In court, someone who is convicted of a First DUI faces:
FINES: A base fine of $390 - $1,000. Usually, the prosecutor will allow a minimum base fine on a DUI first offense. Even though $390 doesn’t sound like that much, that’s only the base fine. That amount is then substantially increased by penalties and assessments. It comes out to approximately $2,000 in LA county, and it’s over $3,500 in Ventura county.
JAIL: Even though there is no minimum jail time, there is a maximum of 6 months in county jail. This is important to note because even though most people don’t have to serve a day in jail on a first DUI, they must know that if they violate the terms of their probation, they subject themselves to a maximum punishment of jail time. In Santa Barbara county, the courts tend to notify defendants at the time of a plea, that they will do a certain amount of jail time if they violate the terms of their probation.
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ALCOHOL PROGRAM: Someone who is convicted of a first offense DUI, who had a BAC below .15%, will have to complete a 3-month alcohol program called the “AB 541.” If their BAC level was above .15%, they may have to complete a 6-month program (AB-762). When someone is convicted of a DUI and they admit that their BAC was above .20%, that adds a sentencing enhancement to the offense, and requires the completion of a 9-month alcohol program called the “AB1353.” In order to get the best results possible, it is critical to understand the scientific issues related to a DUI case.
The prosecutor must understand that the chemical results at the time of testing, do not accurately reflect the subject’s level of impairment at the time of driving. It is critical to get this particular enhancement stricken, otherwise a 9-month program will be required by the court and the DMV will need proof of completion before they reissue your driver’s license.
DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSION: The “mandatory action” by the DMV is the required suspension that automatically starts the day someone is convicted of a DUI in court. Unlike the driver’s license suspension associated with the DMV APS hearing, there is NO mandatory period of suspended time. There is an immediate eligibility for obtaining a restricted driver’s license. In LA county, someone convicted of a first offense DUI must install an Ignition Interock Device (IID) for a period of 6 months following the conviction. Once an IID is installed, then they can drive anywhere at any time.
BUYER BEWARE: When you arrested for a DUI, you have to defend yourself at BOTH court and the DMV (2 different courts). A good Ventura DUI attorney will handle BOTH your court and your DMV appearances. Beware of bargain-basement or less experienced DUI attorneys who only handle the court part and neglect to tell you about the responsibilities on the DMV side.
On the DMV side, someone who lost their DMV hearing faces:
ADMINISTRATIVE DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSION: The “administrative action” by the DMV, is the suspension that the DMV hearing officer decides whether to impose, after an Administrative Per Se (“APS”) hearing is conducted. With this suspension you have an option of either 4-months of “no driving at all,” or 1-month of “no driving” and 5-months with a restricted driver’s license. This restricted license allows someone to drive to work and back, and to the required alcohol program and back.
REFUSAL: The consequences for a refusal in court are much worse than a regular DUI. A refusal is a sentencing enhancement that carries a 48-hour mandatory minimum county jail time requirement. The Law Office of Ben Mironer has been extremely successful in convincing prosecutors to strike refusal allegations, which eliminates the jail requirement. Furthermore, it is common that the 9-month alcohol program is required with a refusal. The mandatory action based on the court conviction, if the refusal is admitted, is a one year “no driving” license suspension. This consequence is supposed to be mentioned to a subject during an admonition that must be given by a peace officer prior to someone knowingly refusing.
The suspension from the DMV is also a one year driving suspension, which means no driving at all. Unlike a regular administrative suspension, a suspension for a refusal can’t be reversed even if the person is found to be not guilty in court. Another key note is that these suspensions (Court and DMV) do not run concurrently, which means if you start serving one, you don’t accumulate credit for the other one. Each suspension basically starts a one year no driving suspension.
UNDER AGE 21 DUI: Someone who is under 21 must follow California’s zero tolerance laws. A DUI either under California Vehicle Code §23152, California Vehicle Code §23140 (.05% - .07% BAC), or California Vehicle Code §23136 carries a “mandatory action” of a one year driver’s license suspension. On the DMV side, the licensee faces a one year administrative driver’s license suspension. A request to run the suspensions concurrently must be made with the court, otherwise it is waived. The court has discretion to run these suspensions at the same time, and they usually will allow that.
On a good note, after 30 days of suspension, a licensee has an opportunity to get a “critical need” restricted driver’s license from the DMV. This request must be approved by the DMV and by the Court. The case has to be put on calendar in court, to request permission from the Judge. The licensee must also complete an application and submit it to the DMV. The application must give detailed responses as to why there is a critical need for licensee to drive. Typically, there must be a substantial need to drive, and the DMV often limits the amount of driving permitted under the critical need restricted license.
A seasoned DUI attorney from the Law Office of
Ben Mironer knows how critical it is in DUI cases to keep a close eye on the how the court case impacts the DMV side, and vice versa. This is one the reasons it’s imperative to hire the best attorney who focuses on DUI defense. An attorney from our office will help ease your mind by explaining all of the legal issues in your case. For more information, contact us here.
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