Most often, conviction for driving under the influence can devastatingly affect your future. Though treated as a misdemeanor in California, the courts are still very tough on offenders, especially those with repeated offenses. Penalties for conviction can range from huge fines and court fees to a loss in driving privileges, as well as even to time in jail. Furthermore, the negative consequences for DUI conviction can reach far beyond any immediate penalties, haunting you for many years to come. Because of the very serious nature of DUI conviction, you need an experienced San Bernardino DUI lawyer ready to help your case.

Here at The Law Offices of Scott Henry, our seasoned legal team understands the stress you face in dealing with DUI charges. Let us examine your case and help you build a solid defense strategy. Our team of lawyers will fight for your rights, explain every available legal option, and potentially even get your charges reduced or dismissed.

These Are the Penalties for DUI Conviction in California

The penalties for DUI conviction in California are very strict. They will not only impact your criminal record, but will also impact your time and wallet as well. With each repeat offense, the penalties only increase in severity. Below are the potential penalties you may face for DUI conviction in California:

First DUI Offense

Assuming that you do not harm or kill another person during your DUI offense, the penalties for first-time DUI conviction can include the following:

  • Jail time of six months or less;
  • Driver’s license suspension for at least one year or longer;
  • Mandatory counseling for alcohol abuse;
  • Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock system; and
  • Fees and fines worth thousands of dollars.

Second DUI Offense

A second DUI conviction will bring even harsher penalties, and can include the following:

  • Jail time of one year or less;
  • Two years driver’s license suspension followed by two years of driving under a restricted license;
  • Mandatory participation in an alcohol abuse program for as much as 30 months;
  • Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock system; and
  • Fees and fines worth thousands of dollars.

Multiple DUI Offenses

A third or more DUI conviction will severely burden you with the following penalties:

  • Felony conviction;
  • Over one year of time in jail or a state prison;
  • Up to a four year revocation of your driver’s license;
  • Mandatory participation in an alcohol treatment program for 30 months;
  • Fees and fines worth tens of thousands of dollars;
  • Total loss of your car; and
  • Subjection to a strict probationary period in which you will be sent back to jail if you violate the rules.

In addition to your number of offenses, the amount that you were intoxicated during the arrest will affect the penalties that you face. In short, the more intoxicated you were, the harsher the penalties. Also, if you injure or kill another person during your DUI offense, then you penalties will increase further.

Even just a first-time DUI conviction can haunt you for many years to come. For instance, conviction will remain on your record for ten full years. This will affect car insurance premiums, your chances of finding stable employment, and lower your credit.

What to Expect During Your DUI Case

Was your arrest for DUI your first foray in the criminal justice system? If so, here is what to expect from the DUI court process:

Arrest

After your DUI arrest, law enforcement will book you back at the station. Here you will partake in a chemical blood-alcohol test. You will also lose your driver’s license and get a temporary 30-day one instead.

Hiring a Lawyer

Before leaving any statements with the police, it is vital that you hire a San Bernardino DUI Lawyer to stop you from saying things that could ultimately damage your case. Though you can go with a public defender, only a knowledgeable lawyer can devote their time to your case and help you reduce your charges.

DMV Administrative Hearing

In order to fight the DMV’s revocation of your driver’s license, you will need to request an administrative hearing within ten days of your arrest. Hiring the right lawyer will help you meet that request time frame.

Arraignment

Your arraignment is where you will face the judge and prosecutor for the first time. Here is also where you will plead either not guilty or guilty.

Pre-Trial

Before the trial even begins, your lawyer will negotiate with the prosecution to obtain a fair plea bargain. If your plea bargain reduces your penalties and you agree to it, then you will not need to go to trial.

Trial

If you don’t obtain an acceptable plea bargain, then you will need to go to trial. Here your San Bernardino DUI lawyer will attempt to persuade the judge that your charges lack sufficient evidence.

Sentencing

Whether you receive conviction or obtain a plea bargain for your offense, you will need to attend your sentencing hearing. During your hearing, your DUI lawyer can attempt to reduce the potential sentence that you face.

Contact an Experienced San Bernardino DUI Lawyer Now

Facing DUI charges is a very stressful situation. However, you do not need to lose hope. Our effective team at The Law Offices of Scott Henry is ready to stand by your side and fight for your rights. Contact our knowledgeable San Bernardino DUI lawyer to construct the best defense strategy possible.