How scary is the thought of a DUI? A DUI charge is not a minor offense. A DUI conviction could affect your insurance rates, work status, and future. But what may need to be clarified is what constitutes the first offense.
If you have been charged with a DUI first offense in California, it would be helpful to know some of the possible consequences that could lie ahead and how to handle them. Read on to find out how to fight back smartly.
A first-time DUI in California can result in criminal penalties. The Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) also has the authority to suspend your license. Your license can be suspended automatically by the DMV. After your arrest, this suspension will start 30 days later.
You should note that if you request a DMV hearing within ten days of your arrest, you can make efforts to avoid an automatic license suspension. During this hearing, your criminal defense attorney may argue against suspending your driving privileges.
Choosing to ignore your DMV hearing could result in a 6-month license suspension. Thus, it would be best if you got legal assistance.
The driver has limited time to schedule an administrative hearing before the DMV receives the notice of suspension. The driver must complete it within ten days following the suspect's arrest.
The authorities will immediately suspend the driver's driving privileges unless he requests this hearing within that time.
The motorist must know his rights as soon as possible because many drivers need to pay attention to this information and miss this brief deadline. Since this hearing is not a recurring occurrence, the driver must ensure to arrange it.
The notice given by the arresting officer will contain the details required to set up the hearing. There are instructions for where to submit a hearing request on this notification.
The motorist may eventually be able to recover his driving privileges by performing the following if he fails to request a hearing within the 10-day window:
The DMV hearing is separate from the criminal trial. The judge in a criminal trial may also suspend a license.
Therefore, a person accused of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol must:
The DMV hearings are focused on the circumstances surrounding your arrest, whereas court hearings will determine if you are guilty or innocent. For this reason, the DMV hearing is not mandatory, although a court hearing is.
Court hearings and DMV hearings are separate proceedings. In some instances, the DMV may suspend your license even if you are not guilty in court.
If you deny the breath test or other tests, this may occur. You may not be found guilty of driving under the influence in court, but a separate suspension will come from your refusal to submit to a breath test when requested.
The DMV initiates its inquiry into your case. Although a not-guilty decision in court can benefit you in a DMV hearing, it does not guarantee that the DMV will let you keep your license.
Penalties for a first-time misdemeanor DUI under California law may include some or all of the following:
The judge may, at his discretion, impose additional sanctions.
You must retain legal counsel within ten days after your arrest, regardless of the potential punishment you get.
You may contact the DMV during this period to request a hearing. Once you've asked for a hearing, the suspension of your license will be suspended while the hearing is ongoing.
If you decide against hiring a lawyer, you must still ask for a hearing to avoid having your license suspended.
According to California Vehicle Code 23153, DUI with injury is punishable as a misdemeanor by:
DUI charges almost always involve some other type of risky behavior. Some DUI aggravating factors, however, focus on situations that make drunk driving significantly more dangerous. Here are a few examples of cases that fit this description:
If someone gets convicted of their first DUI offense in California, they may be eligible for "alternative" sentence choices. These penalties are substitutes for a sentence to a county or California state prison.
These alternative sentences for sentencing include:
When a DUI offender faces charges in court, the first thing on his mind is whether or not he will go to jail. However, as described above, other sentencing choices are available, namely probation - a method to complete your DUI sentence without going to jail.
However, many individuals need to realize that probation is a severe sentence that might be difficult to complete.
Some individuals fail to fulfill the terms of their agreement by violating their probation, resulting in harsher penalties. In this situation, a DUI offender has breached their probation.
Standard Terms and Conditions of Probation
No matter where you get convicted of a DUI conviction, your probation will contain universal factors. These consist of the following:
Usually, failing to perform any court-ordered activity will violate the conditions of your California DUI probation.
If you break the rules, the court may issue a bench warrant for your arrest, and chances are good that they will. After being detained, you must appear before the judge who issued the warrant to receive punishment.
Most frequently, a DUI probation violation occurs when someone gets caught driving while their license is suspended due to a drunk driving conviction. If you are operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol in any way, you risk violating your probation.
When you get accused of breaking the terms of your DUI probation, you should immediately speak with an experienced DUI defense lawyer.
An agency officer will consider whether to suspend the defendant's driver's license after hearing testimony in the DMV hearing on an alleged DUI case. The hearing is unrelated to the criminal prosecution. At the hearing, drivers have a right to representation, but only at their own expense.
An authorized DMV personnel will conduct your hearing. During the hearing, the arresting officer will provide testimony about what transpired at the hearing, and they will submit the police report as proof. Typically, this testimony will disclose details regarding:
The defendant can question the arresting officer in cross-examination, typically through a criminal defense lawyer.
