they can help you to negotiate a plea bargain and get your DUI charge reduced to a wet reckless driving charge. The term is called “wet” because it involves the use of alcohol.
Reckless driving is a serious offense, although the penalties and overall consequences are less severe than those attached to a DUI conviction. Here are some of the advantages that come with a DUI conviction that gets reduced to reckless driving:
- Lowered fines
- Reduced county jail time
- Reduced probation period
- Less time in DUI school
- No mandatory suspension of driving permit
How Can I Get a DUI Charged Reduced?
If you want to get your DUI charge reduced, you’ll need to get in touch with a competent local lawyer to form a defense strategy and fight for your rights in court. Louis J. Goodman is a diligent and competent California criminal defense attorney with over 30 years of experience working with DUI cases.
While the difference between a DUI and DWI is not prescribed in California law, the implications of a DUI conviction are severe and ongoing. If you are facing a charge in California, contact Louis J. Goodman for a free consultation as early as possible to secure your best chance at forming a reliable DUI defense, and protect your future.
A DUI charge is a grave criminal offense and can label you as a high-risk driver for the rest of your life. If you are facing a DUI case, you will need to hire an experienced DUI lawyer, especially if you want to get your DUI case dismissed. While all attorneys are typically expensive, the average cost of DUI attorneys tends to be a bit more costly.
You may find yourself wondering just how much does a DUI lawyer cost? On top of court costs, DMV fees, penalty fees, DUI school, attorney’s fees, and a long list of other expenses, a DUI charge can be very pricey. You should find a DUI lawyer worth every penny you spend.
When facing DUI charges, hiring an experienced DUI attorney is imperative.
While the average cost of a DUI attorney varies greatly depending on your location, hiring a good DUI lawyer could easily be more expensive. This can also depend on the severity of your DUI charges.
Many DUI lawyers will offer a free case evaluation. This will allow you to discuss your DUI case and your criminal record, while the DUI lawyer can give you a deeper insight into their attorney fees, whether it is a flat fee structure, an hourly rate, and other costs. It is also essential to learn if your lawyer has experience in criminal defense or personal injury cases.
The Team at Louis J. Goodman Is Just One Call Away
They can also discuss their outlook on the DUI case. Meaning that they can provide their opinion on whether or not they can get the case dismissed, or if you will face any jail time, community service, or possibly have to attend traffic school.
The right lawyer will do their best to keep you out of jail, make sure that you avoid a DUI conviction or felony charges, you get to keep your driver’s license and avoid a costly trial. The ultimate goal of your lawyer is to have your case dismissed.
But What Does a DUI Attorney Cost?
If you look at the national average cost of DUI attorneys, you can expect to spend between $5,000 and $15,000 for a relatively easy and straightforward DUI case dismissed or settled out of court, especially if this is your first offense.
However, for a more complex DUI case, the average cost for a DUI attorney could skyrocket to fee structures of nearly $20,000. These higher-priced DUI cases usually consist of multiple court appearances, longer jail time, and higher court fees.
Accepting A Plea Deal
Most DUI lawyers’ fees are based on whether or not you accept a plea or take your case to trial. When accepting a plea, you can expect to pay a flat fee of as little as $700. When taking your case to trial, you can expect costs to rise to nearly $5,000, making the average price of a DUI attorney around $1,900.
Fees Vary By State
When hiring legal representation for your DUI case, remember that the DUI lawyer cost varies depending on your state.
Start by searching the internet using your valid zip code. Then find a DUI attorney that will offer a free consultation. This will allow you to speak to a few different DUI attorneys to discuss your case, the probability of a DUI conviction, how much each DUI lawyer can cost, and other mitigating factors.
What Should You Discuss During Your Free Consultation?
Once you have found a DUI lawyer who fits your case best, it is time to discuss the cost of a DUI. When hiring a DUI lawyer, the most critical question is, how much does a DUI case cost? Will your DUI lawyer cost a flat rate or an hourly rate? Will their total cost be less if this is your first offense? Will there be additional costs that haven’t been disclosed?
If the cost of a DUI is too staggering and you cannot afford to hire a DUI lawyer, you could potentially qualify for assignment to a public defender. Public defenders are lawyers employed at public expense for criminal charges to represent a defendant who cannot afford legal assistance.
Being poor should not exclude an individual from receiving adequate public defense when facing criminal charges. That’s why public defenders are a valuable asset that can help you with your felony DUI case without the high price tag of most DUI lawyers. To qualify for a public defender, you must meet specific income requirements that are outlined by your state.
In addition to hiring a high-dollar DUI lawyer, keep in mind that there are plenty of additional fees in relation to a DUI. Most attorneys will explain these during your free consultation.
Arizona, Utah, Georgia, Alaska, and California are the most expensive states to catch a DUI charge. The states that have the cheapest fines for DUI penalties are South Dakota, Mississippi, Ohio, Vermont, & Missouri.
You can also expect to be charged additional penalties, such as impound fees. Your car may have been impounded by a police officer at the time of your arrest. If so, this means that your vehicle was towed away to an impound lot. In order to retrieve your vehicle, you will have to pay a fee to the lot. These fees vary by jurisdiction and may change depending on the circumstances surrounding the car’s removal.
This fee can pertain to both your insurance company and your driver’s license. If you are charged with a DUI, you may be penalized by getting your driver’s license revoked or your insurance policy canceled. In order to reinstate either of these, you will have to pay a reinstatement fee. These fees vary from state to state and depend on why your license or insurance was canceled.
Drivers License Reinstatement
If you have been charged with a DUI, your driver’s license may be revoked. In order to get your driving privileges back, you will have to complete a series of steps to satisfy your state’s legal requirements.
Some of these steps include paying fines, taking defensive driving courses, and submitting paperwork to the proper authorities. In most states, DUI convictions result in both administrative and criminal suspension. You will need to wait until both of these suspensions are over until you can regain your driving privileges.
Some of the steps required by your state to regain driving privileges after your DUI include, but are not limited to:
- Submitting a certificate of completion from a drug and alcohol education program during your suspension period
- Paying the fees determined by your state’s government as well as any other administrative fees that may have been charged
- Get an SR-22 from your auto insurance company
Some states will allow you to complete many of these steps online, such as submitting documents via email and paying fees through a secured payment portal. It could take up to 21 days to process your payments and paperwork, clearing your name and allowing you the use of motor vehicles again.
When it comes to the cost of reinstatement fees, each state has its own regulations and fee structure that determine what the cost will be to get your license back. In most states, the reinstatement fees are cumulative, which means that if you have a revocation for multiple offenses, the total amount of your fines will be all of the offense fees added together.
If your license has been suspended multiple times, this could also affect the amount of your reinstatement fee.
Insurance Policy Reinstatement
In most states, after receiving a DUI, you are required to file a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate, more commonly known as an SR-22. You will be required to hold this certificate for a minimum of two years in most states.
This form is also going to be required to regain access to your driving privileges after an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) or a criminal suspension.
The cost of an SR-22 is usually significantly more expensive than regular car insurance, especially in states like Texas, which has a long history of being the strictest of states when it comes to DUI convictions. The average cost of minimal coverage SR-22 insurance after a DUI is an estimated $988 per year, compared to the annual cost of $643 without an SR-22.
Additional Miscellaneous Costs
After your conviction, you may be court-ordered to complete a defensive driving class. In order to be eligible to regain your driving privileges, you must complete the entire course.
Sometimes, although not required, judges will still sentence you to complete defensive driving in an effort to reduce your DUI to a lesser charge and even reduce your fines, especially if this is a first-time offense. Most states offer you the option to take your entire course online. If online classes are not available in your state, you will be required to take the course in person.
The specified cost of a defensive driver’s course can vary depending on your location. However, the national average ranges from approximately $15 to $100.
Ignition Interlock Device
Judges can also court order you to install an instrument on your vehicle called an Ignition Interlock Device. This is a breathalyzer that must be installed in your car by local professionals in an effort to detect alcohol in your system.
