The state of California, like all states, is tough on DUI offenses, even for the 1st time offenders. The laws are straightforward.
DUI California Penalties for 1st Time Offenders
-Jail time of 96 hours to 6 months
-Fine of $390 to $1,000
-License Suspension for 6 months
-Also must complete Driving Under the Influence Program
The more DUI arrests you get, the stiffer the penalties and the higher the chances of both extended jail time and suspension of license for extended periods. If you get another DUI after you first offense, you typically get penalized the most if it’s within 10 years of your previous California DUI.
DUI Penalties for 2nd Offense
-Jail time of 90 days to 1 year
-Fine from $390 to $1,000
-License suspension of 2 years
After that, technically the fines are the same, but the jail time and license suspensions go even higher. So should you fight these charges or bargain? The best route is to use a professional California DUI attorney who can help you make these decisions. With possible jail time and the effect of losing your license pending, it doesn’t hurt to try.
Trials for California DUI
A DUI attorney should be honest with you about your chances. For one, if you face a jury who believes you are guilty of a DUI, you need to plea bargain. If you lie about this and try to fight it, it really hurts your chances with the jury. Typically, the blood alcohol level tester is involved; if you have a blood alcohol level over 0.08%, you can expect trouble with a jury. California juries, like most, will consider that the proof they need.
However, most DUI attorneys in California have experience in handling juries, mainly because you have a better chance in front of a jury than a judge. Many judges are used to being lied to, which can make it difficult for you to fight the case.
The blood alcohol level may not always be a bad thing. If you can prove the blood alcohol level was close to the limit, you have better standing. If your blood alcohol level was tested to be very high, much higher than the legal limit, you won’t have much chance.
Hiring a California DUI Lawyer
These decisions should be made by more than individuals and families. No two cases are the same. While it’s sometimes best to put the case in front of a jury, you might in fact get a judge will to hear your arguments. Therefore, hiring a California DUI lawyer with the experience needed to fight your case is the logical final step. If you cannot afford a DUI lawyer, ask the judge for help and they will refer you to a lawyer to handle your case.