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Santa Rosa DUI Penalties

DUI Sentence in California

Providing Skilled Defense TO DUI Charges in Santa Rosa

The penalties for a drunk driving conviction extend beyond the criminal courts. Anyone convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in California has to deal with a license suspension, paying fines, and higher insurance rates for years after. The Santa Rosa DUI attorneys at Wilber Law Offices, P.C. can explain the consequences of a DUI and help you avoid a criminal conviction to keep criminal charges off your record. 

If you are facing California DUI penalties, don't hesitate to contact us today to get started on your defense. 

What Happens When You Get a DUI in California? 

In California, the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) conviction include criminal and administrative consequences. The criminal penalties can include jail time, fines, and probation. The administrative penalties are imposed by the DMV and can include license suspension, fines, and mandatory DUI classes.

The criminal part of a DUI is generally handled in the county court. California district attorneys prosecute the defendant on behalf of the state to impose criminal penalties.

What to Do When You Get a DUI in CA?

If you have been arrested for a DUI (driving under the influence) in California, it's important to take immediate action to protect your rights and minimize the potential consequences. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Contact a DUI attorney: A qualified DUI attorney in Santa Rosa, CA can help you understand the charges you are facing, the potential consequences, and the best defense strategies available to you. An experienced attorney can also represent you in court and negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce or dismiss the charges.
  2. Request a DMV hearing: In California, you have 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a DMV hearing to challenge the suspension of your driver's license. If you fail to request a hearing, your license will be automatically suspended.
  3. Attend court hearings: If you are charged with a DUI, you will need to appear in court for arraignment, pre-trial hearings, and trial. It's important to attend all court hearings and follow your attorney's advice.
  4. Consider a plea bargain: In some cases, it may be in your best interest to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor to reduce the charges or penalties you are facing.
  5. Attend DUI school: If you are convicted of a DUI in California, you may be required to attend DUI school as part of your sentence. The length of the program will depend on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of your arrest and whether you have any prior DUI convictions.
  6. Comply with probation: If you are placed on probation, it's important to comply with all terms and conditions. Failure to do so could result in additional penalties or even jail time.
  7. Explore your options for expungement: If you are convicted of a DUI in California, you may be eligible to have your record expunged after completing your sentence. This can help you move on from the conviction and improve your employment prospects.

Overall, getting a DUI in California can have serious consequences. It's important to take immediate action and work with an experienced California DUI attorney to protect your rights and minimize the impact of the charges.

California DUI Penalties

The criminal penalties for a DUI depend on several factors, including the driver's blood alcohol content (BAC), whether there was an accident or injury, and or whether the defendant has prior criminal history.

Most first-time DUI convictions in California will not result in jail time. Under California law, a 1st offense DUI is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail. However, in reality, most 1st DUI offenders will not face jail time. A 2-day jail sentence for a first offense DUI in California has often already been served at the time of arrest, and if it hasn’t, it can be served as part of an alternative work program.

Here are some possible penalties for a first-time DUI conviction in California:

  • Jail time: A first-time DUI conviction can result in a minimum of 96 hours and a maximum of six months in jail.
  • Fines: The fines for a first-time DUI can range from $390 to $1,000.
  • License suspension: A first-time DUI conviction can result in a driver's license suspension for six months.
  • DUI school: The court may require a driver to attend a DUI school for three to nine months.
  • Ignition interlock device: The court may require the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) for up to six months.
  • Probation: A first-time DUI conviction can result in a probationary period of up to five years.

It is worth noting that these penalties can increase for subsequent DUI convictions or if there was an accident or injury involved. Additionally, a DUI conviction can have long-term consequences, including increased insurance rates, difficulty obtaining employment, and immigration consequences for non-citizens.