The ignition interlock device requires you to blow into the mouthpiece before turning on your vehicle or to continue operating it. The cost to install this device as well as maintain it is your responsibility for the duration of time it is installed. A state-certified installer is required to install the breathalyzer, and you are responsible for paying the installation fee directly to them.
The monthly leasing fee will be paid to the Interlock System Manager. This fee covers the cost of monthly maintenance, state-required reporting, camera and GPS management, or any additional—technology .required by your state.
Installation and leasing fees vary by state, but the average cost to install an ignition interlock device is between $70 and $150. The monthly leasing fee ranges from $60 to $90. While this device is typically the most inexpensive cost associated with a DUI, assistance is available in most states to those who cannot afford it.
Is The Charge Worth The Cost?
So many high-dollar expenses come along with DUI charges, and hiring a DUI lawyer is undoubtedly the most expensive. In addition to attorney’s fees, court costs, and a long list of other related costs, before you take a drink, you might want to ask yourself if it’s really worth it.
Making sure you have a designated driver is always the safest (and cheapest) option, of course. But if you do happen to find yourself behind the wheel after a few drinks, ask yourself if you can afford a DUI conviction before you turn the keys.
If you don’t, having a good DUI lawyer on your side is imperative. Call the experienced team at Louis J. Goodman for a free consultation and get an excellent defense for your case that you can afford.
Among many other ongoing hindrances, it’s well-known that a DUI conviction could affect your future employability and professional prospects. This is particularly true for those holding aspirations of joining the military.
Unlike in the past, when the United States Military recruiting officers might have overlooked certain misdemeanors to capture a higher number of recruits, joining the military with a DUI conviction can be more challenging today. Reduction in Force (RIF) programs have been effectuated in a drive to meet military budgets now that we have effectively left Afghanistan and Iraq. The military has a reduced need for new troops and in turn less reason to apply for DUI waivers for applicants.
So can you join the military with a DUI conviction? It’s not impossible, though it will be significantly more difficult than someone who carries an impeccable record. This article will explore the implications a DUI conviction may have on your military service prospects.
Why You May Be Declined By The Military Service
The military is not looking to accept any and every application just to increase numbers. On the contrary, military services require a high level of personal responsibility and strong character. When carefully selecting recruits, most branches follow stringent policies to determine the best matches for the role.
When you have a DUI conviction, it reflects poorly on your personal conduct and is likely to influence the recruiting officer’s decision to accept you. Here are a few reasons why:
- The United States military service has historically rejected applicants with addiction issues. While a DUI is not synonymous with substance abuse, many officials consider the implications of the two similarly.
- Those with DUI convictions may have a suspended driver’s license, or reduced ability to drive, which could impact their suitability for military service.
- The military requires new recruits to pass security clearances. Those with a criminal record may have difficulty with this task.
If you are facing DUI charges and have aspirations to join the military, you’ll need a competent criminal lawyer to help you form a strong defense. Louis J. Goodman is a reputable DUI lawyer with over 30 years of experience constructing reliable defense cases for clients. If you want to join the military, your best chance is to get off the DUI charge. Call Louis J. Goodman for a free consultation about your case today.
What Does The Military Count As DUI
Along with other government employers, the US military is more discerning about onboarding those with a criminal record. Applicants who have previously been arrested and convicted of DUI can typically expect a red mark against their application.
This includes situations where you were found guilty, pleaded no contest to get a less severe sentence, were convicted of wet reckless driving (a less severe form of DUI involving alcohol), or if you had the DUI expunged. A DUI conviction will remain on your permanent record for employers to view.
What If I Am Found Not Guilty?
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI-related crime and found not guilty, or if you were found guilty but the decision was later reversed by a court ruling, your record will not negatively impact your chances of joining the military.
DUI shows poor judgment, and it’s common – even likely – that DUI criminal convictions will discount the offender from a military career. However, branches will often consider the complete picture of a person’s character, including your rehabilitation and whether you have made significant changes to positively impact your life after the incident.
Entering A Military Branch With a Past DUI Conviction
Different military branches have regulations to determine who is and who is not eligible to join the military. Here is some information about each:
Abusing alcohol or acting irresponsibly while operating a motor vehicle is not aligned with US Army values. Therefore, a DU conviction will make it more difficult to enter the army. With that said, the army is possibly the most merciful of all the military branches when it comes to DUIs.
If you are a first-time offender and have no other criminal convictions or DUI-related crimes on your records, you may be able to apply for a conduct waiver request. You’ll likely have to meet with the recruitment officer to be issued a waiver request. If you have two or more DUI convictions, it’s extremely unlikely that your application to the army will be accepted.
Similar to the army, you can apply for a DUI waiver when joining the navy. However, they will not under any circumstances issue waivers for applicants with two or more DUIs. These offenses are called ‘Behind the Wheel’ (BTW) convictions in the navy and could include DUI in motor vehicles, boats, or even planes.
For a recruitment officer to consider your application, there are a few requirements the navy needs to meet. These include the following:
- A waiver can only be granted to a conviction that occurred more than 12 months ago. If the offense was less than 12 months ago, you have to wait.
- You must have completed your sentence, whether that is community service, DUI school, or a license suspension before you can request a DUI waiver.
The air force is the strictest of the three in terms of DUI regulations. The risks associated with driving intoxicated become heightened in a jet, and it’s unlikely a recruiting officer will take a chance on jeopardizing the safety of others.
Additionally, there is a long waiting list to join the airforce, so recruiters have the luxury of cherry-picking applicants with impeccable behavior. In any case, an applicant must be clean at least five years from their conviction before they can apply.
Getting A DUI Conviction While In The Military
A member of the armed forces will face different consequences than a civilian charged with a DUI. While civilian hearings get held in a regular court, a military DUI will be tried in the military court.
In regular cases, your DUI lawyers should be competent and knowledgeable about the criminal charges relating to your DUI arrest and the consequences you face as a military member. While these may be straightforward for civilians, military personnel face a slightly different process.
Military DUIs have no maximum punishment, and the consequences could be light or severe depending on the facts surrounding the case. Military personnel may face a pay reduction, rank reduction, dishonorable discharge, or jail time.
When you get convicted of a DUI, it can severely impact your chances of being recruited into the military. The US armed forces are extremely selective when picking candidates and they place significant importance on personal conduct and self-responsibility.
However, that is not to say that it’s impossible to get recruited into the military. Commonly, recruiters will look at your personal situation and take into account the positive actions you have taken to turn your life around since your conviction.
Your court representation could be the difference between a guilty or not guilty conviction and directly impact your employment prospects in the military. If you need a diligent and competent lawyer to provide the best legal support so you can join the military, get in touch with Louis J. Goodman today.
If you have been summoned to court for a DUI, the process is undoubtedly intimidating. It’s normal to feel worried about how things will go, and how your future may be impacted by this process. The consequences of a DUI conviction can wreak havoc on your personal and professional life, so it’s critical to understand the legal processes that lead up to your court date.
If you have been arrested for DUI, the importance of hiring a professional criminal defense lawyer cannot be understated. Your attorney will help to protect your rights during prosecution and can help you to prepare for the pre-court process, alleviating a mountain of stress. If you need a reliable DUI defense attorney with a proven track record for success, contact Louis J. Goodman for a free consultation today.
Often, the attorney can go to court for you, and you will not need to go to court for the initial court date. This allows you to go to work or otherwise get on with your normal life.
This article will explain what to expect in anticipation of your DUI court date and what to expect on the day to help you get prepared. You will learn about the standard court procedures for the California DUI court process and where to get the help you need.
What Happens Immediately After a DUI Arrest?
Following a DUI arrest in California, the arresting officer will usually confiscate your driver’s license and issue you a 30-day temporary permit. They will then transport you to a hospital or police station. Here, you will undergo a breath or blood test to determine the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) present in your system.
If your BAC results are equal to or higher than the legal limit in California (0.08%), you may be liable for additional charges under Vehicle Code 23152, which criminalizes driving with a BAC of 0.08% or above.
You could be asked to complete a blood test to determine whether there are any prescription or illicit substances in your system that may impair your ability to drive. Note that California enforces an implied consent law, meaning that those lawfully arrested for DUI must undergo testing to determine BAC and the potential presence of substances. If you refuse to test once you are under arrest, you may be liable for further charges. This could be one year driver’s license suspension and mandatory county jail time.
