Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Attorney in Fresno CA
Driving under the influence is a crime where the driver of a motor vehicle is intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. If the toxicity is high enough, the driver will be unable to drive the vehicle safely and pose a danger to others.
Blood Alcohol Content or BAC is used to determine if the driver is under the influence of alcohol or not. Concentration levels between 0.05 % and 0.08 % are proof that the person is intoxicated. Higher levels of concentration invite even more severe punishment.
Penalties in California
In California, penalties as a result of DUI can fall into four categories – Jail, Fines and Penalties, License Suspension, and Interlock Ignition Device or IID installation. The quantity and severity of penalties is directly tied to the number of times the driver has been arrested for a DUI earlier.
Here is a quick summary of the penalties, depending on the number of times a DUI crime has been committed by the individual:
- 1st Offense – Jail time for the first criminal offense is 4 days to 6 months with a fine of up to $1000. The license will be suspended for a duration that can be 30 days to 10 months. In some counties, IID installation is not required, but most do install it.
- 2nd Offense – Jail time starts at 10 days, and can go up to a year with a fine of up to $1800. License suspension ranges from 1 year to 2 years. IID installation is mandatory.
- 3rd Offense – Jail time starts at 120 days and go up to a year, with the fine amount reaching the ceiling at $1800. License suspension is 3 years and the IID installation is mandatory.
- 4th Offense – Jail time is set at 16 months, with a huge fine of $18000. License will be suspended for 4 years and of course, IID installation will be included in the punishment.
It should be noted here that the penalties can vary depending on the individual circumstances of each case.
Misdemeanor or Felony?
There are three types of crime, based on seriousness. The least-concern crime is slotted as an infraction, and includes crimes such as parking tickets, which aren’t harming anyone in a broader sense. A misdemeanor is something that sits above an infraction, but is less serious than a felony. A felony is a crime that deserves maximum punishment.
One easy way to understand a misdemeanor and drunk driver felony is jail time. With a misdemeanor, the jail time is usually less than a year. With a felony, the jail time is more than a year, at least. Also, the convict will spend time in a county jail. With a felony, high security state prisons are involved.
DUI – Felony or Misdemeanor?
As noted above, a felony is the categorization used for dangerous crimes such as rape and murder. From that perspective, a DUI is almost always considered a misdemeanor. Jail time of up to a year is still very much a possibility. As is the case with misdemeanor crimes, jail time may not go beyond a year. Unless the DUI incident led to serious damage to life and property, felony charges will be ruled out.
DUI Defense Lawyers
We just spoke about how most DUIs end up becoming a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is stuck between an infraction (no jail time) and felony (jail time for sure) according to criminal law. The DUI lawyer can use this advantage to have the DUI treated as a misdemeanor.
A good DUI lawyer can argue and make a case for the jail time to be reduced or eliminated altogether. He or she can work out a deal to reduce the penalties. Effectively, the Driving Under the Influence lawyer is there to reduce the overall penalties that might be awarded.
- Got your 1st DUI, what should you do?
Getting the very first DUI can be crazy. DUI crimes attract penalties, jail time, fine and probation too. The first step will be to find good DUI Criminal Lawyers. Next, show up at the court at the date and time mentioned. You usually have 30 days from the DUI arrest to do this. Do it all properly and in time, so that your license to drive will be reinstated.
- Does the DUI affect your record?
The simple answer is, yes, they do. DUIs are serious as far as misdemeanors go, and hence stay on your records for a long time. Any new DUI arrests and convictions will be influenced by past DUI arrests. More than 3 DUI arrests are guaranteed to get you a year of jail time and a possibility of the misdemeanor turning into a felony.
- What happens when you get a DUI?
To begin with, you will be arrested and taken into custody. A mug shot will follow, along with fingerprint identification. Most of the time, you can walk out right away if someone posts bail. Sometimes, the police will wait for you to sober up before letting you off on bail. Next comes your date with the court. The court will hear the arguments from your attorney. Penalties are imposed – fine, license suspension and jail time – and when they are all carried out, you get your license back.
- Should you get yourself a DUI lawyer?
The answer is yes, you certainly should. If the DUI is a misdemeanor, there is always some leeway that you may not understand or even know about. A good lawyer can find out everything there is to know about the case, follow the proper legal procedures and attempt to get the fine, jail time and penalties reduced. Given the right circumstances and with a good criminal defense attorney fighting your case, you may not even have to spend a single day in jail. An experienced an aggressive attorney can help you keep your record clean too, So call one today if you’ve been charged with a DUI.
Call 559.442.8000 (DUI Criminal Defense Attorney in Fresno California) for more information.