Pasadena

California has some of the strictest DUI (driving under the influence) laws. You may be guilty of DUI if you operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more. If you are a commercial driver, you are subject to stricter rules. A commercial driver should not operate a vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or more. In California, the penalties for driving under the influence vary depending on certain factors. The penalties will depend on whether you have previous DUI offenses on your record. A repeat DUI offender faces harsher penalties than a first-time DUI offender. The penalties will also depend on whether another person suffered injuries due to your driving under the influence. We at The Law Offices of Ross Howell Sobel assist people facing DUI charges to fight their DUI charges. With the help of one of our experienced Pasadena DUI attorneys, the prosecutor may reduce or dismiss your DUI charges.

Prosecution of DUI Offenses in California

Most regular DUI offenses in California are misdemeanors. However, a DUI offense may be a felony if you have four or more previous DUI offenses on your record. A DUI offense may also be a felony if another person suffers injuries or dies due to your drunk driving. What should you expect after committing a DUI offense in California? Here is an overview of DUI prosecution in California.

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First-time DUI Offense

After a conviction for a first-time DUI offense in California, the potential penalties include misdemeanors or informal probation. The probation period may range from three years to five years. The alternative name for misdemeanor probation is summary probation.  While serving the probation, you may have to perform community service. 

For a first-time misdemeanor DUI offense, the court may impose jail time of six months in a county jail in California. You may also have to pay fines ranging from $390 to $1,000. You may also have to attend a court-approved drug and alcohol education program. 

The California Department of Motor Vehicles may suspend your driver's license for six to ten months. If you want to continue driving without restrictions, you may install an ignition interlock device (IID0 in your vehicle. You may also apply for a restricted driver's license after the suspension of your regular driver's license. A restricted driver's license allows you to drive to limited places like the place of work, school, or California DUI school. 

It is important to contact your Pasadena DUI attorney immediately after a DUI offense. The attorney will advise you on the right course of action and ensure that you adhere to DMV deadlines. For instance, after a DUI arrest in California, you will have up to ten days to request a DMV hearing. Requesting a DMV hearing from the California Department of Motor Vehicles will postpone the suspension of your driver's license until the conclusion of the DMV hearing. Failing to request a DMV hearing within ten days of your arrest will lead to automatic suspension of your driver's license.  

Your DUI attorney can request the DMV hearing on your behalf. You do not have to attend the DMV hearing in person; your DUI attorney can attend the hearing on your behalf. 

Second DUI Offense in California

If you commit a first-time DUI offense in California, and then you commit an additional offense within ten years, you become a second DUI offender.  A second misdemeanor DUI offense in California will have harsher penalties than a first-time offense. The penalties include a minimum jail time of 96 hours and maximum jail time of one year in a county jail in California. You may also have to pay hefty penalties ranging between $390 and $1,000. 

The court may require you to complete a court-approved DUI school ranging from 18 months to 30 months. Other penalties include the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device. After installing an IID, you will be able to drive anywhere without restrictions. If you are not willing to install an ignition interlock device, the California DMV may suspend your driver's license for two years. After a driver's suspension for one year, the DMV may convert the suspended license to a restricted license.  

Third DUI Offense in California

If you commit a third DUI offense within ten years, you may be subject to informal probation for three to five years. The court may impose 120 days to one year of jail time in a county jail in California. The applicable fines will range from $390 to $1,000. You may have to complete a court-approved DUI school for thirty months. 

To continue operating your vehicle freely, you have to install an ignition interlock device and remain with it for two years. If you are not willing to install an ignition interlock device, the court may suspend your driver's license for three years. After license suspension for 18 months, the DMV may convert the suspended license to a restricted license. With a restricted license, you can drive to DUI school, regular school, or work. 

After committing a third DUI offense in California, the Department of Motor Vehicles may designate you as a habitual traffic offender.

DUI Causing Injury

If you commit an offense of DUI causing injury under the California VC 23153, the prosecutor may charge the offense as a misdemeanor or felony. Therefore, the offense is a wobbler offense. The prosecutor will consider the circumstances of your arrest and your criminal history while deciding to charge the offense as a felony or misdemeanor.  

DUI with injury is an offense where another person, other than you, suffers injuries due to your drunk driving. For misdemeanor DUI with injury, the penalties include misdemeanor probation. The court may impose jail time of one year in a county jail in California. The applicable fines for the offense may range between $390 and $5,000. 

You may also be subject to an alcohol education program for 18 months or 30 months. The offense will lead to suspension of your driver's license by the California DMV. If you are willing to install an ignition interlock device, you may be able to continue operating your vehicle freely. You have to install an IID for six months or face a license suspension for one year. 

For DUI with injury, the court may require you to pay restitution to the victim. This entails paying or reimbursing the victim for the costs that the victim may have suffered due to your actions. The costs may include medical costs incurred in seeking treatment and vehicle repair costs. 

