First-time driving under the influence arrests is usually considered misdemeanors, rather than felonies. However, if you injure someone, a prosecutor may charge you with a felony. You may think it’s easier to plead guilty and move forward with your life. The consequences for a DUI, even if it’s your first, are serious. If you are charged with a DUI, you should consider hiring a traffic ticket lawyer San Francisco to help you find a better outcome.
Penalties for DUI
For your first DUI, you may face up to six months in jail. Plus, the court can fine you $390 to $1,000, plus assess other fees that could equal up to $3,600. When you serve your time in jail, you won’t be working. In addition, the DMV will impose a 4-month driver’s license suspension. The criminal court could extend that suspension another two months. After 30 days, you are able to apply for a restricted license to drive to work or school. The court may also make you install an ignition interlock device for six months, at your expense. You may also have three to five years of probation, which includes a DUI school of 30 hours. If your blood alcohol level was higher than 0.20%, the school requirement increases to 60 hours of class over 9 months.
Penalties Outside the Courtroom
DUIs affect your life in more ways than just in the courtroom.
- You may not be able to get some professional licenses, insurance or certifications with a DUI on your record.
- Auto insurance costs will increase.
- When you apply for jobs, you will need to disclose your DUI. It could hinder your employment chances.
- You may not qualify for financial aid due to a DUI. Some universities may not admit you at all with a DUI conviction on your record.
- If you are a non-US citizen, a DUI will have to be explained on any visa applications or change of status reports.
Don’t Refuse Blood Alcohol Testing
Under California law, if you are driving a motor vehicle with a current license, you have already consented to a breathalyzer or other chemical test if you are lawfully arrested for driving under the influence. If you refuse to be tested by the officer, this will increase your license suspension from six months to one year. Refusing BAC testing also prohibits you from receiving a restricted license. It’s better to take the BAC test and let your traffic ticket lawyer Fresno CA find a flaw in the testing or error in law enforcement protocol.
The Consequences of a DUI Follow You’re For A Lifetime
California is serious about DUIs. You cannot move to another state to get relief from your DUI. You may want to consider your options before just pleading guilty to a DUI. A DUI lawyer in California can help you assess your situation to help you find the best outcome.
When you’re charged with a DUI, you can try to beat the charge by finding legal flaws in your case and to protect your rights. Contact a traffic ticket lawyer with experience in California DUIs to protect your driving record.