One night, an officer may notice odd driving and pull you over. Maybe you accidentally swerved or missed a speed limit sign. Through police pressure and the tense moments that follow, you could find yourself arrested and charged with a DUI, thereby jeopardizing your job, your home, your relationships, and even your freedom.
At The 805 Legal Team, we represent drivers throughout Ventura, Santa Barbara, Bakersfield, San Luis Obispo, California, and the surrounding areas. Before you enter a downward spiral, contact us. We’re passionate about helping people like you face DUI charges and move on with their lives with as little damage as possible.
Driving Under the Influence, also called drunk driving, is the State of California’s term for driving while under the effects of alcohol or drugs. A person is considered “under the influence” if they operate a motor vehicle while affected by drugs or possessing a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more.
The standards for DUI are stricter for certain drivers. Commercial drivers can be charged with a DUI if driving with a BAC of only 0.04%, and California’s zero-tolerance approach to underage drivers means anyone under 21 with a measly 0.01% concentration can be arrested and charged with a DUI.
If you’re arrested for driving under the influence, a police officer may force you to submit to sobriety tests to confirm your BAC. These blood or breath tests can offer surprising results. Drivers may feel competent and clear-headed yet still fail a DUI test.
Unfortunately, California’s implied consent law requires that you either submit to testing or face consequences, like paying a fine or having your driver’s license suspended. If you refuse sobriety tests again in separate incidents, the suspension period will get progressively worse.
A DUI is usually considered a misdemeanor, a minor crime with minor consequences. In some cases, a DUI can be classified as a felony in California. The standards for a felony DUI include causing injury to another person or people, having three or more prior DUIs on your criminal record in a 10-year period, and other qualifying factors.
Felony charges come with more serious consequences and can have lasting effects on your lifestyle, even affecting your ability to get a job. The most minor charge (depending on the county you're in) for driving under the influence is known as “wet reckless” driving, and it counts as a minor driving offense.
Penalties for a DUI conviction depend on any prior DUI convictions on your criminal record. For a first offense, you can be fined up to $4,000 and face up to six months in jail. For a second offense, you risk similar fines but up to a year imprisonment. For a third offense, you’ll face between 120 days and one year in jail, and fines up to $4,000.
Should you be convicted of a felony DUI, you can face a wide range of consequences. At a minimum, they will be similar to a third offense, but causing injury to another person while under the influence can raise jail time up to four years. If you cause death during a DUI, charges are even greater: up to 15 years in prison.
In addition, you’ll face license suspension for up to a year and may be forced to enroll in a month-long recovery program. You may also be forced to install an ignition interlock device in your car, which blocks your vehicle from starting until you pass a built-in sobriety test.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you deserve legal representation by a skilled defense attorney. The 805 Legal Team can help you understand the penalties for your charge, or—depending on the circumstances of your DUI—have your charge dismissed altogether. We even do pre-filing intervention, a process that not only jumpstarts your case but may also make the district attorney’s office hesitant to file charges against you.
The sooner you call us, the sooner we’ll start our investigation. We’re on your side in this fight, and it all begins with a free 30-minute consultation with our attorney. Call us today to get a criminal defense lawyer on your side in Ventura, Santa Barbara, Bakersfield, San Luis Obispo, California, and the surrounding areas.
Driving under the influence is a serious crime that, without proper legal representation, can cause you to face severe consequences. Fight back against your DUI charges with the help of The 805 Legal Team. Our dedicated and experienced attorney represents clients throughout the state of California.