DUI Sentencing in Los Angeles

  • May 25, 2017

    There are a few different ways that you can arrive at a sentencing hearing for a drunk driving conviction. You might have pleaded guilty to drunk driving or to a similar reduced charge. You might have pleaded no contest which has the same effect as a guilty plea. The court might have held a trial in your case that resulted in a finding of guilt by a judge or a jury.

    However you arrive at your sentencing day, the day of sentence is when the court imposes whatever jail time, fines, rehabilitation and other penalties that it believes are appropriate. A sentence in a criminal matter serves multiple purposes. The court wants you to pay your debt to society and help you find ways to avoid repeating the same behavior.

    In most DUI cases, you’re placed on probation. Probation is an alternative to jail. If you’re placed on probation, you don’t receive the maximum possible jail sentence. However, you might still serve some time in jail.

    On probation, you have conditions that you have to follow. The court may tell you that you can’t drink alcohol or use illegal drugs. They might tell you that you have to take a PBT if law enforcement asks you to. They might tell you to pay your fines and court costs on time. If you don’t abide by these terms, the court can revoke your probation and order you to serve the maximum possible jail sentence in your case.

    You have a right to notice of your sentencing. You might get a few hours or several days notice of the hearing. You can waive your right to notice of your sentencing if the court agrees to sentence you immediately after your drunk driving plea.

    You can work with a Los Angeles DUI attorney to determine if a delay of sentence is the best plan for you. You might want time to work on a statement for the court and an apology for any victims. On the other hand, you might want the court to impose its sentence right away so that you can get jail time out of the way and pay fines.

    If there’s a question about the amount of restitution, you might need time to conduct research and prepare for a hearing. In cases where you think you’re headed to jail, you might want to arrange for someone to take care of your personal matters while you’re gone. There are some cases where the jail might release you to go to work each day while you serve a jail sentence. In those cases you definitely want to make sure that you take care of your affairs before sentencing so that you can take advantage of this option.

    During sentencing, you can expect the court to impose fines and costs. These can amount to a few thousand dollars when they’re all added up. If you need time to pay, the court usually agrees to impose a payment schedule. You can also do community service or serve jail time if you know that you can’t pay a fine.

    Most drunk driving sentences also include rehabilitation or education. You likely have to learn about drunk driving crashes and hear from victims in an impact panel. You can also expect the State of California to suspend your driver’s license for a period of time.

    It’s important to work with your DUI attorney so that you’re prepared for sentencing. The right approach to sentencing can minimize jail, probation and fines. It’s your last chance to ask the court to impose an appropriate penalty in your case.

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