Your first question after being arrested for a DUI is likely to about what DUI penalties you face. You may have heard that California hands down harsh consequences for DUI convictions, some of which are mandatory and non-negotiable. Your driver's license will be suspended, you will face hefty fines, will be ordered to attend alcohol education classes, and you will face jail time. Your penalties will come from both the California Department of Motor Vehicles and from the criminal justice system. You will face criminal prosecution and administrative action will be taken against your driver's license. You will face many different penalties for a California DUI conviction, a few of which may vary from county to county.
Typically, you will be arrested for a DUI offense by local or state law enforcement. The officer or sheriff will then submit their sworn report to the district attorney. A district attorney is a county prosecutor. The county wherein the offense took place will prosecute you. Each county will have its own district attorney and judges that interpret and apply the law.
You will be held to the same DUI law no matter what California County is charging you, but the outcome may differ from county to county. It is important to keep in mind that your prosecution and sentencing will be handled by different people based on the county. Because California DUI laws have minimum and maximum penalties, sentencing for DUI convictions can vary in between that range. For example, you can be fined anywhere from $390 to $1,000 for a first-time DUI offense. You can also face between 96 hours and six months in jail. These ranges can make a huge difference in the life of the defendant. A judge may use his or her discretion when handing down penalties for a California DUI. Some judges tend to be harsher than others. This is why it is essential you obtain skilled representation when facing DUI charges in any county.
The action taken against your driving privileges may also vary depending on the county you are being charged in. The California DMV will automatically suspend the license of anyone convicted of a DUI in California. The suspension period is the same for all Californians regardless of what county they live or were convicted in. If you are convicted of a DUI in certain counties, however, you may be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device in any car you own or drive. This is mandatory for convictions in counties participating in the Ignition Interlock Device, or IID, Pilot Program. If you are convicted of a DUI in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, or Tulare County, you will be ordered to install an IID in your car, even with your first DUI offense. You may be ordered to install an IID for a first or subsequent DUI conviction in other counties, but it isn't mandatory as part of the Pilot Program.
If you are being charged with a DUI in one of these counties, make sure you talk with an attorney. The terms and conditions of an IID order are extensive. You cannot drive without installing an IID if you have been ordered to do so. The court will be notified if you fail to comply with the order, and it could result in a longer license suspension. It is a good idea to speak with an attorney about this specific part of your sentencing, as there are serious consequences for not following the order.
You should speak with an experienced California DUI defense attorney about the potential penalties you face if you get a California DUI. A skilled DUI defense attorney will be familiar with state DUI laws and will know the ins and outs of DUI defense. This can help you navigate the court process. Find an attorney who practices in the county charging you. He or she will be familiar with the local courts' district attorney and judge. He or she may be able to advise you on the DUI penalties you may face in your specific case and advise you on how DUI offenders are typically charged in your county. Because the judge may use his or her discretion when sentencing you, a good attorney may be able to use that to your advantage and get you a lesser sentence.
If you or a loved one has recently been arrested and are now being charged with a DUI, call experienced Visalia area DUI defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we can advise you on how to strategize a defense given the facts of your case. Attorney Martens has practiced criminal defense for over ten years and can fight for your rights in court. Contact our Visalia or Hanford offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.