Penalties for first time DUI offenders in California are extremely harsh and the District Attorney’s Office treats them very seriously. There are many circumstances that may cause the punishment to vary but generally speaking, if you are convicted of a first offense DUI you can expect punishment to include:
While the penalties for a first time DUI offense seem harsh, the penalties associated with a multiple DUI offense are much greater. These penalties will vary depending on the number of previous convictions for DUI, whether or not the individual was still currently on DUI probation, how recently their previous convictions occurred, the level of intoxication involved, and whether or not there was a crash involved in the incident.
Penalties for a fourth DUI conviction, and for a DUI including injury to another person, include having the DUI filed as a felony. The repercussions for conviction of felony DUI are even greater than those listed above including a potential prison sentence.
Following an arrest for DUI, the DMV will be notified of the pending matter and your license will be automatically suspended unless a hearing is requested within a few days of the arrest. This request will only stay the suspension and will not prevent it entirely. The DMV will then conduct a hearing separate from criminal proceedings referred to as an Admin Per Se Hearing. While the DMV will allow you to conduct the hearing yourself, they will also allow an attorney to handle the hearing for you. The goal of these hearings is to convince the DMV that they should not take independent action over your driver’s license.
Critical in the challenging of your license suspension at an Admin Per Se Hearing is the collection of relevant evidence as well as preparation and presentation of that evidence to show the DMV that there are questions as to whether you were driving the vehicle, questions as to whether your blood alcohol level was above the legal limit and questions about the methods the police used to pull you over and arrest you. It is important to note that a successful Admin Per Se Hearing does not always have an effect on your criminal case. They are separate matters and the criminal case will still have to be settled in criminal court.
Many other factors are relevant in challenging DMV repercussions. As such, hiring a knowledgeable attorney to represent you in these matters can be critical.