The effects of a first-time DUI are significant since they affect a driver’s record, reputation, and freedom. An experienced California criminal defense attorney like John Patrick Dolan can assert and protect the rights of any California driver who is a repeat DUI offender. It’s possible that a driver may eventually be charged with a felony for driving under the influence. In California, a DUI counts as a prior conviction for ten years.
The State of California typically charges drivers who have a BAC of .08 or higher with violating California Vehicle Code § 23152(a) (driving while under the influence of alcohol) and violating California Vehicle Code § 23152(b) (driving with a BAC of .08 or higher). In California, the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) vary based on two considerations – whether a driver has prior DUIs, and whether anyone was injured as a result of the DUI.
While most DUI cases are prosecuted as misdemeanors, driving under the influence may be charged as a felony offense in California. A DUI may be charged as a felony if driving while intoxicated caused another person to be seriously injured or killed; the driver has three or more DUI convictions in a 10-year period, or the driver has previously been convicted of felony DUI.
If a California felony DUI results from more than one prior DUI conviction, punishment is decided on a case-to-case basis depending on (1) the facts of the case at hand, (2) the BAC level and any additional aggravating factors, (3) the number of prior DUI convictions, and (4) when these prior convictions occurred.
A felony DUI may result in up to $5,000 in fines and jail time for over one year or up to two or three years in a California state prison. Convicted drivers will also receive Habitual Traffic Offender status for up to three years and lose their license for up to ten years while having to attend driving school for 30 months.
A DUI remains on a driver’s record for ten (10) years. During this ten-year period, any other DUI arrests will cause a motorist to suffer stiffer penalties. It is essential that anyone accused of a DUI in California have an experienced California criminal defense attorney to help achieve the best result possible, especially when the circumstances of the case may seem severe.
There are many defenses that can be used to fight a DUI charge, get evidence suppressed, and ultimately dismiss the DUI. As a California Criminal Trial Lawyer with over 40 years of courtroom experience, John Patrick Dolan has handled everything from traffic tickets to death penalty murder cases. Mr. Dolan is a recognized California State Bar Certified Specialist in Criminal Law and a true courtroom veteran of DUI cases. Call us today at (760) 775-3739 or find out more online here.