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What are the Potential Consequences of a Los Angeles DUI Conviction?

  • September 1, 2017

    When a police officer stops you on suspicion of drunk driving and charges you with a DUI, you face some serious consequences. California Vehicle Code 23152 outlines some of the penalties that criminal court judges can issues to those convicted. The exact consequences that you face will depend on factors like your blood alcohol content level at the time of your arrest, whether you violated any other laws at the same time and if you refused to submit to alcohol testing.

    As the court and the judge have the final say in the penalties handed down to you, it’s important that you do not attempt to defend yourself without any help. Working with a Los Angeles DUI lawyer lets you get help both building your case and finding errors in the prosecution’s case. The lawyer will also explain any potential consequences that you face and help you decide when to ask the court for leniency. Get a good look at all the consequences of getting a DUI in Los Angeles.

    Probation

    If this is your first offense and you have a clean driving record, the judge may recommend probation in lieu of any serious consequences. Probation will generally last for at least three years, but probation can last for as long as five years. Though the court can sentence someone with multiple DUI convictions to probation, those drivers will usually need to spend more time on probation. If you receive a second DU or another conviction while on probation, the judge can sentence you to jail time.

    Financial Penalties

    When convicted of a DUI, the court will hold you responsible for court costs as well as any other fees. You’ll need to pay one fee for driving under the influence and a second fee for the court costs. If the DMV suspends your license, you’ll also need to pay a fee to restore your license when you can get it back. The total cost with all fees added in is several times the cost of the penalty for the DUI.

    Loss of License

    California is one of the only states that requires you attend a DMV hearing once you get a DUI. This hearing is what determines if you can keep your license and continue driving. The DMV may decide to suspend your license for three to six months or limit where you can drive your car. Though you can keep your license, you may find yourself limited to driving a set distance or just between your home and place of work. The DMV can also revoke your state driver’s license and ban you from getting a new one.

    Time in Jail

    The court can sentence you to time in jail rather than give you probation. This is a penalty usually reserved for those with a history of drunk driving or those with other criminal convictions. The sentence can range from one weekend in jail to several months. California law gives judges the right to sentence drunk drivers to a full year in jail. If you have a clean record though, you’ll likely get probation in lieu of jail time.

    Alcohol Education Programs

    If the judge believes that you have a problem and need help, he or she may recommend that you complete an alcohol education program. You may receive this sentence on its own or in combination with other penalties. Alcohol education programs are often available for hospitals and other facilities. You can attend classes around your work schedule or your home life. A Los Angeles DUI lawyer can argue that you should attend a program that takes place over a few weeks instead of one that requires a commitment of six months or more.

    The consequences of a DUI can include changes in the way your friends and family look at you and a sudden increase in your car insurance payments. You may need special insurance just to drive in the state too. That is why it’s so important that you work with a Los Angeles law firm with experience in DUI charges. The lawyer working for you can argue that you deserve probation instead of jail time and find errors in the case that may lead to the judge removing the charge from your record. The top lawyers offer assistance both in the courtroom and in their offices.

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