If the prosecutor charges the offense of DUI causing injury as a felony, the penalties include imprisonment of sixteen months to ten years in state prison of California. You may also face additional and consecutive one to six years, depending on the number of people who suffer injuries. The additional sentencing will also depend on the extent of injuries the victims suffer.

The crime of DUI causing injury may lead to a strike on your record according to the Three Strikes Law in California. The court may impose penalties ranging from $1015 to $5,000. Other consequences for DUI with the injury include attending a drug and alcohol program for 18 to 30 months.  You may have to assume the status of Habitual Traffic Offender for three years.  

The California Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your driver's license unless you install an ignition interlock device. Just like in the case of misdemeanor DUI with injury, you have to pay restitution to the victims.  If you seek a competent Pasadena DUI attorney to represent you in your case, you may avoid receiving felony DUI charges and get the lesser misdemeanor charges.  

When is DUI an Automatic Felony in California?

You may face felony charges for a DUI offense if you accumulate four or more DUI convictions on your record within ten years. For felony DUI, the penalties include imprisonment in a state prison in California. The imprisonment period is 16 months, two years, or three years. The applicable fines may range between $390 and $1,000. 

The DMV will require you to register as a habitual traffic offender (HTO). With the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, you can continue operating your vehicle freely.  If a DUI offense in California results in death, the penalties can be detrimental. The penalties may lead to life imprisonment and earn you a strike on your record following the Three Strikes Law in California.  

Requirements/Conditions of Probation for DUI Offenses

When the court recommends probation instead of jail time, you will have to adhere to the set conditions of probation. If you fail to adhere to the conditions of probation, the court may cancel the probation and recommend jail time.  

While on probation, you have to abstain or stay away from alcohol. You should not record any amount of alcohol in your blood at any particular time. You may be subject to random alcohol and drug testing when you least expect it.

You have to submit to a chemical test, including a test of your breath, blood, and sometimes your urine upon an arrest for a subsequent DUI offense. While you are on probation for DUI, you should not commit additional crimes.  

The court may impose other conditions of probation, depending on the circumstances of your case. Some of the additional conditions of probation include participation in the Victim Impact Program and MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) program.

As a condition of probation, the court may require you to attend Narcotics Anonymous or the Alcoholics Anonymous program. You may also have to pay restitution to the victim. Violating the terms of probation would lead to further consequences.  

Mitigating and Aggravating Factors for DUI Cases

The presence of mitigating factors in a DUI case may lead to a reduction of the potential consequences. If you do not have prior DUI offenses on your record, it may serve as a mitigating factor in your DUI case. Aggravating factors refer to circumstances and facts that will enhance your DUI sentencing. The presence of aggravating factors will lead to an increase in your DUI penalties, regardless of whether you have committed a first or a repeat DUI offense. When handling your case, your Pasadena DUI attorney will emphasize on the mitigating factors and fight the aggravating factors to help reduce your DUI charges.  

If you record high BAC results, it may act as an aggravating factor in your DUI offense. This will apply if you record a BAC of 0.15% or more, which is almost double the allowable BAC limit of 0.08% in California.

You will also face enhanced penalties if you refuse to submit to a DUI chemical testing. Higher penalties apply for DUI, causing an accident. If you drive under the influence and engage in additional reckless conduct like speeding, you may face enhanced penalties.

It is an aggravating factor to drive under the influence of alcohol with a child below the age of 14 years in the car.  If you engage in DUI with a minor, you may also face charges under the California child endangerment laws outlined under PC 273a. 

Engaging in underage DUI is an aggravating factor, which may enhance DUI sentencing. Underage DUI involves persons below 21 years. According to California law, a person below 21 years should not possess alcohol. 

The enhancement of your DUI sentencing due to the presence of aggravating factors will depend on the circumstances of your DUI case and your previous DUI history.  

Negotiating for Alternative Sentencing for DUI Cases

Your Pasadena DUI attorney may negotiate for alternative sentencing instead of facing jail time or imprisonment in the state prison of California. Some of the alternative forms of sentencing include community service or Cal-Trans roadside work. The court may require you to seek residence in a sober-living environment. You may also be subject to electronic monitoring or house arrest. Instead of jail time in a county jail or state prison, the court may subject you incarceration in city jail or private jail.  

Find a DUI Attorney Near Me

If you are facing DUI charges in California, you require an attorney who specializes in California DUI defense to fight on your behalf.  A DUI attorney will know the most effective ways to convince the judge or the prosecutor. For the best legal representation in Pasadena, contact The Law Offices of Ross Howell Sobel at 818-582-2350 and speak to one of our attorneys.

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Disclaimer

The information on this website is for advertisement and informational purposes only. The facts of every case are unique and nothing on this page or on this website should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The information on this website is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship and viewing of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.