DUIs are a serious matter in Rancho Santa Margarita. If convicted of DUI, you can face a license suspension, huge fines and fees, jail time, and hours of DUI school—plus, it can negatively affect career prospects. There are severe consequences that come with a DUI offense, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it as your fate. You can fight a DUI charge, and a Rancho Santa Margarita DUI lawyer can help you.
A good DUI lawyer will be trained to guide you through the legal process, challenge the prosecution’s evidence against you, and work on getting you the most favorable outcome. DUI cases with great legal representation regularly avoid trial, get lesser penalties, or possibly even get charges dropped completely. The help of a DUI lawyer can help save you thousands of dollars and avoid a criminal charge that can affect your entire life.
For a FREE consultation with one of the leading local DUI lawyers, call (310) 862-0199 or fill out the Free Case Evaluation form to the right today.
What Are the Penalties of a DUI Conviction in Rancho Santa Margarita?
DUI penalties in Rancho Santa Margarita and the whole state of California are not minor—even for a first offense. Here’s what you will be looking at if convicted of DUI (first offense) in California:
Driver’s License Suspension
After you’re arrested, the arresting officer will give you an “order of suspension” and a temporary license that you can use for 30 days. After that time, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) places a suspension on your driver’s license. You can fight this suspension, but you must do it within 10 days of your arrest. Request an administrative hearing from the DMV. If you can show during that hearing that there was no basis for the suspension, you may get your driver’s license back.
However, if you are convicted of DUI, you will lose your license for anywhere from four months to a year.
Fees and Fines
At minimum, you’ll face fees of $1,800, but those can easily total up to $15,649 just for the first DUI offense.
You’ll need to take and complete mandatory DUI school educational courses lasting three months minimum at a cost of at least $500.
For a DUI first offense, you’ll spend at least 48 hours in jail, but it can be up to six months depending on the situation.
Besides jail time, you’ll be put on probation for anywhere from three to five years. Probation is given with any DUI sentence and is meant as a period of time to “prove” to law you won’t drink and drive again.
During probation, you agree to:
- Not commit any crime
- Submit to a blood, breath, or urine test if you’re arrested on suspicion of another DUI charge
- Not to drive with any alcohol in your system
During probation, you may also be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle that keeps it from starting if you’re intoxicated.
Higher Auto Insurance Rates
A DUI conviction usually also comes with higher insurance rates for many years. While this is not related to the government, it’s an ongoing cost that affects your life.
In addition, DUIs can also sadly impact your career. A DUI conviction makes it hard to get to work without a license, and court dates or jail time interfere with your ability to work regularly. New employers can also choose not to hire a DUI convict.
If someone is convicted of a DUI a repeat time within 10 years, the penalties are even harsher and include:
- Longer license suspension
- More jail time
- More DUI school and possible addiction treatment
- Higher fines and fees
- The possibility of felony charges
With a DUI lawyer, you have the possibility of getting these penalties lessened or, in some cases, avoiding them completely. The prosecution may try to scare you away from fighting a DUI charge, but that’s because they want to win another case—not because they have your best interests in mind. A DUI lawyer can look at your case and analyze any weak spots to fight for a better outcome that may leave you with smaller consequences.
What if Someone Is Pulled Over for Driving While “Stoned”?
Even though marijuana use is legal in California, driving while high is still illegal. And under state law, it’s treated almost exactly the same as driving while drunk. And law enforcement is on the alert. Since marijuana has become legal for recreational use in the state, police are using strategies like DUI checkpoints to check for stoned driving and increase the number of arrests.
Just like with drunk driving and other forms of DUI, marijuana DUIs include steep penalties. All forms of marijuana DUI come with heavy fines, as well as the following penalties:
First offense marijuana DUI where no one was hurt:
- between three days and six months in jail
- suspended license for at least four months
- three months of mandatory DUI school
Second offense marijuana DUI where no one was hurt:
- Four days to one year in jail
- Suspended license for two years
- 18-30 months of mandatory DUI classes
Third offense marijuana DUI where no one was hurt:
- Six months to one year in jail
- License suspension for three years
- 30 months of mandatory DUI school
These are just the minimums. If you have prior DUIs (of any kind), those count against you and can affect the severity of your penalties.
Speak With a Rancho Santa Margarita DUI Lawyer Today
A DUI arrest is scary, but it doesn’t have to be the end. With a DUI lawyer on your side, you have the best chance at the most favorable outcome. To get connected with a DUI lawyer in your area for FREE, call us today and we’ll get you a free consultation to go over the details of your case. Call us at (310) 862-0199, or fill out the form to the right to get started with your FREE consultation today.