When the DUI test is complete, the police officer will usually book and release the alleged offender. It does depend on the circumstances, but a driver can usually be released if they post bail or sign a promissory document stating that they will appear in court on a designated date.
Afterward, the arresting officer will file a police report detailing the events of the arrest and the test results. The report then gets submitted to a local prosecuting agency. The prosecuting agency will either refuse to file charges or choose to charge the driver with DUI. The District Attorney has at least a year to file charges, and the fact that charges may not have been filed on the initial court date is meaningless.
California DMV Hearing
It’s common for the arresting officer to confiscate DUI offenders driving permits and issue a pink temporary license valid for 30 days. After 30 days, a driving suspension is enacted. The suspension period gets determined by the number of previous DUI convictions (if any) the offender has received and whether the driver was compliant with testing. The driver’s permit is sent to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) which will freeze the license after 30 days.
It is critical that you or an attorney contact DMV within 10 days of the date of issue of the pink temporary license. Calendar days, not business days, and day one is the date of issue. You do the math, or call me and I’ll do it for you.
If a driver wishes to dispute the suspension, they must apply for a DMV hearing within ten days of their arrest. During the meeting, the offender can contest the suspension. If the individual wins, their license will not be suspended. If they lose, their license will be suspended for the designated time, which could be between four months and three years.
To ensure fair and consistent enforcement of the law, a three-step process precedes a court appearance. The first step in this chain is the DUI arraignment. This is a short initial hearing where you enter your plea. Depending on what your lawyer has advised for your case, you could plea guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere (no contest), where the defendant can accept prosecution but does not admit or plead guilty.
If you choose to plead not guilty, you will enter the pretrial phase. If you enter a guilty plea, the next phase is the sentencing stage. It’s common for lawyers to plead not guilty if there is any doubt about the facts surrounding the case. If you are present for this hearing, the court will advise you of your constitutional rights.
What Are My Constitutional Rights?
According to the United States Constitution you have the right to:
- Be represented by a lawyer
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, the court will appoint a public defender to represent you
- Right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself
- Right to a jury trial
- Right to a swift trial
- Right to cross-examine and confront any witness
Do I Need to Post Bail at Arraignment?
Most of the time the court will not require bail in Alameda County, but the Judge will often require AA attendance as a condition of release on O.R. (Own Recognizance)
Bail is a payment that guarantees the defendant’s attendance at court dates in the future. For the majority of DUI arrests, you will not be held in custody until arraignment, and you do not need to post bail unless there are other charges against you. These could be the possession of narcotics, abusive behavior, or possession of firearms.
If this is your third or subsequent DUI arrest, or you have additional charges, your DUI attorney will be able to advise whether bail is likely to be an issue.
If you post 10% bail with a bondsman you do not get that money back.
What Information Will I Access at the Arraignment?
The courts will read out the DUI charges against you, though your lawyer can request to skip this part if you’re entering a plea of not guilty. You will be provided discovery documents, where a copy of the Complaint, charges, the police report, and witness statements are recorded.
The prosecution may issue a request for discovery during the arraignment, where your lawyer is required to provide the names of any witnesses present at the trial, witness statements, and any documents to be presented at the trial.
When a defendant enters a not-guilty plea, the court will fix future court dates for the pretrial motions to be held.
The Pretrial Motions
The pretrial phase usually begins shortly after the arraignment and has the longest duration of the three stages. It could last between a few weeks and a few months. Your DUI lawyer will investigate every aspect of the arrest, including the scene, the police records, and even the calibration of testing equipment, as they construct your defense.
Your attorney can file motions with the courts based on evidence and facts they uncover in their investigations. Pretrial motions may bring to light any evidence that serves in your favor or removes evidence that may be used against you.
Pretrial motions may allow you to enter a plea bargain or result in the prosecution reducing charges or dismissing them entirely.
Pretrial Conference Day
On the day of the pretrial conference, your DUI defense attorney may try to negotiate with the prosecution to reach a deal. This is to resolve the case before it goes to trial or to reduce the charges made against you.
For example, your attorney may try to bargain a deal for a lesser charge such as “wet reckless driving” (which involves the use of alcohol) or “dry reckless driving” instead of a DUI if you choose to plead guilty. Typically there would need to be an incentive, such as a lack of proof, for the prosecution to enter a deal.
What Happens if I Enter a Plea?
If you plead guilty or nolo contendere, the courts will ask you whether you voluntarily waive the constitutional rights conveyed during the arraignment. If your answer is yes, then the courts will sentence you according to the plea agreement.
Plea bargains may reduce your jail time if you have previously been charged with DUI. You may be offered a generous plea deal or have other aspects of your sentence reduced, however, this is usually the case for first-time offenders. If you decide to plead not guilty, the process will progress to the final stage: the trial.
The DUI Trial
Many DUI cases settle before going to the trial stage of the court process. Holding a jury trial can be a stressful, time-consuming, and uncertain period for those involved. Though it does have advantages if your DUI lawyer believes you have a strong chance of winning the case, or if the prosecution has refused to enter a satisfactory plea bargain.
Here is a quick breakdown of the stages in a trial:
- Jury Selection – Your lawyer has the power to object to any jurors who may hold a bias.
- Opening Statements – These will be made by the defense and prosecution.
- Prosecution Case – The prosecution will present evidence and outline their case first. The defense has the chance to cross-examine any witnesses that the prosecution brings in.
- Defense Case – Before presenting their case, your lawyer can request case dismissal. This may happen if the evidence is weak or the prosecution has made mistakes. If not, the defense lawyer will state their case.
- Closing Statements – Defense and prosecution will summarize their case.
- Jury Decision – All 12 jurors will evaluate the evidence and discuss it in private to reach a verdict that determines whether you are guilty of DUI.
- Sentencing – If you are found guilty, the judge will decide on your sentence and read it to you.
On your trial date, you can only be convicted of DUI if all 12 jurors reach a unanimous conclusion that you are guilty of the DUI charges beyond a reasonable doubt. If even one of the jurors in the trial believes that you are not guilty, then there is a “hung jury.” This usually means you need to have a new trial with a new jury, though sometimes it may end with the judge dismissing your case, and you being allowed to go free.
When you have been charged with DUI, the court process is undoubtedly strenuous, long, and stressful. The best way to avoid this is to respect local drink driving laws and always ensure you can safely operate a vehicle before taking the wheel. However, sometimes things don’t go according to plan.
If you’re facing a drunk driving charge, you don’t have to go through the court process alone. With the help of an experienced DUI attorney, you can reduce the severity of your charge, and in many circumstances, DUI cases get dismissed entirely.
If you need a proficient criminal defense lawyer with extensive experience in the California DUI court process, contact Louis J. Goodman today. With over 30 years of experience, he will help you prepare for your DUI court date and what to expect on the day. Access a free consultation to discuss your charge and work towards building a reliable defense faster, with comprehensive and diligent legal support.
Louis J. Goodman is a former Alameda County Deputy District Attorney with a background of handling both misdemeanor and felony DUI’s as both a prosecutor and defense attorney.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in every state. When an individual is caught driving with an excess blood alcohol content measured by the authorities, they are likely to be charged with DUI. This offense is also known as driving while intoxicated (or DWI).
If you have been caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in California, you may be prosecuted with a felony DUI or a misdemeanor DUI. The difference between the two depends on the circumstances surrounding the incident. Both of these are serious charges, so it’s critical to speak with a competent and experienced local DUI defense attorney like Louis J Goodman as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are represented in court.
You may be wondering “Is my DUI a felony?” In this article, we’re going to look at the difference between a DUI conviction as a felony and a misdemeanor. Then we’ll explore how you can get the best help if you’ve been convicted.
California DUI Laws
California DUI laws prohibit individuals from operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Law enforcement officers use a series of field tests, breathalyzer tests, and chemical tests and sample urine or blood to determine a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
It is illegal for adults over the age of 21 with a regular driver’s license to exceed a BAC of .08 percent. Adults holding a commercial driver’s license may not drive with a BAC higher than .04 percent. Those under the age of 21 are forbidden to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content higher than .01 percent.
