Having some of the most stringent laws in the country, DUI charges in California carry a progressively harsh punishment involving various interconnected institutions.
Ultimately, penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) will be dependent on your individual circumstances and center around whether anyone was injured and if there are any prior DUIs on record. There is a 10 year look-back period for prior DUIs. This means the courts will take into consideration any DUIs that you may have on record over the prior 10 years.
Upon arrest for a DUI, the arresting officer will immediately confiscate your driver’s license and serve you a “Notice of Suspension”. This document officially suspends your license while also providing you with temporary driving privileges for 30 days. You or your attorney have only 10 days to contact the DMV Driver Safety Office to request a hearing to contest the suspension. If this request is not made within the 10-day window, your rights to this hearing will be lost and the suspension will begin on the 30th day after your arrest.
Separate and apart from the DMV automatic license suspension, will be prosecution within the court system. Most DUIs will be prosecuted as misdemeanors provided you have less than 3 prior DUIs on record and your DUI caused no injuries.
If convicted you can expect further license suspension, restriction, or revocation. In addition, you will be facing court costs, fines, mandatory driving classes, and potential jail time. The counties of Sacramento, Los Angeles, Alameda, and Tulare will also require you to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your vehicle for a determined amount of time in order to receive a restricted driver’s license or to have your license reinstated. Other areas have the discretion to order the installation of these devices until January 1, 2019 at which time this law will go into effect statewide.
A DUI charge in California is a very serious offense. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help to navigate through this complicated process and may be able to help to reduce or eliminate the charges against you. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your individual circumstances call the Law Office of Louis J. Goodman at (510) 582-9090.