The driver can then give their side of the story once law enforcement has presented its case. Drivers have the following options in addition to having the police officer cross-examined:
The driver may have a good defense, depending on the details of the case. Among the most typical are:
After hearing the evidence, the DMV hearing officer will determine whether most evidence shows that the driver was under the influence. This burden of evidence is critical and differs from that in a criminal DUI case.
The license suspension hearing will only take the following elements:
To evaluate which defenses would be most successful in rebutting your administrative suspension, your experienced DUI defense lawyer could carefully analyze the police record and all available evidence. In a DMV hearing, the following defense claims are among the strongest:
Many individuals are unaware that being arrested for driving while intoxicated may suspend your license automatically unless you take prompt legal action to challenge it.
The officer will take the person under arrest's license after a DUI arrest. After that, the police will give a pink, 30-day temporary license. The California DMV will receive the original license after it has been returned.
Then, the DMV will suspend the license due to an "administrative per se" violation. It is another way of saying that a DUI breaches the terms of one's driver's license.
After that, the motorist has ten days to request a hearing to contest the suspension. If this request is submitted promptly, the DMV will temporarily delay or stay the license suspension.
The DMV will automatically suspend the driver's license if there is no hearing request.
One should note that defendants might qualify for an IID-restricted license, which would allow them to drive anywhere, or a limited license that would enable them to go to and from work.
After their regular license suspension for 30 days, drivers can apply for restricted licenses.
With a restricted license, the motorist can:
If the DMV has suspended a driver's license, they are now facing DUI charges, and they do not want to utilize an IID, they will often apply for a restricted license.
A defendant with an IID limited license can operate a vehicle as long as an IID is kept. IID also prevents the car from starting if it detects alcohol, similar to a breathalyzer.
The defendant has the right to apply for an IID limited license immediately. The defendant must utilize the IID for four months if the DMV suspends his license following an arrest. The defendant must use the IID for six months if found guilty of DUI in a criminal court. Note that the length of the IID-restricted license is increased from 6-10 months if the driver's blood alcohol level is 0.2 or above.
Unless they obtain an expungement of a DUI conviction in California, those found guilty of the offense have a permanent criminal record. Anyone who received DUI convictions and completed probation is eligible for expungement.
An individual must present a petition to the court to get an expungement, and the petition will undergo a review by a court to determine eligibility.
The offenders may change their plea from guilty to no contest if the judge allows the DUI expungement. The case will then be dismissed once the defendant enters a new plea of "not guilty."
Employment purposes are the main advantage of expunging a DUI conviction.
The "ban the box" law in California already forbids employers from requesting information regarding previous records during the interview process.
However, after making a conditional job offer, the employer is authorized to inquire about any convictions lawfully. Typically, a disclosure of a DUI conviction follows. But it's okay to mention a sentence that has been deleted.
When you're facing a felony DUI charge, the stakes are high. A conviction could mean a massive sum of money in fines and court fees, the suspension of your license, and a lasting criminal record. The best way to protect your freedom is to have an experienced DUI defense attorney by your side who knows how to get charges reduced or dropped.
A DUI lawyer can do the following:
The most important thing to remember about hiring a DUI defense lawyer is to contact one ASAP. The evidence collected in arresting you is crucial, and it must be appropriately managed by an experienced team who knows how to do this right. They can gather evidence as soon as it's safe and before your court date.
Hurwitz Law Group is dedicated to finding evidence for your defense and building an effective strategy for your case. We'll work hard to help you avoid the harsh penalties associated with impaired driving, including license suspension and jail time.
Traffic stops and DUI investigations are subject to numerous laws. A lawyer will understand the investigation areas and the proof required to support motions. A "Move to Suppress Evidence" under California Penal Code 1538.5. a is a frequent motion.
For instance, the police need "reasonable suspicion" to stop a car. The traffic stop may have been illegal if the officer's suspicions were not reasonable (for example, that the headlamp wasn't damaged).
Before any trial, motions are presented and heard. As a result, the case will frequently be dismissed following a successful motion to dismiss.
The Majority of DUI cases do not go to trial. Instead, they result from negotiation between the prosecution and the defense attorney. Frequently, these negotiations lead to:
A skilled California DUI defense attorney will be aware of the evidence, most likely to persuade the prosecutor to drop the charges or reduce the offense.
If you've been arrested or charged with driving under the influence (DUI), it might be tempting to try to defend yourself, but we strongly advise against it.
DUI cases are complex and require a lawyer's knowledge of California DUI laws and trial skills to achieve a positive outcome.
Don't take the risk—contact a DUI defense attorney. Our team at Hurwitz Law Group has worked on countless DUI cases, and we have the knowledge, expertise, and resources to win your case. We will help you understand your options and protect your rights through every step of the process. Fill out our online contact form, or call (323) 287-9849 and get your free consultation today.