DUIs are treated as a “wobbler” in California, meaning you may get charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances.
Misdemeanor DUI Charges
Most drunk driving charges in California are convicted as misdemeanor offenses. Provided there are no aggravating factors, first, second, and third offenses within ten years generally result in a misdemeanor DUI. However, criminal penalties increase in severity if you have already received one or more DUI convictions.
First DUI Conviction
Provided no aggravating factors are present, here is what you can expect for a first DUI charge:
- Fines ranging from $390-$1,000
- Participation in an alcohol rehabilitation or education course for three to nine months
- Drivers license suspension between six and ten months
- Required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in the offender’s motor vehicle for six months
- Up to six months county jail time
- Probation of three to five years
Second DUI Conviction
With no aggravating factors present, the punishment for an adult’s second DUI conviction in a ten-year period may include:
- Fines ranging from $390-$1,000
- Enrolling in California DUI School for eighteen to thirty months
- Driver’s license suspension for two years
- Court-order obligation to use an IID in the offender’s car for one year
- Up to one year in county jail and a minimum of 96 hours of jail time
- Three to five years probation
Third DUI Conviction
In the absence of any aggravating factors for a third DUI conviction in the same ten years, offenders may face the following penalties:
- Fines ranging from $1,000-$1,800
- Completing a thirty-month DUI education course
- Drivers license suspension for three years, or two years of mandatory IID installation in the offender’s vehicle
- Designated “habitual traffic offender” by the Department of Motor Vehicles
- Minimum 120 days in county jail, and maximum one year.
- Probation for three to five years
Felony DUI Charges
In some cases, a California DUI offense will be charged as a felony DUI conviction. This is most likely to happen in situations where:
- The DUI incident resulted in serious bodily injury or death
- The offender has incurred more than three DUI charges within ten years
- The offender was previously convicted of a felony DUI charge
If somebody was killed or injured in the DUI incident, or you have already faced multiple DUI charges, it’s critical to speak with a DUI defense attorney as quickly as possible to prepare your defense. A DUI defense lawyer may be able to help reduce the severity of the related felony penalties outlined below.
DUI Resulting in Injury or Death
If driving under the influence results in a person being seriously injured or killed, the offender may receive some or all of the following criminal sentencing:
- Fines between $1,000-$5,000
- Completing thirty months of DUI school, drug treatment, or education program
- Mandatory driver’s license suspension for five years
- Between 16 months and 16 years in California State prison
- Victim restitution payments
- Possible Murder Charge (15 to Life)
Multiple DUI Convictions
If your DUI incidence did not cause injury or death, but you have received prior DUI convictions, these are some of the criminal penalties you may expect:
- Fines up to $1,000
- A maximum of three years in California state prison
- Mandatory driver’s license suspension of four years
- Attendance of DUI school, drug treatment, or education program for 18 months.
Aggravating Factors That Can Enhance a DUI Misdemeanor
Certain aggravating factors can enhance sentencing for a DUI misdemeanor conviction. The factors may result in a harsher sentence or may elevate the charge to a felony, depending on the severity of the situation. Here are a few aggravating factors that may lead to a stricter sentence.
- DUI while minors under the age of 14 years are present in the vehicle
- DUI with a license suspension
- BAC level is equal to or above 0.15 percent
- The offender declined a breathalyzer, blood, urine, or chemical test for DUI
- Incidence resulted in bodily harm or a traffic accident
- The offender was driving 20 miles above the speed limit in town street or 30 miles over the limit on the freeway.
Extra Legal Consequences of a DUI
A DUI charge is considered a serious offense in California, regardless of whether it’s convicted as a felony or a misdemeanor DUI. The consequences of a DUI charge extend beyond criminal sentencing in court and often impact the lives of the convicted for years into the future.
Here are some of the additional ways your life may be affected if you are convicted of a DUI.
- It can be hard to keep your employment, especially if you are required to drive on the job
- Auto insurance rates will increase as a result of a DUI conviction
- If you hold a professional license a DUI conviction may result in revocation or disciplinary action from the licensing institution
- If you are an immigrant, your DUI charge may lead to a deportation hearing.
- DUI offenses frequently interfere with entering another country’s territory for business, tourism, or family visitation.
What To Do If You Are Facing a DUI Charge
If you’re facing a DUI charge in California, it’s important to note that this is not taken lightly by the courts. Contact a local criminal defense attorney like Louis J. Goodman as early as you can to ensure that your side of the story is represented in court and you have the best chance of reaching a fair outcome.
Louis J. Goodman has been defending DUI charges locally for 30 years and has a thorough understanding of the laws combined with practical experience to accurately and fairly represent those facing DUI charges in court. If you are facing a DUI charge, don’t wait. Get in touch with Louis J. Goodman today.
First let me preface all of this by stating that I am of the belief that no matter what the law says, no matter what expungement is done for your record, and no matter how much time goes by, in this age of sophisticated computer searches, no matter of historical record can be completely erased. Depending on how aggressive, competent, and interested, a sophisticated researcher can and will find out the truth. The key is how to deal with that truth under varying circumstances. I can help you navigate those difficult questions.
So you’ve been caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and now you’re facing a blemish on your criminal and driving records. The legal and extra-legal implications of a conviction are severe and ongoing. But will it last forever? How long does a DUI stay on your record?
A DUI conviction will show up on your driving record and your criminal record for varying lengths of time in California, depending on the legal or administrative action taken. In this article, we’re going to look at how long a DUI stays on your record and the implications this will have on your life during this time. We’ll also discuss where to find the best help to minimize the impact of a DUI on your permanent record.
Getting a DUI Off Your Record
The easiest way to have a DUI off your record is by not getting one on it in the first place. If you’re facing DUI charges, it’s critical to speak with a competent and experienced local DUI defense attorney who can represent you and defend your rights in court. Louis J. Goodman has been practicing criminal defense for over 30 years in California and can help you prepare a reliable defense in advance of your court date. Get in touch today for a free consultation.
DUI On Your Driving Record
A DUI conviction will be recorded on your California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) record. Luckily, it won’t stay on your DMV record forever. Law enforcement officers and the DMV can view the infraction on your record for ten years in California. After that, provided you have no further drunk driving convictions, it will no longer appear on your driving record.
A DUI conviction on your driving record often does not appear when employers or landlords conduct a background check. This means that these groups may not be able to access or use a conviction against you in the future.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean DUI offenders are off the hook. The hefty consequences of DUI charges recorded on your driver’s license for the ten years following the DUI arrest include, but are not limited to the following.
Driving Record Consequences
The consequences of drunk driving may result in an offender losing their driving privileges, paying hefty fines, and being obliged to install an ignition interlock device that prevents them from driving if they have consumed alcohol.
DUI Points System
The California DMV employs a “points system” to monitor repeat driving offenses and risky behavior. Each driver starts with no points and may accumulate points on their license for engaging in dangerous driving tactics, such as exceeding the speed limit, driving drunk, or causing an accident or injury.
When a driver has collected a certain number of points, they will receive a license suspension or revocation. Most drivers who have their license revoked or suspended, end up in this situation after accumulating points for multiple small infractions rather than one large one. Therefore, offenses that seem trivial as a one-off may become a major headache if they are repeated.
What Implications do Points Have?
Receiving marks on your record against your conduct as a driver affects you in two ways. First, your license will be suspended if you have accumulated:
- Four or more points in two years
- Six or more points in three years
- Eight or more points in four years
A DUI conviction is in the highest point category. Each infraction will incur two points on your record. These points stay visible for thirteen years, and there is no way to remove them during this timeframe or to shorten this period.
Additionally, the points system offers another consequence: the more points you have on your driving record, the higher premiums car insurance companies require you to pay.
Increased Car Insurance Premiums
A DUI will stay on your driving record for ten years in California. When the time comes to renew your auto insurance policy, your car insurance company will check your DMV record. You can expect to pay markedly higher car insurance rates if you have a DUI conviction. This increases with each conviction you receive. It’s also possible that your insurance company will drop you entirely, meaning that you will have to find another company to insure your vehicle.
