DUI Criminal Penalties

Our San Jose DUI Lawyer Helps Clients Avoid Severe DUI Penalties

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If you are facing a San Jose DUI charge, it helps to understand the penalties for a DUI in California. Our San Jose DUI attorney can help you determine what exactly you’re up against in your case. More importantly, we may be able to help you avoid the most severe of these penalties.

DUI penalties will vary based on many factors. These factors may include prior offenses and whether your DUI resulted in injuries to someone else. Generally, a first time DUI offense will result in lesser penalties than a second or third time offense.

It is important to keep in mind that a DUI stays on your record for 10 years in California. A DUI conviction received within 10 years of a first DUI conviction counts as a second offense.

Penalties for a First Time DUI in California

A first-time DUI offense in California qualifies as a misdemeanor. First time DUIs may result in in the following penalties:

  • Fines. A first offense DUI will result in fines between $390 and $1,000;
  • Penalty assessments. Penalty assessments are fines added to the base fines. Examples of penalty assessments include court fees and assessment fees.
  • Jail. First-time offenders may incur jail time ranging from 48 hours to 6 months.
  • Probation. Instead of a jail sentence, judges may give a DUI offender an informal probationary period. This period may span three to five years. Probation often requires the driver to attend DUI school.
  • License suspension. Typically, the offender will have their license taken for up to six months. However, first time offenders may receive a restricted license in some circumstances.

Penalties for a Second DUI in California

A second DUI conviction in the state of California is also a misdemeanor offense. However, some penalties will increase:

  • Fines. A second offense DUI will also result in fines between $390 and $1,000;
  • Penalty assessments.
  • Jail. A second DUI offense results in at least 90 days of jail time. Maximum jail time is one year.
  • Probation. Conviction generally results in three to five-year informal probation. During this period, offenders will have to attend an extended set of DUI classes.
  • License suspension. Second time DUI offenders will also have their license taken for up to two years. However, in some cases, you can apply for a restricted license.
  • Ignition interlock device (IID). A second DUI results in the installation of an IID. This device prevents the driver from operating a car if they cannot pass a breathalyzer test. The IID must remain installed for 12 months.

Third DUI in California Penalties

A third DUI in California is also considered a misdemeanor offense. Fines remain the same as first and second offenses, plus increased penalty assessments.

If you are convicted of a third DUI, you will be designated as a habitual traffic offender for three years. A third time DUI offense also results in the following potential penalties:

  • Jail. Jail time for a third time DUI increases to at least 120 days. The maximum penalty is one year.
  • Probation. A probationary period lasts anywhere from three to five years. It generally requires attending a 30-month DUI school.
  • License suspension. A third-time offender will see their license suspended for 3 years. Third time offenders can also apply for a restricted license.
  • Ignition interlock device (IID). A third-time DUI also results in the installation of an IID. This device prevents the driver from operating a car if they cannot pass a breathalyzer test. The IID must remain installed for 24 months.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony DUI in California

A DUI is considered a wobbler offense. This means that the offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony DUI depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. The most important factors include prior offenses and whether the DUI resulted in injuries to someone else.

However, other aggravating factors can also increase DUI penalties, no matter prior offenses. Keep in mind that a fourth DUI conviction within 10 years will automatically result in a felony charge. Aggravating factors may include:

  • High BAC
  • Speeding or reckless driving
  • Property damage

DUI With Injury

Drivers who cause bodily injury to others while under the influence may also face felony charges. This will depend upon the facts of the case and the driver’s prior record.

A felony injury DUI may result in prison time anywhere between 16 months and four years. Base fines for this type of charge range from $390 to $5,000.

If an intoxicated driver kills someone, they are typically charged with manslaughter or murder. Vehicular manslaughter or murder charges are felonies and their penalties are severe.

Concerned About Penalties for a DUI in California? Our DUI Lawyer in San Jose Can Help

If you have been recently arrested for a DUI, you may be wondering about potential penalties. While there are general standards you can expect, each DUI case is different.

Penalties will depend on how many prior convictions you have, as well as aggravated or mitigating circumstances. All of this means that the penalties you face will depend on the specifics of your case.

Our DUI attorney in San Jose, CA can help you better understand California DUI law. Additionally, attorney Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich has succeeded in mitigating DUI penalties for many clients.

Contact us today to discuss your charges. Call us at (408) 898-9653 or send us a message online.


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-Mari, Yelp

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When I got my second DUI, a friend of mine told me about Nick and how he is a great defense lawyer and would do whatever it took to get me the best deal. Upon meeting him, I already that I was in good hands. Throughout my case, he would keep me updated with any new information that would help my case and always be ready to answer my questions. He was very understanding with everything and helped me every way possible. Then when I got in trouble with driving without a license, I went back to him and he quickly took my case and did such a wonderful job. I was worried about what would have happened with me but Nick kept me calm and would make sure that I would be taken care. He is a great lawyer with great staff and is someone I recommend to anyone that is looking for a top notch defense lawyer. Thank you for everything Nick.

-Carlos, Yelp

I was pulled over by the police in San Jose about 4 months ago with a .09 blood alcohol level. I knew I had to get some help. This was my first time ever needing legal help. When I spoke with Nick he sounded like a nice guy. He was knowledgeable and offered a very reasonable price. So I went with him and hoped for the best. Little did I know I had just hired an excellent lawyer. He went to work right away. He made me feel comfortable and was always quick to get back to my questions and concerns and always kept me informed with the case. Four months later his strategy worked great. I had prepared myself for a DUI sentence but was hoping to get at least a wet reckless. I ended up walking away with a dry reckless and a small fine. My license was not affected either. I can’t thank him enough. Nick is a very intelligent, personable and clever lawyer. He knows the system well and was able to get me the lightest possible sentence. If I ever have any legal questions or need any legal help in the future, he will be my first call.

-Kelly, Avvo

I give 5 stars for Mr. Cvietkovich. My family was going through a terrible tragedy and on top of that had a legal issue that was time sensitive. I contacted Nick Cvietkovich and in just a few hours Mr. Cvietkovich got all the parties together and resolved the issues. Some things are worth more than money. My family and I owe Mr. Cvietkovich way more than he charged which was extremely reasonable. Everyone needs a lawyer that not only gets things done but gets things done quickly. Thank you Nick Cvietkovich – words cannot express my gratitude.

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