DUI Criminal Penalties
Our San Jose DUI Lawyer Helps Clients Avoid Severe DUI Penalties
If you are facing a 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.