What Can I Do if I Get Dropped?
If this is the case, you can shop around for other car insurance companies and compare quotes to secure reasonable protection. It’s also possible for high-risk drivers to look into nonstandard car insurance policies, although these tend to be more expensive.
I can refer you to insurance agents who specifically deal with DUI cases.
Finally, you can get a California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP) where you can get coverage and liability insurance when you cannot access it elsewhere. These plans are the most costly and should be considered when other options haven’t worked.
Drivers License Revocation
If you are 21 years of age or above and have taken a chemical or urine test that resulted in a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or above (or 0.04% if you are a commercial license holder) and this is your first offense, you will receive a license suspension of four months.
The officer will confiscate your license and give you an Order of Suspension and Temporary License. So long as you have a current California driver’s license and your license was not revoked for any other reason, the four-month suspension will take effect from 30 days after your DUI arrest.
If you are convicted of driving under the influence, the DMV will suspend your license for six or ten months. You may also be liable for fines, driver education programs, or other penalties in addition to your loss of driving privileges.
But, getting an IID installed, along with an SR-22 from your insurance company can restore your driving privilege very quickly with a first or second offense.
Installation of IIDs
An ignition interlock device is a small implement that gets fitted into your vehicle and requires you to blow into a mouthpiece to test your breath alcohol content (BrAC) before starting the ignition. If the unit detects a BrAC above the level determined by the monitoring authority, it will prevent the engine from starting.
Under California law, a criminal judge must order the installation of a California IID in your vehicle for:
- Four to six months for a first conviction
- One year if you receive a second DUI conviction
- Two years if you receive a third DUI conviction
- Three years if you receive a fourth or subsequent conviction.
That being said, in Alameda County, the Court will rarely express much interest in whether you have actually installed the IID, leaving enforcement to DMV.
I can refer you to IID installers that will work with you and DMV to get you back on the road.
Can I Get a DUI Removed From My Driving Record?
Many states only hold DUIs on DMV records for five years. In California, you cannot get your DUI removed or sealed on your DMV record for 10 years following your conviction. Since your driving license suspension is an administrative consequence rather than a criminal consequence, you cannot have these records sealed or expunged.
This will affect your insurance premiums and your points for their respective periods. Once you have passed the ten-year timeframe, the conviction will no longer show up on your driving record and your insurance policy will return to normal (provided you have no further charges).
These records are used almost exclusively by the DMV (with the exception of insurance providers) and do not show up on your criminal background check. That said, if you are convicted of a DUI, the infraction will appear on your criminal record forever.
DUI On Your Criminal Record
A DUI is a criminal offense, and if you are prosecuted it will be permanently documented in your criminal record. You could be convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the incident.
This information will appear in your background checks when conducted by a potential employer or a landlord and may impact the professional and housing opportunities you are eligible for in the future. In California, there is a law that prohibits employers from discriminating against candidates by checking their criminal history before issuing a job offer. However, in many cases, the employer can add a contingency clause requiring a clear criminal history.
The implications of a DUI conviction can impact your life overall in a variety of ways, including your family and personal relationships, your public reputation, and of course, criminal penalties. Let’s explore those below.
An expungement of your criminal record can help. But as noted at the beginning of this article it has its limitations. You should be aware of those limitations before engaging an attorney or spending any money on an expungement, and be wary of any attorney who does not explain these limitations to you.
Criminal Record Consequences
Aside from standard fines, driver education courses, and potential jail time that comes with a DUI conviction, a criminal record can affect your rights. The extent of restrictions in your life will likely depend on the severity of the incidence, whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony, and your situation and support networks at the time of the incidence. Here are a few ways a criminal conviction may affect your life over the long term.
When you are convicted of drunk driving, you will receive court orders to pay fines and potentially victim restitution. The total value of the fines depends on whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony and whether your conviction is a first, second, third, or subsequent offense.
Usually, for a misdemeanor, offenders are required to pay between about $2000 in Alameda County. Fines for felonies may be higher. The financial impact this will have on an individual’s life will vary depending on their financial situation and family support.
It is not common for first or second DUI offenders to serve jail time in Alameda County.
It is common for multiple repeat DUI offenders to be sentenced to serve jail time. While maximum sentences are not always served, often an offender will be required to do a minimum jail term. Periods spent in county jail or prison can impact many areas of anyone’s life, including their family, social, and professional life.
For misdemeanor charges, the maximum time in county jail you are exposed to is usually a year, though the minimum sentence can be up to 180 days for serious repeat offenders. Depending on the circumstances, if you are charged with a felony you could spend between 16 months and 3 years in state prison. (More if death or serious injury results.)
As we mentioned before, it is illegal for employers in California to discriminate against those with criminal records. Although, this does not prohibit them from adding contingency clauses into an offer of employment that may nullify the proposal in the presence of a criminal record.
Besides future employment, individuals with state licenses may have them revoked after having a criminal record. Moreover, those with professional driving licenses or who have to drive for their job may find it challenging to secure stable employment without a driver’s permit.
Among the general havoc and emotional weight that can be experienced when you have a DUI conviction, there are a few additional personal circumstances that may be implicated after an offense.
A convicted parent may lose custody of their children, and in some cases, family and social relationships may become compromised. It’s common for law enforcement agencies to revoke your gun rights if you have been convicted of a felony in California. A misdemeanor will generally not result in loss of Second Amendment protection. Furthermore, your public reputation or social standing may be affected if you are prosecuted with a DUI.
Expunging a DUI From Your Criminal Record
By now, you may be wondering how long a DUI stays on your record. In short, it will stay on your criminal record forever unless you go through the process of removing it. If you have already been convicted of a DUI, Louis J. Goodman may be able to help you have the offense removed from your criminal record, though it does depend on the circumstance surrounding the conviction.
According to California Penal Code 1203.4, you can file a motion to dismiss, which ultimately results in the case being dismissed from your record. Usually, you are eligible to have the infraction removed from your record provided you have:
- Served the penalties, including probation
- Not been in state prison (this doesn’t include county jail)
- Not got any pending criminal charges
What Does Expungement Achieve?
Expungement or sealing your record prevents landlords and future employers from legally considering your conviction, even if it still appears on your record. This means you can check the “no criminal record” box in job applications. Be super careful about this. It really depends on what sort of job you are applying for, and nothing that you read here or on any other website should be taken as legal advice for a specific situation. Contact an attorney.
Government employers and individuals who seek or require government licenses may still be affected by their criminal record, even if the person has had the DUI expunged or sealed. The DUI will show up as a prior conviction on your record, meaning that if you face further DUI charges in a ten-year period, they will be prosecuted as a second offense.
How Do You Get Out Of a Criminal Record With a DUI Conviction?
The best way to ensure that you have a clean criminal record is to steer away from behavior classified as criminal. It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised by the number of people who receive a DUI charge and do not realize that it leads to a criminal conviction.
Realistically, with the legal support of a diligent and experienced criminal defense attorney like Louis J. Goodman, you can form a strong defense and potentially avoid a DUI conviction altogether. Louis J. Goodman has been defending DUI charges for over 30 years in California and has a strong grasp on the laws and concepts that DUI defense cases are built around.
What Defense Can Be Used For DUI?
There is a range of defenses you can use for a DUI, and it’s important to discuss them with your lawyer as soon as possible.
However, the more time you have to build your case, the more reliable it is likely to be. So, if you are facing a DUI charge, don’t wait. Get in touch with Louis J. Goodman for a free consultation to learn more about your case as early as possible.
It is prohibited to operate a vehicle while under the influence of any alcoholic drink, according to California Vehicle Code 23152(a). “Under the influence” indicates that your physical or mental functions have been impaired to the point where you are no longer capable of driving a vehicle with the caution of a sober driver, exercising reasonable diligence, under comparable situations.
Furthermore, anyone with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or greater is prohibited from operating a motor vehicle. This implies that even if your driving ability is unaffected by your degree of intoxication, operating a car with a BAC of .08 or more is still illegal.
