In California, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If a person is thought to be driving under the influence, they can be arrested, and it can result in a DUI charge and potentially this common DUI sentencing. State law defines “under the influence” of alcohol to mean that a person is under the influence of alcohol if they are found to have a blood alcohol content level of at least .08%. A person can also be charged with a DUI if they are caught driving while under the influence of drugs of any kind, even prescription and over-the-counter medication.
DUI Charges in California
If you have been charged with a DUI in the State of California, it is imperative to speak with a lawyer experienced in the area of criminal defense. California criminal defense attorney Johann Hall has successfully handled numerous DUI cases. Call attorney Johann Hall right away if you have been charged with a DUI and want legal representation.
There are various administrative penalties for a DUI charge, which include license suspension or revocation. Beyond the administrative penalties, there are legal penalties as well. If you have been charged with a DUI, your case will progress through the criminal court system. Your lawyer may be able to negotiate a deal for you, or you have the option to plead guilty and accept your sentence. If you want to fight these charges, you can have a trial in court and if you are convicted, the judge will determine your sentence, or punishment for the crime.
The penalties for your DUI conviction depend on several different circumstances. The judge will take into account the facts of your case and also will consider any aggravating and mitigating factors that may impact your case. However, California law has minimum and maximum penalties in place which a judge must follow. The sentencing range typically depends on whether you have any previous DUI convictions and also the facts surrounding your DUI charge, specifically, whether the charge stemmed from an accident where anyone else was injured or killed.
In the State of California, a DUI is considered a prior conviction for a time period of ten years. This means that a DUI that happened over ten years ago is not considered a prior conviction for purposes of determining whether a new DUI is a second or subsequent offense.
Your First DUI Offense
If this is your first DUI conviction, the judge may order you to pay a fine of up to $1,000. The judge may also order you to pay certain penalty assessments which is up to their discretion. In addition, you may also be sentenced from anywhere to 48 hours to six months in county jail. Rather than jail time, the judge may also choose to sentence you to probation.
A sentence of probation is common for first time DUI offenders but is not guaranteed and whether a judge orders probation will typically also depend on the totality of the facts involved in your case. A probation period of three years is common. Further, the judge also will have the discretion to order you to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle and may also order you to complete a DUI course.
Penalties for Subsequent DUI Offenses
The legal penalties in the criminal court system for the second or subsequent DUIs are more severe in nature than for the first DUI. Your license could be suspended for a longer period of time for a subsequent DUI than it would have been had it been your first DUI offense. A second DUI conviction is a misdemeanor in the State of California.
The judge may order a fine of up to $1,800. Additionally, a second or subsequent DUI offender may also be sentenced to up to a year in jail. Alternatively, a judge may order jail time to be served by house arrest or by completing a jail-alternative work program under certain circumstances. A judge may also require a three-year term of informal probation, which can be extended further depending on the circumstances of the offense. Often, the judge will also order you to attend a DUI course for either 18 or 30 months.
Sentencing for DUIs Involving Injury
If you are charged with DUI after having caused an accident where someone else was injured, you will likely face more severe penalties and have a harsher sentence than you would for a typical DUI. Under these circumstances, you could be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony, it just depends on the facts of your case. If you are charged with a felony, you are subject to harsher penalties. These harsher penalties include a longer prison sentence and higher fines.