A DUI is a misdemeanor in most instances and carries harsh penalties in Hawthorne. You will face license suspension, possible jail time, fines, and more. There are many complicating factors and issues to consider that can impact your case.
DUI defendants do not want to lose their entire life over a mistake or misunderstanding. A criminal defense lawyer in Hawthorne is familiar with DUI charges and works to help clients lower or beat them. Discuss your options with our Los Angeles DUI lawyer today.
Minimum Penalties for a DUI
A first-time DUI is treated differently than a second or subsequent DUI, which impacts your minimum penalties. Other complications can lead to harsher penalties. DUIs stay on your criminal record for ten years.
A subsequent offense that happens within a decade can significantly impact your freedom. If you get another DUI 11 years after your first offense, it counts as a first offense. Minimum penalties for DUIs include:
- Fines reach $1,800 for first, second, and third offenses
- 48 hours in jail for a first offense, 96 hours for a second offense, and 120 days for three or more offenses
- License suspension for a first and second offense and revocation for a third offense
- Short-term alcohol treatment program for a first offense. Long-term alcohol program for second and third offenses
While the above list contains minimum penalties, maximum penalties can be more than twice these penalties or more. Complicating factors can increase your fines, lengthen jail time, and extend your license suspension. Probation is also a possibility and usually applies to a first offense and can last three years or longer.
A DUI lawyer in Hawthorne, CA, can advise you on the penalties that apply to your case.
Driver’s License Suspensions
The possibility of losing your license is common, whether it is a first or fourth offense. The time you can be without a license will vary by your charges, additional penalties, and results of your hearings.
Sometimes you can get limited driving privileges, so there is a minor interruption in your daily schedule. There are different license suspension types, and a DUI attorney in Hawthorne, CA, can help you understand what you are facing. Administrative suspension happens automatically 30 days after your arrest.
The DMV gives you the opportunity to request a hearing within ten days to plead your case and avoid suspension. The hearing can also result in a longer suspension. A license restriction, as we mentioned, will allow you to drive for work and alcohol treatment and can shorten your license suspension.
A full suspension lasts months or years. You cannot drive anywhere for any reason with a full suspension or revocation.
DUI laws and defenses can be more complicated when certain elements are present. While there are minimum and maximum penalties, these complicating factors can add more penalties to your case.
When officers test your BAC, they are looking for anything over .08%, but if it is incredibly high, there are stricter penalties. A BAC of .15% or .20% is considered exceptionally high, and you will contend with different rules for each.
Refusing to take a chemical test is a crime, and that can bring additional penalties for DUIs. You will have penalties for your DUI and for refusing a test. Many defendants are unaware that they have given implied consent to the state when they apply for a driver’s license, yet refusals can add one to three years of license suspension to your penalties and a $125 fine.
DUI Crashes and Injuries
Another complication of a DUI in Hawthorne is a collision that results in injury or death. You can face felony charges for getting into an accident while under the influence. Sometimes the best strategy is to lower your charges to misdemeanors.
A felony conviction can carry one to five years in prison. You can lose your right to vote when you have a felony conviction and might be liable for damages the other party incurs from the accident. Your car insurance rates will also increase, and finding work will be difficult.
The Prosecution’s Case
A DUI lawyer handles many cases. Our firm is familiar with the evidence the prosecution will likely base their case on. While these are common, they do not apply to every case, and there is additional evidence they can use against you. Regardless of the evidence they have, they will pretend that you have no defense and that you are doomed.
We can find weak spots and additional evidence to help you. Chemical and field sobriety tests are critical pieces of evidence, but they are finicky and unreliable.
Driving patterns and driver behavior are the basis of many DUI cases. Police are given a list of driving patterns and behaviors to look for that can be signs of intoxication but can also be attributed to other causes. Erratic driving and your behavior during the traffic stop are significant parts of the prosecution’s case.
Police will also try to converse with you to catch you saying you were drinking so they can use this later in court.
Costs and Hidden Consequences
While there are set penalties for each offense and charge, there are some hidden consequences and costs. One consequence that many people rarely consider is having their vehicle impounded. At the owner’s expense, the car will stay on the impound lot for 30 to 90 days.
Sometimes you can lose your vehicle to the state. DUI defendants can also have to install an ignition interlock device that they must pay for as well.
Aside from criminal charges, you can also face traffic violations. Some common violations are reckless driving, speeding, etc. You will have to contend with fines, court assessments, and sentence-related costs.
You may also lose your employment, housing, and reputation. Ultimately you will spend thousands of dollars, which can be a challenge to handle in association with other penalties you incur.
Speak with a Hawthorne DUI Lawyer Today
A Hawthorne DUI attorney knows that your life is in purgatory after a DUI arrest, and time is not on your side. You must work with an experienced DUI law firm in Hawthorne. Call us to schedule a consultation immediately.