You may face harsh legal implications if you are involved in a car accident while driving intoxicated. DUI in California is a wobbler violation, which means that authorities can prosecute you with a criminal offense based on the facts of your case.
Here are some key points to remember about serious offenses and sentence increases in DUI-related incidents, injuries, property destruction, and fatalities.
Contact Louis J. Goodman today to get a free no obligation consultation for your DUI case.
DUI Accidents without Injury
A rear-ender is a common type of collision in which nobody is hurt. Although two cars crashed and considerable damage was caused, everyone was unharmed.
You are unlikely to face any charges besides a DUI in these conditions (plus any traffic rules that were violated). As if there had been no mishap at all, you will suffer the same upper and lower limits punishments. The prosecutor, on the other hand, will pursue a punishment on the upper end of said ranges.
A first-time DUI, for instance, can result in a prison sentence ranging from two to half a year. If there isn’t any mishap, you may be sentenced to the bare minimum punishment of two days in prison. Even if no one was wounded, the prosecution may pursue three to six months in prison if there would be an accident.
DUI Accidents Involving Minor Injuries
If anyone engaged in the collision, including your own companions, files an injury, your case alters. When minor injuries occur, the offense is upgraded to violation DUI Causing Injury, which involves a longer term. It entails a min five-day prison term and a one-year loss of license, along with the standard DUI punishments. You would also be required to pay the fines and reparations to the parties who have been injured. It’s worth noting that if you’ve had past DUI arrests, particularly DUI Causing Injury convictions, you might face a more severe accusation with even harsher consequences.
What constitutes a “small” injury is a matter of opinion. Nausea, severe bruising, or a tiny cut from shattered windscreen glass are examples of minor injuries.
Increased Punishments for DUIs Resulting in an Accident
The spectrum of punishments you’ll encounter for a motor vehicle accident under the influence is determined by legislation and is based on your previous DUI offenses. However, most state statutes include aggravating circumstances that can raise the standard penalties for a DUI arrest. And the conditions of an incident, even if they aren’t considered aggravating by the law, might influence plea negotiations and the punishments courts decide to apply.
A DUI accident might potentially result in criminal penalties besides being charged with a DUI accusation.
Accidents Caused by DUI and Other Exacerbating Factors
Injury, property damage, and fatalities are usually the triggering elements in places where there are DUI enhancements for accidents. In other regards, the upgrades are a result of the harm caused by the accident, not the accident itself.
A DUI with accident-related injuries, for example, can be charged more harshly than a simple DUI.
In California, a DUI (driving under the influence) that causes serious bodily harm is known as a “aggravated DUI.” A first-time DUI is usually considered a misdemeanor. Although the judge’s decision is based on your individual circumstances, the maximum punishment of six months in prison and a $1,000 fine for a DUI charge is rarely imposed. In California, a person convicted of a first DUI faces fines ranging from a $390 fine which is convertible to 13 days of Cal-Trans highway labor or 13 days in prison.
Each state has its own set of guidelines when it comes to DUI enhancements due to accidents. However, there is a general consensus that these enhancements considerably increase the possible penalties a driver might face if charged with DUI.
DUI Accidents and Sentencing Discretion
When a defendant is guilty of a DUI, the court gets to determine what sanctions to inflict, as long as they are within the legal limits. Judges often examine the aggravating and contributing factors of the incident and the defendant when making this decision.
A DUI accident is likely to be considered a significant strike against the offender by a court, especially if there were major injuries or deaths. As a result, judges in DUI situations involving accidents are more likely to impose harsher penalties.
Assume someone is charged with their first DUI in California. A first DUI can result in a sentence of five days to one year in prison. A judge could be tempted to use the five-day minimum for first-time offenders. However, if a first offender causes an accident that results in injuries, the court is more likely to impose a term that is closer to the maximum of one year.
How a DUI Accident Affects a Driver’s Capability to Plead Guilty
Plea negotiation is used to resolve the vast majority of DUI cases. The purpose of plea negotiating for the defendant is to get an agreement that is in the lower range of the permitted penalties. Judges, on the other hand, are usually only ready to accept this sort of plea agreement in circumstances where there are no significant aggravating elements. When a DUI incident involves an accident, the plaintiff’s chance to reach a favorable plea agreement is severely hampered.
DUI-related incidents, injuries, and fatalities often result in criminal charges.
If there are injuries or deaths as a result of a drunk driving event, the liable motorist may face penalties in addition to a DUI charge.
In certain places, drivers who cause injury to another person negligently (or while under the influence) can be prosecuted with vehicular assault. When a drunk driver kills another person, accusations of vehicular manslaughter or even murder may be filed.
All of these violations are usually felonies and they come with hefty jail sentences and hefty fines. Furthermore, drivers who are charged with several crimes are usually subjected to different sentences for each offense.
Was it you who caused the Accident?
Note that just because you were driving while inebriated doesn’t necessarily mean you were the one who caused the incident. For instance, if you were stopped at a red light and a vehicle rear-ended you, they are responsible. Whether you were drunk or not, they would have hit you.
Authorities may find it difficult to establish that you were the cause of an accident. What appears to be a hopeless case may frequently alter radically after a DUI lawyer begins investigating on your behalf. When a DUI lawyer intervenes, a case that started out as a DUI Causing Injury charge is often lowered to a typical DUI, or even Reckless Driving.
When you engage a DUI lawyer, they will examine all aspects of the accident—road circumstances, environment, and how the cars collided—to determine whether there is any proof that you were to blame.
Defenses that Can Be Used
If you have been arrested with any of these felonies, as a result of a DUI accident, you should contact a professional DUI lawyer immediately. A professional DUI lawyer will be familiar with the legal defenses to these criminal accusations and can assist you in retaining your driver’s license. Among the possible defenses are:
- At the time of the occurrence, you were not intoxicated. Your behavior did not result in damage or death.
- At the time of the incident, you did not act irresponsibly.
A felony charge can severely restrict your freedom. If you are convicted, your future can be limited. You may lose your eligibility for state housing, food assistance, and/or educational funding, for example. Even if you are innocent of the allegations, clearing your name might be tough.
Furthermore, if properly handled by an experienced attorney, even a successful trial might damage your reputation. As a result, anybody accused with a crime should contact an Alameda County criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney can help you safeguard your rights and provide you peace of mind.
Finally, a qualified criminal lawyer will try to get the accusations against you dismissed or reduced. Contact The Law Offices of Louis J. Goodman if you have been accused of a crime in Alameda County, California. Mr. Goodman has over thirty years of work experience as a criminal defense attorney in the area.
Our criminal defense firm knows what techniques can reduce your risk. Louis J Goodman is a former Alameda County Deputy District Attorney. We can review evidence, evaluate reports, and cross-question witnesses with the help of a competent team. If required, our criminal defense attorney in Alameda County can work with prosecutors to safeguard your rights.
Contact Louis J. Goodman today to get a free no obligation consultation for your DUI case.
This is a very complicated area of law, and there are no absolute answers. Different states handle things quite differently and you may need to contact an attorney in the jurisdiction that is taking action against your driving privilege. As a practical matter, if you have prior DUI convictions outside of California, it is unlikely that they will be charged as part of the new criminal case in California. But, and this is a big but, California DMV will probably see out of state DUI convictions and treat your California driving privilege accordingly. Below is some general information, but if you’re in one of these situations you need to contact an attorney to deal with the specifics of your circumstances.
Some General Information:
Let’s say you got caught in Alameda County for a possible DUI charge, but you were planning to leave the state. If you are found guilty of the offense, you might face severe consequences that could prevent you from relocating. Even in the best-case scenario, the consequences of a DUI are likely to migrate from state to state.
If you’re facing a DUI accusation in the Oakland, Dublin, Alameda County region, you’ll benefit from getting your case reviewed by a knowledgeable attorney. We can connect you with a DUI lawyer who has the experience you need to manage your criminal case as well as clarify how the offense may affect your future plans.
For a free consultation, contact Alameda County DUI Attorney Louis J Goodman.
