For your first DUI offense in California, you are required to get an ignition interlock device and SR-22 car insurance. You will be subject to a monetary fine of $1,900, but that fine may be reduced to approximately $500 or slightly less, if you perform three days of community labor or have three days credit for time served in jail. During probation, you have what are known as “DUI conditions.” For the entire three year period of probation, you may not drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system. Most importantly, you as part of your criminal sentence, you will be informed about “Watson Advisement,” which is that “driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in dangerous to human life, and if you continue to drive under the influence of alcohol, or drugs, or both, and as a result of your driving someone is killed, you can be charged with murder.” This means that if you get another DUI after this first case (anytime during the rest of your life) and during the new incident someone was killed, you can and most likely will, be charged with murder, not just vehicular manslaughter, and the punishment is 15 years up to life in prison.
If during the probation period you are caught driving after drinking, and have a blood alcohol concentration greater than 0.01, you will be charged with a new offense for violating the terms of your DUI probation, arrested, face jail time, and be forced to get the ignition interlock device for an even longer period than you did with the basic DUI case.
If you are caught driving after drinking and you blood alcohol concentration is higher than 0.04, the penalties significantly increase, and of course, you will be arrested and your car impounded. You will then be required to get an ignition interlock device for three years. You will also be facing mandatory jail time as an additional punishment in addition to the potential for up to 180 days jail for the probation violation.
For a second DUI offense, the punishment varies by county. In Los Angeles County, CA, the defendant will face a mandatory 48 hours up to 364 days of jail time. In Orange County, CA, the penalty typically starts with 90 days in jail, up to 364 days.
For a third DUI offense, the punishment is a mandatory 120 days in jail, up to 364 days, and a 30-month alcohol program. With each new offense, the punishments get progressively worse. Fines increase with each subsequent offense. And on a third offense, the fine can be $10,000 or more.
If you get four DUIs in 10 years, it will be charged as a felony resulting in at least two years in state prison.
If I Just Plan On Pleading Guilty To A DUI Charge In Los Angeles County, Do I Need A Criminal Defense Attorney?
Yes. A criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the complex system to make sure you do not lose your license. Most cases are somewhat defensible, if not outright defensible, meaning that the charges can be dropped, modified, or dismissed. Usually, there are a variety of factors in any police report or arrest that could lead to a reduction or alternate charge, and that takes an attorney to figure out and attack.
You should consider getting a seasoned defense attorney to help review the police reports, review the complaint, advise you regarding the validity of the charges and if it will stick, as well as to speak and negotiate with the prosecutor to try and minimize the consequences you will face. Since the state has mandatory minimums for certain charges, a criminal defense attorney will be integral is making your situation better, and to minimize the chances that prosecutor or court will include other onerous conditions to your sentence.
For more information on DUI laws in California, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling Don at (626) 600-3437 today.