In California, a conviction for DUI (driving under the influence) is a criminal offense. If you have been charged with a DUI for operating your vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is important to talk to an attorney regarding your charges right away. Contact California DUI attorney Johann Hall today to get started on the right path to defending your case. Attorney Johann Hall has years of experience handling DUI cases and he may be able to help turn your case around.
Driving Under the Influence in California
It is against the law to operate a motor vehicle in California if you are under the influence of alcohol or any drug, including prescription medication which you may have a valid medical prescription to take. It is even possible that consuming some over-the-counter medications in certain amounts may cause you to be legally under the influence of drugs while out on the roadway.
In the eyes of the law, for most drivers you are considered “under the influence” if your blood alcohol content level is equal to or greater than .08%. There are also harsher legal thresholds in place for drivers operating commercial vehicles (.04%) and drivers under the age of 21 (.01%).
California DUI Conviction
A conviction for DUI in California is generally classified as a misdemeanor, especially if it is your first offense. Having an attorney represent you in your case is important, because there can be serious consequences to having a conviction of a DUI on your record. For your first offense, you may be sentenced to a period of probation, and you may also be ordered to pay a fine. Another common punishment for those found guilty of DUI is to take a court-approved DUI class. You may also have your license suspended for a period of time.
Additionally, a person convicted of DUI in this state may also face the possibility of a year in county jail, however this punishment is generally reserved for a second or subsequent DUI conviction offense. After a third conviction for DUI, the crime may be charged as a felony and carry with it harsher punishments.
Driving Under the Influence – Felony Conviction
In most cases, a conviction for driving under the influence in the state of California will be charged as a misdemeanor. However, there are three main exceptions to this rule.
If the charge of driving under the influence stems from a car accident that involved serious bodily injury to another person, the charge may be for a felony rather than a misdemeanor due to the seriousness of the crime. Whether or not an accident resulted in serious bodily injury may be open to interpretation, but in car accidents involving fatalities, this burden is met, and the charge will most likely be for a felony DUI. Serious bodily injury is typically considered to involve injuries more serious than just bumps and bruises, but again, it will depend on the facts of the case. In order to be charged with a felony under these circumstances, you also must have been at-fault for the collision.
Additionally, if a person is charged with their fourth DUI in a ten-year period, that fourth DUI would then be charged as a felony. One way to potentially reduce severe criminal penalties resulting from a fourth DUI charged as a felony is to agree to attend an alcohol-abuse program or some form of rehabilitation program. The availability of such a program to potentially lead to a reduced sentence will be dependent on the judge and prosecutor assigned to your case, so this is yet another reason why it is beneficial to you to hire an attorney with experience handling felony DUI cases to help negotiate this for you.
Finally, if you are charged with a DUI and you have been previously charged with a felony DUI in the past, then your subsequent DUI will generally be charged as another felony. Due to the seriousness of a felony charge, if any of the above circumstances apply in your case, it is imperative to speak with an experienced attorney regarding the facts of your case so that you can effectively fight the charges to avoid the serious penalties you could be facing as a result of a felony DUI conviction.
A DUI conviction, especially a felony conviction, can result in serious consequences for your future. If you are facing these charges, contact DUI attorney Johann Hall today for a consultation regarding the specific facts of your case.