Driver License Compact (DLC)
If you are charged with a DUI in California, the conviction will likely follow you out of the state. Similarly, if you were convicted of a comparable DUI in practically any other jurisdiction, California will consider it as if you were convicted there.
Since California is a part of the Driver License Compact, it receives reciprocal treatment (DLC). This is a 45-state agreement that holds drivers to the same standards and allows member states to share information. States can use this information to check if a motorist from another member state has been charged with a driving offense, such as a DUI.
The following are the five jurisdictions that have not joined the DLC:
This does not, however, imply that individuals relocating to or from these states will be immune from the repercussions of a DUI charge. These states may exchange information with the DLC’s member states on a voluntary basis. Similarly, irrespectively of where you travel, a DUI will have an effect on your insurance for years beyond the date of conviction.
How Out of State DUIs work in California?
Although California is a part of the DLC, a DUI offense from another member state might not always immediately carry over. California mandates that certain requirements be completed before a DUI charge can be transferred from one state to another. Those requirements are as follows:
Statutes need to be essentially comparable to those in California. The laws accompanying a DUI charge must be largely similar to those in California. If a motorist can be charged with the same offense for the same actions in either state, California will carry over the DUI.
There need to be similarities when it comes to enforcement. California mandates that the implementation of another state’s DUI laws be similar in content to the penalties imposed on drivers in California.
California is not obligated by the requirements of the DLC if a DUI conviction in another state is not reported as such. In order for California to recognize a conviction under the DLC, the accusation must be substantially similar to the charge of driving while intoxicated.
What if you get charged with a DUI in California and then relocate to another state?
If you were charged with DUI in California or even had your license taken away for a DUI by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the repercussions will follow you even if you relocate to another state. There are, however, ways to make the process go more smoothly, and you may not have to fulfill all of your California DUI penalties.
We’ll go over all you need to know about relocating after a California DUI in the sections below:
- Which fines will you face if you leave the state?
- What to do if you have to go to court?
Which DUI consequences from California will follow me after I leave the state?
In the vast majority of situations, all of them will. Often DUI drivers are unsure how to manage their out-of-state relocation, which they may have planned for months prior to their arrest or may be required for their career, education, or family reasons. All of these are solid reasons to relocate out of state. However, relocation should not be viewed as a strategy to avoid facing DUI charges. It will not work and may have serious consequences.
You will be compelled to appear before a judge following your DUI arrest. If you fail to appear in court, the court may issue a warrant. If you are charged with a felony DUI in another state, the state of California may request that you be extradited and sent to California. But, because DUI is usually a misdemeanor, you would not be repatriated. That said, the order may cause complications, and you may be arrested and suffer far worse consequences.
Furthermore, your driver’s license will be revoked in both California and your new state. You won’t be allowed to receive a driving permit in your new state until the DUI case in California is resolved. You will be unable to drive lawfully anywhere in the United States.
Even if you have relocated out of state, the wisest thing you can do is to keep working on your California DUI charge.
I don’t reside in California, therefore do I have to go to court there?
No, you typically don’t. In court, you can also have your attorney represent you. If you give your attorney permission, he or she can attend your court hearings on your account, so you don’t have to. But, you may be asked to return to California for certain procedures.
Are you facing a DUI conviction in Alameda County?
For a free consultation, contact Alameda County DUI Attorney Louis J Goodman.
Is your life being disrupted by allegations of drunk driving? Do you want to cleanse your name after being arrested? Are you unsure about your legal rights and what defensive methods will help you avoid danger? You’ll need a local and experienced attorney who can immediately address your issues if you’ve been charged with a DUI. You’ll also need someone who can represent you right away and help you get back on your feet.
Our California DUI attorney can assist you in reducing risk, gaining peace of mind, and strengthening your defense.
Operating a car while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or above, is illegal in California. Motorists charged with a DUI in California are subject to sentence guidelines. In other words, a court can impose a variety of consequences for a DUI conviction.
The acceptable range is established by a number of factors, including the defendant’s criminal history and the specific facts of the present conduct. Judges employ “mitigating” and “aggravating” elements to decide an acceptable punishment within the relevant range. When negotiating a plea deal with authorities, aggravating and mitigating factors might also come into play.
DUI charges and aggravated DUI charges are similar but different. In this article, we’ll look at some of the alleviating and aggravating elements, as well as some of the conditions that influence DUI punishment levels and punishments in California.
Fighting an aggravated DUI charge alone is confusing and stressful. Don’t do it alone, call Louis J. Goodman today to get a free consultation.
Operating a motor vehicle on California roadways with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above is illegal, as it is in every other state. As a result, anyone caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above this level is considered legally intoxicated, irrespective of their competence to drive. Minors drivers (those under 21) are also prohibited from driving with any level of alcohol in their system (a BAC above 0.00 percent), while regular vehicles are considered intoxicated if their BAC is 0.04 percent or above.
You can also be charged for DUI if you refuse to give a breathing, blood, or urine sample to a police officer so that he or she can ascertain your precise BAC—a practice called chemical analysis to the state’s Implied Consent Law. You may face criminal prosecution for driving under the influence if you refuse to take these tests.
A drunk driving arrest, irrespective of the basis for your conviction, has a variety of consequences, along with a fine, driving ban, and jail time. If it’s your first violation, the prosecution may issue a penalty anywhere from $390 to $1,000, as well as a four-month suspension of your driver’s license. You may also be required to serve four to six months in prison, attend DUI school, conduct community work, and/or have a vehicle ignition interlock system put in your car, depending on the circumstances of your case.
Consider this: if you have a past DUI conviction on your record, a second violation may result in a one-year jail term, a $1,000 fine, a one-year driving ban, and 3 to 5 years in jail. These punishments only come to bear with subsequent DUI charges. If you had an exceptionally high blood alcohol concentration (over 0.15 percent), were driving with a child under the age of 14, or if you were going 20 miles or more over the legal limit at the time of the arrest, you can expect severe penalties for aggravated DUI.
Luckily, there are several options for contesting a drunk driving charge. Your convictions may be dropped if the officer who pulled you over did not have probable cause to do so. If you have acid reflux disease or if you used breath mints, mouthwash, or gum immediately before the test, you may be eligible to challenge your chemical test findings.
Extenuating circumstances are factors or situations that decrease a defendant’s guilt or justify leniency in punishment. For instance, if a motorist was affected by legitimately prescribed medicine and was just above the legal speed limit, or if the driver completed voluntary chemical addiction treatment after being arrested, the court and prosecution may tend toward a punishment at the low end of the scale of the permitted range. In deciding on a suitable punishment or plea deal, prosecutors and judges may consider variables such as whether the offender is working or a high achiever.
Events or conditions that heighten the seriousness of a criminal conduct or the plaintiff’s responsibility and demand tougher sentences are known as contributing circumstances. Previous offenses, significant BACs, negligent driving, excessive speeding, possessing a revoked license, inflicting casualties or property destruction, and carrying a kid in the car at the time of the incident are all common aggravating circumstances in DUI cases. Even though the offender has no past DUIs, a judge or prosecution may be hesitant to be sympathetic if the offender has a lengthy criminal history for other charges.
DUI Felony in California
While most California DUI charges are filed as misdemeanors, resulting in penalties, DUI school, and maybe a brief jail sentence, authorities can prosecute a California felony DUI in specific circumstances.
If you are charged with felony DUI, the repercussions are far more severe. To begin with, a misdemeanor DUI carries a potential term of six months to a year in a correctional facility. Although most offenders serve little or no time behind bars. A felony DUI, on the other hand, can put a defendant in California state jail for three years or more. Furthermore, a felony DUI arrest that results in probation necessitates criminal probation as well as official monitoring by a probation officer.
Only three specific situations allow authorities to prosecute felony DUI. To begin, a California DUI that results in harm or death can be charged as a felony (or in more serious cases vehicular manslaughter). Secondly, a fourth DUI conviction might result in criminal prosecution. Finally, every future DUI case may be filed as a felony if the defendant has a previous felony DUI record for whatever reason.
