Being arrested for a DUI can lead to criminal charges that, if convicted, may result in huge fines, license suspension, and significant prison time. These charges are some of the most complicated and serious. Don’t try to handle them without adequate legal representation.
If you were arrested in Tustin for a DUI, you need a plan to protect yourself. You might think that state prosecutors have an open-and-shut case against you, but you’d be surprised. For the sake of your freedom and your entire future, you need to speak with an experienced Tustin DUI attorney.
What Happens Immediately After Your Arrest
Almost immediately, your driver’s license will be suspended, unless you take action quickly. This is known as an “administrative suspension” that kicks in automatically without intervention. To try and prevent your license from being suspended 30 days after your arrest, you or your lawyer will need to contact the local DMV and request a hearing.
If you can, this is the first action to take. It’s much easier to deal with the rest of the process if you aren’t stuck looking for alternate transportation options along the way.
What Are the Penalties for a DUI in Tustin?
If you’re convicted of DUI in Tustin or any area of California, you can face any of the following penalties:
- License suspension
- Fines, fees, and court costs
- Jail time
- Mandatory treatment or education programs (at your own cost)
- Limited driving privileges
The penalties you can face for DUI depend on factors like:
- whether this is your first DUI offense or not
- How strict the judge is
- Whether or not anyone was hurt or killed
These are the minimum penalties for each stage of a DUI offense, assuming no one was injured or killed.
DUI Minimum Penalties for First Offense
For a first offense, you can expect:
- Minimum fine of $390 plus other “assessment” fines from the government, all totaling about $1800 in fines and other costs
- Driver’s license suspension for a minimum of four months (including a 30 day minimum from the DMV and a 90 day minimum for criminal penalties), but this can often extend to longer
- 48 hours of jail time (can be waived, but it will increase license suspension by 90 days)
- Mandatory three-month alcohol treatment program for $500
DUI Minimum Penalties for Second Offense
After already having a previous charge on your record, minimum penalties include:
- Same amount of fines and costs as a first offense
- Driver’s license suspension for at least one year plus restricted driving (only being able to drive to/from work-related tasks and to/from alcohol treatment) for two more years
- 96 hours of jail time
- Mandatory completion of either 18-month or 30-month alcohol treatment program for $1,800
- Required ignition interlock device installation on all of your vehicles at your own cost
DUI Minimum Penalties for Third Offense
With three offenses, minimum penalties are expensive, lengthy and more damaging to your reputation. These include:
- Same amount of fines and costs as the first offense ($1,800 minimum)
- Complete revocation of driver’s license (meaning you can never legally drive in the state of California) for at least three years—or at least four years for a fourth offense – with no restricted driving privileges
- 120 days of jail time for third offense or 180 days for a fourth offense
- Mandatory 30-month alcohol treatment program, costing $1,800
Again, these are minimum penalties for each stage of offense. They can easily be more, which is why it’s so vital to hire a DUI lawyer and improve your chances as soon as you’re arrested.
Is Winning a DUI Case Possible?
While a DUI case is certainly tough, they are absolutely winnable. Don’t assume you have a helpless case; speak with a DUI attorney who can assess the full situation and look for weak spots you might not be aware were there. Hard proof might not be as solid as it appears. Tustin lawyers successfully win DUI cases for their clients every day.
Here are some examples of ways your DUI case could come out favorable for you:
- Reduced charges: Your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf to strike a deal. Typically, the prosecution will agree to reduce charges against you. If things go well, the charges can get changed from “DUI” to “reckless driving,” which brings much lighter penalties.
- Case is dismissed or charges are dropped: If your lawyer can show there isn’t enough evidence, they negotiate well, or even if the prosecutors don’t take your case, it can be dismissed. You won’t have to go to court and nothing goes on your record.
- You get acquitted: Acquittal means walking away free or being found “not guilty” of the crime. If you go to trial, this is the ideal outcome and often results from your lawyer proving some evidence against you isn’t valid in court
Even when a case can’t be completely won, there are usually ways to pursue lighter penalties or reduce charges. The best way to really know is by working with a DUI attorney who is knowledgeable and dedicated to this area of law.
Types of DUI Offenses in the State of California
DUIs are considered a misdemeanor offense. There are several charges you can face depending on the circumstances. An experienced Tustin DUI attorney is prepared to represent you in a variety of traffic and criminal cases, including:
- If you are under 21 years of age and your BAC test comes back with a result of .01% or more, you may be arrested and charged with an underage DUI (Vehicle Code 23152(A)).
- If you caused another person’s injury or death while under the influence, you have three previous DUI charges in the past 10 years, or a previous DUI felony, your DUI will be considered a felony (Vehicle Code 23153).
- You can be charged with a DUI for impairment caused by drugs, including controlled substances, prescriptions and over-the-counter medications (Vehicle Code 23152(F)).
- While medical and recreational marijuana are legal, it is still illegal to drive while impaired. If you are pulled over and test positive for a psychoactive amount of THC, then you can be charged with a DUI (Vehicle Code 23152).
Possible Defense Approaches From Your Tustin DUI Lawyer
There are certain aspects of DUI defense strategies many experienced attorneys use that are performed in all DUI clients’ cases, such as investigating:
- The probable cause for your arrest
- All recordings from both police vehicle dash and officer body cams
- Whether the arresting police officer complied with the California Code under Title 17 during the investigation
- Records for the breath test instrument used, including its log of uses and maintenance
Your DUI lawyer in Tustin can also subpoena the arresting officer and/or lab technician for cross-examination at your DMV APS hearing.
This investigation and attention to detail is a necessary element towards ensuring evidentiary weaknesses are identified for use in either plea negotiations with prosecutors or a jury trial. Furthermore, your lawyer can retest all chemical specimens (blood and/or urine) through our independent toxicology lab.
Get a Free Consultation With Experienced Tustin DUI Lawyers
When you contact us, we start working right away to pair you with the best Tustin DUI attorney for your needs. We know every case is different, so we maintain a connection with some of the best lawyers who know the DUI process.
They’ll take on your case, starting with a FREE consultation, with the aim of getting you reduced charges, or even having them dismissed completely. To get started today, call us or complete the contact form to your right today.