The maximum jail time and maximum fines for a DUI conviction depends on the criminal charges, including the following:

DUI ChargeJail TimeFines
1st DUIUp to 6 monthsUp to $1,000
2nd DUIUp to 1 yearUp to $1,000
3rd DUIUp to 1 yearUp to $1,000
4th DUI (or more)Up to 3 years state prisonUp to $1,000

For some drivers, a license suspension is the most difficult consequence of a drunk driving arrest. A driver’s license can be suspended after a DUI arrest, even if the driver is never convicted of a crime. After an arrest, the police take away the driver’s license and provide them with a temporary 30-day permit. The driver has to request a DMV hearing within 10 days after an arrest in order to challenge the automatic license suspension.

10 Days to Request APS Hearing

Drivers have 10 days to request an administrative per se (APS) hearing. If you do not request a hearing with the DMV within 10 days, your license will be administratively suspended at the end of the 30-day permit. An APS hearing has to be requested through the local Driver Safety Office of the DMV. Talk to your Santa Rosa DUI lawyer about requesting an APS hearing. Your lawyer can represent you during the DMV hearing to fight to keep your license.

In order to get your license reinstated after a DUI, you may be required to satisfy a number of requirements. These could be imposed by the court or the DMV. Generally, you will have to complete these requirements before the DMV will reinstate your California driver’s license after a DUI. These may include:

  • Paying all fines and costs
  • Waiting out any suspension periods
  • Successful completion of DUI school
  • Community service
  • SR-22 insurance

DUI school is required for most DUI offenses in California. This is a combination of education and substance abuse treatment. Drivers may be required to complete a certain amount of hours through an approved DUI school before driving privileges can be reinstated. Most 1st offense DUIs require a 3-month, 30-hour program (more for higher BAC DUIs or repeat offenders).

A California DUI school program generally consists of individual counseling, group counseling, and education sessions covering substance abuse and impaired driving. Drivers are also required to cover the costs of DUI school.

An ignition interlock device (IID) is installed in a vehicle to require a clean, alcohol-free breath in order to start and drive a vehicle. As of January 1, 2019, all drivers in California convicted of a DUI will have an IID restriction to be able to drive. Drivers will be required to install an IID in all vehicles in order to avoid the previously imposed, 30-day hard license suspension. Any failed tests or attempts to tamper with the IID will be recorded and reported to the DMV or the courts.

Insurance Rates After a DUI in CA

Drivers will generally see an increase in insurance premiums after a DUI. Drivers may also be required to get an SR-22 certificate of financial responsibility after a DUI to continue driving. Any lapse in insurance coverage may be reported to the DMV and the driver may have his or her license suspended.

Job Consequences After a DUI

Consequences of a DUI may extend to a driver’s employment. This may depend on the type of job and the employer. When an individual drives as part of the job, a DUI may have a negative impact, especially if the employer does not want the potential liability of having a convicted drunk driver as an employee.

Some professions, including pilots, may require notifying the licensing board after a DUI. Professional licensing boards may take disciplinary action, including suspension or disqualification, after drug or alcohol-related offenses.

Reputation After a DUI

It goes without saying that there is a negative stigma attached to drunk driving. Even without hearing all the facts or giving the accused the chance to explain what happened, family, friends, and the community may draw a negative impression of anyone convicted of a DUI.

Some drivers may have substance abuse problems and need treatment. Others may have simply have made a one-time error in judgment. Anyone facing criminal DUI charges should talk to an experienced DUI defense attorney to give them the best chance at avoiding the criminal and personal penalties associated with a DUI.

Helping You Fight DUI Penalties in California

The consequences of a DUI extend beyond jail time and fines. A DUI conviction can impact your job, daily life, and reputation. The best way to avoid DUI penalties is to avoid a criminal conviction and fight the criminal charges. Call the DUI defense team at Wilber Law Offices as soon as possible after your arrest to ensure all of your rights are protected and all possible avenues of defense are traveled. The attorneys at Wilber Law Offices handle cases in Sonoma County, Mendocino County, Napa County, and other northern California areas.

Questions about your possible California DUI sentence? Contact Wilber Law Offices today for a FREE consultation.


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