Felony DUI cases are frequently plea-bargained down, as are all criminal matters. A prosecutor may begin a prosecution by submitting a criminal charge. However, after detecting evidence flaws and negotiating with defense counsel, he or she will frequently agree to lower the accusation to a misdemeanor in consideration for a guilty or “no contest” statement.
Vehicle Manslaughter Laws in California
After a few beers with dinner, a person passes out on the ride home. Someone is tragically harmed or dies.
The CHP jumps to the judgment that the person who had consumed alcohol was to blame. The District Attorney reacts by pursuing extremely serious charges such as DUI with bodily harm, vehicular manslaughter, and even murder.
The evidence is rarely straightforward. Frequently, the accused had consumed alcohol but was not “drunk” or incapable of driving. Frequently, the other motorist, the road circumstances, the environment, or other external variables are to account for the collision.
It may be possible to get the charges reduced or even dropped if the case is well contested, and to stay out of prison.
Child Endangerment DUI conviction
If you’re captured driving under the influence in California with a child under the age of 14, you’ll almost certainly be convicted with Penal Code 273 (a) child endangerment on top of the DUI.
Based on the circumstances involving your California DUI indictment, like your driving pattern, if you were involved in a crash, your alcohol level density (BAC), and your previous criminal background, you could face up to one year in a correctional facility or up to six years in California State Prison. It’s possible that you’ll lose custody of your child or children. Remember that these are merely the penalties for child endangerment allegations. In addition to these fines, you will be punished for your DUI.
Consult a DUI Attorney
A professional DUI lawyer can assist you in spotting legal nuances in pending DUI amendments such as these.
There is no guarantee of a positive outcome in a DUI case. Previous alcohol-related charges, whether careless driving was determined to be a component in the penalty, and the appropriate local and state DUI statutes are all things that our clients will have to deal with in the court of their legal case.
An competent, reputable law firm or attorney may frequently make the difference between success and failure in a DUI case. An experienced DUI attorney who is familiar with the terrain will be prepared to evaluate the prosecution’s case against a client from the top down. They’ll be able to give crucial legal guidance to help the client get the greatest possible conclusion in their case.
In the courtroom, Louis J. Goodman has over 20 years of legal experience. We’ve established a reputation for providing thorough, competent, responsible, and powerful counsel. We’ll be there for you throughout your case to ensure you receive the results you want and get through this trying time with your finances, image, and livelihood undamaged.
Trust the attorneys at the Law Office of Louis J. Goodman to assist you in putting your best foot forward during this trying time.
Call today to get a free consultation so you don’t have to deal with a serious case alone.
Defendants in California DUI charges per California Vehicle Code 23152(a) and 23152(b) are usually given probation. If offenders properly comply with and fulfill particular requirements imposed by the court at sentencing, they can avoid receiving the maximum penalty. A probation violation is usually the result of failing to follow a court ruling.
If you are charged with DUI in California, you will be sentenced to at least three years of probation. Probation is a time of intense examination during which you must demonstrate that you have changed and will be a law-abiding individual in the future. It comes with a slew of unique requirements. If you violate any of these terms, you will be charged with a probation violation.
Having a qualified DUI lawyer handle your DUI and get you a result you can live with is the best way to prevent a probation violation. If you’ve already violated probation, a DUI attorney may be able to assist you to keep your penalties to a bare minimum.
Call Louis J. Goodman today at (510) 582-9090 for a free consultation!
What is a DUI Probation Violation?
The length of a California DUI sentencing can differ based on a number of factors, including the court, the judges, the level of intoxication, the defendant’s age, the driver’s behavior, and if the individual has previously been convicted of DUIs or other crimes. Individuals are often sentenced to probation for 3 to 5 years, with the expectation that they will undergo a drunk driving program(s), pay court fines and costs, not conduct any criminal violations, and not drive with any detectable quantity of alcohol in their system. This is not an entire list, and it may differ from one court to the next based on the facts of the case.
A California DUI offender must pay significant penalties, and present evidence of participation and/or accomplishment in the numerous probationary procedures mandated by conviction, regardless of the probation terms imposed during sentencing. The specifics vary by court, but a DUI offender must usually meet a number of deadlines while the court determines the parameters of his or her punishment.
If a California DUI offender fails to fulfill a court-ordered duty, it is considered a probation breach. In this case, the court is likely to issue a summons for the person’s arrest. When someone is arrested, they must stand in front of a court where they are given consequences.
Probation violations can also occur if a person is charged with a new crime or is caught by police with any quantity of alcohol in their blood (even if their blood alcohol content is under .08, the legal limit for DUI). Driving without a legal driving license or without proper vehicle insurance are frequent infractions that result in probation violations.
All of the others below will qualify as a breach of your probation in a DUI case:
- If you have any alcohol in your body, you should not drive. If you’re stopped over and a breathing or blood test reveals you’ve been drinking, your DUI probation is instantly broken. This is significantly more stringent than it is for other citizens. In most cases, 0.08 percent blood alcohol content is the limitation for alcohol in your system (BAC). With your probation, however, the limit is 0.01 percent — the tiniest amount detectable. It’s the same if you’re under the influence of any medications.
- When you fail to provide proof of participation in a court-ordered program. At the very least, your probation will force you to attend DUI school. You could also be required to participate in drinking and/or drug therapy, community work, a preventative program, or other specialized programs. You must present documentation of enrollment in these programs to the court. It’s a violation if you don’t.
- If you don’t finish the programs. It is not sufficient to just enroll in a program. It is mandatory that you participate and finish it. After completing the course, you will receive a certificate. It is a violation if you do not present this document to the court by the deadline.
- If you haven’t paid the court-mandated fines. You will be required to pay reparations if you cause an accident or harm someone. Failure to present the payment receipt by the due date is a probation violation too.
- If you don’t follow the conditions of your probation. You may be required to have an ignition interlock installed in your car, carry a SCRAM wristband, or comply with other particular requirements. It’s also a violation if you don’t accomplish these things and provide proof.
- If you don’t show up to the court hearings. After your sentencing, most probation does not include any further court hearings. However, if you are given any more court dates, such as compensation hearings or a probation hearing, you must attend or you will be in violation of your probation.
What are the consequences of violating DUI probation?
A warrant will be issued if you breach probation in any of the ways listed above. The majority of the time, this is automatically done. If you fail to appear for any hearing or meet any deadline, such as the deadline to provide proof of completion of DUI school, the courts will issue a warrant and send it to the police to enforce. After that, you’ll be arrested and taken back to court.
After that, the judge can impose all or some of the below penalties:
Your probation will be revoked, and you will be sentenced to the initial jail term. For instance, if you accepted doing 15 days of voluntary work rather than 15 days in prison and then failed to finish the volunteer work, you could be sentenced to the whole 15 days in jail.
Implement a stricter prison sentence. Rather than the initial 10 days in prison, the judge might impose the maximum penalty—six months in the case of a first-time DUI or a year in the case of repeat DUIs. Alternatively, the judge could award you anything in the middle.
Your probation could be extended. The probation term may be restarted or prolonged.
Your initial probation terms may be kept, but the judge may add to them. For instance, combining addiction treatment with community service. Counseling may also be ordered.
With an experienced attorney, a drunk driving accusation can raise a number of challenges. To overcome a tough prosecution, every bit of evidence must line up.
For instance, readings of blood alcohol content (BAC). While these metrics may appear to be unmistakable to the untrained eye, we recognize that there are many variables to consider in these results. Before a blood alcohol content reading is accepted in a court of law, several factors must be considered, including the condition of the equipment and police training.
A private DUI attorney can assist you in spotting legal nuances in pending DUI amendments such as these.
There is no guarantee of a positive outcome in a DUI case. Prior alcohol-related charges, whether careless driving was discovered to be a component in the violation, and the related local and state DUI laws are all things that our clients will have to deal with in court.
A knowledgeable, reliable law company can frequently make the difference between winning and losing a DUI defense. A DUI lawyer who is familiar with the terrain can assess the prosecution’s case against a client from the top down. They’ll be able to provide crucial legal guidance to help the client achieve the greatest possible outcome to their case.
Let Louis J. Goodman use his expertise and handle your DUI probation violation cases for you. Call us (510) 582-9090 for a free consultation!