In Fullerton, a DUI is typically considered a misdemeanor that comes with heavy penalties. A conviction can lead to license suspension, thousands of dollars in fines and safety classes, and often jail time. In other cases, the penalties could be worse. But this doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
Hiring an experienced lawyer is the best decision you can make when facing a DUI. Almost all defendants have no legal training or experience to understand the complicated details of DUI law, which is also constantly changing. If you were arrested for DUI, you need a good Fullerton DUI attorney on your side.
Will Your License Be Suspended for a DUI in California?
After you’ve been arrested and released, police will give you a citation to appear in court and a pink piece of paper that serves as a temporary license. Your actual California driver’s license will be taken by police and mailed to the local DMV.
Within 10 days of your arrest, you must contact the DMV to request a hearing. If you, or your DUI lawyer, don’t do this within the set deadline, you’ll automatically forfeit your right to a hearing and your license gets suspended.
How Your Fullerton DUI Lawyer Will Handle Your DMV Hearing
Your hearing is typically months after your arrest and if you win your criminal case beforehand, you might never have to do the hearing at all. Your Fullerton DUI attorney will conduct this DMV hearing on your behalf and you might not even need to attend.
Your lawyer will take advantage of this hearing in several ways by:
- Convincing the DMV to not suspend your license
- Using the hearing as a chance to get the evidence they can potentially use for your case in court. For example, maintenance logs of the breathalyzer you used or testimony from the arresting officer.
- Looking for any mistakes made during the investigation or arrest that could have violated your rights
If the DMV findings are in your favor, they won’t issue a license suspension. If they aren’t in your favor, you’ll receive a notice and your license will go into suspension within a few days.
Penalties for a First Offense DUI in California
Under California DUI laws, the minimum penalty changes based on the number of offenses. For a first offense, if no one was hurt or killed, the minimum penalties are:
- Fines and costs of approximately $1,800, including the minimum fine of $390 and fees paid to the government
- License suspension for at least four months (including 30 days from the DMV, unless you follow the necessary steps, and 90 days from criminal penalties)
- 48 hours of jail time that can be waived, but it increases your license suspension by 90 days
- Alcohol treatment program costing $500, which is mandatory and must be completed if you want to reduce your license suspension time
What if This Is Your Second DUI Offense?
If this is your second DUI, the penalties are more severe. At minimum, you’ll face:
- Fines and costs of approximately $1800
- 96 hours of jail time
- License suspension for at least a year and restricted driving for two additional years
- Long-term alcohol treatment program, either 18 months or 30 months costing $1,800. This is mandatory and required if you want to seek a reduced license suspension
- Interlock device installation on all your vehicles at your expense
At maximum, you could face fines and fees totaling $4000, license suspension of two years plus two years of restricted driving privileges, one year of jail time, and your car being impounded for 30 days. Your DUI lawyer can help fight for your rights and a lighter sentence.
Judges have a lot of discretion on how they apply consequences to repeat offenders. If you are facing a second DUI while still on probation for a previous DUI, the judge is likely to be harder in their sentencing. This is a probation violation because, even if you had less than 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC) in your system, you drank and drove.
What to Do if You Have Been Arrested for Drug DUI Charges in Fullerton
Under California Vehicle Code §23152(e), a drug DUI charge carries the same weight as alcohol-related cases. If you’ve been arrested for a drug DUI, you will be facing a misdemeanor. In this instance, drugs refer to any legal or illegal substances, besides alcohol, that affect a driver’s nervous system, brain, or muscles.
Your DUI lawyer in Fullerton can explain which substances are typically covered. The vast majority include commonly prescribed drugs like Vicodin or Percocet, as well as street drugs like PCP or heroin.
Marijuana DUI Offenses in California
Although marijuana is legal in California for medical and recreational purposes, it is illegal to drive under the influence of it. The prosecutor assigned to your case will need to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you drove your car while impaired by marijuana.
There are many ways for a DUI lawyer to challenge a police officer’s conclusion since the technology for drug testing has not evolved like it has for alcohol. The officer’s opinion of intoxication and the amount of active THC in your system are the two main points prosecutors will use against you when they try to press charges.
Speak With a Fullerton DUI Lawyer During a Free Consultation
Don’t suffer through a DUI case alone. We’ll connect you with a local DUI attorney in Fullerton for FREE who can look at your case and determine what you need to do next. Since every case is unique, it takes the eyes of an expert to truly know how to defend you. To get your FREE consultation, call us or fill out the online contact form today.