If you are convicted of a DUI, the penalties vary depending on if you have prior DUI convictions in the last ten years. The penalties for a first, second, third, and fourth offense are below. If you are charged with additional DUI enhancements like driving with a minor in your vehicle or refusal to submit to a chemical test, this may increase your penalties. For the effect of enhancements, please see the enhancements section below.
Unlike most other criminal offenses, DUIs have both consequences in criminal court, and through the DMV. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Hamasaki Law can represent you in both proceedings.
The consequences of fourth DUI in a ten-year period vary depending on whether it is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If it is charged as a misdemeanor, you must serve a minimum of 180 days in jail and will have your license suspended for at least four years. If it is charged as a felony you will face up three years in state prison, permanent loss of license, substantial fines and fees and probation. Because of the severe consequences, it is essential to obtain a criminal defense attorney to guide you through the process. For more information on Felony DUIs, please contact Hamasaki Law. (Link to Felony DUI section on our website.)
A DUI with injury is a "wobbler" meaning that it can be either charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Whether or not it is charged as a felony or not depends on the circumstances surrounding the incident, as well as your criminal history, particularly as it pertains to DUIs.
Unlike most other criminal offenses, DUIs have both consequences in criminal court, and through the DMV. A criminal defense attorney can represent you in both proceedings.
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor DUI with injury, you may be sentenced to up to five years of probation, up to one year in jail, required to pay fines and fees, and attend a DUI school. You may also face a license suspension of 1 year. Alternatively, the first DUI with injury can be charged as a felony.
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor DUI with injury, and it is your second DUI within ten years, you face up to a year in the county jail. Probation may be imposed, either formal or informal, you will be required to pay fines and fees, and attend a DUI school. Alternatively, the first DUI with injury can be charged as a felony.
A felony DUI with injury generally carries between 16 months to ten years in prison followed by a term of probation or parole, an 18 to 30 month alcohol/drug program, fines, fees and any restitution imposed.
Depending on the circumstances and facts underlying your DUI arrest, there are various enhancements that can be charged that increase the penalties you are facing. Enhancements include: (1) minor passenger in vehicle, (2) failure to take a chemical test, (3) driving at an excessive rate of speed; or (4) driving with a BAC of .15% or higher.
1. Minor Passenger in Vehicle (CVC § 23572)
If you are convicted of driving under the influence and there was a minor under 14 years of age in the car at the time of the violation, you can be subject to additional penalties. The penalties depend on how many prior DUIs you have been convicted of in the last 10 years.
2. Implied Consent: Failure to Take Chemical Test (CVC § 23577)
California implied consent law requires that you submit to a chemical test (CVC § 23612) when you have been lawfully arrested for driving under the influence. If you refuse to have your blood, breath or urine tested for alcohol, you may be charged with the DUI enhancement, failure to take a chemical test. The police officer cannot force you to take the test, but your refusal can result in criminal charges. To be charged with failure to take a chemical test the law requires:
(1) The person must have been lawfully arrested for driving under the influence
(2) There must be reasonable cause to believe that the person had been driving while under the influence in violation of the applicable statute.
(3) The person must be informed that his or her failure to submit to or complete the test will result in a fine and mandatory imprisonment if convicted
The penalties for failing to take a chemical test depend on how many DUIs you have had in the last ten years:
If you refuse to submit to a chemical blood or breath test, you will be ineligible to obtain a restricted license.
2. Driving at Excessive Rate of Speed (CVC § 23582)
Your punishment for a DUI can be enhanced if, at the time of the violation, you were driving more than 30 miles per hour over the maximum speed limit on the highway, or 20 or more miles per hour over the maximum speed limit on any other street.
Driving under the influence with an additional speeding enhancement is punished by an additional term of 60 days in county jail.
3. Driving with a high BAC (CVC § 23578)
If you are found to have been driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.15 percent or higher the court may take this into consideration when determining the conditions of probation. There is no required penalty for a higher BAC, but it is a factor the court considers.
Our defense attorneys at Hamasaki Law will guide you through the process from the moment we are contacted until your matter is resolved. Our lawyers will take the time explaining your various options, and we will work together to determine the best approach to fighting your case. Contact us now to discuss your case and let us help you through the process.